Educators live for the “Eureka!” moment, the lightbulb moment, the “I get it!” moment, the “This is easy!” moment. It keeps my heart in the work. And when you can quantify that moment, and even correlate teacher actions with student results (there’s some education lingo), then you win. Or whatever. A sage feminine product once inspired me- “Feel like you just won.” Well, I feel like I just won a small victory.
Teach for America’s mission is to close the achievement gap. Some quick facts: “For example, special analyses by the National Center for Education Statistics in 2009 and 2011 showed that black and Hispanic students trailed their white peers by an average of more than 20 test-score points on the NAEP math and reading assessments at 4th and 8th grades, a difference of about two grade levels.” (Education Week, 7/11, http://www.edweek.org/ew/issues/achievement-gap/). Two years behind- that leaves minority at a 6th grade level when entering high school, and about a freshman level when applying for college. Average reading growth in minority populations is .75 years of growth per year.
My 6th – 8th grade students started this year at an average of a 1st grade level in reading. I recently pushed up my glasses, opened some spreadsheets, put in my pocket protector, and crunched some numbers.
Are you ready?
My students made an average of 1.65 years of growth in reading, math, and science. Eight of my 9 students grew by 2 years or more in one or more subject.
And this is how I feel.