If You’re Reading This, It Is Already Too Late

If you’re reading this, it it already too late.  I have already begun to instill confidence in my students.  They, not I, have worked hard to develop their understanding of the 7th grade math concepts.  Even with a shaky foundation, they press forward through the productive struggle and have celebrated each milestone they have surpassed.  This cannot be contributed to superficial coverage of material to stay within some arbitrary deadlines of feeding information.  This comes from what people preach but very rarely practice, meeting the students’ needs.

No we haven’t spent weeks on the same topic and so we got behind, that’s way we implement small groups.  We’ve spent quality time building conceptual understanding, practicing the skill and applying the skill within contextual situations.  And yes, this takes time as any sustainable change does.

Many are pushing personalized learning, which is a complete joke when you say, “Everyone must be at this point in their understanding at this point in time”.  You cannot in one breath say, “Do what is best for your students”, then pigeon hold them to your time constraints.

So yes, it is too late.  My kids have already pleaded with me about not knowing what’s on your test.  I have walked around and watch students completely give up on trying because you are expecting them to show what they know about content which is currently foreign to them.  I’ve comforted a student who drew a line through his answer document as his confidence plummeted as he said to me, “I can’t pass this, I don’t know any of this.”  That’s not because he is not smart or because he is incapable of passing.  It is simply because we have not gotten to that content yet.

There has to be a better way.  We formatively assess but make it evaluative.  We push for personalize learning, but imply students must be at the same place at the same time in their learning.  We talk about student progress, but rank schools based on achievement, not growth.  And through all this students struggle to build resilience with a content it has become commonplace for people to say, “I’m not good at math or I’m not a math person”.

I almost didn’t post this.  But if you’re reading this, it is already too late.



  1. Well, I, for one, am so very glad you DID post this. I just spent the last week administering Mock Milestones tests. Minutes ago, I finally finished grading them (3 classes of math and one of ELA), when I read a blog post of one of my students. She questioned the practice of testing in the first place, detailing her frustration and anxiety. Is this what we all signed up for? I just want to teach my students…

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