Unintended consequences

Most of the time when I see this phrase, it’s not a good thing. Today, however, there was an unintended consequence that fell into the plus side of the education balance sheet.

In anticipation of state testing, my students have been practicing writing to a prompt for a couple of weeks. This week, we practiced using this prompt from MCAS:

Think about a memory you have of a teacher. The memory could be something funny your teacher said or did, something your teacher taught you, a field trip you teacher took you on, or a time that your teacher made you feel proud.

Many children wrote about their Kindergarten teacher, or First or Second Grade. But one of my quietest students, unexpectedly wrote about me! Since the essay is about 6 pages long – dialog included – I won’t subject readers to the full writing. I certainly did hear my own voice projected through this student’s writing – some of the dialog describing a multiplication lesson seemed to come right out of my mouth with amazing accuracy! Hmmm, maybe I should be checking for recording devices?

But the words that this child wrote, the words that expressed this child’s feelings about me were that Mrs. Bisson “teaches in a funny way and gives you advice on how to remember important things”. What more could a teacher want than this?

After a difficult, stress-filled week at school, this child’s test prep (!) essay had the unintended consequence of lifting one bone-tired teacher’s spirits.