Sometimes I am glad that I am as old as I am. For the past two weeks, the school I teach at has been SOL testing. I teach exceptional education reading classes, thus the majority of my students lack the skills necessary to pass the SOL tests. If you cannot read on reading level and your comprehension is a major issue, good luck. The “people behind the curtain” might not quite realize everything that is going on.
I cannot blame them because unless you are currently teaching, how could you know? I cannot put myself in their shoes; however, nor they can put themselves in mine or my students’. But what I do know is that many teachers are totally freaking out. We work our asses off to try to teach skills to our students..skills to help them with the tests, skills to help them pass on to the next grade, skills to help them succeed in life…but lately, we feel like we are beating ourselves up…working our fingers literally to the bone.
What people don’t realize is that you can teach and teach and teach: You can be the best teacher in the world but you cannot MAKE someone learn. You cannot MAKE someone pay attention. You cannot MAKE a student work to their ability when their middle school hormones are going insane. You cannot MAKE someone be in a good mood and try their best on a test that they don’t quite realize affects their present and future life. They are just children. Our scores are to represent how well we taught a subject; however, they do not take into account the students. They do not take into account the bad test takers (like myself), the visual learners, the auditory learners that can tell you the information but cannot process it on paper quite as well.
Thank god that I didn’t have to take these tests when I was growing up or I might not be where I am. Maybe I shouldn’t be expressing my dislike for standardized tests, I do not know. Maybe my dislike for them is just because I think differently than most people I meet. But we are all different for a reason, right? So can we really test everyone the same? What I do know is that these tests do not show the ability of some students. Others will shine and I am happy for them. Others will fail when they actually have the knowledge, thus decreasing their self esteem and self confidence even more. There must be a different way to evaluate the students and the teachers. There must be. If not, then the people making the shots will stay “behind the curtain’ and the rest of us will be trapped… trapped where we try our best yet cannot grow.
I apologize if this rant was offensive in any way. It is not meant to be. It is just a rant. Take it or leave it.