Posts Tagged ‘state tests’

Dear DOE, I have an explanation.

Dear DOE,

I know that you are wondering why I can’t seem to get all of my students into the “Proficient” category on those famous state tests.

Well, I think I have a sort of an explanation.  Just hear me out, OK?

Today is a good example of the kind of things that can go wrong when a well meaning teacher tries her best to keep the focus on the math tests.

You see, I got up nice and early (well before the sun made its appearance in the Eastern sky).  I poured my coffee into a travel mug and hit the road bright and early.    I got to work an hour and a quarter before the kids did.  I figured that was more than enough time to print out and copy the four levels of math worksheets that I had created last night.  I figured that I would have plenty of time to put them into folders for each math group, and to add in some challenge work for the kids who finished early.

But I didn’t know that my Principal would come into my classroom by the light of the rising sun to tell me that one of my students had sexted another yesterday.  I didn’t know that he and I would need to talk for twenty minutes as part of the investigation into the event, or that we’d need to call the local police to arrange a visit from the School Resource Officer.   I did what I needed to do, but it meant that I lost half of my planning and organizing time.  I was just a little behind.

When the kids came in and the day began, I thought I might have a few minutes to review the math lesson and go over the four different activities that were planned to make sure that every student was appropriately challenged.  I didn’t expect that one student would come in and ask to conference about the football game from Friday’s recess.  I spent some time with her and her classmate, reviewing the expectations about being “inclusive” and about insuring that everyone felt safe.

The kids went off to PE class and I thought that maybe I could get caught up and get that math material pulled together.   Yeah.


The Principal and Vice Principal had to meet with our team to set up an emergency assembly for the entire grade to address the pressing issue of inappropriate internet use.  No planning time.

Then I lost half of my math teaching time while the cop and the Principal read the ten year olds the riot act about sending nasty notes via Instagram.

I still harbored delusions that I might be able to get everything pulled together before the end of the day.  Maybe during my lunch?

Nope, it wasn’t to be.  Instead of leveling my math homework, I spent most of my lunch time on the phone with a mother who was trying to convince me that her child is special, and that because of her specialness, the Mom should be immediately chosen to come on our three day camping field trip, instead of going through the regular chaperone lottery.  She absolutely didn’t “know what to say” when I told her that she had to face the same odds as everyone else.  She was outraged.  She used up all of my free time, but she still wouldn’t accept the facts and hang up the phone.

Finally, lunch recess was over and I went to meet the kids at the door.  As I got ready to walk them all back to the classroom, one child pushed his way inside, rushing past me.  “Karen! I think I’m going to throw up!”  I rushed down the hall, herding him toward the boys bathroom.  As I did, the hallway filled with the sound of kids’ voices.  “Karen!!  Quick!  Lia has a huge cicada!  Can we bring him in?!”  I raced after pukey boy while calling over my shoulder, “Bring him in, but put him in a specimen tank!”

We got back to the room, we observed our cicada and talked about his life span.  I checked on the puker and sent him off to the nurse, gathered the kids together for a talk about safe and respectful internet behavior and before I knew it, the day was over.

Dear DOE, I really am trying hard to think about the Common Core. I truly am. But between the sexting, the cops, the angry Mommas, the vomiting and the giant bugs I just don’t seem to have time.

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