Saturday, May 19, 2012

Traumatized by the EOGs

Sorry for the lack of a post lately. The truth is, I have been drowning in EOGs and test score reports. I am over-stressed and becoming kind of jaded, and I hate that. But I guess this is part of my journey. I'm learning about failure. And I'm learning to hate failure. I hate that these students are experiencing this failure. It's not their faults they didn't have a teacher half the year. It's not my fault either. But I still feel totally responsible for these hideous test scores. My heart is ripping for my students and my school. These are MY students. This is MY class. Regardless of how long I have been here. I am so emotional about the whole thing, and I am really having a hard time moving past my emotions.

However, I do have some remediation time. And I suppose I need to buckle down and work hard these next 5 days with my students to get them ready for the retest. But I have to wonder...when do I actually get to teach these students actual content? I feel like all I have taught for the past 2 months is survival strategies for standardized tests. This is not my passion, but it has been my reality.

I am sorry if my "Debbie Downer" post is bumming you. I am generally an upbeat, positive, can-do person. But testing does this to people. It makes them crazy. It gets their nerves all out of whack. I fell victim to the test. But I tell you this, and I do mean this, it will NOT get me next year.

I'm making a plan...

Next year, I am going to really teach my students. I'm not just doing isolated activities that don't link together for whole-learning. No, I am going to plan and strategize and work my curriculum this summer so that I am a lean, mean, teaching machine next year. I am working on outlining a Reader's Workshop strategy that will work for me. I want to re-vamp my method of teaching small-group math lessons. I want to dedicate myself to including lots of hands-on, experience-based learning activities in social studies and science. I'm not quite sure how I will do all this right now, but I do know that the students at my school deserve it. I am a woman on a mission and I swear, to every blogger and random stumbler that runs across this post, I will "grow" my students next year.

I can't make up for the disservice that was done to my 24 kids this year. It breaks my heart and causes me a lot of worry for them in their futures. I wish I could have been here all year for them so that, regardless of the EOG test scores, I would have known with confidence that they were at least taught what they were supposed to be taught. And that would have made me feel better.

Please think of me for the next 2 weeks as I remediate and re-test. It is going to be hard on me, and especially hard for my kids. And as always, if there is anyone out there with words of infinite wisdom to share with me...share freely!



  1. I think the best strategy is to make the reviewing fun...
    You could incorporate movement (Move to a different table every 10-15 to practice a new skill).
    Or use fun materials (Do practice work on white boards)
    Or try videos (There are many on YouTube that you can download with different programs) or songs.

    I could have written this very post three weeks ago! I know exactly how you feel.
    Go to Teaching in Room 6... Stephanie has TONS of great ideas...

    I'm sending you GOOD LUCK wishes,

    Finding JOY in 6th Grade

  2. You touched upon all the hopes and dreams we have for our students, in addition to the standards set by lawmakers. It's a tough balancing act, but one that we must manage to be considered effective teachers. I'm glad you're still willing to give it a try!
    Some advice? Try reading The Daily Five for a fresh take on Reading Workshop. There is an army of helpful teachers who use this method on Proteacher and Yahoo Groups. And can I humbly suggest you listen to my podcast about differentiated Math groups at

  3. Hi!! I awarded you the One Lovely Blog award and the Versatile Blogger award!! Stop by and check it out!!

  4. I completely understand how you are feeling. Although I'm not new to teaching I experienced something new last year. My reading EOG scores were very disappointing last year. Even though my students didn't score the 3 or 4 that they needed, the majority of them showed growth. My principal also made me understand that this was just one test and I had documentation from the school year showing that they had grown. So even though they didn't "pass" this test, I should still be proud of the progress they made. I recommend you look at growth on multiple assessment tools and not just that one test.
    I am still not completely satisfied with my scores last year so I spent a lot of time on professional development for reading and reading professional books this summer. I am determined to be a much better reading teacher this year so my students and I don't have the disappointment we had last year. I also recommend the Daily 5 for reading workshop structure.

    I'm sure you will make a bigger impact on your students this year.