Wednesday, October 13, 2010

This was going to be a post about the fun adventures I have been having, especially on Columbus Day weekend (it is very nice to get all the government holidays). However, I am instead going to discuss my current teacher crisis. So far, I would say that I think I am a decent teacher- even in the states, I think I would pass muster, and here, well, I try a LOT harder than most. After my first test, enough students did really well to convince me that on that area of subject matter, my teaching was not the problem for those students who did poorly- their lack of studying was the issue. My conscience was not in any way impinged upon.
However, this latest test has me very disappointed- in myself. About two weeks ago, the administration informed all the teachers that the midterms were coming up- in one week. In less than a week, I had to create a new test and attempt to review with my students. This is coming fairly soon after the last BIG test, so I mostly focused on stuff which I hadn't really tested; I thought the midterm that I created was actually easier than the first test I had given them.
When I started giving the midterm, I immediately noticed some problems- students forgot their calculators, which made the formula section both extremely difficult and time consuming. They were making mistakes and also not finishing- I readjusted the test- excluding one page of it and instead having them write only 2 of the short answer questions on the back of one of the other pages. However, now that I am grading these, I am doubting myself.
The grades are dismal. Beyond simple mistakes in the division and multiplication aspects of the tests, the students obviously did not know or understand the formulas- the vocab section and short answer I can attribute to lack of studying, but for the formula section (which was worth 20 points), I must acknowledge that I obviously did not spend enough time in class on. To me, the formulas seemed easy- but I should not have assumed that this was also true to them. Even my best students struggled with that section, which to me indicates that in this instance, the fault lies with me, the teacher, which is a bitter and humbling pill to swallow.
Swallow it I must, however. I know that this year is a learning experience for me as well, and a major lesson has just come through. I know that I need to go back, re-teach the information, ensure that the students know and understand the material. My dilemma now lies with the test- I feel that it is unfair to keep these grades for them. According to the school, I need to turn in midterm grades tomorrow- meaning that many of these students, if I include the test (which I am supposed to) will be much lower than they should.
How should I remedy this? How can I use this experience to be a better teacher?

By Wednesday, I assume many of these problems will be resolved. I hope to update then. But, until then,

A humbled, contrite and very confused,

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