Sometimes when I write about one of the claims or domains, I feel like a child being introduced to and forced to talk to a new kid. Well, I guess technically I was usually the new kid.
“Hi, nice to meet you.” Then I would find something to do by myself because I felt uncomfortable.
It isn’t that the claims/domains are unknown or new to me. I just feel kind of shy about talking about them sometimes.
Education is two-faced this week.
Tracks on Side A: 1. Stressed Out. 2. Prep It Up. 3. Meetings Galore. 4. Inauthentic Assessments. 5. Sweaty Hands. 6. Broken Pencils. 7. Long Days. 8. Angry Conversational Undertones. 9. “Do Your Best”.
Tracks on Side B: 1. Student Stamina. 2. Sighing Relief. 3. Everyday Downtime. 4. Teacher, Encourager. 5. Relations. 6. Try the Mints. 7. And The Citrus Aerosol. 8. The End of the First Tunnel. 9. Waka Waka Friday.
I could rant and rave on and on about the unfairness of it all. I really could.
But, going back to the theme of staying positive, I won’t do that. Later, I can provide some experience and reflection and research for those who would like to discuss the injustice of the system.
On Side B, I heard solidarity. Everyday at lunch students told me how much they dislike testing. I agreed with them wholeheartedly. I dislike them too, my friends. Teachers were all saying to their students, “You are all so strong. Keep up the good work and the focus. I don’t like this either; I wish we could do science instead.”
Caring service includes this solidarity.
I heard teachers acting as affective filters. I heard mints crunching in little mouths. I heard the chh-chhhh of aerosol spray. The mint sucking and the citrus smell are shown in different studies to promote brain activity. I didn’t read the studies, but it at least gave students a little bit of something on a day when their teachers aren’t allowed to help them in any other way.
Caring service necessitates teachers as filters, letting in as much good and as little bad as possible.
I heard teachers celebrating the resilience and stamina of their students. I heard Magic School Bus being played on a SmartBoard in the afternoon. I heard talk of pizza parties. “Yonathan, I know this is so difficult, but you are so strong. Think about it and do your best.” I hated just saying, “Do your best” when a student asked for clarification… almost started with the negative. Moving on.
Caring service celebrates people.
I think the most beautiful sound I heard this week was the silence after a sigh of relief. They are done. They’ve finished. Teachers will still anxiously await the scores that authentically assess their own value as effective teachers (sarcasm). Students, however, will rest easy. The scores won’t be available in time for teachers to use them in their instruction, and student transcripts are not affected by their Common Core standardized test scores (we learned this after the first morning of testing). Whatever those tests try to say about my students doesn’t matter, because they are done. The exams are gone, we students and teachers remain (except for the fact that next week is my last week).
In other news, Oklahoma is moving to drop Common Core.