Yet another thing I didn’t understand about teachers until I became one: your students become your life.
Not in the obvious sense of how well you grow to know and love them, or how often you see them. More in the sense of ‘there’s a million other kids your age in the world yet my day-to-day revolves around you.’
The state and district tests are only weeks away and we have kicked it into overdrive. I’m talking benchmarks, countdowns, after school and Saturday tutorials, and a readjustment of daily schedule to add in even more tutorial time during school hours. I find myself constantly glancing at data (and I am not data people, folks) and trying to figure out which skill to reteach when. And how.
It feels like I am racing the clock to this test which is sort of silly because we’ve been teaching these major skills all year. But now it’s especially time to catch any students who’ve fallen through the cracks on various skills. I feel like my life is often fueled by preparing my students for this test, and sometimes I need to just take a step back and breathe.
When I do this, I am shocked at the reminder that these tests are not the main focus of everyone else’s life at the moment. The guy in the car next to me probably isn’t even aware when these tests are!! Ludicrous.
Students all over Texas are taking the STAAR. Students all over the country will take state tests. But my daily life is ruled by the upcoming test dates that apply to my students, and preparing them to excel. It is imperative they do well, though I don’t constantly recite the ‘why’ in my mind as I do the ‘what’ and ‘how.’
So in conclusion, there are 2 sides to me with 2 different feelings on this issue.
1. Serious and focused – it is ON with this test. We are going to practice and learn and rock this test. We are going to show that we’ve actually learned something this year. We are going to show that the students of YES Prep Fifth Ward can succeed despite where they come from.
2. There’s more to life – I am freaking out over a test. It is not the ACTs. It is not the SATs. It is not an AP test. It is a test that my students need to do well on because it is comprised of skills they need, to continue building the foundation toward success on aforementioned tests. Still. It is one group of students out of the MANY in the world. It is a 6th grade test. It is a state test.
Side 1 wins out again. Time to get planning!