Today was meh. Actually, it was more than meh. It was a megalithic shitstorm. And yet I kept my temper.
We’re now 4 weeks past the final final coursework deadline. So far I’ve marked & moderated all the GCSE controlled assessments (again), all of the AS structured tasks, and most of the A2 projects… apart from the few that aren’t finished. 4 weeks past the extended final deadline.
If they worked for me, they’d be fired. As it is, one particular student waltzes in today & demands that I mark his 4 week late project tonight so he can make improvements. As it is, I did mark it. Then sat there horrified that the month long extension produced no additional code than that copied from my tutorials. So here I am between the rock of a kid who has barely worked for the past 12 months (seriously, we started this in June 2015) who deserves the grade he gets and the hard place of being judged on the value added that he brings to my class results which utterly wipes out the amazing hard work that the other kids have put in with some achieving incredible results. And here is the teacher conundrum; do you go with the moral high ground of allowing them to learn the greater life lesson of results actually require hard work, or do I go with the gnawing fear of our results being pulled down by the kid failing & give him yet another chance?
The day that gnawing feeling leads me to over help (delicate way of saying do it for them), is the day I leave teaching. But I hate that I have to put my morals and the important lesson of allowing someone to fail aside because ultimately, I know that my pay grade is weighted against my classes performance. By performance, I mean how many grades above their predicted results at the start of the course are they by the time they leave.
Today, I have watched my daughter stay up til past 9 trying practice papers for an exam for 11 year olds that ultimately benefits the school but not her, have been made to feel unsupportive because after a year of trying to extract work I took longer than 4 days to turn around some marking, worried more about departmental stays than a human being, and my bones hurt. I dragged myself out of bed this morning despite lightening shooting through my back & legs, but I’m not wholly sure why now. We visited Squeezy my SIL for her birthday this evening & trying to enjoy the company, I could barely sit in my chair because of the pain in my pelvis despite all the opiates. As I sat squirming, I could feel myself reaching blackout levels on the pain scale as my bones turned to lava & all feeling left my feet. As Mr Geek lifted me back into the chair when we got home, I couldn’t hold myself up anymore. Welcome to not pacing.
I’ve lost some of my fight today. This isn’t a closed mindset – I genuinely believe that they could reach the stars with enough hard work. But I won’t do the work for them. My challenge now is how to instil that growth mindset into those final few kids who year on year don’t heed the advice of start early & do little & often. I fear this isn’t an easily won battle.