Today, students took a big science test over cells and classification. I know this unit was difficult for them because it included a lot of new concepts and vocabulary, but as I graded the tests for two classes, I was lamenting their scores.
This lead to a conversation with the classroom teacher about the idea that you can lead a horse to water, but you can't make them drink.
And the more we talked, the more I felt her frustration with the new teacher evaluation system, which starts next year. At this point, student scores will be a direct reflection of teacher success.
I know this post isn't bringing to light anything new, but I really want someone to give me a good reason as to why this is the solution to our education crisis in America.
Since I started working in education, I've been taught to be a facilitator of learning. Therefore, it is my job to provide the tools necessary and the encouragement needed for students to become lifelong learners.
This is great, in theory, but what are teachers supposed to do when students lack the initiative to take any ownership of their learning? We spent 3 DAYS making Cell City, which is supposed to be a metaphor for how each organelle operates within a cell. The day the submitted this project, they took a quick pop quiz to check their understanding of the functions of each organelle.
We had a good number of students who performed better on the PRETEST than this pop quiz.
We gave them notes. We reviewed the notes. We offered an extension activity for them to further grasp this information.
What else are we supposed to do?
I genuinely wish I had the answer.
I can't follow them all home to make sure they study. I can't even make them do their homework! You can't force someone to care about something they deem unimportant.
I think some of our students believe they can learn through osmosis. Like the information is just going to seep into their brains by being in the classroom... even when they're not paying attention.
This is the reality of education. Every teacher knows this.
So why don't our policymakers?