Friday, January 30, 2015
It has been a tough week. Tonight I am sitting by the fire, remembering why I became a teacher and wondering why people who have never taught in a classroom continue to make educational decisions.
Indiana teachers received the testing schedule for round one which will take place the first week of March. After seeing this, my jaw hit the desk.
That week, our students will test for almost a total of seven hours. Now here is the kicker, or should I say kickers.
Kicker #1 - Those seven hours are just the first round. We still have the multiple choice portion in late April, and we have no idea how many hours the second one will be.
Kicker #2 - We have a practice test in a couple of weeks to prepare us for the real one. We have new standards and a new test format, so I appreciate the fact that they are letting all students practice. But, this test could take over four hours...for practice. That puts us up to eleven hours of testing, almost three times as long as last year.
Kicker #3 - Politicians are wanting standardized testing to count more toward teacher evaluations. Although I disagree with that policy, I disagree even more after looking at testing time distribution.
Science or social studies testing time - 30 minutes
Math testing time - 80 minutes
ELA testing time - 4 hours and 50 minutes
I am a language arts teacher. Can someone tell me how the criteria for my evaluation can even come close to being equal to those teachers teaching other subjects? My students will spend almost an entire school day testing. At what point do you think they will just give up and quit?
I know testing is the current educational culture, but when does someone finally stand up and say, enough is enough?
When do we stop teaching test takers and start teaching creative and enthusiastic learners?
When do educators, not politicians, get to make decisions on what we know is best for our students?
When do we get to be treated like the professionals we were trained to be?
When is enough really enough?
As disgruntled as I am tonight, I still love teaching. I will walk in Monday morning with a smile on face, and I will continue to love my students and continue to give them my best. That is what they deserve.