I know,  I've been often very critical to my students here at FLY HIGH! Who can forget my disappointment while in Dublin or Malta on school trips! There are posts here and there about school and about my constant sense of frustration or disillusionment, if you click on the tag school. To be honest, there are also rare ones in which I write about successful moments, lessons or activities, but as I just said, they are pretty rare. 

What I want to discuss today is a part of my job I still feel quite uncomfortable with. To be a teacher includes a very stressful task,  which is to  assess  and evaluate, and that is what makes everything so complicated in terms of relationship. If only I could give my lessons and avoid tests, marks, reports and final decisions that would make my job perfect. Education without evaluation. This must sound irrational or utopian to many of you,  but that would make everything much, much easier, you know. Will the students learn, anyway? I'm sure they will,  somehow.

I'm writing about school, my relationship with students,  assessment and evaluation today - though I'm on holiday -  because I  read an article which caught my attention and made me want to post and share.
It's from The Guardian  and it is about a headteacher's note to her students facing exams,  which went viral on twitter and other social media.
What is it about? It's a tender message which tried to encourage young students, saying that exams and tests are important but not the only way to demonstrate how worthy they are. 
"The people who create these tests and score them do not know each of you – the way your teachers do, the way I hope to, and certainly not the way your families do. They do not know that many of you speak two languages. They do not know that you can play a musical instrument or that you can dance or paint a picture. They do not know that your friends count on you to be there for them or that your laughter can brighten the dreariest day."
How lovely is that? If you want to read the complete message, just click HERE. I find it precious, an example of how assessment and evaluation, tests and exams are hardly ever gratifying,  nor the best way to get good feedback on our work and the process of teaching/learning. 

How do I think a teacher can get information about the state of that process? Well, good teachers, like mothers,  just know. But again, that may sound utopian, if not naive. Definitely, not objective nor scientific. 

My favourite form of feedback? When my ex students come round to say hello and they still remember things we read together, or say they finally read books I had proposed during my lessons and that they have liked them, or that they went on studying English and now understand how important that is, that English helped them in their university career,  or that they still remember songs or poems we learnt in our lessons, or simply that they felt like coming and saying hello or thank you, or even when they come to tell you they are going to get married and settle down. 

They may  not have been the best of my students, they may not have seemed to appreciate what we did at the time, they may even have been rebellious or totally disinterested ... but when  they come back or write to  me after years, that's the best form of  feedback I can get. That's what makes a teacher very happy. 

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