Sad quote of the week

There I was in front of my fifth grade classroom, reading aloud from the beautiful book, “Inside Out and Back Again”. We had spent the morning  taking the state mandated reading tests (MCAS ELA) and I thought that we needed something more interesting and soothing to bring down the level of nervous energy in the room.

During the test itself, the kids had been focused and silent: they understand the importance of the test. They lined up their pencils and erasers, carefully placed their water bottles under their desks and they worked diligently for the hour and a half that it took the last student to double check his bubble sheet.

We had gone out for recess when we were finished, and then the kids had eaten lunch.  Now it was time to settle down with a good book for a few minutes before I tried to squeeze in a math lesson (in preparation for the upcoming MCAS Math test).

I was talking about the setting of the book, which is the story of a Vietnamese family who escapes Saigon after the war and comes to the US.  My ten year old students knew nothing about the war or about that time in American history, and they asked a lot of good questions.  We looked at Google Earth, we read about the history of Vietnam, we discussed the Cold War. They were fascinated. Finally, I told them that it was time to wrap up our “Read Aloud” time and there was a chorus of groans.

“You really love history!”, one child exclaimed.  I smiled in agreement. I do love to teach history!  “But I don’t get it,” he continued.

“If it isn’t on the MCAS, why do we learn it?”

What could I possibly say to that?


7 responses to this post.

  1. so. sad.


  2. That IS sad… and a sign of the times.


  3. Oh, that’s awful! That is a sad quote. And my son read that book and loved it. Glad you are reading it to your class.


    • The thing is, the kids really love it. They are asking me to look at Google earth, asking me about the war, asking me about what it means to be a refugee. This is real learning; but it saddens me so much to realize that they think “learning” means “its going to be on the test.”


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