We’ve made it.
The week many students have been anticipating with equal parts glee and dread. Happy that it’ll soon be over; terrified that it will consume them whole before it passes.
As I grade my students unit 5 exams regarding Latin America, I can’t help but wonder what other ways I can assess my students besides the exam format. Ideally, unit 5 would’ve been a project-based assessment but time constraints and some personal stuff prevented this.
But more to the point, I realize that I am biased in what skills I value. Reading, writing, and analyzing. More than a few of my freshman students really struggle with writing in particular and not just typical convention/spelling errors. Nor is it just IEP/504/ELL students either, because honestly, I don’t have many of those in particular. Yet, having experienced the so-called “real world”, I recognize that writing skills are extremely important. Especially as the robits come for any job that doesn’t require a human touch.
A slightly smaller gripe is that the format of my tests so far takes a lot of time. Which I get, writing is hard. I love me so multiple-choice, matching, and true or false questions as much as the next teacher but those can only ask or measure so much. I use them but I’d be lying if I said that I didn’t weigh or value the writing portions of my exams more.
So what is a newbie teacher to do? I know that I can integrate more project/problem-based stuff into my classes but at the same time, it makes me worried that many, if not most, of the students, won’t learn/retain the most important information from a unit. And I’m not talking fine-detail, nuanced stuff here. I’m talking big-picture, “this is why the world is this way” type of material.
I want to have faith that most will make me feel silly for worrying.
But faith is scary.
And fear is the path to the dark side.
Fear leads to anger.
Anger leads to hate.
And hate leads to suffering.
In all seriousness, it’s a struggle. Just have to be willing to try and (probably) fail.