I'm sure you know the challenge of meeting the needs of all your struggling learners. That’s why you’re here on this blog, am I right? It can be especially frustrating when you've worked so hard and have seen students progress, but the data doesn't reflect it. It is easy to see why teacher burn out is at an all-time high.
You want to know exactly how to help your students and show your administrators that your students are learning. However, this isn't always shown on state tests or district benchmarks.
Teaching in a testing grade is frustrating.
I’m sure you’ve seen the stats but in case you haven’t, here’s the breakdown:
70% of educators feel that state tests aren't developmentally appropriate (NEA, 2015)..and when you focus on just elementary teachers the percentage jumps to 77%. That's a HUGE chunk.
So yeah, helping students master grade-level standards is hard but getting them to pass the tests is even harder, especially when you've got pressure from your district or administration.
There are times the progress will be slow, and you'll feel like they might never get there.
You’ll want to scream in your data meeting when you're asked to come up with yet another action plan to help kids pass the test.
You’ll want to throw your hands up and walk out of the room when your student went from being a non-reader to a reader…but the only discussion is about how they bombed the benchmark assessment.
Let's be honest. There are just times it’s gonna suck because your data doesn't reflect the work you're doing. So how do you keep focused on the positive?
Find your WHY for teaching to prevent burn out
It’s all about keeping your focus on WHY you're teaching in the first place.
Everyone has their own reasons:
Maybe you loved school as a kid and want to pass that love of learning on
Or you hated school and want to change that for the next generation of kids
Maybe you always knew you were going to teach…or maybe you made a career change several years in.
Whatever your reasons, they have to be good and you HAVE to keep them in mind because no one became a teacher to help kids pass a standardized test.
So here’s the big question: What’s your WHY for teaching? What do you really want for your struggling learners and your whole class? What impact do you want to make on the world?
We often think that just wanting the thing we want is good enough but if we are doing it for the wrong reasons or if those reasons aren’t motivating enough, it’s hard to keep the faith.
Here’s a quick activity for you. Find a post-it note or a sheet of paper and write down this phrase:
I want to support my struggling learners because _____.
Once you've written down your WHY, put it somewhere safe.
Look back at it whenever you are feeling like you are totally overwhelmed by all the things you're being asked to do.
Find support to prevent burn out
Of course, there are lots of ways you can help prevent burn out. You can check out a whole list of burn out prevention strategies here. The most important part is balance. The balance that lets you support your students without sacrificing your life.
Finding the right supports and materials is a HUGE contributing factor to successfully meeting your students' needs.
I'd love to partner with you and share ideas and resources as you work through all the obstacles thrown your way. If you want to stay in touch and get helpful ideas for supporting your students, just sign up here.