Grow beyond grades.
As a teacher/activist, Julia Torres’s work is grounded in empowering students to use the Language Arts to fuel resistance and positive social transformation. Ms. Torres facilitates workshops and professional conversations about anti-racist education, social justice, and culturally sustaining pedagogies.
In my years as a math anxiety specialist, I have found two main things to be helpful: written feedback and parents and teachers who are supportive and work as a team.
For me, the purpose of feedback is about growth. Just as a coach provides feedback on improving a baseball swing or long jump form, I provide feedback on the use of historical evidence, thesis construction, and other discipline related skills.
The feedback from the students has been very positive. The most often heard comment was that video helped them better understand the mistakes they had made.
Although we tout strong education theories like “inquiry-based learning” or having a “student-centered curriculum,” the reality is that students slowly lose their agency or any sense of control over their learning as they move through the ranks.
Ask a teacher why they teach, or what they hope for their students, and they will share some powerful thoughts — “I believe all kids can succeed”, “I want students to be curious, ask questions, and enjoy learning new things”, and “As a teacher, I aim to cultivate society.”
I anticipate a day when a student submits work that is assessed against not just the standards of the subject they are in, but other subjects in their grade.