Thursday, July 2, 2015

All Apologies....

Sometimes things hit us like a bolt of lightening. Things we should have figured out right away is apparent seconds after we need the answer. We get a very quick "Ah-ha" moment.

For me, there was no quick "Ah-ha" moment. No, I would be talking with my daughter who would mention how she was struggling with her fitness, so I would chime in: "Solving that would require practicing the skill."

My son would mention how he could not bunt the ball exactly how he like. My response, you guessed it, would be: "Have you practiced it?"

So, I was running the other day after reading several blog posts from my favorite writers. I had an internal dialogue going about how I wish I could write like these other bloggers. Yes, I was talking to myself. Those of you that run consistently know exactly what I am talking about. That is when the lightening bolt hit me. No, not literally, since it was a clear day. But, figuratively speaking of course...

I need to practice to get better. I need to practice the very message I keep sending to my kids. So, after delaying all day, I have run out of excuses, so I sit and write....

I am excited about the opportunity this up-coming school year to teach Algebra again. See, about four years ago we stopped offering the course to our advanced math students. I confess that I was probably the main reason for it. As I am the only 7th and 8th grade math teacher in our small public school, I did not want the "bad test scores" making me look bad. I am very embarrassed to admit this. Yes, fours years ago, I believe I was the reason we stopped offering this challenging curriculum to our students.

Now, I still provided some advanced work to the 8th graders who could work at that level. I supplemented the current curriculum when I could, but I knew it was not enough.

Needless to say, I am happy that we are bringing this course back. In addition, we will be offering an accelerated course for our 7th graders as well. This time, I am not so concerned about how they do on the dumb state tests they will have to take. Maybe that is a sign that I have "grown-up" in the last four years. I think it is because I am so over the whole test craze disease has swept education the last several years.

My kids might do well on those tests; then again, they may not. I do not care. I will be continuing a course that never should have been interrupted. To my students who missed out on taking Algebra, I apologize. Who says adults can't "grow-up" even when they are old.

What have you regretted as an educator? Please share....


2 comments:

Dave Mulder said...

My friend, thanks for sharing your story so openly and honestly with us! Hard to admit things like that...

I try--in general, and in my life as a teacher--to live with few regrets. One thing I do regret: I have had several students over my career who were "difficult"...and I let them off the hook, because it was too much work, or I had too many other things, or (insert the excuse here). So often, it's the "difficult" ones who need the extra love, care, and support--they need someone to hold them accountable, to challenge them, to invest in them. I regret that I did not do this for a few of my students.

Thanks, as always, for your thoughtful posts, and for sharing your heart!

Jim Cordery said...

Thanks for your feedback, Dave. If we spend some time in reflection, we all can recall a case or two where we should have done somethings differently. That is what makes our job so difficult. I am excited that we are bringing back the Algebra course. I would like to use this opportunity to try and create some advanced classes in other subject areas as well. For too long I believe these students have been left out so we do not "Leave A Child Behind".
Thanks again for your support.