I have been thinking about this a lot lately and have come to the conclusion that by far, the most difficult aspect of first-year teaching is assessment. Throughout my licensure coursework and into my graduate coursework we have been introduced to various teaching styles, learning styles, strategies, theories, etc. As my first year progresses I feel that I have a good handle on these subjects and if I am not applying them to my own classroom, I am working on doing so. That brings me to assessment. I feel like I am constantly struggling. Some may ask in an alarmed way, "Really?!?!" Well yes, really.
Kindergarteners don't have routine exams and tests to give quick, albeit often inaccurate, information. Kindergarten teachers rely almost solely on anecdotal information. As a self-described Type A, list maker, control freak -- anecdotal assessments are tough. They're not direct and they don't fit into columns and rows. I have created, and later abandoned, many systems that I thought would work for me that did not. I have seen amazing systems in place and working, but they're not right for me. I am still searching for my anecdotal soul-mate! For now my anecdotal information is a hodgepodge of information in different locations that I gather for report card time and hope that I am being accurate and fair. If the teaching Gods are watching over me, I hope that I find my groove in the next few months because this is one of the first-year stresses that I would prefer not to follow me into year 2.