I've resolved to try not to post too much here about teaching. The truth is - I could have a blog just full of teacher anecdotes, but I'm trying to find some life-work balance here. However, while reflecting upon the day, the moment that stands out to me the most occurred during one of my 3rd grade classes. The students had to take a progress monitoring reading comprehension test. I won't get into this, but proctoring progress monitoring reading comprehension tests is certainly NOT why I became a teacher. But that is a discussion for another time. Anyways, one student rushed through his test and finished in about 5 minutes. That's pretty typical of this student. We looked at his score, and it was 8/20 - 40%. I told him that I didn't think that test matched his reading skills, and asked him if he wanted to take another one. Usually, when this kid rushes through things, and I patiently try to explain to him why it's best to slow down and think through the answers, he doesn't give me the time of day. He just wants to be done. Today, though, he stopped moving around in his seat, looked me straight in the eyes, and asked, "Am I a good kid, or a bad kid?"
I couldn't believe it. This kid was equating rushing through a test to being a "bad kid". Of course I reassured him that he was a GREAT kid, regardless of how he did on the test. But the question completely floored me. I'm used to teaching 8th graders, who consistently remind their teachers just how little they care about what the teacher thinks of them. When kids are in 3rd grade, they are a bit more transparent. All they want to do is to please their teacher, and they desperately want to be labeled a "good kid". As teachers, we are supposed to keep labels off of our students. Wouldn't it be nice if kids didn't even know what it meant to be a "good kid" or a "bad kid"?