Monday, February 13, 2006

Testing Blues

I received a frantic email from a teacher over the weekend. She is doing her very best to have kids prepared for our state exam. She has taught them well....and last week, she gave them a practice test. They blew the practice test. Now, she's in a frenzy. I think she is questioning if what she has done was OK...and/or "enough".

We work with some very low readers. They struggle. They lack background knowledge to help them understand what they read. It's not easy for them. These are not excuses...but they are conditions that exist with this population.

She is an EXCELLENT teacher. She works very hard. She is compassionate and passionate. She cares deeply for her kids. She teaches well.

I don't think questioning your practice is a bad thing...but I think she is actually doubting her ability to teach. This is wrong.

So, how do I help her to trust herself AND do the healthy type of questioning? I don't want her to be so uptight about this test. I want her to know that in the end she did the best that she knew how (and then some) some point, the student has to take over. I want her to know that she is an excellent teacher and that our profession (and our school) is better for her being here. I want her to know that this one test is not the be all and end all of proficiency measurement.

Most of all...I want her to trust herself and her ability to work with kids in powerful ways.