And the Oscar goes to…

oscar-the-grouchThe Movie-in-a-Minute three-day blitz of movie making was successful. The best and worst of personalities came to light: the divas, dignitaries, and documentarians did their best. There were production over-runs, technical and emotional meltdowns, but I’ll be darned – they all completed it. Every single kid. And cared about it, too, and were worried and anxious if it didn’t seem like it was going to get done!

Now, I’m scratching my head. I told them this wasn’t graded. Why did they all do it, and do a really good job, and recognize where improvement is needed with honesty and accuracy? We teachers all know about motivation and engagement, but again I ponder – what have we been doing to kids? I asked one young lad, who has been having a lot of discipline issues over the past few months, why? Was he so afraid of failing that he just wouldn’t do anything? I am not kidding – he asked me if that was a trick question. Another student had to translate it for him. He wasn’t sure. He thought teachers just had it “in for him” and that’s why over time he just stopped doing assignments.

Now, I can’t make everything un-assessed (is that a word?). That’s not realistic for life. But for those of us who not only met the rubrics and mattrices of the world, but SOUGHT them, to measure our worth and value against them (yes, fellow over-achievers, I’m looking at you), what does this mean for many of our students who not only do not seek these measurement tools, but buck and fold beneath their weight? How can I tell them that most of the time, these measurements are just bloated, full of hot air, puffed up monsters?

I was very emotional last night over some small mistakes over a recent assessment I’ve taken. I mean, I was distraught. My husband for the umpteenth time had to remind me it’s a missile I’ve fired, fireworks that have been launched, and keys in the lava…baby, it’s GONE. And then all of a sudden, enter Miss Epiphany….NONE OF THE MISTAKES I MADE HAVE ANYTHING TO DO WITH HOW I AM AS A TEACHER. Not. A. Single. One.

So–perhaps we can let our students know–none of the mistakes you make have anything to do with you, either. They’re just a way to learn. They’re your mistakes, along with your successes. Both teach us. But who we are, well – that’s for you to measure.