The inspiration of this post comes from an online class about Standards Based Grading I am participating in through my district. This week we continued to watch videos by Rick Wormeli to deepen our understanding of Standards Based Grading. If you have not watched his videos (they are short and simple), I highly recommend them. Especially if you are currently shifting to Standards Based Grading or joining the #TTOG (Teachers Throwing Out Grades) movement on Twitter. (Lots of great stuff here as well!)
Yes, I am a mother of two wonderful girls so the “Let it Go” phrase is often sung in our house or used to help them “Shake it off.” After watching the videos and reading the responses from colleagues across my school district, I could not help think of how we, as teachers, are such perfectionists. We are our own worst critics. We expect to be perfect ALL the time. We cringe when our students “bomb” a quiz and blame ourselves and wonder what we did wrong. Is this the message we want to send our students? That they need to perform perfectly for every quiz, every worksheet? Isn’t learning on-going? Isn’t it okay to not get the lesson the first time? Isn’t is okay to not understand the concept the first time?
As teachers, isn’t it okay to “bomb” the first time we try a new strategy? Isn’t it okay to not be perfect? Why don’t we allow this for ourselves? Why do we beat ourselves up all time? Can’t we just “let it go.” Can’t we just “shake it off.” (Yes, you knew this was coming!)
Instead, I purpose we all go in expecting to fail. Let’s expect not to be perfect AND do it anyway. I have tried many new things in my classroom this year. And no, they did not go perfectly the first time. Passion Projects (Genius Hour) is a first for me this year. I knew I did not have it all figured out, but I didn’t want that to stop me from doing it. So, I dove in. Yes, there are many things I would do differently to better prepare my students, but I wouldn’t take it back for anything. What was gained by taking this leap WAY out does the negative. And now I am better prepared for next year.
I mentioned earlier that I discovered the #TTOG movement on Twitter. (If you are not on Twitter for professional development you do not know what you are missing!) I purchased a book called Assessment 3.0 by Mark Barnes. This book was an easy read and made me even more confident on HOW to provide effect feedback for the learning process. Rick Wormeli states this is one of the most impactful things we can do to foster learning and growth in our students. In an earlier post, I spoke of the #singlepointrubic. I am currently using this to provide written feedback as well.
Am I perfect at providing feedback? Far from it! Have I taken a few steps to get better? That is a fact! I can say I am proud of the risks I have taken this year. I have failed. I am a better teacher because of this. What risks have you allowed yourself to take? Remember, allow yourself to NOT be perfect. “Let it go and Shake it off!”