Wednesday, October 02, 2013

Nothing to save?

A new school year always brings change, and this one brought a doozie: a different online gradebook. Grading is rarely a teacher’s favorite pastime, and having a clunky method for recording those grades doesn’t make it any better.

Throughout the first six weeks on our campus, we’ve hiked the steep learning curve, relying on our beloved techies, figuring out this new system’s language and idiosyncrasies, making sure technology does not interfere with our students’ learning. Waiting for reports to render may slow us down, but we just grit our teeth and keep posting grades, communicating progress.

Still, I have one pointless yet real complaint. When entering grades, if we happen to click the “save” icon more than necessary, we see this alert:

“Nothing to save.” Boy, does that grind my gears. I understand messages that prevent us from losing data, but do we really need a notification that basically says, “Hey, dummy, you just clicked an icon unnecessarily”?

Besides, we’re TEACHERS. Of all the phrases to use around us, the least applicable would be “nothing to save.” In our line of work, there is ALWAYS somethingor someoneto save.

No matter the odds, we refuse to give up on anyone. That girl who missed seven days of school this six weeks? We’ll work with her before and after school so she can catch up. The boy who works 53 hours a week and struggles to stay awake in class? We’ll help him see our classes as his ticket out of his minimum-wage job. The chronically late-to-class kid who collects tardy referrals? We’ll convince her that sleeping in means she’s missing out. The student with the 48 average? We'll let him fail if he refuses to do the work because we prefer he face the consequences of his inactivity now rather than later when there may be no summer school, no backup plan. The students who are happy to just warm their chairs with no interest in warming up their minds? We will build rapport with them so they will trust us and take a chance to invest in their own learning.

Yes, we teachers are out to save the lot of them.

We know that education will rescue them from the ranks of overworked and unfulfilled employees. We believe that our training will convince them to show up on time and prepared to work. We understand that logical consequences will show students the value of their time and effort. We are convinced that our encouragement will push them past their current crises, from bad break-ups to getting kicked out of Mom’s house, so they’ll know how to overcome obstacles in their lives after high school.

In our world, there are no lost causes, no hopeless cases. We will not drop the rope, cannot abandon the rescue mission. We may give up on that slow-to-print gradebook report, but when it comes to our students, there is always something to save.

1 comment:

Amy Keller said...

Beautifully stated, Charis! I love your sweet spirit!