achievement, being a teacher, students, testing

So This Is How A Teacher Breakdown Starts

My students are doing their spring assessments as we prepare to wrap up the year and send them on their way.  An innocent computer check-in that takes less than an hour, nothing to be worried abot really.  The kids know it is not a big deal, to do their best, that this is only a snapshot of their skills on that particular day, at that particular time.

And yet….the dread is rising in me.  How will they do?  How will they feel about the test?  Will the test know that they are excited about the talent show results?  That they are hungry?  That they have had a high intensity day and their brains may be just a little zonked?  Of course it won’t, and why should it, the test doesn’t care one iota about my students.  

But I do and that is my problem.  With every point they gain or lose, my anxiety soars.  How will it affect me as a teacher if a child lost 4 points, whatever that means.  What did I do wrong since they didn’t make momentous gains on this test while in class they have blown me away with their increased participation, their inferences, and their overall depth of knowledge?  Why can’t the test understand that all of these kids have grown, whether they wanted to or not?  Why can’t the test prove that?

So I take a deep breath and let the results stand.  The tests are done, the points have been given and I am trying to piece together what I need to change.  What I need to salvage, what I need to challenge myself in.  And I breathe a little more, realizing that much like I told my students, I also need to believe that this is just a snapshot.  This is just a moment in their life, this moment in time where they are performing at this set level.  That this does not determine their future success, their future growth, or even their future.  Perhaps it will determine mine, but that I need to worry about another day.