OK, I promise. I really am ready to let it go.
Or at least, I’m ready to try to get ready to let it go. (Sorry about the “Frozen” song now embedded in your brain).
I won’t keep ruminating on the sudden abrupt end of my teaching life.
But I do have one final thing to say, and it is about “data”.
If you are a teacher, you know that you are now expected to gather reams of “data points” on each child. Test scores, retest scores, reading levels, spelling levels, writing rubrics, formative assessments, summative assessments, standardized test scores. You are supposed to use all of this data as “evidence” to prove that the kids have improved. In other words, to prove that you have done your job. Without this data, in theory, the parents of your students will not know that their children have grown or improved under your care.
So over the past few years, I’ve done my best to gather data. This year, in particular, it was made clear to me that I had better come up with reams of hard data about each child. So I gathered information, I scored work and tests and retests, and I graphed it, recorded it, kept it in a spreadsheet. I had rubrics, score sheets, explanations and bar graphs. I had all of this “evidence” at my fingertips as I got ready for my end-of-year conferences.
And guess what?
I had 23 conferences. I spent 45 minutes with each set of parents. I had parents tell me, “You know my child so well!” and “We can’t believe how much he has grown and matured this year!” I had one Mom tell me, “No one has ever understood her and her learning style as well as you do.”
I’m not trying to brag, although I am delighted and proud that these parents feel that way about my teaching. What I’m trying to say is this:
Not only did I complete 23 conferences without having one single person ask me for my data, but all 23 sets of parents declined when I offered to show them my graphs and spreadsheets and scores.
They don’t see their kids as a collection of numerical scores.
And neither do I.
Goodbye, teaching life. It was wonderful while it lasted.