Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Here we go again

The tension is building; it's been happening since we got back from Christmas break.

The anxiety brought on by a past semester of long hours, and the upcoming semester of student testing.

Often, there is little sleep and much stress due to juggling teaching prep and grading papers and getting dinner on the table and kids to sports practice.  I told my husband that education seems to be the one profession that you can't just "turn off" when you leave the building; there is always one more thing to do, one more lesson to tweak, one more email to read.  This isn't just thinking about the job after hours, it's continuing the job after hours.

And now we are in testing season--yes, it's referred to as a season, more and more.  Teachers who were confident in their teaching and pacing and differentiating and lesson planning in the fall are now falling prey to the doubts in their mind:  Will I get all the curriculum crammed in before The Tests?  Will the students understand the curriculum enough to pass The Tests?  Will my teaching evaluation scores go down because of student performance on The Tests?

Lest you think this just affects the after-third-grade crowd, I see the ripple effects in lower grades and us "fringe teachers" too.  The kindergarten, first, and second grade teachers are reminded that their work lays the foundation for those test scores.  The younger students are reminded to keep quiet in the halls during practice and real testing sessions.  Recess and specials (art, music, PE) schedules are changed to accommodate those who are testing, and library visits are missed while practice sessions are going on or we are closed to host small group testing.

This is my third year of librarianship, and you would have thought by now I would remember how testing impacts my teaching in the library.  But I forgot, until my lessons went untaught...maybe because I wanted to forget, don't want to believe that The Tests can still affect me.  There seems to be no way of escaping them, even in the stacks.

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