Thursday, May 5, 2011

Gosh Darn It (A Cheesy Pep Talk To Myself)

To say that I am a perfectionist would be a ginormous understatement. Lately, I have been thinking about how I am probably way too hard on myself.

For example, our state assessment results were awesome this year -- 97% of our junior class was proficient! While I was ecstatic about those results, I kept thinking about the one student in my math strategies class whose score actually decreased from the first time he took the test. I felt responsible for that student, and I felt like I had failed with him. Never mind that I did all that I could, and this student made some choices that were out of my control.

Second example, at the end of every school year I am always looking back over the year for what things I want to do differently in the future. This always results in a list that is way too long for one human to complete, because I end up thinking that almost everything I am doing could be a little better.

I don't think that I am alone. I have read plenty of blogs, written by amazing teachers, talking about how they suck and how this lesson or that one was crap. I know it is just their way of saying "I am frustrated, and that lesson didn't go the way I wanted", and they are being honest about what that feels like. 

Obviously, there is nobody out there who has attained perfection. We all know that that we have strengths and weaknesses. We all have lessons that play out in less than perfect fashion.

So, here is a reminder to myself:  I don't suck. Really. Also, I wouldn't allow my students to say that about themselves. So I should try not to say that either, right? I know that there is always someone who is doing something better than me. I learn from that person. I teach because I care about kids, and I want the best for them.  I love the subjects I teach, and I am committed to continually learning. I love my job, and gosh darn it, I am good at what I do!


  1. How in the world did you ever achieve 97% proficiency? I am bowing to you right now. We must talk! My proficiency is at 15% and we're trying to raise it to 45%.

  2. Please don't bow to me! There are several things to our advantage that have helped us get such good results. You are dealing with a completely different beast, I think.

    1. Our tested standards are very specific, nothing like the ACT! We are able to prepare our students by teaching a specific set of topics.

    2. If a student doesn't make proficient, we can remediate and retest. Each year, we probably have 20-25% fall into that category. They take math strategies as an additional math class, and then take the test a second time. The majority of those make proficient at that point.

    3. Our state assessment is in the process of being retired over the next few years. I am afraid our results will not be the same when we move out of this comfort zone, but time will tell. :)