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In light of test scores being released and the abundance of educational films bashing teachers, I feel I need to address an issue.
Teaching is not something that can be measured, by test scores or other means. The truth is, educating a child is lifelong. It is beyond the time they are in a teacher's classroom.
My students have helped me to realize that yearly ratings, developed by contractors who know nothing of what I do or who my kids are, mean nothing. Most recently, a student of mine from 10 years ago found me. I was able to spend four hours with him, seeing what a wonderful young man he has become. A student from five years ago told the custodian to tell me that he was doing well and owed it to me. One student contacts me regularly when she's having a tough time. A boy who lost both of his parents in the year I had him lives with relatives in another state and keeps in touch. I made him write a list of 10 things he wanted to accomplish in life. I carry it in my wallet every day and write the list to him when I think he needs reminding. This is not a complete list of my blessings.
Am I bragging? Yes! These are my kids; they always have been. They know I love them. Many failed my class. Many did poorly on their tests. Many hated me at the time.
So, does my poor rating based on test scores mean I'm a terrible teacher? I'm not so sure. Beyond the year they were in my class, they have become stars, and I love them for the beautiful people they have become. I think the media should focus on that and the next film should be a story like mine, about realistic wins in the profession.
The writer teaches high school English.
First Published September 25, 2012 12:00 am