Math = Love: T Minus 10 Hours

Sunday, April 14, 2013

T Minus 10 Hours

T minus ten hours until state testing begins.  My Algebra 1 and Algebra 2 students will all test Monday morning.  This will be my first time to administer a standardized test.  During my student teaching, I had the opportunity to proctor a standardized test.  I'm just hoping that we won't have any technology issues tomorrow... 

I don't know where this past year has gone.  A year ago today, I was calling my superintendent to accept this job.  A year ago yesterday, I had never set foot in this town that I now call home.  I didn't know where it was on a map or even know how to get here.   

My emotions are all over the place right now.  I'm scared.  I'm excited.  I'm terrified.  I'm nervous.  I'm unsure of exactly how I'm supposed to feel right now.  My students and I have worked hard this school year.  For my Algebra 1 students, the stakes are high.  Students are required to pass the Algebra 1 EOI in order to graduate.  My Algebra 2 students don't have that pressure on them, but that scares me, too.  Will they try their hardest if they know they don't have to pass the test to graduate? 

I teach a large number of students who have failed to pass their standardized tests in mathematics in the past.  And, I want nothing more than to see them pass.  I want them to see that hard work does pay off.  I did some research this weekend, and I discovered that my school district regularly performs the worst or second-worst in mathematics in our entire county.  I knew that our test scores were low when I took this job, but I didn't realize that they were that low.  My mentors continually remind me that progress is slow.  Any progress is good progress.  But, my perfectionistic self has a hard time accepting that.  I want instant change.     

Sadly, some of my students have chosen not to put in ample work to master the concepts of the course.  And, I believe that will also be reflected in their test scores.  A small number of students chose to not complete our review assignments.  I've reminded them constantly that the need to try their hardest.  If the students don't pass, they will take Algebra 1 again next year.  I've tried my hardest to prevent this, but I think I have some students who need that in order to be successful in the long run.   

I've been told by some that my test scores directly reflect my effectiveness as a teacher.  Others have cautioned me to not read too much into my test scores because they reflect the education my students have received over the course of their school careers.  So, I don't really know what to think. 

But, I have a feeling I will shed some tears tomorrow, though.  Tears of joy and tears of sadness.   


  1. I have watched your blog all year. As a "seasoned" teacher, I can tell you that you have a good grasp on the situation. You have given your all. You will judge yourself by your students' scores. You will celebrate success- you will grieve failure. While we try to instill desire for success, motivation to learn, student success is NOT something we control. Most teachers teach every single day. I wish I could say my students come to school to learn as often. Teaching has its ups and downs. Remember, that if you have made the difference to ONE student, you should be proud.

  2. I just found your blog and am very impressed! I have been reflecting on this year and wanted to do an interactive notebook for next year. How do you keep students accountable for what is in the notebook? Do you grade it according to a rubric and how often?

    Also, I agree with Lisa. By now, you make know the results of the test. All you can do is give it your best and hope that it is enough. I'm not in your classroom, but it appears that you have done an awesome job preparing your students. Everyone has a role--you, them, and their parents. There is only so much you can do in a 45-90 minute class period. They must want to understand, study, and work hard. Even if they did not reach your or the districts expectations, have they improved at all. Progress may not be all students exceeding the standards. It may be getting a student who normally scores 40% to make 60%.

    1. I grade notebooks on completion. I have a checklist of what each student should have on each page of their notebook. Certain pages are worth a greater number of points than other pages. I have to do this because we have a big absence problem at my school. If I don't check off each page, my students who are absent will not make up the pages that are missing from their notebooks.