Things I Know 260 of 365: I’m not sure what I did right

When we fail in this diagnostic role we begin to worry about ‘assessment.’

– David Hawkins

I’m struggling to write tonight. I’ve been struggling to write for the last few days.

I’ve an assignment due tomorrow – 8-10 pages, and I can’t get myself invested in it. Or, I’m too invested in it.

For the last assignment in this class, I submitted work of which I was proud. I spent time and thought on the assignment. I worked to refine my thinking and understand which other thinkers served as progenitors to my ideas.

My work was submitted with a feeling of having been thoughtful and diligent in my work. I had learned something new and refined   old thinking.

When I got my assignment back, I struggled to find positive comments. I struggled to find comments that were in response to my ideas.

I didn’t need praise lobbed at me or ego stroking. I just needed a clear sign of where I was on the right track; otherwise, I start to question if I was anywhere near that track.

Because I am who I am, I submitted a re-write of the assignment. Re-doubling my efforts, I consulted the rubric even more the second time than the first.

While my grade on the second attempt was higher than the grade on the first, I’m still sitting here stymied as I work to complete this new assignment.

It’s a horrible feeling.

I don’t know what I did well in the last assignment upon which I can build for this go-round. I have lists of things to avoid, but I don’t know what I’m good at in context of trying to do what’s been asked of me.

I’ll write more tonight.

I’ll write more tomorrow.

I’ll turn in my assignment tomorrow.

I’ll be hesitant to feel proud.

And the thing that kills me – that absolutely drive me batty – the work I did on the first assignment and the work I did for the re-write was fine work. I am still proud of that work.

But there’s a teacher’s opinion in there. There’s a teacher’s opinion muddying the waters of my learning.

And I’m really hating the fact that matters to me.

4 thoughts on “Things I Know 260 of 365: I’m not sure what I did right

  1. I see two threads here – one in which you're frustrated with the teacher for not giving you feedback that will help you build on your success, and one in which you're frustrated with yourself for caring what the teacher thinks. And in truth, I don't fully understand the second thread. If you shouldn't care what this teacher thinks, why should you be trying to learn anything from him/her anyway? That makes the first thread all the more important. The teacher's feedback should be helping you build on the work you've done independently, and if it's not, something's gone awry.

    • It's not that I feel like I shouldn't care what the teacher things, it's that I created something of which I was proud and in which I was invested. Critique can certainly help me see the cracks and imperfects, but I feel like that doesn't need to rob me of the pride and investment I feel. That's all in my head, but the fact it's there bugs me.

  2. Yep…sad, ain't it? And for me, in grad school there was the added pressure of my company, who was footing the bill, only paying 100% for classes where I pulled an A or B. I learned lots that was practical, don't get me wrong, and my thinking expanded, but I'm still inordinately proud of the 4.0 because let's face it: that is what I'd been trained to desire. To address your point, Dave, the problem is that the professor will be the sole judge and evaluator of Zac's progress in thinking, which likely comes down to, “is Zac thinking like I want him to think?” Higher ed, like the rest of our educational system, professes to want one outcome while REALLY teaching and grading toward another.

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