Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Letting It Go

OK so I have been SO remiss in updating this thing, but sadly that's what happens once school gets into full swing.

And full swing it is.

At the moment, I oscillate between totally stressed out/anxious (most of the time) and unable to focus/get work done. It's a lethal combination that guarantees my being in a constant state of frenzy, either external or internal.

Most recently, this has been due to all of the "formative assessment" that our district has implemented in math and reading. For those of you not in the world of education, the purpose of a formative assessment is to inform your instruction. In other words, you take the data you gather from the assessment and use it to improve your instruction and the kids' learning. In this case, the kids take the test, and the results are scanned and available to us online the same day. Then, we spend the rest of the week doing "corrective instruction" with students who need more work and enrichment or extensions with the kids who already know the material well.

Sounds fantastic in theory, doesn't it?

Besides having issues with several aspects of the assessments (2 right answer choices, reading passages that are too long for my kids at this point, etc.) - I really do like having the data on my kids, and it enables me to better meet their needs. It's great feedback on which concepts give the kids trouble (estimation, anyone?)

Where the problem really lies is my expectations. When I look at my kids in the "red" section of scores, and how many of them it is, it gets me thinking about what I need to do to get them where they need to be. I mentally and emotionally tend to take the burden of getting them there entirely on my own shoulders. I am so competitive and driven, and it leads me to doubt myself when I see my class' scores lower than others'.

Basically, all of this converged into the following: during a data meeting with my team, two administrators, our AIG teacher, and our instructional facilitator, I lost my sh*t and cried.

So. Embarassing.

Anyway, the story has a happy ending. It comes down to the fact that I need to let go of some of the emotional burden I attach to my job. My teammates and the administration have been so supportive and positive, and I've gotten such good advice from them.

Hubs is also, of course, fantastic about it. I feel like I've been such an insane person lately - alternating between apathy and anxiety. I've got to find some balance and begin to let some of it go.

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