It’s the most wonderful time of the year. No, not Christmas. Not Easter- Well, almost. Not Halloween. Or Birthdays. Or Summer Break. Or Root canals. Or exploratory surgery. Or getting eaten by a bear. Or any number of things that would be better than what happens every year around this time.
You guessed it. It is that time of the year that good teachers get to question the usefulness of their life and career. When they doubt they have taught their kids anything. The time where we question our career choices. The time of the year that we try, somehow, to not infect our kids with the doubt, stress, and pressure of the STATE TEST.
The time when we inadvertently (or advertantly- is that a word?) heaps mounds of test prep, worksheets and drill and kill activities while trying to not obliterate the love and joy and wonder and curiosity and creativity of learning we have strived to instill in our kiddos all year long.
We have to somehow help the students whose lives are in turmoil because of broken families, poverty, drugs, deaths, or violence see that this 2-3 week test is important. But to many, those stories don’t matter. We want their scores, well, we want their good scores. Because to the the State, it doesn’t matter WHY. It doesn’t matter that there is a story– a real life human behind those numbers. And God forbid those schools/districts that the Testing is tied to whether you have a job, a raise or not. That doesn’t seem right.
This year, I jokingly noticed that our grade level starts testing on the day taxes are due and the Anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic. Haha
Yeah Yeah… I know that this is a necessary evil. Most folks don’t care for the test, but there it is. (I was gonna say All, but I fear there may be some who like torturing kids for fun- Haha). It helps with accountability and shows what students learn…except when it doesn’t. My 11 year old made this comment the other day. “This test doesn’t really show what we learned. After working on the test for hours, even I want to stop trying.”
Gah! I promise I didn’t coach her, but I may recruit her for writing a guest blog post.
She gets it. The test does little to show what the kids actually learned. It just shows how they did on one day (or weeks). How they performed.
How many intelligent teachers had trouble passing the RICA or CSET? Did their performance mean they didn’t learn? Did their performance reflect on ALL the teachers they ever had? NOPE. And neither
does should this one test reflect on a teacher’s (or all previous teachers) effectiveness.
Words of Encouragement
YOU are enough. You have prepared these students the best that you can for this year.
YOU are enough. You have loved and cared for these kiddos.
YOU make a difference. You prepare these kiddos to be ready for life. How to be a good citizen.
YOU make a difference. When they remember you, they will remember the way you cared for them, the way you greeted them, the way you made them feel valued, for making them feel like more than a number.
YOU make a difference. You are inspiring creativity, care and collaboration in these young people.
YOU matter. You are training the kids, not just for the future. But for RIGHT NOW.
YOU matter. Just by being a caring adult who shows up every day, starting over each day.
We have a great privilege and honor to be in this great profession.
Be encouraged during this testing season. Take a breath. Refuse to take on more stress than necessary. Take a breath again. We are in the final stretch. Hang in there.