Students learn and succeed in different subject areas and parts of school in various and unique ways. Creativity can be lost along the way when taking tests that are designed to examine student's achievement on content based knowledge. Also, high stress situations can cause some students to question and rethink answers that they normally would have answered correctly. Page 374 of our texts states, "A single assessment cannot tell us whether a student can write or whether a teacher can teach". In the library, I try to use a variety of assessments and work choices to best accommodate all learning styles. This is challenging for educators when it comes to the standardized tests that students are required to take every year. It is frustrating for both the teachers and the students. I like the Roald Dahl example that shows how one student can be judged by one teacher and deemed "an illiterate member of the class" and continue on to be an extremely successful author.
Believing that all students can write is another key to teaching writing successfully. All students are able to write, if given the proper options, connections, choices, guidance, and sometimes assistance to succeed. A little encouragement goes a long way, just like one unkind comment can last a life time. Our book also stresses the importance of creating a safe writing atmosphere. I always try to create a safe encouraging environment for my students so that they think of the library as a fun safe place to learn.
What I think this chapter really comes down to is believing in your students and believing in yourself as a teacher. We are all on the same team to succeed. Connect with your students to get to know their strengths and weaknesses as writers and as human beings. We all became teachers to help our students succeed and provide them with the best education possible. Don't forget why you became a teacher and get caught up in testing and grading your students. They may not remember getting an A on their spelling test, but they will remember the activities and comments you left on their papers that spoke to them and created lasting memories.
It was great meeting everyone!