Tag Archives: Testing

No more theory, put it into practice.

15 Mar

I need a break. I can’t remember what I did this morning (which feels like three days ago), let alone what I blogged about five weeks ago. Thankfully, I have technology to do most of my remembering for me. I have been taking on more teaching responsibilities in the classroom this week, as well as pounding out and polishing up final papers for my teaching courses. I will be thrilled when the last paper is submitted and I can maybe sleep more than 5 hours or even go for a run.

This quarter has been a roller coaster. December was hard. It began with a shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary school, on December 14. I sat down and cried, and found solace in a song. Later in December, I had a huge change in my life, and was lucky to discover people who truly care about me. I initially didn’t want to blog about it, but I found it was profoundly affecting my life – and I began to wonder about students who have trouble and changes at home, and how it affects their learning. So I shared. A little. I opened up my private life to the internet and made my thoughts public. It was hard, but I feel it is important to always remember that our students have a lot going on in their lives that they may not tell us about, but that can immensely impact their school life.

This quarter, I have been inspired by teachers who are not afraid to take a stance and to dive into the politics of education. The many teachers in Seattle who refused to administer the MAP test have been receiving national attention. I wrote a post about it, which prompted some interesting dialogue in the comments. Additionally, I have greatly enjoyed reading The Jose Vilson blog, and this post about white teachers teaching black history month was very striking. I commented that I often wondered about the “right way” to celebrate all of my students. He responded to me (and to the other commentors) with this post, giving some examples of what white teachers SHOULD (in his opinion) do to teach black history.

MAP testing is a hot topic, as one of my cohort-mates, For Whom The Bell Rings, wrote about a recent blog entry from our local weather guru, Cliff Mass. I commented with my own ideas, and the conversation that began in these blogs seeped out into the real world – our carpool, classrooms, and lunch times became sounding boards for ideas and arguments about this way of thinking. It’s just one example of how a blog post can create dialogue and push people’s thinking, on and off the internet.

So, there’s my blog reflection for Winter Quarter. In a week, full-time student teaching/co-teaching begins. We’ve learned the theory, crammed it into our heads, hoping something will stick. We’ve worked with fantastic educators and professionals, and even more fantastic (fantasticker? yeah.) students. Now we’ve got to put it into practice. Blogging isn’t required for the remainder of our program, but I think I would like to continue reflecting on my teaching on a blog, perhaps even collaborating with some of my cohort-mates.

Now, here I go on to the next assignment.

Test Anxiety

20 Jul

I’m a performer. I routinely do insane things on stage, that most people would be terrified of doing. And secretly, I’m terrified, too, but I go on stage and dance or speak or improvise and I LOVE IT. And I always know beforehand that I’m going to love it.
Taking tests, though – I hate them. I don’t know why, I’ve always been a decent student. I freaked out before taking the PSAT and the SAT and the ACT, and I did really well on all of them. I panicked before taking the WEST B and the WEST E for Elementary Education, which are two tests required to teach elementary school in Washington. I passed them both.

Tomorrow I’m taking the WEST E for middle school Humanities and Math, and I am more nervous than I have been for anything, in a very long time.

I know the material – I can do middle school math. And I’m not worried about social studies and language arts.
I already talked to the program adviser and he told me that I was NOT going to be kicked out of the program if I don’t pass this time – I just have to re-test in September. So it’s not like it’s the end of the world if I do poorly.
However, that doesn’t make me feel any better.

Math, math, math.

I used to love it. And this is exactly why I WANT to teach middle school math – in middle school, I didn’t understand geometry and my teacher didn’t explain it and for the first time in my life I wasn’t a high achiever. I tried and I tried, but I couldn’t figure out the math.

I can do geometry. I do geometry on a regular basis. I build things and sew things and garden and do all these things that require geometry. But I got a bad grade (I didn’t even fail, I think I got a C) in one class and it changed my whole outlook on math.

I want to be a better math teacher than that.

But first I have to (wo)man up and pass this test.

On the plus side – I will never dismiss my students who have test anxiety. It’s real, and it’s crippling.

On testing

24 May

I liked the story Bill Ayers told (in To Teach, 2010) about his son taking a standardized test:

Once, when Malik was telling me about his week of standardized testing, I asked “Did you learn anything from it?” He looked at me with mild disgust. “Bill,” he said patronizingly, “it was a test.” (p 125)

However, Ayers definitely believes we can learn things from standardized tests. Like the bias of those who wrote them. I found this cartoon on Pinterest and was struck by how aptly it applies to Ayers’ disgust for standardized tests.

Image

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