Friday, March 26, 2010

Insights into State Testing

My wonderful friend who is a 6th grade teacher at our school wrote these musings on state testing. Just had to share.

5 Days
by Niki Millraney

For 5 days you will be judged. For five days, I will be judged. It is hard to comprehend that the sum total of our time together is measured in five days.First of all I want to say…. I am sorry. Testing starts and I morph into a robot. One you aren’t used to seeing. For 5 days I must turn into a stranger, reading from a script- afraid that one wrong word or slip--- could ruin it all. That must be strange to you-- I am sorry.For 5 days we test you- We ask you to pour all of your knowledge out with booklets and pencils and little circles. For five days we tell you to “Do your best on the test!” Some people care about those 5 days……I care about the other 180------I know that on Mondays when we have pizza- you get sad because Mom loved that kind of pizza and now she is gone. I know your “Very best” today already happened. It was getting up and out of the house on time by yourself ---- and you made your own lunch…you' re 11Yes, you feel asleep during the test and I woke you up. I hated to cause I saw you crying this morning, Who knows how your day started. ---We talk in class all the time about when will we use this anyway? I can honestly tell you that no one has ever asked me to find the conversion for a centiliter in the metric system.Don’t get me wrong. I do believe in accountability- Just it is to the One I answer to on a daily / hourly basis. It is Him who I try to pleaseWe ask you to “Bring your A game”---- “To leave it all on the field”. “To give us your best for five days---- Funny, I just expect more. I want your best everyday – and I know what that is.I know that those two paragraphs you wrote – while considered mediocre to the world – Caused me inside to jump up and down—I know that was your very best.I know you like to take your time and draw out the pictures--- I am sorry the time keeper said stop. I saw you start to cry today. Inside I wanted to rescue you, to show you how to fix it. to let you know, “ you really are smart- you got it right- but I can’t. I have to watch, to see you in pain- you are used to me lending a hand or a smile or a hug to encourage—today I have to stay away. I am sorry.I am certain you know the answer—but the bubbles --- they just messed you up. So – don’t worry about what that test says about you…. we know the truth.We know you like Goldfish for snack and Corn dogs at lunch. We know that you want to be a lawyer one day (but are already convinced you are not smart enough because of the test .)We know that last night, at home, it was kind of scary and you really like school because here you feel safe. We know that while you can’t prove it on the test—you are the best computer fixer or furniture repair man around—even at 11.We know the truth . I know you – I know the sum total of who you are can’t be measured on paper. I know your strengths and weakness and how they make you who you are. I know that 5 days is just a glimpse into who your are becoming—While others see a snapshot--- I get the movie. Let them have five days---- I want YOU!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Thank you for caring so much. Teachers like you make a difference. Keep your head up and keep on will pay off.
A Fellow Teacher