Teacher Tip #6

It’s just a test.

It seems that the end of February we start entering a delightfully misunderstood and stressful season: testing season.

There’s quarter tests and WIDA about this time of year. These are followed by state-standardized tests, which are then followed by the next set of quarter tests.

These state-standardized tests and quarter tests, if you’re in secondary, may overlap with PSATs, and special subject exams (think AP). There’s also, of course, every other normal test sprinkled in between all of these *big* *important* tests.

It doesn’t matter if you’re in elementary or secondary, there’s this near two-month testing window rapidly approaching and I’m here to remind you: It’s just a test.

I have fallen victim to the stress and I passed it onto my kids. Don’t do that. They’re already stressed, they already know that these things are a big deal. So, I implore you–remind them: It’s just a test.

  • It’s one day out of 180 this year.
  • It’s one day out of however many they have accumulated over the years.
  • None of these tests are measuring their kindness, their dedication, their hard work, their perseverance, or any number of far more important qualities and traits they possess as human beings.
  • Tests can be taken again.
  • Tests are singular snapshots; they do not measure every aspect of learning and growth.
  • Tests are subject to human and technological error.
  • Tests are like every other assignment–there will be multiple opportunities to show just how much they have learned; today, and this test, are not the only opportunity to demonstrate learning and growth.

Tests–state tests, district tests, exit exams–are important, but they’re not the most important determinant, measure, or indicator of educational excellence. Remember that, and remind your students of that.

 

 

Why do I teach?

Installment #2:

Time to get a little real about the benefits and joys of teaching:

  • Guaranteed breaks, holidays, and weekends

I am guaranteed every major holiday, and every weekend, which, in the United States in particular, is incredible.

I work hard. I work long hours. I’m exhausted. Nevertheless, I know that I get days away from work–guaranteed.

I know that if I want to spend a national holiday somewhere, I can do it. I know I have every weekend to run errands. I know that I have a week or two break in the middle of the year built into my schedule.

I earned these days, and I have to take them, which in the United States in particular, is a definitive perk.

I have friends that barely have two weeks worth of paid vacation and/or sick days. I have friends who never get a chance to use their paid time off, and then lose those days. When it’s not demanded or required, it’s not used. Paid leave–in all its forms–is a privilege. So, I love and cherish breaks, weekends, and holidays; they’re definitely a bonus. It’s not why I chose teaching, but as I get older it’s definitely an enticing reason to stay in teaching.