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Might As Well Jump: Project 180 Guest Post

Am I doing the right thing for my students?

Can I even do this?

This was happening.

There was nothing else to do but jump in.


One month in and I can’t believe October is already here. This month has flown by faster than I thought it would. Getting to know the sophomores has been just the experience that I needed to blow away the worries I had about our new grading policies. This sophomore class completely surprised me. They are hardworking but at the same time, so much fun.

As the day came when we were finally talking about the grading policies in class, nerves overwhelmed me. Am I doing the right thing for my students? Can I even do this? Well, there was no turning back as first period filed into the room and sat in their seats. I had nothing else on the agenda and nowhere to run. This was happening. The bell rang and all eyes ended up on me and Tamura since we team teach first period. There was nothing else to do but jump in.

We went through our grading policies the same way that we rolled them out to the administrators in our building. As I looked around the room, the reactions that the kids were showing on their faces were looks of excitement, looks of worry, and looks of a lot of faces filled with confusion.

This is when I started to feel like this group was exactly the group that was meant to start off our new LA 10 grading policies. Hands immediately shot up when the explanation was done. The kids had many questions now that they knew what the grading policies would be in our class. Some were easy to answer, and others were not so easy. But, the kids kept asking. They wanted to know more. The answers that were given sometimes made the kids feel immediately uncomfortable.

This brought me back to the reason that I decided to jump on board with this new approach. I was giving the kids the same feeling I had had when I was grading their assignments. They were as uncomfortable and as uncertain as I had been feeling the year prior. The difference now is that we will get to lean on each other to come to an agreement at the end of the semester. So, as the days have passed, the kids have kept on asking questions, questions that I welcome every day because it forces me to reflect on whether or not each and every thing I do in the classroom is for the kids and their learning. It forces me to take a huge leap outside of my comfort zone. I hope to continue to gain their trust and be able to put their minds at ease as we continue on our way. They are the center of this journey; they are why I’m embarking on this journey.

Project 180 Contributor, Maddie Alderete. Maddie is an ELA teacher at Cheney High School. You can follow her @MaddieAlderete on Twitter.

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