One way is to interrupt the predictability of student achievement.
This inequity is strong: Students who do well tend to do well. Students who struggle tend to struggle. Over time, the achievement gap becomes wide and menacing.
This predictability gets me to question why I’m a teacher. If my contribution leads to no change — if my students perform the same as they would with anyone else — then I’m just promoting the inequitable status quo. It’d be better if someone else were in my classroom.
After all, my success this year is not just how many students pass the AP test. It’s also how many pass who wouldn’t have passed without me as a teacher.
So far this year, I’ve seen some signs that give me hope. Students with average reading and writing skills are working extremely hard, not giving up, and seeing their skills improve markedly and quickly.
Still, there is disturbing data. Here’s the story of one student. She…
- didn’t complete the summer assignment,
- didn’t turn in the first essay,
- didn’t have access to a computer until last week,
- is very hard to reach via phone or text,
- was the only student not to complete the unit project.