Today I have spent a lot of time reflecting on my current teaching situation and public education in general. I have come to many different conclusions throughout the day today and I really hope that I can maintain the dedication that I have today LOL. First off I realize that in my state public schools, sadly, are no longer child centered they are assessment centered. Administrators are judged based on their school grade, and the school grade is based on the students performance on the state standardized tests. This isn't going to change and there is nothing I can do to change it. That is the first thing I had to realize, all the whining and complaining in the world isn't going to change this. Then I started thinking about when I was about a 4th or 5th year teacher, I was teaching kindergarten and at that time I was doing something unheard of in Kindergarten. I was doing small group reading instruction beginning in September. At that time it was supposedly not age appropriate to begin small group reading instruction until January (the 2nd half of the year) I was constantly being told that I wasn't doing the right thing and I would say "OK" and I would be told that I needed to teach reading whole group until later in the year and I would say "OK" and I would get sideways looks and whispered comments when we would have team meetings and everyone would be discussing what story they were working on that week and I wouldn't say much, because I wasn't doing what they were doing and I would be told that I need to be doing the same story as everyone else and I would say "OK." Then after all those "OKs" were said I would go back to my classroom, close my door, and do what I knew was best for the kids in my charge. Within 2 years I had students with the highest DIBELS scores on the entire grade level and those same teachers and administrators who were telling me I was doing the wrong thing were coming to me to see what I was doing to get such good scores.
Now I am faced with a similar situation. We are required to give weekly skills test, whether we have taught the skill or not (don't even get me started) and then we report back the scores, which are then posted in the data room, then we have to "reteach" (which is a little odd since in order to REteach something, you have to have TAUGHT it in the first place... again don't get me started) and retest and report those scores so they can also be posted for all to see. This has been the source of my stress and I have just come to the conclusion that I am going to do what I did before. They are going to say "test this skill" I will say "OK" and then I am not even going to pay attention to the scores, unless it is a skill I have taught thoroughly, they can post them all they want, if mine are the lowest scores and they ask me what I am going to do about it I will simply tell them "I plan to teach the skill thoroughly before the state standardized test." I will give whatever test they want me to give, I will report whatever scores they want me to report, and I will go to whatever meeting they want me to go to. Then I will go back to my classroom, close my door, and TEACH my students not train them on how to take a test. If I do this I really believe my students will do fine on our state standardized assessments and hopefully they will do outstanding on those assessments. The only way I can make a difference is by proving that child centered teaching is more effective than test centered teaching. All anyone seems to pay attention to is data and the only real data that counts is the state test. Wish me luck!