Last year, my students got to fix everything they handed in. Stupid mistakes became teaching moments, sloppy work was enhanced, and gaps of knowledge were filled in. It was certainly more work for me, but what it taught the kids was invaluable; perseverance, dedication, and not being afraid to try something. More learning occurred in my room last year than ever before. And this year is no different, my students give me their best and then we figure out how to learn even more. By giving them second chances, they are proving to me how much they really know, outside of the anxiety, the pressure, and the rigidity that can occur. So why not try it? Give your students back that test and tell them to fix it, give them back their work and tell them to enhance it. Give them another chance to learn.
We have all had the phone call, “Tommy studied so hard but didn’t do very well on the test, is there anything we can do?” How many of us have said, “No, sorry…” I know I used to. I used to be the queen of no extra credit, no re-takes, no second chances. That is until then I realized how this didn’t reflect adult life. In my job I get second chances all of the time. If a lesson doesn’t go as planned, I re-do it or teach it again. I don’t get observed only once to have my teaching career decided but instead multiple times by various people. If we have a bad day, we go back, fix it, and then move forward. Every single day I get to learn from my mistakes. So why is it we are so hellbent on not giving our students the same second chance? Yes, I know that standardized tests have inane rules we have to follow, but nothing else does. We decide the rules and for some reason a lot of the time those rules do not involve allowing students to learn from their mistakes mistakes.