I just finished having an hour long conversation with a very sensitive coordinator who got some negative feedback from a high school teacher about my rating of their students’ writings. I don’t know who these students are, they don’t know who I am. Everything is anonymous and usually that is good, right? The teacher gets involved when the students feel hurt about the feedback I give. For instance, I may give a student a poor rating because their writing is not up to the level it should be. I am an outside, objective person who doesn’t know what the exact assignment requirements are, however, I DO know what a good essay should look like and read like. Then, I am finding out, when I give a negative on the writing it reflects poorly on the teacher.
Therefore, I have had the support of my coordinator thus far. He knows my work and appreciates what I write for feedback. However, he had to tell me that I have to curb my comments on the students’ ideas because I might be stepping on their toes. Some of them might be feeling down already and NOT confident in their writing abilities. Others, however, might be feeling over-confident in their writing skills. I told my boss that in some cases I see that the students are being passed on through and are ill prepared to go on to college. The high school writing teachers are overburdened with much pressure to succeed. I can only empathize with the teachers who are expected to perform well in getting the high school students up to a certain standard.
In my case, I wrote feedback challenging their thinking so that they would actively think about other perspectives. I KNOW some of them are just receiving the cookie cutter way of thinking and narrow scope. Whereas, I bring out my globalized thinking when it comes to human trafficking. It is an awful topic to explore but I believe it is something that the students need to think about and not how blacks were treated unfairly in ALL cases. This creates the entitlement attitude and also perpetuates the victim mentality. I am flummoxed why this has to be discussed when what is a present day problem is swept under the rug.
Suffice it to say, I have been reprimanded in a very kind way. I have gotten feedback from a stressed out composition teacher that she believes that I have a racist agenda. She is accusing me of things that are not true and is defending her students, they are theater types and probably the touchy feely types. Anyway, I think students need to learn these days about being accountable and responsible. They are not getting that lesson if they are whining about the rater’s score which is low. I don’t know, I think I will let this slide off my back. The coordinator thought I would be wounded by this. I was not. I pity the teacher, they are going through a difficult time trying to teach these kids to write better. I’ve been there and done that!