Two main things I wound up talking about at MfA Summer Think were talking in math class and grades. One thing we talked about in regards to grades is that students (and parents) often flip out when introduced to a new grading system that is different from what they are used to, even if by the end of the semester they come around and say that they are glad it was done that way.
I thought, then, instead of just springing my grading/SBG system on them, that we could reflect on what grading systems really mean and what they should do first, to prime the transition. So I created a grading Talking Points (with help from my Twitter mentions for some statements).
At the MfA Summer Think, I went to a Teacher’s Poetry Circle. It was pretty great. Below are what I wrote during the two free-write times, slightly edited/punched up.
Why do I teach?
To learn about math
To learn about people
To learn about cultures
To learn about relationships
To rebel in small ways
To rebel in larger ways
To comprehend a system that was not designed with our best interests at heart
To spread joy
To share knowledge
To forge connections and broaden horizons
To create experiences that linger in hearts and minds
To help others reach their true potential
To help myself reach it, too
To help us all figure out how this world works
To help us all figure out where to go next
This is hard
but there are harder things.
Changing the world
Dismantling structures that oppress
But maybe that’s what this is,
just at a smaller scale?
Maybe “hard” is just a matter of scale.
Can we scale up what we do?
Maybe it is impossible –
the square-cube law restricts us all
and our attempts to scale up
under their own weight.
Sometimes a law must be broken
To do what is right.
Why not this one?
Why not push ourselves to the edge
of the possible?
Will we fail?
Will we fall?
I allow myself to fall
because only by falling can you see
the true heights and depths of where you were and where you can go
From the air, you can see everything.