"How are you, Ms E? You look better, less stressed."I swear to God, this is really what she said. My self esteem is too low to make up an interaction like this. She is that. Freaking. Precious!!!
"I am, Sainted One.
It's sweet of you to notice that."
"You haven't looked like yourself and
I know testing is hard. I love you and I'm glad you're back."
The Saint has figured it out. It's hard. If I've talked about one thing these last few weeks, it's how hard this is. But some of you have listened to me (in real life) and have added your ideas and so I have words for it now. I want your thoughts here, teacher or not.
So here it is; teaching and testing are hard because we have expectations of our schools that we aren't willing to match in our society.
My mission is to create literate, reflective, citizens who will participate in our society by (at least) earning a living and voting.
Do you have any idea how hard this is? Do you have any idea how few of my students have dictionaries at home? Do you realize how many of my kids only hear English at school? Do you know how many of my kids only eat school breakfast and lunch every day and nothing at home? Do you know how many of my students work 40+ hours a week? Do you know how that wars against my mission? And do you know that my school isn't one of the truly unfortunate ones? That we're quite lucky and that there is far, far worse?
You know this. You know this because you've clicked on this blog and so you have some interest and appreciation for what I say. In fact, you can read what I am saying which means you "get it" to some extent.
The theory behind No Child Left Behind is reasonable--in a vacuum. America, however, doesn't happen in one.
So we work toward this impossible dream. We reach more kids because we work harder than ever to support literacy and problem solving. But we won't get them all. Not with all those warring external forces.
That said, here's the question playing about in my head: what should we expect? Is it time for us to finally realize that our schools cannot fix all of these problems and lower our standards or is it time to require our society to step up to the expectations we have placed in our schools? I don't like either of these answers. I don't want to expect less than those literate, participating citizens and I don't want to legislate the home lives of our society. So what's the answer?
Let's talk about it. Give me your thoughts.