Testing, high-stakes testing, is a fact of life in public education. I struggle with what stance to make in my writing, speaking, and day-to-day interactions with teachers. As educatedtodeath I have chosen to take an idealistic stance. This is not to say that the writing is not based in action. It is a combination of reflection and action future, present, and past. I write with the intention of growing my own practice and hope to have some greater impact, either by spawning a desire for transformation, revolution, or wakefulness in a reader, or by affirming the thoughts of another. Beyond that, and more important, I write to know what I think, and to participate in a larger conversation about where education needs to go and how to get there. I know how things are. They need to be changed from within.
As a speaker, though I have reduced my speaking tremendously this year, I try to lend practical solutions to pressing problems and lend some insight into bending the rules; that is, really teaching and preparing for the test at the same time. I try to focus on sharing my knowledge and experience with best practices in teaching. I want teachers to see that they are already implementing best practices. Sometimes they need some tweaking, but mainly teachers need to see what they’re doing right. We examine parallel curriculums and ways to quickly scaffold lacking skills to build efficacy among struggling students. We all need to know how to navigate this screwy system. We can’t do that thinking we have nothing to offer. We certainly can’t do it if we’re being crushed under the weight of the almighty test and the minions that seek to make it the Way.
As a teacher, I work to navigate the system as best as I can. I’ve always enjoyed slipping in and out of things, accomplishing someone else’s goals and the important things simultaneously. When they can’t be accomplished together it’s time to call bullshit. I’ve called bullshit, and I try to call it daily. But, I digress. My teaching practice revolves around learning for transformation, for teachers and students. It requires that we look at the test as a very present threat. It is here, we have to deal with it. We have to, “whip it”, but the test cannot be our master. No student should have their soul crushed in the name of the test. I’m sure I’m guilty of letting that happen. I can only strive to prevent that.
My writing here is for the sake of what is right. It has become a telling of the struggles I see
and endure. I thank you for struggling beside me and making this world smaller. Cheers.
P.S., If there is anything I can offer you in the area of pedagogy, classroom stuff, motivation, intervention, advocacy, etc. please let me know. I’d be glad to share, discuss, struggle with you. Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org