so many different ways to fail

I suppose I could have titled this post everyone has different strengths (and weaknesses), or maybe nobody can do it all (but we should die trying).

But right now I just feel like a failure.  I went through our portfolios to see how the kids are doing with colors, shapes, recognizing numbers, counting to ten with one-to-one correspondence, counting to 30 (or higher), and understanding concepts like up/down, same/different, over/under, and first/last.

Sure, plenty of kids were doing fine.  But a surprisingly large number still do not know all four basic shapes (circle, square, triangle, rectangle), cannot name all the numbers 0-10, or count to 30 (which is our district’s expectation).  The child with the sort of spectrum-like behavior still does not know the number thirteen, so when counting, I have to say this kid can only count to twelve accurately (you mark the number before their first mistake as the number they can count to).  In the fall it was twelve, and in the winter it was twelve, and now in the spring — still twelve!

Pumpkin can count to ten (yay!) and knows all his colors, but he still doesn’t know the shapes or numbers.  Apple can’t do anything — no shapes, numbers, colors, concepts, patterning, anything.  Of course, I am going to refer her to the evaluation team to see if she’s special ed (ya think?!).

We have another assessment coming up for vocabulary, rhyming, and alliteration, and I shudder to think how they will do on those.  So now I feel like the rest of the year is going to be a scramble to catch up.  Yes, we can write stories and sound out words.  Several of my kids can read and write independently.  But for so many to be lost on the basic skills makes me feel frustrated and sad.  And like a failure.

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6 thoughts on “so many different ways to fail

  1. wow…in reading this post i felt like you were in my brain…this is just about the same situation i’m in…and i too have the feelings of frustration, sadness, and all together…failure. *sigh So I’ve decided…maybe it’s something in the water that makes this particular class year “different”! 😛 It’s not us…it’s them. Ha! Just kidding…

  2. I’m right there with you. This time of year just leaves me in knots. My first graders are struggling with basic high frequency words they knew in kindergarten, my kindergartners are having trouble with isolating the beginning sounds in words and don’t seem to have ever heard a rhyming word in their life, my 3rd graders still cannot identify what an opposite is… and we’ve all worked SO HARD.
    *sigh* I appreciate the first comment about looking at how far they’ve come. It’s hard to keep in mind, especially with end of the year assessments, but we’ve got to keep reminding ourselves of that growth even if it’s not reflected on end-of-year assessments.
    We should start a “we feel like failures and that’s what makes us good teachers” support group.

  3. This is the worst feeling… and unfortunately I don’t have any other words of comfort other than, “me too.”

  4. I had a similar moment yesterday. I teach 4th grade and we are in a fractions unit. I might as well be teaching a foreign language. I was so frustrated, it was like all of a sudden my students couldn’t add, subtract, multiply, or divide and since I’m the teacher it must be my fault. After having my breakdown during planning time, I ate some chocolate and really thought about what might be happening. It is almost June, my students want to be outside and not working. I want to be outside and not working. Moral of the story we just had a bad day, it happens. Today was a different story. We worked on a Solar System mobile and it was wonderful. Everyone pitched in and helped one another, cooperative learning at its best, It was a great day. Don’t give up, it takes more energy to care than to simply give up.

  5. Thanks, all. I think the reminder that this is a tough time of year to concentrate on school is quite helpful. My kids have the added stress of no recess for the last week because of all our rain. And Ms. M — never fear, there is no chance I will give up! :o)

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