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!


Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Almost There!!!

I'm still hanging in there! These past 3 months have been an absolute whirlwind! However, despite all the nerves and tears and celebrations, I have almost got my students to the wonderful (sike) EOG test season! If prayer alone could get us class would be good to go! Not the case though. So as it is, this little teacher is working her tushy off to get them all ready. Not an easy task! I am finding myself staying after school to tutor specific groups 3-4 times a week. During resource, during lunch, before and after school, I am working it. Is it working? Sure hope so.

This is what I want to know from you all...We put so much emphasis on "the test" and practicing for the test. I'm dying of boredom and I know my kids are too. So many practice testlets and sample questions are thrown at me (and them), and I feel like I'm drowning!! How do I make it fun, yet still effective? I'm doing hardcore review on geometric concepts (interior angles, complementary/supplementary angles, classifying polygons, etc.) and general reading comprehension and testing strategies. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated!

Thanks blogging friends!