Here in Texas we like to be different so we are not doing Common Core or whatever test that goes along with it. We do TEKS (Texas Essesntial Knowledge and Skills) and STAAR (State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness) testing.
We are trained relentlessly on how to administer this test.
We are reminded continually that our teaching certificate can be taken away if we make a mistake.
No pressure or anything.
We do practice STAAR tests to make sure that the real thing runs smoothly.
Signs are posted to be quiet because we are test.
Students of all ages and grades are told to be silent while we are testing. For days at a time.
That's no easy task for some of our students.
It's mind numbing.
It's stressful for EVERYONE.
This ONE test will tell the state of Texas if students learned anything this year.
It doesn't matter if students learn differently. It doesn't matter if they ate dinner last night or breakfast this morning. It doesn't matter if they've just had a major life event and they're not 100% focused. It doesn't matter if you had electricity or not last night. Or if you parent or guardian made you go to bed at a reasonable hour.
None of that matters. There's no box to check if any of those things happened.
All that matters is if they past the test or not.
This is what the state of Texas is telling out students and quite frankly our teachers too.
Because they feel this pressure too.
A small incident happened in my testing environment while I out of the room. The monitor who relieved me freaked out a bit when I walked back into the room. I told her it was so sad that she had to feel freaked out because we are so worried about every T being crossed and every I being dotted. I checked on the minor incident, I asked the student if they remembered my instructions that I read at the beginning... they did not. I reported the insignificant incident just in case someone wanted to make a "thing" about it. Luckily the minor incident didn't affect anything and nobody's making a deal about it.
But seriously. This is not why I became a teacher.
Yes, we need to have standards.
Yes, we need a way to measure those standards.
But is this really efficient? Is this really healthy for our children?
Can't we do better than this?
I don't have the answers I just know that our children do not deserve this kind of stress.
I am so thankful that testing is over... for now.