I worked diligently on a project recently only to find it was rated as showing "little progress." I was dismayed at the analysis since I had put so much time into the project, but I can't say I disagreed. As far as I could tell, the rating of "little progress" was accurate for my work relative to the rubric I was scored on, yet it wasn't relevant to the time I put into the project.
Could I have progressed more?
As I think of this, I don't think I could have progressed more given the time available and the growth I needed to obtain. The first steps on the rubric were, in some ways, giant steps for me--steps that took a long time. Plus, the higher levels on the rubric, demanded efforts that I'm not ready for right now and may never be ready for given my current role at school and the kind of work I want to do with and for students.
The project response left me thinking deeply about who I am in the education field and who I want to be?
In time, I'll take a closer look at the rubric as it is a rubric I value and studied with depth. I'll think about whether the criteria that demonstrate greater progress are criteria I want to strive for, and if so I'll think about how to get there. I can understand that those that scored the projects want to set a high and respectful bar for educators to reach for.
I'm also wondering about the overall goal of the rubric too and how it fits into my daily life as an educator--does an educator in my role have the time to reach those higher levels of progress or is our role such that to do a good job where we are we have to focus on what are considered the lower levels of progress with regard to this initiative? Context plays a role too, and I'm wondering how the context in which I teach affected my progress too. Opportunities that may exist in some contexts may not exist where I am. This is an important factor since the rubric responds to a national learning community, not just one state or community.
As I develop my practice as an educator there have been as many high points as low points. When I succeed I feel that burst of forward-moving energy, and when I don't succeed, I move into a period of reflection to understand why I didn't meet with success. As suggested by many, I typically don't give up and try, try again by getting involved in a variety of initiatives.
In the end as I reflect on the "little progress" noted in response to my project, I recognize that the "little progress" resulted in significant progress for me as it led me to get involved in projects, committees, efforts, and advocacy that I would not have signed onto prior to the project. The project opened my eyes to paths available and the kind of work involved with regard to bettering many aspects of my work as an educator. Therefore I don't regret the work I put into the effort.
There's a part of me, however, that wishes I had the opportunity to get involved in this work as a younger teacher, and there's a part of me that wishes the greater education community valued the work involved in this project as that would set the stage for good growth for educators all along their career, and this would result in positive efforts in learning communities throughout the country.
"Little progress" resulted in lots of reflection, reflection that will serve to move me forward with regard to my work to teach well on my own and with colleagues in the days ahead, and I guess overall that's not a bad result. Onward.