But are they learning?

I had a conversation with a co-worker the other day that has really stuck with me. We were talking about the variety of students that we have at our school. From the outside looking in, it would appear that a majority of our kids would be very ‘thug’ and not interested in school due to their background.  That use to be the culture of my school, but that changed several years ago with our current administration.  They are kids and kids make mistakes but they are great kids.  I wouldn’t trade them for anything else in the world.

Back to the conversation I was having….I was talking about how that I feel my kids are awesome and well behaved in class this year so far. Her response….not that it was a dig toward me was this…”but are they learning?” I do think our kids are learning at our school but we need to continue pushing them. Now that our school culture has changed to a happier and better place, that also needs to translate to improved learning. It definitely has, test scores have risen, but we have a ways to go still. She didn’t mean anything bad towards me but meant as a school in general our focus needs to improve student mentality on acdemics.  But it made me think about those super good kids in my class that don’t interrupt and do what they are suppose to do day in and out that I don’t have to check on as much because they do what they are suppose to do.  “But are they learning?” popped in my head. I don’t need to assume that they are learning just because they are shaking their head up and down and saying they get it.  How do I know they get it and are learning?  That right there proved the importance of formative assessments through out my teaching to make sure they get it.

It doesn’t matter how good your kids are if they aren’t learning.