Posts Tagged ‘nochildleftbehind’

Who is struggling?


As I look over my roster of scores from last year’s abysmal performance on the state math tests, I have to give a sigh and simply shake my head.

Some of the kids who did poorly really do surprise me.  They had math averages in the 80’s last year (yes, I checked).  They are bright and competent. They should have done better, but they didn’t.  I ask myself, “What could I have done to have made these scores better?”  My only thought is that I could have emphasized the seriousness of the testing to them instead of trying to hard to get them to relax.

I guess I could have told them that the reputation of our school rested on their performance. I could have said that my future in teaching lay in their hands, and that they had better be sure to demonstrate all of the skills that I had so carefully taught them.  I could have let them know that in a year or so, my salary will be tied to how well they do on these tests.  They would have known that they would be literally causing me harm if they failed to pass the test.

But they liked me.  A lot.  I’m not sure that putting all that pressure on them would have somehow raised those scores.

Because, you see, three of the five who should have succeeded were already struggling with issues around anxiety.  They were all in therapy with various counselors to deal with that anxiety, and two were actually on medication for the disorder.

So sue me.  I thought I was doing the right thing by trying to minimize the pressure. I thought that I was easing the stress on the kids.

Clearly I made a mistake. Clearly those in power in the world of education would prefer to raise the scores than to lower the anxiety.

This year I’ll scare the hell out of them.  I promise…..

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