Wednesday, May 21, 2008


They say not to let a formal assessment define us. After all, it's just one test, one evaluation, one person's opinion. It's not an accurate reflection of our true selves.

This is a very good thought, and I believe it to be true. I teach it to my students.

You see, this week, they get their state test scores back this week. This is a much bigger deal here than any other state I've ever heard. We told them not to let the test define them. We told them to just do the best they can and when they get their scores back to remind them it's not a big deal.

But it is a big deal, and in the state of Texas, it does define them. They are not allowed to pass on to the next level of schooling without passing these exams. They can move on within the school (6th to 7th), but then they have to give up their electives in order to "double-dip" in the subjects they failed (if they fail math, they take two classes of math next year).

So I am thinking about the students that failed and how we have to tell them. And the lie we will tell them about it not being a big deal. Telling a kid he can't be in band next year because he FAILED a test is not something I want to be a part of.

Suddenly the adage "can't let others' define us" seems foolish.

Meanwhile, I myself am preparing to be evaluated. One 45-min observation of me teaching my kids (in May, nonetheless) is somehow supposed to represent me as a teacher. And I am trying to not let it be a big deal - I know I'm a good teacher. I recently got awarded for being a great teacher, in my first year.

But when you tell me my certification depends on this one observation, I can't help but feel it is a biiiig deal. A big freakin deal.

And when the evaluator says if you don't have what she's looking for, she'll mark you down... it makes you freak out.

I am currently freaking out.

And I refuse to believe that this isn't a big deal. My heart won't let me believe that.
But then again, ask me again next week and I'll probably tell you "Oh, it's nothing. I can't be stressed out about one small thing..."

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