When those scores come out, I judge myself as a teacher. I feel that they measure me and my worth as a teacher. No matter how hard I try to convince myself, I can't help but feel like I failed these kids. I love these kids and I love my job, but I question my worth and value as a teacher when I see those scores. They'll never be good enough.
I can tell myself that a student has a learning disability or is just learning English. Or maybe they are having a personal struggle. But I still feel deep I my heart that I didn't do enough.
I can look at the successes. The students who fought right along side of me and together we beat this test against all odds. I can feel joy at the names that are not on my list of kids who failed the test. I can think about making those phone calls to parents.
It doesn't matter.
I judge myself as a teacher based on the failures. The state could give me a financial bonus or not based on their scores, but what breaks me and my teacher spirit more is those failures. And not even just the failures, it's the ones that aren't as high as they could be. The ones that you know don't show what that child is capable of.
So, kids and parents, know that your child's teacher takes the burden and the weight of those scores even more heavily than you do. I know we need to measure them, but I feel like you are measuring me too. And I'll never measure up to the highest expectations. Those don't come from the state, the school board or the principal. They come from me.
It's not that your child isn't enough or didn't do enough. They are perfect. It's me who wasn't enough for them. And I'm sorry.