It is Monday and the thought of final exams is probably under the “just happened, happening, or soon happening” category. And so, with assessment fresh on our minds as educators, here is a small bit of humor to get your Monday rolling…
If you are like me, I take final exams seriously. Meaning, if my students do not do well, I take it personally. “What did I NOT do? Did I not prepare them enough? Did they take nothing away of importance? Am I a teaching failure? Should I just work at the fry bin at McDonald’s?” You know it – FAIL (Final Assessment Instructional Lapse).
But let me remind you, that as teachers, success in a course does not always lie in the final scores of your students. Let me offer a bit of perspective from one of my favorite authors, Maryellen Weimer:
Most teachers I know wonder if they could or should have done more for and with these students. When students fail, a lot of us take that failure personally and that isn’t entirely bad. If students’ failures cause us to reflect, to examine, to wonder and consider if some other approach might have worked better, that’s a good thing. Perhaps there was nothing else the teacher could have done, but it certainly doesn’t hurt to ponder just a bit. That said, most of us ponder too much and for too long. We forget that a poor grade may not reflect all that happened with that student in the course. Learning and intellectual development aren’t always visible. Students (even very busy ones) can have insights that have nothing to do with content or acquiring credentials, and teachers may never know.
I think the proper mindset is to remember that many times our influence over student growth does not always end when the course ends – growth often happens outside the classroom walls. Water and plant and realize that the full growth may not happen until months or even years later. And we will be most encouraged as educators as we are OK with that thought.
So keep planting…keep watering…and get grading those finals!