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One reason teachers get so overwhelmed is because we are teaching GRADE LEVEL standards to students who are NOT at grade level.
We have to work at least twice as hard, trying to get the standards met for the whole class. I believe this causes resentment, gossip, and division between teachers and admin/district. But, what do WE really do about it?
What I see? Teachers complain about testing. Often. There are many reason for the complaints...the time the tests take up... the prep it takes to get them ready for testing...and of course, the scores being 'directly linked to the teacher's value'.
Let's face it...most of us would be okay with testing, if everyone was proficient (according to standards), and scored that way every time.
I dislike that there are so many different tests that pop up throughout the year, 2-3 Assessments(3x a year), so I complain....to teachers.
Where the problem REALLY is?
Firstly, I strongly believe that if all students were proficient when they left Kindergarten (and retained if not), and paid attention to each year to stay proficient, that would solve part of the problem.
I taught Kinder...and if someone did not know their sounds, early in the year...I stayed after school with them, until they did.
Mid-first grade, if students do not have the foundation of knowing how to read, then it is downhill from then on. We have to take that seriously.
Secondly, we let students slip through every single year. Students who can not spell site words, students who can not read or comprehend at grade level, students who do not express their thoughts and ideas verbally...Students who need extra help, and attention.
We do not go through the process of getting them tested, and possibly retained. Why? Let's be honest. I have heard teachers complain about the paperwork!!!!They do not want to fill out the papers to get the child tested. In addition, I hear teachers say "I am not going to work overtime". Not wanting to stay after to tutor a student in need...who may be able to pull back up to grade level.
So, if we all do our job...report learning disabilities...in Kinder, or mid-First at the latest, then I believe ( I have thought this for years) we will all feel less stress. We can focus all the time and energy on different learning styles, different technological advances, and getting to know each child in and out.
I just want to breathe, during my exciting day at work. At the moment, I am constantly awakened by ideas of getting nonreaders to read...so they can take a test .
How do you feel about testing? What about how WE let students continue to pass, when they are struggling?
Thanks for reading,
Teacher (Manuela) Ippolito