This past school year there were a few things that happened that truly dampened my spirit. In my last post, I discussed my AIS class and the issues I was having with them in terms of their motivation and my ability to help them to be successful on the Regents exam. In this case my greatest fears were realized. Only two of my 12 students passed their exams. One of those students I can’t even take credit for since she was currently enrolled in Global II and thus was receiving her primary assistance through her regular teacher. I can make myself feel a little better since one student who was in my class had only been in the country for three months prior to being asked to take an exam on United States History. Another student had her test disqualified for cheating (that’s a whole story that sadly will not be told here). Several students improved their grades from their previous times taking the test. Regardless, I feel like I failed these students even though we were both put in a bad situation. I am not used to this feeling.
Another major event dealing with my professional life shook me to my core. I’m really not sure that I can discuss that here either. What a bummer, huh? Basically, I learned that you cannot count on people to do the right thing or to value those people who do actually do the right thing. I did the right thing, or at least I will believe that I did until my dying day, and it was me who paid the price. It has certainly taught me who my friends are and who I can count on. I think that experiences like mine will continue to become more common as long as teacher evaluations are linked to high-stakes testing.
As a result of my experiences I took time off from being “Teacher Dawn”. I did not organize my materials or brainstorm new activities or refine my plans or any of the usual things that I tend to do during the summer. I didn't tweet or even read articles dealing with education. I was just “Regular Citizen Dawn”. This break was necessary for me and now, as I’m coming out of my hiatus, I feel re-energized and ready to get back to work! I feel very lucky that I had the opportunity to let myself heal.
So, welcome back “Teacher Dawn”!!! I can’t wait to share with you, my blog readers, my experiences at my first summer conference as well as the process I use to plan for the new school year. Stay tuned!