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And a Child Shall Lead Them: Project 180 Guest Post


Month two is over in our journey. The speed at which time has gone is unreal. After I had made the jump into the journey last month, October has seemed to feel a lot less overwhelming. The students are still asking plenty of questions about their work in class, but the grading seems to be coming more clear to them.

During the last Learning Log day, our principal and superintendent were doing walk-throughs in the high school and decided to join in on my class at the beginning of second period. Since I am naturally a nervous person about being observed as a new teacher, I was extra nervous when they walked in. At the beginning we did our Smiles and Frowns as we normally do and then I proceeded to hand out the Learning Logs. I explained the changes that Syrie, Ms. T, and I had worked so hard at for their new and improved Learning Log.

The kids started working and I started walking around to help the kids who needed it. I could see our visitors out of the corner of my eye also walking around, asking the kids questions about their work. Their second stop was with Kinsey. I was helping with another student in the same group as Kinsey and paused to listen as they asked her what she was putting on her Learning Log.  Kinsey looked up and asked them “Well, do you know about the LA 10 grading policies?”

Our visitors answered her back that they were aware of them, but they didn’t know a great deal about them. Kinsey then took the initiative to not only tell them all about the grading policies, but show them her growth in the class by letting them look at how many times she has retaken performances to reach proficiency. They left the class and Kinsey completed her assignment.

I sighed with relief. Not because the principal and superintendent were gone, or that Kinsey made me look “good”, but because she understood. I’ve watched Kinsey over the past couple of months grow as a learner, and to hear her articulate her learning to others made the hard work that we have put in worth it. I hope that by the end of our year long journey many other students will be able to do the same thing.

Maddie Alderete is an English teacher at Cheney High School and monthly contributor to Project 180. You can follow her on Twitter @MaddieAlderete

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