I stumbled across Accomplished California Teachers, a new teacher leadership network for the state of California, which is housed under the umbrella of the School of Education at Stanford University. Every time I read something by a disgruntled teacher (or parent), I wonder why it’s so hard to get education on the right track.
by David B. Cohen
from Accomplished California Teachers
I just want to take a moment to thank you for all that you did for me when I was in your class. Now that I’m out of high school, I really appreciate it even more. When I started your English class, I knew that my test scores were kind of low, and I was really committed to improving my performance on two of the subtests. You saw that potential in me, and even more. By providing me with chances to read anthologized literary excerpts and random workplace documents, all followed by multiple choice assessments, you showed a commitment to my learning, and my test scores that spring really proved how far I had come. I was totally comfortable dealing with any readings chosen for me, and comfortable choosing the answers to other people’s questions. I also remember that you showed us how to answer the questions without even doing most of the reading, and that sure did help on the test!
Do you remember my sister? She was in your class a few years ahead of me, and I was just talking to her about your class. She couldn’t even remember what her test scores were – probably because she usually has her nose in a book, when she’s not writing in her journals or on her blog.
My sister just graduated from college, but as for me, I don’t know if you heard, but I’ve taken a break from school. I tried it for a year, but none of the instructors cared as much as you did, so it was hard to connect. A lot of times they assigned us really long readings and didn’t even give us any points for doing all that homework. Then, we had to write essays on these ridiculously hard questions where you couldn’t even find the answer in the books. I did my best and put together my five paragraphs and everything, and I still got low grades. When they don’t tell you how to find the answers and don’t even give you the motivation, well… it just wasn’t for me. It’s just too bad that all those skills we practiced in your class don’t even seem to matter in college. I think I might transfer to another school, but for now, I’m just working and waiting for inspiration to come along.
One more thing – I saw on the news that they’re going to start paying teachers more if your students do well on tests. That should be good news for you! And why not? I definitely think you deserve it after all you did to raise our test scores.
Your former Proficient Student