Tomorrow marks the beginning of the PARCC test in my district. Well, I take that back; tomorrow should be the start of testing. With a solid two-hour delay, thanks to mother nature and her icy blast sticking up her pristinely glossed middle fingers in the name of standardized testing, who knows how procedures will flow tomorrow, especially considering how every moment from 8:15a-2:05p was scheduled in a dance no short of organized chaos.
Thinking of the test has been bringing back every anxiety that I had faced as a student. Man.. I can remember being so concerned about every mark that I had made on those booklets that I triple checked that I spelled my own name right on the answer key. As a teacher, I have plenty of things to say about PARCC.. how I feel about being judged based on its results, how I feel about my students being subjected to its inappropriate (for grade level) material, and how teaching to this debauchery of an assessment has completely skewed the idea of what public education should be. Of course, I can go on for days. All of this talk and reflecting on my testing experiences has really gotten me thinking about my kids. Sure, many of them appear to be so unaffected by the testing environment and could genuinely care less about what PARCC represents, but I think that, deep down, they’re just as scared as I was way back when. They’re facing something new in the upcoming weeks. They know that it’s important for us, for them, and for a lot more than just a number. They’re aware of more than the credit we allot, and I’m sure they’re starting to feel the stress of the test. I hope they find some clarity tonight and going into the test. They’re amazing kids, and many of the things that make them amazing can’t be shown on a standardized assessment. I just hope that doesn’t stop them from shining.
With any stressful situation, I always try to find a song to calm my nerves, and Kenny has won my heart over once again. “Wild Child,” his second duet with Grace Potter, is nothing short of brilliant in capturing the essence of a pure wild sold. A quote from Kenny somehow managed to connect the idea of this song with PARCC in a way that I hadn’t thought it could. In an interview with Alan Light, Kenny shared, “We realized that we wrote a song about someone that was smart, got a little bit of hippie in her, a little bit of island girl in her, but still she could be in corporate America… I like the idea of this person coloring outside the lines.”
Coloring outside of the lines.. I wonder how Pearson feels about that.
Long live the wild at heart.