I’m preparing my room at school for achievement tests. Keep in mind I teach first grade so we’re talking about six and seven-year olds here. Everything must be covered in the room, the alphabet, numbers, the days of the week. All that I get. It’s not even the rigid rules and structure that bother me. What kills me about all of this is that the moment the test begins, our children are expected to turn into little robotic machines. No longer are they allowed to ask questions, to think aloud, to ask for guidance if they lose their place on the test. In an instant, they are expected to act older, be older, seem older. That bothers me. I guess as a mother and a teacher, I’ll never love the idea of standardized tests. I’ll never be able to accept a test that inhibits what I’ve taught them all year-long to do – ask, question, explore, search, think aloud, share. Again, they’re only six and seven. Phew…
Perhaps my anxiety comes from the fact that I was never a good test taker. I was one of those kids…you know, one of the average kids who always wished they could do just a little bit better. It wasn’t until college that all the puzzle pieces that make me who I am, came together, snapping into place. Like a switch, my grades shot up, my confidence grew, my brain expanded. I don’t believe any achievement test I ever took had anything to do with it.
Apparently there are great minds (hmm) working together somewhere – where classroom teachers aren’t allowed – deciding what should be done to children. And testing is one of those things. It’s been around for decades and most surely will continue. All any teacher can do is hold their head up high, knowing they’ve taught all they can in nine months. Whether the students can regurgitate it or not…well, I guess that one is up to the cosmic…and whether or not they need to pee in that moment, or had breakfast that day, or witnessed their parents fighting the night before, or how their kittens are doing at home, or any other countless thing that fills the mind of children.
Bless the little children and their sweet hearts. Bless the people with hearts big enough to guide and love them every day.