Take your Time

"It does not matter how slowly you go as long as you do not stop" - Confucius

I came across this quotation today and felt it fits so appropriately to my current journey in teaching.  For one, isn't this an encouraging thought for "struggling" students?  If we want them to truly master the content and skills then it is our duty to provide them with a fair opportunity to do so. A fair opportunity might mean additional time for assignments or on tests.

 I have a student who is the hardest working individual that I know.  I'm not exaggerating.  She tutors every day after school, of her own choice.  She positions herself in the front row and never lets a misunderstanding slip by.  She's the first to stop me, "Wait a minute Dr. Markham, I don't get it".  She carefully works through all the material and clearly requires more time than others to get to mastery.  But she will not give up because the rest of the class is finished or because everyone else appears to "get it".  She plods along.  She asks about missed questions on exams to truly understand.  I truly admire her effort and willpower.  Additionally, often she needs and extra day to complete a project or just an extra 10 or 15 minutes on an exam so I always give it to her.  After all,  a true assessment of mastery of content should be independent of the time required to demonstrate mastery, right?  These aren't state or national timed exams.  As a result, I always feel confidant that her assessments are legitimate and honestly show what she knows.

In regard to fully implementing standard based assessment and recording into my classroom (and our school?!?!) will, by nature, need to be a slow process.  Thus, we should not be discouraged with the speed of the journey but should carry on with our goals in sight.