While the school system invests in testing students to make sure they are on target, they also invest in teachers to make them as professional and prepared as they can be. The result though is one way. The teacher is evaluating the pupils.
The pupils don’t get much chance to return the favor. The teacher never sits a formal exam run by the students. It usually happens by other indirect means, such as a campaigh of non-cooperation, or an informal protest usually labelled by teachers as disruptive behavior, or refusing to stay on task.
When that happens, the tables are turned and it now becomes the teacher who has to grapple with their sense of self and their belief in their skills as a teacher. They are perhaps tempted to score themselves as failures. And a disruptive class leaves a discouraged teacher that in turn, makes them dread the teaching and feeds more disruption. How can anyone learn anything if all the time they feel their identity or their value is under siege?
The upshot is that the students need confident teachers as much as the teachers need confident students.
Whether the interacation is formalized or not, the classroom is always a mutually constructed reality. The best teacher brings out the best in the class and the best class brings out the best in the teacher.
But when you look at a school day, you might find that hard to believe.
What do we do in a normal school day to grow the confidence of the teacher- and to give feedback to them for their art, their talent, their persistence and their patience? Is it as much a desert out there for the instructor as it is for the students?
The teacher teaches so you can pass the test and the student learns so they can pass the test, and the whole enterprise of learning becomes “passing the test.” No one can escape the god of test results. If they tested the inner resources that students bring to the challenge of learning, we might learn something valuable to both sides. But if all we learn is that Johnny is poor in math, that his performance is not up to par, then all we do to poor Johnny is teach to better performance. He tries harder and often fails worse.
We hardly have time to get curious that Johnny is failing because he sees himself that way. Maths is always too hard for him because that is what he believes. And every test, he gets more and more confirmation of that bias. And the teacher, after laboring weeks after weeks, is discouraged to keep on trying, and no longer exudes their own confidence that everyone can learn and that everyone is teachable. The system is self-reenforcing.
If we do not consider the confidence level of the student relevant to the enterprise of learning, then is it any wonder we do not consider the confidence level of the teacher? We believe that MYSCORE starts a different conversation between the teacher and the student, less around performance and more around perception.
It also reconnects impact with intention. But that is another essay.
And one example of that from way back is the Barnabus Project- Stay tuned.