Tuesday, March 19, 2013

"Teach them right"

How is it March already?
Here comes testing. Crunch time! Data! Skills! Drills! Strategies! How do you not know this?! What are you doing?! Bubble! Bubble! Bubble!

In an attempt to survive last year, I kept a running Microsoft Word document on my computer as an ongoing journal. I came across it late tonight as I was frantically searching Pinterest and old documents for any and all materials to aid the upcoming testing cram.

Unfortunately, many of the anecdotes are abbreviated, but they still brought back fond memories...

"First day: forgot pencils. Kids had to use colored pencils until I could frantically sharpen. Oops."
"Day two: need marshmallows."
"We earned a dance party."
"Next time: put dance party at the absolute end of the day."
"G dressed up as 'gigantic' for the vocabulary parade- he got stuck between several desks."
"This is the hardest job in the world. Considering benefits of a cubicle job."
"L read Mac and Cheese today. Whole class celebration. Best job ever."
"I wonder if any teacher has ever started using drugs after Red Ribbon Week."
"Went outside for math on the sidewalk. Felt like Ron Clark."
"So proud of J's dolphin story... only to find out it was the plot line of Dolphin Tale."
"M was mad at me today... she wrote all her spelling sentences about me.
 Examples include: 'My tractor is cooler than Ms. Mahan's,' and 'My freezer is better than Ms. Mahan's." (ir/ar/or words week) Every word is used correctly! Celebrated them and hung them above my desk, much to her mortification."
"J sat on all the tadpoles. Mass chaos. Still finding tadpoles in the carpet. Room stinks."
"D ate lamination. Just ate it off the floor."
"T's journal entry: 'We ate the goat this weekend. Mom ate the nuts..'"
"Can't seem to let go of my babies that move. Where are they? I wasn't done yet."
"Cried proud momma tears all throughout the talent show. What talent. Not one bit of it was measurable by state testing standards. Our kids are amazing. Best job ever."

Now I'm sad I haven't kept up the same journal habits as last year.
Funny, though- very few of the memories have to do with what I taught academically... and hardly any of my favorites are academic based.  The same holds true when I look back on this year.

Sure, their test scores are what my job depends on.
Those are what keep the school's doors open.

But it's not what makes it worth it.

That student- "M," who hated my guts (and expressed it through spelling) coming back to hug me and sheepishly read her sentences from the previous year... that's worth it.

Watching J, one of my toughest cases, mentor a younger student about how to control his attitude while she kills it in 4th grade and earns student of the month.... that's worth it.

Every teacher knows this.  That's why we're still teaching.
Testing season makes us forget, though.  So this year.. let's not forget.

Let's teach 'em right.