You Are Not a Number

Creative Commons License photo credit: elizaIO

Everything that can be counted does not necessarily count; everything that counts cannot necessarily be counted. ~ Albert Einstein

This quote was shared today by Shelley Terrell through the 30 Goals Challenge. I admit, I hadn’t heard it before, and it really resonates with me.  Today’s #30goals Challenge is to “Re-evaluate Value”.

Short-term goal: Have our students think about how they are valued. Take one assignment not graded.

Long-term goal: Think about the way you grade everything, assessments. Share ideas on how to ensure students feel valued when they leave your class.

I have been thinking of this in terms of “Value Added” since students don’t receive grades for their Computer Lab time. I am profoundly thankful for that aspect of my non-licensed position because I do not believe in assessing technology skills in that manner. How can I add value to the limited time I have with students? Especially when 40% percent of the time students spend with me is taking various computerized assessments.  I have no control over that, and hear little about the results.

What does one do in that situation? Well, here are some ideas:

  1. Tell them, “You are not a number.”  The test my students are taking for the next two weeks actually puts the students score up when they click the “Turn It In” button. Yep, they see how many they got correct…. and are old enough to know what that means. My overachievers bonk their heads against the monitor because they miss one.  My low kids… well, they are the ones I worry about the most.  When they see “Number Correct: 8”, no one follows up with them about this score for *months*.  Yet, they know.  And take that into their little selves.  You. Are. Not. A. Number.
  2. Let them be comfortable.  I will show them they have value as people by giving them choice in where to relax and chill when they are recovering from seeing that number.

Not a very long list, is it?  I’m feeling very powerless. The greatest gift I can give them in this situation is to be an adult who truly does value them- their thoughts, ideas, dreams, and fears…. all in 30 minutes, twice a week for 430 students.

What are some practical ways to help students not take on that ‘number’ as part of their persona? Can you add to my meager list?

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