January 30, 2008

Big Test Around the Corner

The first wave of the testing season is upon us, and we 8th grade English teachers are doing all we can to prepare our students for the writing proficiency exam that our students will be taking next week. The results from these tests will help determine AYP, along with the scores from the CRT later this spring. A lot of pressure.

One of my friends, who is doing a long-term sub job in the ELL classroom, is stressed out about her students passing the writing test. She's been working with them for months, but this morning she needed to stop by before school to vent and rant. "I can't even get them to indent! I don't know what to do! What if they aren't ready?"

I gave her some words of encouragement: "You can't hold yourself responsible if they don't do well. You've done everything you could possibly do, and now it's on your students. Besides that, no matter how hard you work, the truth might be that they just aren't proficient yet. Some of your students came to us not even literate in their own languages. Sure, they have been here two years, but two years to to reach 8th grade level is a big stretch for some of them. Just have faith in what you have taught them and encourage them to do their best. Don't beat yourself up!"

Have faith...encourage them...My friend the ELL teacher has the weight of the world on her shoulders--as do I. My accelerated students are all expected to pass. I have faith in all of them. Well, except maybe 5-6 of them who might be in accelerated classes but are not necessarily advanced. Oh! And maybe those 2-3 loose cannons who might aim for the lowest score ever just to rebel. Oh, yeah...I don't know about them. Sigh. Okay, so the rest of them I have complete faith that they will do much more than simply meet the standard. Those kids are going to rock that test!

And life in room 500 will be a little less stressful.

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