Wednesday, February 11, 2015

What I know...

I opened up Word to write a blog post about Pearson, CCSS, and PARCC. After two days of learning about the test administration, I typed around three hundred words of frustration about these bleeping mandates that are taking away teaching time from me.

And then, I hit delete.

Because, truly, everyone can likely guess how I feel about them anyway. And while it irritates me to no end that I have to give five tests to my students in March – and three in May – they haven’t changed what happens in the four walls of my classroom on a daily basis. Because in my classroom…

I still work hard to teach children to treasure books.
I work to make my students understand that their writing is a gift.
I try to impress upon my kids that being a good person is vital.
I pour love into every child who comes in my room.
Every day.
And I pray that every child will see their value by the time they leave.

PARCC, Pearson, CCSS, and any other crazy acronym or corporation that comes along can’t change that,
And they really haven’t changed my teaching.

I know what is important.
I see it in seventy-seven beautiful faces

Tests scores don’t tell me what they know.

Conversation does.
Whispered messages,
Hastily scrawled notes,
Google Docs that are shared for feedback,
Blog posts,
Emails from former students,
Text messages asking for book recommendations.

I can show you the value in each of these items.

This week I saw beauty in…
Multiple Instagram feeds of my students,
Applying lessons from last week.
Sharing positive messages.
Sharing what they love.
Taking less Selfies.
Focusing on others,
Building each other up,
Not tearing each other down.

I saw beauty in…
Spoken word poems.
Knock Knock by Daniel Beaty.
To This Day by Shane Koyczan.
Used as quick writes,
I watched my students transformed.
I watched many as tears ran down their faces.
Apologies whispered.
Pure hearts unfurled.

I saw beauty in…
Words from my students.
Honesty about their feelings,
For me,
For their classmates.
Kindness on display.

I saw beauty in…
Not because a standard dictated it.
Not because I even assigned it,
But because they wanted to.
Because they wanted to try something new.
Desire and engagement,
Two qualities you cannot teach.

No, I will not make my students stress about these tests.
I will not make our year about them.
I will work to help my kids become the best they can be.

Because that is what I became a teacher to do.
Because that is what I was born to do.

These acronyms, these businesses, cannot change that.
My students will become more than they could ever dream they could be.
And I cannot wait to watch it happen.
I believe more in them than I ever have in test scores.
They are the best part of this profession.