Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Please engage your GPS

Where are you?  Really, where are you emotionally right now?  Are you defeated by test scores?  Feeling really badly about yourself and what you do?  Do you feel like you cheated your kids?  Like maybe you should have done just one more prep before the test?  Are you just not beaten down by several media outlets continual attack on us wretched professionals, so you add a little more yourself?  Yup……final destination, now arriving at the intersection of. insult to injury.  The results weren't devastating enough and the press isn't insulting enough, so we continue to beat ourselves up. I feel like this is a purposeful, methodical maneuver, similar to herding cattle to slaughter, made to help us feel that we don’t know what we’re doing, help us feel that we need to turn to a textbook that “knows” what we should do or to the ivory towers to point us in the right direction.  Do you find it coincidence or convenience that scores are released and highly publicized just before school resumes?

How bout this?  Consciously change position.  Seriously, change position of your mindset and if you’re really brave….of YOUR WHOLE CLASSROOM !   If we don’t take hold of this, grab the bull by the horns we ARE going to burn ourselves out and. . . . .faster than we can imagine.   At what point do we give ourselves permission to continue to teach children, NOT teach to attain scores?  When do we fully open ourselves up to doing what’s best for kids and turn our backs on the path of test prep and achieving a score?  When do we realize that one child we touched last year, you know the one …he had “that look” and seemed lost – you were their only hope to learn to dig deep and find their strength.  The one you went out of your way to reach & teach – you exuded loyalty when you were the only one in their corner when everyone else in their life had walked out.  What about that student that you were honored to be asked to surprise and say goodbye before a cross country move because she felt like you made a difference in her life – will her memory of you be for getting her that 4 on “the” test or will the strength  you taught be what carries her through this struggle?  What about the kids that are in a high school class are sharing memories of how you pushed them further than they ever thought they could achieve?  Does a test score or character matter more to your countless children who have lost family members when you were a huge support?  The family that had an accident and you went above and beyond to organize a team to help provide, how important is a test score to them or wait, maybe the lesson is in cooperation?  The student you went rushing to the hospital to see, did her score matter to her in the moment of crisis or is it the perseverance you taught her that she uses to fight through this battle?  The countless funerals you've attended for students’ family members or worse……for former students themselves – did their parents mention your rating score & the fact that they didn't meet guidelines for proficiency or did they make mention of the impact you had on their child’s life?  –

When do we, with pride, say “I MAKE A DIFFERNCE to a CHILD”!
We’ve GOT to stop this.  
We’ve GOT to speak out and speak up.  
We’ve GOT to talk truth about testing and the toll it’s taking on education and worse, on our kids.
It's time to change the setting on our GPS.
If not for you, then do it for them. 

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