October of last year I wrote a post called Educational Matters. Some of the thoughts I shared resurfaced last week.
NCLB says over 90% of our students have to pass the test for reading this year. I won't even get into the practical side of this - and really, do I have to? Over 90%? In a perfect world.
However, no matter how much I know I just have to do my best, the pressure of it all is crushing. Couple this with the fact that the first week back from any long break, even a weekend sometimes, I have to fight my students for control of the room. By Friday I had things back to "normal," but I was feeling it.
Then one of my male students crushed me anew.
He's usually a mess when it comes to organization. His papers are everywhere, and they aren't covered with notes but doodles. He doesn't have many friends because even though he's immature, his ability to think is so far above his peers that no one wants to talk to him.
This is when things are normal.
I asked him how his break went.
"Oh, pretty much horrible."
I knew why. His parents are splitting up. Then, as he's picking up his multitude of papers, he says to me, "Are things going to get better?" I don't remember what I said, nothing helpful I'm sure.
What standardized test?
The next day I asked one of my colleagues her guess at how many of our students come from broken homes. "I don't think 80% would be an unfair estimate." I agreed.
Our students come from homes where, if they're not abusive, they're probably at least ignored. And if their families haven't fallen apart, there's a good chance it might. I don't have all that much to offer these kids on days when I'm stressing over test scores. In fact, on those days when I'm distant, I give them what they're used to: the cold shoulder.
I've said it before, and I'll say it again, sometimes education doesn't matter.
Oh, and the student I mentioned above, he'll kill the test. Not because of anything I've taught him, but because he reads constantly to get away from his life.