Sunday, May 29, 2016

I Failed

End of level testing is finished, and I have the data. But, I don't need the official test scores to tell me that I failed to reach one of my students. The worst part is that I must confess that I know that I didn't do everything in my power to help this student. I know I could have done more. I needed to be a little more patient. I know that I needed to scaffold and differentiate his learning more. He needed more one on one time with me. All the excuses in the world for why I didn't do more seem so shallow now.

Five more days to make a difference. I've been enthusiastically doing a countdown of sorts to keep going strong- to keep the kids learning. The reality is that the year is going to end, and I will not have made a difference for this child. I failed.

Logically I know that I can't reach every child, but I want to. I always believe that I can be the one to make a difference. I can't help but think of the impact of my failure. This student still can't read proficiently. He still is struggling with math. Many of his skills are at a 2nd-grade level. Will I be a cause for him not graduating? Getting a good job? Having a successful life? It makes me cringe.

There were times this year when I wanted to give up on him. He was not an easy student to have in class. There was even once where I caught myself being more than frustrated and almost angry that his scores brought down my class average. That's what the testing pressure does. It made me forget (even momentarily) that I teach kids, not test takers.

I didn't have to, but I apologized to his parents for not being able to do more. Looking in their eyes was hard. They are at their wits end and feel helpless about how to help their son. We tried so many strategies to help him improve this year with minimal effect. I let the parents down. I let my student down.

I feel awful.

The only thing that I can think of is to make a stronger commitment to try harder next year. I can also hope that this student's teacher for next year will be the one that can make a difference. My student did experience growth this year but not enough to get him on grade level. But, I hope he learned he is not a failure. I hope he gained some confidence in himself. I hope he learned the power of YET. I hope he continues to have big dreams and follows his passion.

I hope.

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