“What the Hell is Benchmarking?” Thursday September 8, 2016

Three days in and I’ve already cried. I would’ve thought I’d make it at least a week. My principal, Connie, came in to observe my class today. She happened to walk in during a writing lesson where I was playing a Mad Libs that another teacher had given me about rules and procedures.

I thought it was cute. Basically students would give me actions and locations in the school and then I would read sentences and we would discuss whether the behavior was appropriate.

But it didn’t go down like that. These two boys, Ashton and Lucas, wouldn’t stop talking so I made them move to opposite sides of the carpet. Then Ashton just kept making noises. He would do, like, an inhaling whistling sound. I asked him to please keep his mouth quiet so then he did, but then he started flicking the ground with his fingers. And then Lucas started doing the whistling sound.

At that point Connie walked in and I reminded everyone to keep their mouths and hands quiet. But each time I looked down to write a sentence they would make noises and the whole class would giggle. I was nervous because Connie was watching, so I just ignored them. If she wasn’t there I probably would’ve written them up.

Anyway the rest of the lesson was terrible, the kids couldn’t take it seriously and if the sentence was funny they would scream and laugh and then stand up to act it out. And every funny suggestion was too much for them to handle.

Connie didn’t stay long and left before the end of it. I scolded my students afterward and told them we wouldn’t be doing fun things like this anymore.

Connie had sent me an email asking me to meet with her in her office after school.

The minute I got back to my classroom after the students had left for the day, I started crying. Sobbing actually.


I was overwhelmed. My students are terrible. If everyday of this year is going to be like this, I’m not going to make it.

I composed myself the best that I could and walked down to Connie’s office. She didn’t smile at me when I walked in. She just stopped what she was doing on her laptop, took off her reading glasses and started talking to me about Benchmarking. First, she asked me if I had started Benchmarking and I told her no, and that I didn’t know what Benchmarking was. She then made this annoyed sigh and said I had to have all of my students reading levels benchmarked within the next two weeks.

These are the reading levels to determine my reading groups. I did not realize that I would be having reading groups. I was doing all of my planning on, gee, a second-grade reading level. I mean, I was going to start with easy second-grade.

This is stupid. If a student isn’t reading at a second grade level, then how are they in second grade??

After that overwhelming discovery she asked me how I thought my lesson went this morning. I told her terribly and she suggested that if I’m going to ignore the bad behaviors then I should be reinforcing the positive behaviors.

Basically, I need to reward the kids who aren’t making noises. What? Again, that seems stupid. “Here’s a ticket, thanks for just sitting there and doing nothing.”

I finally asked her if I’m allowed to send students to the office and she said that it shouldn’t be happening unless it’s something very serious. She told me that I don’t want to reinforce students who want to get out of class by sending them out of class.

Except that those students who don’t want to be in class are making it very difficult for the students who do want to be in class!


2 thoughts on ““What the Hell is Benchmarking?” Thursday September 8, 2016

  1. Remember, these are growing pains. You’re learning a lot and learning it the hard way is what will make it stick.
    There will be other tough days….but you will get through them and you will gain valuable experience–and maybe a book deal….(insert sly smiley face emoticon here)

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Buy a very large bottle of wine this weekend to reward yourself for making it through your first week. You deserve it. Find someone in your school who will mentor you. That is a must. Or find an online community of teachers who will…you will make it! Promise!

    Liked by 1 person

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