Know what’s not funny?
It’s exhausting. The kids are exhausted. The teachers are exhausted. And I bet all the parents are exhausted too.
All that stress and pressure and unnecessary anxiety.
Oh wait, you want to know how I really feel?
Okay fine…I’ll tell you…
I’ve been a teacher for 14 years. 9 of those were as a 5th grade teacher. The first year my students took the Science MSP, only a third of them met standard.
So I pretty much sucked as a science teacher and being the competitive badass that I am that just didn’t cut it. There began my obsession towards doing better for my students.
Fast forward to now and my extreme love affair with all things science. My passion evolved from that experience as a 5th grade teacher.
So on Monday, my 8th graders are going to take their first ever Science MSP. Normally they would have taken it in 5th grade, but that was the year of the Oso slide and because of the sensitive nature of the concepts on the test, these kids were waived from the assessment that year.
On Monday, they will have the opportunity to show what they’ve learned during their middle school years. And for most of them, I have been their ONLY middle school science teacher. Like they’ve literally been stuck with me all. three. years. Poor kids. Therefore, everything they’ve been required to learn (as deemed by the great state of Washington) fell on my shoulders. To me this is a true test of my ability to motivate, engage and inspire science in these kids who have become “my kids”.
The test itself is not a terrible thing. It assesses good science: the ability to analyze data, make observations, draw conclusions, solve problems and design solutions. I mean that’s just good science.
Yet, I’ll never know what they didn’t know because I can’t see what answers they chose. I can’t even know the questions. I only know what we’ve practiced from the released items over the years.
So just to clarify my stance. The test itself is fine. The stress it causes is not.
My students should not be evaluated on just one assessment, and neither should I.
So I will continue to teach good science. I will continue to share my enthusiasm and energy and passion.
Whatever the results of the assessment, I hope that my 8th graders will leave middle school a little wiser and with a greater love for asking questions and seeking answers.
And I will most definitely continue to tell really bad jokes on the daily.
Like these ones:
Go on, make someone laugh today.
I dare you!