There’s something deeply satisfying, something eternally rewarding about looking kids in the eyes and sharing moments of truth. And that is what yesterday’s select-and-support grading conferences felt like to me. Moments of truth.
We sat across from each other, desk to desk, out in the hall so we could have a “private” conversation (high school hallways are rarely private, but it’s the best I could do). I was perched purposefully where I could keep my right eye and ear on the twenty-some other souls in the classroom as they worked, but I was soon blind and deaf, transfixed by the voice and face in front of me, watching closely and listening intently as I was carried away into each kid’s moment, each kid’s truth. And as I watched and listened, I measured, looking for signs, listening for sounds of authenticity as we merged into the moment, doing our best to capture the essence of the experience we call learning. I shared in twenty-two moments of truth yesterday, each different, each profound in its own sense, in its own right. I have never felt more noble in my profession. Well, noble may not be the precise word, but it is as close as anything I can manage at this early hour.
Of course, I believe that this feeling of nobility exceeds my approach to grading. It, in the end, is simply a mechanism, a tool we use to arrive at a mark. And while that mark will carry the weight of our institution as I place it on the kids’ transcripts, it is merely the cover. It is not the story. Only two people know the true story of each mark. And that truth exists in the moments we shared yesterday, moments during which I believe my kids felt empowered, challenged, connected, supported, valued, respected, and safe. Therein, I believe, lies the story, lies the truth. And that makes me feel proud, that makes me feel noble–if I am allowed such feelings, feelings which I hope are not perceived as arrogance. You see, I, too, was measured yesterday; my “truth” was considered and weighed by each of my kids as they were no doubt anxious to discover if I was going to uphold my end of the deal, if my deeds would match my words, if my walk would match my talk. I met them where and how I said I would; I walked along the path I had been describing all along. I passed the test. And I am proud of that.
Today, I will share in more moments, hear more stories, learn more truths. I can’t wait. Lucky man, I.
Along today’s trail we will…
…start with Smiles and Frowns.
…continue grading conferences.
…have an opportunity to take an optional theme performance for the end of Night or “Catch the Moon.” Some wanted/needed another opportunity to demonstrate proficiency.
…end with a Sappy Sy Rhyme.
Happy Wednesday, all. Man, I love kids.
Do. Reflect. Do Better.