Last week others found out what I have known for a while. I am not a good biology teacher.
I am passionate about science, helping students, and technology in class. I am not good at delivering biology content and helping students retain the information. This is why I have turned down teaching AP biology several times. Been trying to improve but progress need to speed up.
How do I know I am not a good biology teacher? Student’s standardized test scores.
Now if I know my PLN they will come to my aid and say, “stupid tests, they don’t really check understanding and learning.” To some degree this sentiment is accurate. However, if I truly help student learn biology, state tests would not be an issue. Students can pass tests without really knowing the content, but if a student knows the content, they will pass the test.
So as a result of my low biology test scores over the last couple years I will not be teaching biology next year. I will be teaching classes that do not have state tests. This will give me a chance to improve my teaching. Improvement is always the goal but now there is a fire under me.
Two years ago I was voted “Teacher of the Year” at my school. Although I was honored I was also a little dismayed. The friends at my school who voted for me have never seen me teach. So what were they voting for? My passion for teaching and science, my care for the students, the way I share tech tools/ideas with the faculty…. These qualities are great to have and I’m still honored to have been selected but what about student learning.
The assistant principal called last week to notify me of the change. To say the least I was heartbroken. She knew I had been working all summer to improve and she recommended a book I should read to help in my quest to become a better teacher (which I bought later that day and started reading). The book focuses on authentic literacy in all classes (if you want the name of the book, contact me).Truth is, I have been working hard this summer to switch to standards based grading (mastery level completion).
Last year I had 10-11 major side projects going in addition to teaching. I have reduced the side projects to 5 and have turned down offers to start other projects. The projects are not an excuse for bad teaching. If I cannot help the students learn the content in addition to growing as individuals I have not fully served my purpose.
I love learning, I love teaching, I love sharing, but most of all I love the students. They are why we do this.
Humble Pie, yes. Hold a grudge against admin because of the change, NO. They gave me a wake up call to make the necessary improvements! It is my fault for not being the teacher I need to be. If I take care of the students they way I should, the test scores will take care of themselves.