The slowest week ever.
It's only Tuesday, though it feels like I have been here at last 5 days already. I'm ready for Friday teacher nachos get-together NOW. It's MCAS week.
My official duty is in the hallway.
It's 9 AM. Students walk by me in the hallway with glazed-over eyes and shuffling feet. Boredom radiates from their bodies. As I monitor the hallway, the line for the boys's bathroom gets longer, now 5 restless boys waiting, cracking their knuckles, swinging their arms, and stretching. They can't go into the bathroom together - we have to make them go in one at a time. They might cheat in there, after all.
Teachers sit at either corner of this hallway, laptops out, trying to get some work done in this atmosphere of quiet and seriousness. I sit right in between them, unable to focus on any school work. Other teachers sit inside their classrooms, proctoring the test, 25 bodies hunched over their desks, filling in tiny circles and calculating in their heads.
At 10 AM, after 2 hours of intense test-taking, the actual school day begins. With a shortened schedule, but all classes meeting, the day feels endless. At first, my students arrive to the first class after MCAS subdued. They are tired from not only taking this test, but taking it in a language that isn't theirs. We go slowly in A period social studies, practicing the locations of European countries.
I see the same students about 3 hours later. They are antsy and silly. One of them literally cannot stop giggling. Focusing and settling down takes twice as long as it usually does. When they finally do settle down, and are ready to start our reading for today in oral communication, we have only 25 minutes of class left. One student reminds me of this. Every 5 minutes.
When the dismissal bell rings at the end of the day, the heat and noise in the hallway have both risen. It suddenly is very warm outside, and our building has not changed from heating to cooling yet. The building is stifling. The kids' energy somehow has come back after their testing, and now they are getting feisty and too energetic for school.
I think about all the energy these kids spent on MCAS - preparing for it in class and taking it. Time lost in between MCAS days because of student burnout. All the class time lost I still fail to understand why THIS is better than discussing, learning, exploring, reading, and actually doing school.
Hang in there, teachers.
5/7/2015 01:02:48 am
I am thankful that we have less time spent on some other states. but it is still too much. I think that the MCAS writing test where students write a piece, edit it, & then do a final draft is actually a useful life skill, much more useful than learning to fill in bubbles on a page. My child the other day was talking about how stressful the tests can be (stressful in part because until you get done you can't go to recess... ). Not only it is wrong to incentivize students to work quickly so that they don't miss recess, but I miss the days when testing was strictly to help evaluate whether a student knew material or not & none of this high-stakes stuff existed. In NY State record numbers of kids are opting out of tests because of the poorly conceived use of standardized tests to evaluate teachers up to 50% of their year's "grade", even if they don't teach any of the subjects being tested. It's ridiculous, & high stakes testing is hurting students & their schools.
5/7/2015 11:04:23 am
Good for those students!! More should be doing this. One of the problems with the testing is that so much at at stake: money that goes to schools, in some places teachers' jobs. Too much riding on the backs of our kids. I feel like we are turning our students into robots. :-( Thanks for your comments Tracy!!
5/11/2015 11:12:45 am
You captured the mood so perfectly, Alicia. I used to say I'm not against testing but I'm against MCAS because it's too long, too hard, too expensive and too important. It also signals the end of school for so many kids. They are so DONE when the test is over. And so many teachers are done, too, unfortunately. How many weeks more???
5/17/2020 02:02:35 am
It happens, and you don't need to feel about it. There are days wherein we feel more tired than usual without us doing something. I guess, there is so much load you have in your mind and you cannot relax right now. If you need a break, then you must have it because that is the healthiest option there. If you continue with your body and mind not feeling well, I don't think you will be able to function well. This is a proof that teaching might be inspiring, but it is pretty tiring too!
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