Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Tales from the Trenches: District-wide testing

Rrrr.  K- participated in district-wide testing in the fall.  They are doing it again.  I understand the testing, but geeze!  It is the same testing that they just did in the fall.  This time, though, the teachers will be administering the test and not an outsider.

K- thought the testing was last Monday.  I peeked my head in the door, saw Mrs. S- there and asked about the testing of the day.  She was very kind, explained it and said that what they got back was a report, but that she knows her kids.  She wanted to test them personally, so she and the other teachers did whatever training it was that they needed to do to be able to handle this themselves.  She said that the children are more comfortable with their own teacher and that she'll be able to witness just how well they do on her very own.  The teachers will have one day each to administer the testing to all the children in their class. 

K-'s day is tomorrow, and she will have a substitute.  She's talked to me about it and I've told her not to be nervous.  "But Mommy, I didn't get to get all the sounds done last time before the bell rang." 

"K-, don't sweat it.  Do your best and you'll be great.  Don't worry about what you can't get done.  Just do the best that you can do." 

Of course, the poor kid is suffering with a head cold right now.  I'm sure that will really help things out.  :S

All this testing concerns me.  Why?  Well, teachers are being forced to teach to test rather than being able to freely teach, but still cover the required material.  More specifically, K- and her friend E- are in the same grade.  They attend different schools within the district.  They have the exact same spelling and vocabulary words every week.  I was talking to my friend Kim about different papers that K- had last year.  "Oh yeah, I remember that one.  It was tricky because it had . . . on it."  Her children attend another school, different from where K- and E- go, but in the same district.  Is it that a teacher is given a district packet of information, hand-outs and such that are absolutely required to be done?  I know that K-'s teacher was scrambling the week before Christmas to try to get everything done.  Why?  Because they had two snow days and one day that week was Christmas party day.  The only thing that hung over was their reading book. 

Is there room for teachers to creatively teach anymore? 

Smiles in my day:
-  We have another baby.  Yes, baby number two was born.  My other cousin, Heather, had her baby today by scheduled c-section.  Elyse Noel (spelling to be confirmed) was born this morning.  She is 7 lbs 2 oz and 20 ish inches long or so.  Mom and baby are doing well.
-  K- and Hubs took my MIL to the "little useum" and went to their planetarium show.  Grant you, it is what they did last week, but they loved it so much that they decided to do it again and take Grandma along.  After, they took Grandma to lunch.  You see, Grandma drives 25 minutes out to get K- from school on Tuesdays and Wednesdays.  She reads with her, feeds her dinner, has her get a bath and sends her on home with Hubs.  Some days, she sends me dinner!  While it isn't buying her the world (we'd love to), we like to make certain that we show our appreciation.  They had a lovely time.
-  "Mom, we have company!"  I'll translate that to, "We have birds or squirrels at the feeders."
-  Stripping the main room at work down to bare walls and starting from scratch.  We have very little to display, but I asked that a call be placed to our wood bowl guy.  I'm hoping to get some great consignment bowls in that I can make a slammin' display out of.  (I bought one of the bowls for my SIL for Christmas.  I hope that she and her family loves it as much as I do!)
-  K-'s cold is a nasal stuffiness and occasional cough.  Let's keep it at that and less, please.  No fever, please.  Children's Mucinex to the rescue!
-  Hubs seems to be feeling better today.

Have a great day!

1 comment:

Rach said...

You SO don't want to get me started on this. I mean that. I could rant and rave for HOURS on this subject. I'll try to be concise.

Why in the world did I go to school for five years to learn to create and write lesson plans, to come up with creative, hands-on lessons, to learn how to TEACH if you don't trust me to do so and instead give me the materials and MAKE me teach them within a certain time-frame, regardless of if the children have learned the requisite material or not?!?!??!?

That was one of the reasons I left public schools. Every quarter we were giving a test to see if the children had "mastered" the Standards of Learning we were teaching. They REQUIRED us to teach each thing within a certain time-frame, and woe unto you if you didn't. They provided the lesson plans you were supposed to follow. It was AWFUL!

I can see what they were after. First, continuity. We had a VERY migrant population in NNPS, and they wanted to be sure a child wouldn't be left with any gaps or holes if they moved around a lot. Second, they wanted ANYONE to be able to come in and teach--first year teachers, job switchers, etc.

*I* don't think it was a good plan, nor did I find it effective. The way they did it, you could have had a school full of trained monkeys and it would have been fine. They didn't NEED me with my five years of college...

No, I'm not bitter. Gr.

And, we don't even want to go there on the testing. Why in the world should I have to work on testing strategies with a second grader????? ARRRRGGGGGGGHHHHHHH!!!!