Friday for a teacher during PARCC testing is like winning the lottery. It’s like the best birthday present and Christmas morning and a romantic valentine with a few Independence Day sparklers all wrapped in one.
5 days of testing. 5 days of my eight-year-olds going into a computer lab and answering in depth, high-level, application, critique and reasoning questions. 5 days of me holding my breath, hoping that all that I’ve taught them this year can be shown through this standardized test. 5 days of me resisting the urge to tell that kid to pick up his scratch paper and stop trying to do triple digit multiplication in his mind. 5 days of watching a kid type his “essay” with his forehead. 5 days of me questioning myself as a teacher.
WHY? I’m awesome. I am meant for this job. I am not perfect, no. I have SOOOO much room to grow, of course. I cannot wait to improve my questioning techniques and my strategies for engaging learners. But, for a second year teacher, I am pretty dang proud of where I’m at. This job is not for the faint of heart. It is not with ease the one enters this profession, especially in an age of missing funds. The adoration I receive from my third graders and their families is pleasing enough news that I should be able to rest easy when I go to sleep at night. Yet, there is always this higher power asking for more.
So, we made Oobleck today. My kids got insanely messy. The room got insanely messy. They were covered, up to their elbows and down to their toes, in this slime. They were smiling ear to ear and exploring color change, states of matter, mixtures of materials. It was so messy we had to write a letter to the janitor. It was so messy we used an entire bottle of Clorox wipes and half a roll of paper towels to clean up. But, they did it with smiles and laughs and a joy in their heart. They did it with appreciation for the moment and a sincere desire to give back. They discovered a new side of themselves… as did I.
This test will never be able to see the scientists, the historians, the readers, the explorers, the writers, the philanthropists and the therapists that I see every single day. The people that grade this PARCC test will never be able to know these kids the way I do, and that’s a shame. They are really missing out. They are pretty darn cool.