One down, millions to go.

I’ll be honest – when I sat down with Annie (yes, I name my technology) to write about the happenings of my first day of state testing, I had a different intention in mind. Sure enough, my saving grace, as she always had, found a way to shine light on my dark days yet again, and so, redirection.


One year ago this week, I said goodbye to the most amazing students I had ever met. Lord knows they put me through it to then help me realize my own potential. A year ago, my roommate and I were decorating our caps, toasting to old memories, and packing up what became our home away from home. One year ago, we were trying to envision a life beyond the brown and gold colored walls of love that we had established over the past three years in college.


In our staff meeting today about testing and whatnot, I found myself locked on the student teacher who is enduring her last few days with our special education department. In seconds, one particular day in school came flying back to me. I remember sitting through last year’s testing meeting and learning about the protocol and hearing about the successes had and changes to be made. I was a runner during testing, a helping hand for anyone in need. It was my last week of student teaching. I remember the teacher selfies (yes, those happened) and my going away party with the seventh grade staff; I couldn’t even fathom that they valued me that much to surprise me in such a way.

One year and many, many lessons later, there I was in the home ec. room talking with Mr. Rock himself about that very day. This time, we were equals.

As a new teacher, especially one as emotional and overcritical as myself, it’s so easy to get boggled down by what happens daily. State testing, observations, SGP, tenure, parent emails. There is so much fog on a daily basis that sometimes days like that fall to the wayside.  I’m thankful for that one lovely comment from my amazing roommate (who will always be labeled such even though she will be MARRIED soon) because I can’t help but think of all of the “one” days, the remarkable diamonds in the proverbial rough that got us through every hardship we had faced during our journeys to become the educators we are today.

Today, my dragons started ELA day 1 of testing, and there I was with them, an anxious sixth grader trying to live up to expectations.. or, the over pressured junior trying to get into a good college.. or, more recently, the overburdened yet determined preservice teacher tackling her last few road blocks. Flashbacks proceeded of frantically loading the ETS website before an 8am trying to print scores before being late, hoping a celebration was in 515A’s near future. Simply stating, no sun days lead to “one” days, so even though we could have pulled our hair out waiting for the damn internet to load or the printer to connect, nothing was sweeter than seeing those scores and knowing that we, Ms. O. and Ms. Sunshine, were that much closer to living out our literature-laced dreams. Although these next three days will be draining and challenging for my baby dragons, nothing will be sweeter than knowing that this atrocity of a universal assessment will soon be well in the past.. until next year.

And to solidify this beautiful nostalgia, enjoy a tune that always made my day when it drifted down the hall from our room to meet me when I got home from school. Be the bird.
Ms. Shining again


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