Down but not out
So....rough week at work. I was able to vent to Renee and John at dinner last night (holla!!), but long story short:
Our company has these "benchmarks" 4 times a year, designed (in theory) to replicate and predict how our students will perform on the FCAT, that all-important state test, in March. The problem is that the students who have been with our school for a while know that these tests basically dont mean shit (for them, anyway) and therefore don't really try on them. Like, at all.
The problem for ME, however, is that when the results come in, it looks as though I am failing miserably at my job. It is "projected" that my students (and all of 5th grade, as it turns out) will bomb the upcoming FCAT in spectacular fashion. Now mind you, last year my kids sucked on this benchmark and still kicked some FCAT ass. The difference is that LAST YEAR, we had a principal who knew us, knew our school, knew our students and knew ME. She believed in us, had our back, and trusted us when we said that our kids were on track.
Our new principal, however, does none of the above.
So when these "preliminary" results came out, let's just say that we had a meeting where she basically made us feel about THIS big. (You can't see me, but my fingers are, like, a millimeter apart.) Oh, and she p0inted out that our 5th grade scores were THE LOWEST 5th grade scores in the entire company.
OH. And she told EVERY OTHER TEAM THAT IN THE ENTIRE SCHOOL. (Yes, literally pointed out, very explicity, to every other grade, just how "low" 5th grade was....and that we were the lowest in the company.)
I cannot tell you how demoralize that is. Not only does our principal not believe in us, but she points out to EVERY OTHER GRADE just how sucky she thinks we are.
The only thing keeping me going is that I believe in my kids, and I believe in myself. My kids are working their asses off, and IF, **IF** they don't do well on the FCAT, it's not for lack of trying. It's because...well, they're low students. And a third, A THIRD. of them are ESE ("special ed" in other states). Not to be all cocky, but I was a "Star" teacher last year, which means I was a TOP performer in my company--not my school, but my COMPANY...yes, the same company in which I am now firmly at the bottom--last year. Am I a fantastic teacher? Hell no--and any teacher who tells you they are is full of shit, since any teacher, regardless of how long they've been teaching, ALWAYS has room to grow and improve. But do I do well with the kids I have, in the situation I'm in, with the resources I have, especially considering the fact that I am pretty new to the field? I'd like to think so.
Regardless of what happens in March, I'm giving everything I have, and so are my kids. I cannot possibly give any more, and neither can they.