Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Day 354- Fantastic Feedback

** After about an hour of technical difficulties, I think I'll keep this one short and sweet.  My bed wants to be friends again! **

I've been passed out on my couch for an hour or two after an absolutely exhausting Monday.  I was up late last night trying to get all kinds of planning done and to fully prepare for the week.  Our kids will take our Comm. Arts district test at the end of the week, and this will be the first official results I'll get back for how I'm doing. Our school often falls to the bottom of the district in terms of scores, and I have been busting my butt to see what I can do to change that.  Our kids are in a significantly lower income bracket than most of the district, and they come from some really tough home situations.  They could sure use a win, and I'd love for them to earn some pride in our community.  As one of my bulletin board says, I really want these kids to strive to be "The Leaders and Best."  This board is done in all maize and blue, of course.

We have spent hours organizing the kids into flexible grouping to really identify the needs of our students and to differentiate for them to give them what they need.  We gave it our first go today, and the kids really responded.  I think it was an excellent day for student learning, which means that it was an excellent day for me too.  However, it was also as tiring as can be.  There was a great deal of work that went into it, and I was on my feet at 100% energy ALL day long (including during my plan). 

On days like this, I really count on feeding off of the energy of others to help fuel my fire.  I want to teach my seventh hour with the same level of passion and vigor that I give to my first hour of the day (and to some of my favorite classes in between... shhh... don't tell).  The few quick times I got to run behind my desk and to check my e-mail, I was rewarded with exactly what I needed.

First, I have some post-it messages that my out-of-district mentor left after a recent observation.  They start with a wow, say some lovely things, and end with a "Bravo!"  I keep them next to my computer as a constant reminder that "I'm good enough... I'm smart enough... and doggonit, people like me!"  Later in the day, I got an unexpected and amazing e-mail from one of my administrators.  Here's a pretty little chunk from it.

Thank you for the great job you have done here your first semester. I was just bragging on you this weekend. You have added a real strength and calmness to the team and to the entire 8th grade hall. Your efforts are very much appreciated and noticed by the administrators. I know it is exhausting for you sometimes, but you have a real gift, and we are so lucky that you are choosing us to share it with. Your students are so lucky to have you!

I wanted to cry.  Then we got this one from someone high in the district that I have been trying to impress all year.

Thank you so much for inviting me to see your flexible grouping today. All I can say is… WOW! It was wonderful to see the skills being worked on and differentiation occurring. I applaud you for trying something new. I can tell that you are trying so hard to reach all students at their level and to ensure their achievement. Job well done ladies!

I almost did cry.  There will be many days throughout my career when I will work my tail off, and I won't feel valued or recognized or respected.  There will be many days when I am overworked and underpaid.

There will also be days like today.

Thank you, fantastic feedback, you made my day.

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