Test Prep

I’m feeling pretty down today.  Next week we begin our state testing.  My students take 5 tests.  One writing test, two reading tests, and two math tests.  They’re spread out over three weeks, which is great for the kids, but exhausting for me.  I’m testing two classes a day, Tues/Wed/Thurs.  Monday and Friday I have to figure out something for them to do that’s engaging, but isn’t frying their already exhausted brains.  I think we’ll do the children’s book assignment.  It’s always a favorite and kids can literally color if they’re not up to writing.

My classes are really struggling with test prep though.  I’m not sure quite what it is.  Probably a combination of a lot of different factors.  I rarely lecture, so sitting quietly and listening really isn’t one of their strong suits.  I also have big classes.  29-35, and a total of 155 kids.  And a small room.  And the desks are in rows instead of groups for testing, which makes the room feel so cramped.  I can barely walk around.  And my windows will open but they won’t close, so that’s not much of an option unless I want to fight the windows at the end of each day.  That and I don’t want to run the AC with the windows open, and my room gets so warm in the afternoons.  /tangent.

I’m also worried they don’t care about this test.  I mean, how could they?  Why should they?  I just remember this test being more serious, and taken more seriously in past years.  I mean, we’d always have kids who didn’t take it seriously, but they’ve at least always settled down for test prep.  Today I had to remind my honors students that they were honors students, and to stop talking so I could give them some very useful tips on taking these tests well.  Maybe they think they already know everything?  I don’t know.  It’s just exhausting to do these prep lessons, and on top of it all to have them take so long because I’m constantly reminding them to be quiet.  It’s exhausting.  I know it’s a management thing and it’s at least partly my fault, but c’mon.  Literally all I’m asking you to do is sit quietly, and you can’t even do that?

I’m worried about these scores.  I really hope they do well.  Since these scores reflect on me.  Yay for language arts and math (and science in some grades).  Sometimes I wish I was a teacher in a content area that didn’t get tested, like social studies or an elective.  How is it fair that their test scores affects my teacher evaluation, but not other teachers’?  It shouldn’t be a part of anything, really.  I’m so sick of testing and I wish we’d just drop it all.

I spent almost 9 weeks a year testing, or preparing for testing.  That’s nearly 1/4 of a YEAR.  How about I get that time to actually, y’know, teach?  Ugh.  It’s so disheartening and it’s hard to walk in with a smile when I hate what I’m teaching and I don’t believe in it.

But I’ll try again tomorrow.