What I Remember


There’s a must read out there for every teacher who ever felt de-valued by value-added measures. It comes from a colleague of mine and I love the way she basically just up and says, “Uh-uh – I’m a lot more valuable than your stinkin’ numbers. Here are all the reasons why.”

Donna is now asking all of us like-minded (read: right thinking) folks to post examples of the value we’ve added unrelated to test scores. I’m doing that today. Thanks, Donna, for the inspiration.

I don’t remember your test scores, but I do remember the way you loved learning photography and how it helped you emerge from your cocoon.

I don’t remember your test scores, but I do remember a photograph you took while in my class appearing on the front page of the newspaper.

I don’t remember your test scores, but I do remember your shock and pride at winning the award for improvement in English.

I don’t remember your test scores, but I do remember you trusting me enough to confide in me that your best friend was being abused even though you thought it would get you in trouble and end your friendship. (In all honesty, this was one of the bravest acts I’ve ever seen from a child).

I don’t remember your test scores, but I do remember you graciously accepting my apology one day after I embarrassed you in front of the whole class.

I don’t remember your test scores, but I do remember our frank conversations about keeping you safe.

I don’t remember your test scores, but I do remember the time I made you laugh so hard, you had to go take a walk in the halls, and the way we all cracked up when you came back.

I don’t remember your test scores, but I do remember you crying when we watched a slideshow at the end of the year. (The reputation you had from everyone else – as being a nasty child – was mostly a myth).

I don’t remember your test scores, but I do remember you writing me a note saying you want to be like me because I see good things everywhere.

I don’t remember your test scores, but I do remember you quietly emerging as a top student.

I don’t remember your test scores, but I do remember you organizing a birthday surprise for me.

I don’t remember your test scores, but I do remember when I caught you in a lie about who did your homework for you and that it never happened again.

I don’t remember your test scores, but I do remember you overcoming intense and pervasive shyness, facing your fears and stepping outside your comfort zone, like when we went on the field together before the Mets game to answer questions in front of everyone.

I don’t remember your test scores, but I do remember you showing up one morning in tears and clutching a book order form because your mom wouldn’t buy you a 2 dollar book. I remember your gratitude when I bought it for you.

I don’t remember your test scores, but I remember everything that matters. I remember you.

 

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2 responses to “What I Remember

  1. Hi Matt!
    I appreciate your perspective and ideas. I’m a volunteer math tutor in a rural, high poverty school. While I feel (usually) successful in engaging kids in one-on-one sessions, my training was as an engineer, not an educator, and I struggle a LOT with how to control (hah!) a classroom. I’m puzzling over how to reach more students & encourage learning when I am working with a larger group (12 – 15 “low performing” kids). So far, it feels like pretty much of a failure. I’ve just started reading your blog, and look forward to more thoughts on this

  2. Pingback: Remainders: Concerns about how teacher evaluators are trained | GothamSchools

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