Posts Tagged ‘testing’
Last week, all the teachers at Central Falls High School in Rhode Island were fired. There has been all kinds of back and forth about the issue. Some, including President Obama, are applauding the bold move. I have to wonder just how the teachers feel. I wonder because I am one of “those” teachers. No, not from that “failing” school, but perhaps from one that is not much different. We struggle. We struggle everyday trying to increase our test scores so we will no longer be labeled as failing or under-performing, but more importantly we struggle to meet the many needs of our kids. So, I wonder how the teachers feel.
Are they wondering what will happen to the girl whose mom is ill with cancer, a girl who worries how she and her mother will survive when there is no income during all those treatments? Are they wondering what will happen to the young man who just lost his mother, only a short time after losing his father? Are they wondering what will happen to the teenage girl who is doing her best to stay in school while taking care of her infant child? Are they wondering about the five or six students who are living in shelters or working several jobs to support themselves? Are they wondering who will be there for “their” kids?
Is anyone wondering who will be there for these kids? You see, I think many times the only thing these kids have is their relationship with a teacher, a teacher that cares about them, not as a test score, but as a person. When did we stop caring about caring? When did we start making test scores more important than kids? When did test scores become the only measure of the success and talents of our students?
Don’t you wonder too?
How do you start a new lesson? Do you wade in slowly? Do you dive in cleanly? Or, Do you take a running leap and jump right in?
I suppose in my 20 years as an educator, I have done all of the above. Sometimes, I am apprehensive about a lesson I am introducing, not really sure how my students will respond to it. I dip my toes in and then take slow steps to test the water. If the water is warm enough, I swim around and enjoy, or if it’s too cold for comfort, I gasp and make a hasty retreat. With other lessons, I am ultra-prepared. Taking only a moment to adjust my goggles, I execute a perfect, streamlined dive. Once in the water, I am off and swimming, carefree. And, then there are the other kinds of lessons. The type of lessons where I take a running leap and cannonball my way into them. I am running toward the deep end knowing I am going to create a huge splash. Those folks lounging on the edge are going to get mighty wet. Yep, they are going to be dripping. They might choose to grumble and walk away, or they might see how much fun it is and take a running leap of their own.
Lately, due to all the standardized testing hoopla, I almost lost my way. I almost forgot how important those cannonball lessons are for everyone: my students, myself, and my administration. Last week, I decided to cannonball my way into a lesson. I skipped what I had planned and introduced my students to a class ning. All of sudden, there they were, the sounds of laughter, excitement, and good old-fashioned fun. My students were energized and completely engaged, sending all kinds of comments flying about the room. Now, that was a cannonball! The biggest surprise- the administrators lounging on the side took a running leap and jumped right into the fray.
So, what types of lessons are you planning these days?