Hidden Benefits #sol18

IMG_7993Hidden Benefits #sol18

Today is the first day of benchmark assessment for the school.  While I talk a great game, the night before I’m usually worried about logistics:  class lists,  class preparedness,  timing.  Some of these things are not under my control.   Worry as my grandmother would say only borrows trouble. We have a team and I’m the coordinator.  The team is awesome and smart and capable. Most of the time,  everything is relatively smooth. We start with the upper grades.  I tell the team that I give us an easy day to start.  We smile.

Today,  I’m thinking about the big picture and then… the first student sits down next to me. I pause and notice the student who is my partner for the next two minutes.  Usually a teacher will send one of a few profiles my way:  a student she is concerned about, a student who is easily distracted,  or a student that could be both of these things and is familiar with me.    The first fourth grader turns to me and says  I had a sad weekend.  At that minute the timer freezes,  the test can wait,  the schedule will work,  all bets are off.  Do you want to tell me about it?  He did tell me about it and then,  I listened to him read.  So many things about that moment.  I’m touched that he could confide in me.  I’m glad I asked.  I am happy I remembered,  people first.

The next student wasn’t sad but he needed a minute too.  He wanted to celebrate his wrestling victory with me and explain how and why.  I believe in the assessments but I also believe in these minutes.  And other minutes as well.

When the team sits down to assess a class, we become partners,  partners with each other,  with the students, and with their teacher.  It builds our building community.  We take notes,  we share responsibility, and we care about what happens in those minutes.  Those minutes are just indicators.  They aren’t the whole picture.  Sometimes those minutes confirm what a teacher is thinking.  Sometimes those minutes give us pause.  Sometimes those minutes are a celebration.  Occasionally,  those minutes are a question mark.

In the life of a school community,  there are a lot of precious minutes:  Our smiles in the hall,  the greeting of the humans we pass,  the assistance we give each other.  The only precursor is that we have to notice…  Notice when someone needs a extra moment, notice who we are when we are present,  notice who they are when we are present too.

So today,  I remembered how much more those assessment minutes can be.

5 thoughts on “Hidden Benefits #sol18

  1. Ahh – such music to my ears! Sometimes, we can get so caught up in the moment, or the time crunch, that we miss the ones that are most important – staring us right in the face! Kids first, tests later! What a difference you made in the lives of the students who needed their voices heard. I bet they were able to concentrate on completing their tasks since you let them get needling thoughts out in the open. Plus, by continuing to strengthen your rapport, you probably motivated them to do some of their best work! Deep breaths – you did good!

  2. Love so much about this piece – the information we glean when we look into their eyes and listen to them is priceless. Thank you for the reminder — the reader behind the number is what matters most every time. Love this line: Notice when someone needs a extra moment, notice who we are when we are present, notice who they are when we are present too.
    Clare

  3. Incredible moments in a school day, punctuated by the importance of the relationship between educators and students.

    Assessments are important, as theyprovide insights as to what has been learned and still needs to be learned,

    AND these moments of interaction afford us an opportunity to learn from the other to provide us insights into the learners.

    Thank you fur capturing the “humanism” of schools.

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