End of the nine weeks

With the end of the nine weeks coming up, I expected to have students come up to me and ask what can they do to raise their grade. The old me would have been excited, hey they want to raise their grade, that’s awesome. The new me now asks, are you doing this so your grade is higher or so that you actually learn the material/process? That question catches many of my students off guard. I believe many still just want to have that grade, want to have that A. In my class, I keep stressing to them three things:

1) Believe in yourself – quit selling yourself short, push yourself, be greedy with your education, ask more questions than you receive answers for and you will do well.

2) Worry about learning the material and the grade will take care of itself.

3) With the new NGSS Practices, let’s focus on the process of learning and the application of that information instead of flat out memorizing facts.

It is a struggle for sure. Many of my students still just want the A to say they have an A. A few are slowly starting to ask more questions. I have had a couple come up and ask, “Mr Goff, can we redo this assignment? We don’t like what we turned in and think we can do better.” I know this is going to be tough sledding, but I think this is the right thing to do. To try and stress to them that they can do, that they should push themselves, that they are capable of great things. To this point, I sporadically show them TED talks of teenagers who have done great things such as Jack Andraka and all I say to them afterward is “Why not you?”

Teaching

I love what I do and I am trying to get better. I want what is best for my students and hope that I help them forward, not hold them back. It was truly an honor to have been selected as one of 24 Ashland Award Winners for teaching. Even though I did not make it to the semi-final round for Teacher of the Year, I am still proud to have made it that far. I feel I can do more than I have, that I have more to offer to my students. It is that drive that is pushing me to reach out through twitter and other means to see what other expert teachers are doing to help me improve. It is through these conversations that I am learning so much about the Next Generation Science Standards. Even though I have had the chance to leave the profession, I am glad that I have not left. This may be the most difficult job I have ever done, but I can’t think of doing anything else.

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