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This week at our school we are taking the ‘No Child Left Behind, test for the third time. We make all of the students do it three times even if they excel the first time. As you can imagine middles school students begin to shut down and see no relevance in a test that does not impact their classroom grades. My own personal child, that is a Senor this year, has taken A.P. Calculus, Chemistry, Physics,History, and English but has not managed to pass the ‘science test’. What do I say to her? Wow, what a failure you are! Or do I suggest that online testing is not for everyone, or ‘hey it is not the end of the world’ and even I an exemplary educator, whose job depends on the students passing the test, see no relevance to it. Move on with your life. She has stated that she knows that all of the other parents will be pointing and laughing at her because she will be one of the ‘stupid’ students without a special tassel denoting that she has passed all of her NLB tests. She says this and laughs but I wonder if she really does care and sees herself as ‘stupid’. If so then I have done a terrible job parenting this smart, beautiful, caring, dependable, hardworking, sensitive, and funny young lady.
I know that in my classroom I focus on the learning process. Yes, there are certain concepts, facts, and vocabulary words that have to be presented and regurgitated by the students. As a parent and an educator I have the overwhelming need to have my own children and my students learn to be learners. I want them to participate in their lives and not just watch them go by. If I can just get a few to be thinkers, leaders, and committed learners then I will have had a successful career. So far I have been successful on the home front and I know that I have actually reached a few middle school students as well. Therefore, as of this minute I am patting myself figuratively on the back and I hope to go to school tomorrow on another Monday and start the process all over again.