Tuesday, June 24, 2014

A slice of summer

It is 12:16 and I'm having trouble sleeping.
I know I SHOULD be in bed asleep, really I do...
It is just that...
I give the dreaded STAAR test again tomorrow.  I'm teaching summer school this year, you see; working with my students who have not been successful in their first 2 attempts to pass this test and therefore move forward from 8th grade to 9th.

I feel anxious for them.  I feel anxious for myself (moment of truth: I feel rather like a tiger in a cage when it comes to testing. I don't function optimally in a typically chilly, closed off, weirdly quiet, anxiety-filled environment, but maybe that's just me.)

I care about these students.  I worry for them.  Some of them have stories that would break your heart, and some of them just aren't great test takers.  I have several that "don't like to read" and many whose first language is not English.  They are each filled with talents and hopes and dreams that this test cannot possibly begin to measure.

At the beginning of our time together I asked the students to read for 20-30 minutes per night--anything of their choice.  I have less than a handful who have actually done it.  Some of them want to but find it hard to fit in their schedule (babysitting 7 kids by yourself, one a baby, for example makes it rather difficult).  Some struggle so much they have just about given up.

I hope they are having less trouble getting to sleep tonight than I am.  I hope they eat something healthy and protein-packed in the morning to get them through a 4 hour exam.  I hope that they do not judge themselves totally on the outcome of this test and I hope they take it seriously enough to really give it their best.

These tests trouble me for so many reasons.  I get that there must be a measure of what is learned--but the magnitude of importance placed on these tests is beyond my comprehension.
What are we doing to our children?


  1. Oh, it is so sad. Those poor darlings, so much that even we would struggle with in daily life and then an added test to top it all off. Lucky they have you in the room with them tomorrow, to take that edge of the coolness, the anxiety. Beautiful slice with your heart shining through. Sleep tight now.

  2. Oh no! It stinks...all of these tests are too much! But I have faith in YOU. You can frame this for them and that will help. Maybe that's why you are there...to help them survive this and turn the focus to where it belongs...being readers and writers!! Sending you good thoughts!! Those students are lucky to have you!!