Passion and Testing are NOT Synonymous

Passion. This word has become part of my vernacular more and more. In fact, I think it’s starting to haunt me. I hear it conversations. I hear it on the news. I consider myself very passionate about teaching and learning. But I question myself often, is that enough?

Being a participant of EduCon 2.3 this year made me realize that I have succumbed to the fear of test results and let some of my passion die. I try to do things that are unique, challenge students to use their imagination and be curious. But when it comes down to it, and March 1 is upon us, all I can think about is THAT TEST. You know, the one written in 1991, that is so biased and prejudicial against my English Language Learners that they don’t stand a chance. Yeah, that one. They literally have no clue what some of the items are that are listed as options, so YES, I do have to actually prepare them for it. When this season comes, I lose my own fire for teaching because who wants to practice taking a test? It’s awful!

So where does that leave me? Well I am seeing that this is definitely not how I want the next month to be. Sure I may only have a minimum amount of days left until we officially start (16, but who’s counting), but is that what I want my 2nd graders really focusing on for a month? In short, no. This is an age where children are so curious and can amaze me with their own drive to learn. I’m thinking of a project. I’m not sure what exactly. I don’t know what it will involve, I don’t know what final product I even want. All I do know is that I want them to take something on (language ability aside), research it, synthesize the information to the best of their abilities, translate the information in their own words, and produce something to share with the class and hopefully beyond our class. Because once they see the power of their work put out there for a real audience other than me, they will crave more.

My passion quotient is low right now. But that has to stop. I’m going to go against the grain and do something that gets my students excited about learning again. It’s such a novel thought, right? Well, fingers crossed…

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