“Shhh” your mouth. “Shhhh” the classroom noise. “Shhhhh” your creativity – it’s time for testing.
Welcome to the week before testing, full of anxiety, frustrated students, practice tests, and “shhhhhh”ing hall monitors. Our seventh and eighth graders are taking their tests this week, and the baby dragons are taking it next week. My anxiety is at an all time high. I feel like I’m a sixth grader a week before my state test. Did I prepare them enough? Will my bubble kids pass? How will this affect my SGP? Will I have a job next year? The uncertainty is unbearable.
After hearing testimonials drifting throughout the halls, it’s quite clear that the tasks this year were above the level of the students in our district; the writing prompt lacked an outlet for connection for our kids, the reading lacked relevance, at least to them. The next test, PARCC, expected to raise hell in our district next year, is even farther from the capability of our students. Factor in the technology aspect, and they’re initially being set up for failure. How is this okay? How is it possible that we test students who are already faced with a developmental gap (thanks to the common core) and throw them into a situation that tests them and determines the road they must follow by applying the highest level of Bloom’s paired with “universal” experiences and topics that aren’t universal at all? For instance, how can a low SES district whose students hear less about college and more about jail respond fully in testing standards to a question which prompts them to weigh the pros and cons of implementing a college readiness class (which pertains to filing for financial aid, speaking to advisors, scheduling classes, etc.) ? What part of that is relevant to them, accessible to them, and achievable for them?
In an escape to the teacher’s room, a colleague of mine asked if there was anything I had in mind to change for next year. I instantly nodded, to which he replied, “Then you’re a good teacher.” He continued his reassurance in stating that a good teacher can see ‘the error of their ways’ (he’s a catch phrase kind of guy) and can evaluate their teaching. A “bad” teacher either refuses to change or has no idea change is needed. With the budget cuts, it kills me to think that the life of a good teacher could be cut short. All for money. All for computers. All for the PARCC and standardized testing and living up to a standard created by the common core that is, for my small, urban, impoverish school, unattainable. Tenure protects the seasoned while others with potential are sent back into the world to start over. All for money.
Well, I guess it’s all written in the stars. What’s meant to be will be.
– Ms. unSatisfied