And then my fear comes alive. Break!? Wait. What?! Only 10 classes left?! No. It can't be. I haven't covered this? And I haven't covered that! Am I even on track or will we fall flat? (Sorry Seuss fans.) And now I feel it. I've been trapped in the rat race of daily classroom chores: planning on-the-spot mini-lessons and detailing clear structure for better management. I have lost focus on the overarching answer to the goal "what are we learning?"
We've just reached a milestone in English IV: submitting our final Senior Project papers for grading. As their teacher, with this deadline comes a lot of thinking ahead. Yet it's so important to think back. Are we on track? Have we met learning goals? While reading submission letters for their papers, many students noted how helpful going through an extended writing process was. These students have never committed a full quarter solely on writing one piece--moving between drafts, conferencing with each other, writing peer reviews...over and over again. And while consciously I worry about quote-getting to all the curriculum-end quote, my intuition while reading their letters, and my understanding of the roles we play in the classroom, make me fully aware that we are, indeed, on track.
While together my students and I write classroom protocols and expectations the first week of school, I still (must be the teacher in me) list out in my syllabus (be it they are buried on page 3)
the roles I expect as the lead learner in the classroom. A commitment to not only what I promise my students, but also what I seek from them.
- Ms. Daugherty’s role:
- I will…
- provide you with deeper insight to improve your growth as a student;
- help you diagnose and respond to your own learning needs;
- help you write learning targets and goals;
- lead the class in creating common scoring guides;
- offer guided instruction in class to help you improve on future assignments;
- and provide descriptive feedback to you through written notes and conversation.
- Student’s role:
- I expect you…
- to self-assess your work;
- to track your own progress through detailed records;
- to contribute to setting goals;
- to act upon feedback and assessment results to do better next time;
- and to believe that you can achieve a high level of personal learning.