The Microwave teacher, but the Oven student

Microwave (1)

At one time in our careers we have all fallen victim to the microwave teacher, but oven student phenomenon. This just happened to me last month. I poured my heart and soul into every lesson, I provided engaging hooks, student notebooks contained everything they needed to be successful, we had an amazing review session and I even created a review sheet. I was feeling confident my students would blow this district snapshot out the water. Then I got the data back only 68/122 students passed. Ugh how could this have happened? Only 53% passed I must admit I cried. Before judging me, I know your data has a strong impact on you as well. It’s okay let’s be honest we do way too much in our classrooms to be okay with only 53% of our students passing. Now we must go into the meetings and be critically judged by our administration team.

I wiped my tears and decided to dive a little deeper into the data. Instead of only focusing on who passed and failed. I analyzed the item analyze report. WOW, was I blown away by that data. There were several questions where 60% and above got the answer correct. Then there were only 3 questions where only 20% of the students got the answer correct. This is where it hit me I am a microwave teacher that wants more students to pass NOW, and feels defeated when they don’t. The item analyzes proved my students are still cooking in the oven. They in fact have been paying attention, and know the material. They just need more practice breaking down the questions. The next day instead of focusing on who didn’t pass I shared with my students this.


Why do athletes go to practice? To get better was the most common response. Now let’s bring that idea into the classroom. Each test is like practice and what are we practicing for? The STAAR (Texas State exam). With that being said we are going to view test differently in this class. Not only are we going to focus on passing and failing, but rather how we are improving. Each test we are going to practice like it’s the STAAR. 1. We will take it seriously 2. We will use the testing strategy. As an old coach told me how you practice will be how you play. Teachers, I encourage you to use this advice. Don’t beat yourself up to badly behind the data. Instead use it to improve your class, but keep in mind testing is a process and we must trust it all the way through. Remember your students work more like ovens and their success is cooking slowly but surely. You will see the results in due time. Stay encouraged and keep pushing them!

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