TWIT: They Don’t Judge Me by a Test

If you've been reading the Radical recently, you know it's been a frustrating week for me.  I'm tired of working in tested subjects and tired of fighting back against under-informed policies.

Things are gloomy inside my professional head, that's for sure.  Which is why the letter that one of my seventh grade soccer players brought by my room yesterday afternoon meant so much. 

Check it out:

Dear Mr. Ferriter,

I just wanted to say that I appreciate your time and effort in putting this season together.  You are a great coach that knows how to teach beautiful soccer and have fun at the same time. 

I know and understand that you appreciate us as much as we admire you, and thank you for that.  Words cannot describe how thankful and blessed we are for you, Coach.  We all hope you are able to come back next year, but if not, we totally understand and are grateful for the time that you have given us.

This season was definitely one that I will never forget, and you are a huge part of that.  I just want to thank you for everything that you have done for us and taught us about the wonderful game of soccer.

–Baker Boy

Next time someone asks about my "value added scores" or my "effectiveness index," I'm going to send them to see this kid!  Maybe then, they'll recognize that the contributions of teachers go far beyond anything a standardized test can measure.  

This is why I teach.

 

5 comments

  1. Rich Chapin

    Thank you for the direct and heart-felt post.
    All of the teachers I know and work with are feeling similarly – tired of teaching to the test, tired of effectiveness measures, distrustful of merit pay proposals.
    What keeps me going, in addition to the students, are posts like this and maybe the distant promise of educational technology and change.

  2. Pete Caggia

    Great post, Bill. I’ve had a very frustrating year myself. Looking for gratitude and appreciation from colleagues and administrators who were too busy or distracted to notice. But, there was always a child on whose face I could see everything I wanted to hear from those I thought should be celebrating me. It was then that I realized that I had been looking in the wrong place for the people who would fill my bucket. And they do, each and every day.

  3. SmBMSUBronco

    For many years now I’ve kept what I refer to as “my rainy day file”, full of student notes, cards, letters of thanks… I find in our present “test everything & learn nothing” educational mode of “school improvement” I have to refer to that file much more often to stay motivated, sad, but true!

  4. Bill Williams

    Over the years I’ve kept a file of such letters, programs signed by kids and the like. Every so often, on what I call “low self-esteem days” or when I just need a boost, I go through my file to remind myself about how much I was appreciated, in spite of all the crap that gets thrown in one’s teaching path. Try it. Save the stuff.