the results are in...

May 18, 2012

There is a reason school is out for two months every year, you are burned slap out and can't stand to look at another text book. Not just the teachers either, kids are worn out. 

I've been so physically and mentally exhausted lately and haven't been able to place my finger on it. I think I figured it out today...I am just tired and need a change of pace. Teaching 4th grade (and 8th I imagine) is insanely stressful. 5th grade was nothing like this, and I had enough behavior issues to send the most sane person ever into a cursing fit. I blame it all on state testing. 

So why is state testing more stressful for these two grades and not the ones in between? Well the short version of it, our scores count twice for the school. Schools have to reach and maintain a certain growth target or they end up in big trouble to say the least. 

You can have the most well trained and highly qualified teachers on Earth, but without receptive students you don't have jack. 

It's a gamble, one big gamble. One I have become very numb to. 

I got the news today that not a single kid in the two classes I teach failed the test...our whole grade did amazing. The common teacher reaction was total freak out. I realized I didn't react appropriately when I was met with confused stares from the administration as they came in my room to give me the news. I just kind of looked at them, smiled, and said "oh that's great." 

Umm, wrong reaction. 

I tend to do this in stressful situations though, when I can't control past a certain point I enact a "who cares" attitude to keep myself worry free. But seriously, what else can I do? I taught everything I could, I can't take the test for them. There is no need to worry, just face the music when D-Day appears. Luckily for me there was no fearful music to face. However, I've taken my fair share of standardized tests and I know what it feels like. 

I tell every group of kids I teach that I was in the first group to take the LEAP in 8th grade where it counted as pass or fail for the year. I passed, but the feeling of walking to the Jr. High during the summer to find that out is something I will never forget. It was sheer torture. 

So where was I going with this? 
A break.
I need a break. 

Will I get a break?
Not completely.

Next week marks the beginning of summer school training, then the real summer school deal. What will I teach? ELA. Do I know much else...not one bit. Hopefully different kids and a different setting with help me out of this lesson plan induced funk. (I had great kids, I am just exhausted!) The only downside to summer school is the fact that we have to give that dandy test again at the end of the month, whoop de doo. 

Hopefully I can muster up some genuine excitement over the next week for these new kids. Because let's face it, I suck at faking it.