What is failure?


Today was the first time in my entire teaching career when I collected an assignment, started grading it, and went, “Oh my gosh… these are terrible.” I mean, usually I’ll have at least a few that stand out. This one… zippo. So, I had to reel back and ask myself some important questions. What did I do different? Is there something special about this particular group of students that I missed? Did I rush them? I remember feeling that the assignment was rushed, but I was having a hard time keeping kids focused so the inevitable was to set a due date. *Sigh*
So, I’m not going to put the assignment on this quarter grades. I didn’t even finish grading them (probably more because I was disgused in the possibility that I failed as a teacher, and felt better telling myself, “They’re just not done yet.”) Tomorrow, instead of moving on to painting, the kids will get their drawings back. They will watch me shade again. The will get a talk about standards and working hard and focusing and all that stuff I don’t like to spout off about. Then, they’ll keep working on it until they are at least tolerable. I wish I could somehow see myself teaching or figure out what happened.
Then again, another math teacher was upset yesterday because almost all of her students failed a test, so now she’s reteaching the whole unit. Maybe the kids are tweaking out because it’s been raining for like two months straight. Maybe it’s because of the field trips. I’d like to think that it wasn’t me and that my students are capable of greater than this. Here’s to the next two days to see if that end can’t be accomplished.