This year, apparently, Randomville High School is all about tests. Every student in the school is taking a practice ACT next week. Somehow or other, we teachers are supposed to incorporate the data gleaned from the results into our lesson plans. Then we are expected to track each student's progress throughout the year.
Almost all of our in-service meetings have been about testing. Getting projected scores from previous tests, using the ACT standards in our teaching, pre-tests, post-tests, testtesttesttesttesttesttest.
Let me tell you something: I'm pretty damn sick and tired of tests. I don't know why people seem to think that the entire school experience has to revolve around taking tests and practicing for tests and reviewing tests and preparing for tests and studying test scores and analyzing test data.
Because guess what I DON'T get to do while I'm stressing out over tests: TEACH.
Quick question: which of these is my job title?
Any idiot could come into a classroom and hand out test papers, wait forty minutes, and take them back up; if that's all I'm going to be called upon to do, why did I waste my time with college? Why do I bother learning and refining teaching strategies? Why do I try to make connections between class material and the real world?
And here's another question: why do I have to spend so much of my time documenting exactly how I am differentiating instruction in my classroom, when every student is assessed the same way, regardless of his or her learning style, reading level, personality profile, or area of intelligence?
In four years, somebody's going to go to the Department of Education and say, "Hey, how come my employees lack initiative?" or "Why does my co-worker look confused when I ask him to brainstorm solutions?" or "Why don't any of my employees know how to make a decision?" or "The only thing my son/daughter is really good at is bubbling in numbers."
And who is going to catch the blame for that, hmmmm? Will it be the people who created NCLB? Will it be the people who insisted that every school-aged child be tested six times a year? Will it be the people who have made standardized testing into a multi-billion dollar industry? Will it be the people who made laws concerning exactly what and how I should teach in my own classroom?
All the blame will fall on teachers. AS USUAL.