I’m bad at feedback

“Well, David, I’ll be honest with you – I do want the credit without any of the blame.” – Michael Scott

Oh man, is that not how so many people wish things worked?  I know my students want that.  Today was report card day, so I had a lot of angry students.  They want to know why I gave them the grade they got.  No matter how many times we tell them they earn grades, they still think it’s my fault their grade isn’t what they want it to be.

My favorite are the ones who technically did all the classwork, but still failed the tests and quizzes and then are mad they don’t have an A.  I’m sorry, showing up and doing the work is enough to pass my class – if you want an A, you have to be doing EXCELLENT work.  We are teaching our children that the world is a place where it’s enough to just show up.  I don’t know about you, but I don’t want a doctor who just shows up.  I don’t want a firefighter or policeman who just shows up.  I mean, honestly, I don’t even really want a cable guy who just shows up.

But that’s what we do in school these days.  We reward showing up.  And we’ve been doing it for years, so I can understand why some of my students are frustrated.  I have one student who had all As in all of his classes, but had a 76 in mine.  He assumed that there had been a mistake, as did my inclusion teacher.  I double checked, but he had a 53 test average and a 65 quiz average, so even though he did all his classwork, his grade was correct.  I feel bad, but I already curved the test and one of the quizzes, so I’m not going to give him points just because he’s a nice kid.

Of course when I make that decision, I then get to deal with a lot of angry students who then act up in class (not that specific one, but many others).

In other news, I met with the executive director of TFA Memphis this afternoon and I discovered yet again that I am awful at giving feedback.  I can never think of things I don’t like or if I can, I only remember an hour after meeting with the person.  Thankfully that’s not a big deal with Brad (the executive director) because TFA is constantly asking for feedback  :)

Anyway, the conversation was one of the things I love about TFA.  Some people probably think Brad does it because he has to, or that there’s some other motive behind it, but I disagree.  Maybe I’m just gullible, but I really think he cares about us as people and as teachers and I know he cares about the work we are doing.  It was good to hear yet again that the stuff I’m struggling with day-to-day is totally normal and that teachers who had the same difficulties went on to make great gains with their students.

*side note – I’m watching The Office while I’m typing this and I just realized that Brad totally reminds of David, Michael’s boss.  Hopefully no one working for TFA is the equivalent of Michael…

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  • A collection of ramblings and musings on Jesus, life, education, family, and anything else that pops into my head.

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