After all the hard work, the enthusiasm, the reflecting, the HOURS and HOURS spent researching, networking, sharing, thinking – my year has been summarized by an overall passing rate on the Algebra 2 Regents exam that is lower than my colleagues. And after a year of my best work as an educator, not only did I find this out in a rather unpleasant manner (via text message while away at Exeter), but it seems as if the support and encouragement given to me by my supervisor has vanished because of this number. (It is thus highly ironic that I was awarded an extremely high number under the new teacher evaluation system prior to this.)
This was my first year teaching this course, and I am not happy with my numbers. But I am also looking at this situation objectively and recognizing that this is what it feels like to be defined wholly by a number. I shudder to think what teachers whose test scores were published in newspapers went through.
I had a great deal of difficulty writing my glowing post about Exeter earlier today because this issue was lurking just below the surface. I put it aside while I was away, but am now confronting what it may mean for me next year programmatically and as part of the school community. I have been filled with anxiety about a ‘loss in stature’ within my department, without seeing the larger issue – that my quest for excellence and engagement for my students and myself only matters if standardized test scores are high enough. And that is an ugly truth.
I’ve survived far worse in my life than this, and refuse to allow my cherished summer to be ruined. But the black storm clouds this evening definitely mirrored my mood. Thankfully, the thunderstorm brought cooling rain and a lovely breeze. We’ll sleep well tonight.