Wednesday, March 7, 2018

8th-Grade Resource - Incentive Parties

The 8th-grade teaching team gives incentive parties for students who get grades C and above. I have mixed feelings about this because my students rarely pass. I could push-in until the cows come home and they'd still not be able to keep up with the curriculum that isn't differentiated enough to their level. For one thing, there's only one of me and there are 300 students. My caseload is near 60. How am I supposed to get to all of them?

I even heard a teacher boasting during lunch one day about the number of Fs she gave one term. It made me boil. (This was the same teacher who called me a few names.)  Someday when I'm years away from this, I will write a book.

Adjusting to being a resource teacher has been a mountain of a learning curve for me. I've never done anything like this. I've never worked with teachers who refused to differentiate enough to help a student experience success.

This is what gets me. I teach kids, not curriculum. And they are so set in their ways it's been hard to make a dent.

Now, not all teachers are this way, mind you. Some have come around to my way of thinking. But it's not easy for them. They don't like to differentiate at the 8th-grade level.  They don't think it's fair.

Nope. It sure isn't fair. Life isn't. If someone is having a heart attack, do I not give him CPR because I can't give everyone in the room CPR?

At least my desk is cute, right?
So I gave a party for all my students who made progress this term. Progress is progress no matter how small. And I wanted my students to know what it felt like to get a pat on the back for a change. I loved having the quiet ones, the discouraged ones, the ones who never got to feel what it's like to get rewarded gather in my room. There are reasons kids are there. A parent in prison. Going to bed hungry. Mother working 3rd shift. They all have a story.

I don't believe anyone wants to fail. And I believe in giving someone a hand up, a lifeline of hope when they fall. I just wish all the teachers would understand trauma kids. It would change everything.

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