This is the time of year when you really need to have “chops” as a teacher. Once the weather becomes fairly reasonable here in New England and the spring sports begin, my students seem to think they are done for the year. Unfortunately, the academic year has six more weeks to go.
Each week has a new set of challenges: starting next week, our challenge is the MCAS Math tests. I get that given the educational climate we live in, testing is here to stay. What I don’t get is why my students need to be tested on the entire third grade curriculum when there’s about one-sixth of the year left (or in the case of the English Language MCAS about one-quarter). What is the point of testing students’ accomplishments when the total curriculum hasn’t been offered. That seems to set the kids — and the schools — up for failure. Or is that the point in the first place?
This is also the time of year when what we fondly refer to as culminating activities seem to take on a life of their own. If it isn’t a field trip, there’s a special event (art fairs, family nights, awards….). The rush to the finish line can be quite chaotic. The students are getting tired of us – time to cut the umbilical cord. End-of-year data collections, placements for next year, retentions – maybe?, special education re-evals, testing, documenting, record-keeping…. oh my!
So to my colleagues, who are testing, writing, evaluating, recommending, and trying to hold down the fort for the next six weeks – cheers!
And happy Teacher Appreciation Week!