I haven't been able to sleep much this week. I knew this would happen, but I wasn't sure if it would take all week to get me back into my early to bed, early to rise sleep pattern. My stubborn sleepless pattern has been rather persnickety lately. Sleep evades me because my mind has been racing recently. Being back in the classroom this week has brought back the long awaited inspiration to write, reflect and continue on my journey. It has also brought back some stress into my life.
I thought that getting back into the swing of things at work would be a good thing, but along with school comes January and with January... testing. I was in a faculty meeting recently and was bombarded with test dates. Get ya test dates here! I heard someone say. These dates are too numerous to count, but count I did. In total, we will be taking up around 8 hours of classroom instruction to test our students in January. Seems a bit too much. I know I am in public education and everything but...
Driving home I wondered just how much testing goes in on private schools. Is it any better? Do the private schools have benchmarks, release tests, Iowa Tests of Basic Skills, STAAR tests or anything else? I would like to look into my yearly calendar and count how many total hours are devoted to kids actually testing. I would like to also add any kind of test prep time devoted to that total and then divide it by the time I teach individual subject on a daily basis. I suppose it will be more than I expect. My goals, as a public school educator, is to limit the test prep and try to deliver meaningful and relevant instruction. What type of wrench does testing put into this equation? Right now, before I explore the data points, I would say somewhat of a monstrous Allen wrench. I need more time for instruction.
Interestingly enough, each time the word benchmark is uttered, students start to freeze. I don't mention it that often, but when I do I try to reassure them that everything will be okay. I haven't really focused on prepping for benchmarks that much this year. I do wonder then why they freak out so much. I haven't placed any type of pressure on them either. I only ask them to do their best and that is good enough for me, yet they still seem to anxious to test. That makes me wonder. More than that though, it makes me sad. There is too much testing going on and I see the stress it causes everyone. No matter how you spin it, it's just too much. Perhaps this stress won't let me rest. Maybe it will subside after January? Hardly, this is just the beginning of testing season. Ugh!
Those are my thoughts for the day. Now I can hopefully get some rest. I don't want these thoughts racing through my mind tonight. Perhaps now that I have unloaded these racing thoughts, I can actually get some decent rest.