Wednesday, March 26, 2014
1. All week this week, we Language Arts teachers have been administering the SAGE end-of-level writing test to our students. Standardized testing is the worst, and the most awful thing about the new tests we have to give out this year is that my Language Arts classes have TWO FULL WEEKS of testing (just for my subject alone). I mean, that's enough to make anyone feel pretty sorry for the students (since all in all, they'll be in the computer lab taking standardized tests for four full weeks), but I feel sorry for MYSELF as a teacher because every day of end-of-level testing is high-stress and high-boredom for me. It's a bad combination, and I'm going a little out of my mind.
(Also, I am firmly convinced that students have an unconscious signal in their brain that tells them to wait until I'm finally sitting down to raise their hand so I have to get up again and come help them.)
2. As proof of how crazy testing makes me, I had this big presentation I had to give in front of my whole faculty on Monday after school. For anyone unfamiliar about how education works in Utah, all second-year teachers are required to put together this massive portfolio that proves how we've been meeting all the teaching standards, and then we're required to present it in front of the district. Normally, you're just required to present it in front of about six or seven people, but my school decided to have me do it in front of the entire faculty, which is comprised of about fifty people. That fact alone isn't so bad (since I don't really mind public speaking), except for the fact that as I was reading aloud my reflection on my first years of teaching, I started to CRY--not because I was stressed out or scared due to the presentation, but just because whenever I talk about emotional things, I tend to sob like a little girl (which means I'm pretty much a bawl baby every Sunday at church).
It was mortifying.
What made it even worse almost is how sweet everyone was about it---they kept coming up to me after and telling me how endearing or cute they found the presentation, and I just wanted to die.
At least everybody got free ice cream cones out of the whole thing since my faculty was kind enough to turn the whole thing into a celebration for everyone.
At least there was that.
3. On Monday, just before I was about to go out on my run, I proudly announced to Matt that I was not sore AT ALL from my too-long run on Saturday. In fact, I was even kind of excited to get out and hit the pavement again (get some of that stress out from standardized testing!). Well, my pride went before my fall, I guess--I hadn't taken three steps before I realized that there was NO WAY I was going to be able to pull a 3-miler out of my board-like legs.
(Apparently my legs just didn't feel any soreness from something as weak and pitiful as walking around all day in a testing lab---apparently they only wanted me to feel their wrath when I was trying to attempt any pace faster than a small rodent's.)
4. Last note on the standardized tests and I swear I'll stop---so apparently because of the backlash over the Common Core, some parents are putting up a fight against the school and choosing to have their students "opt out" of taking the test. Now, I'm all for standing up for your constitutionally protected rights (as well as your kids'), but what is NOT cool is that all of the kids whose parents have opted them out have been some of my higher-performing kids, which just means that my overall class scores are going to look lower than they actually are.
It's stupid that I should even care, but since the education powers-that-be are threatening to put us on merit-based pay starting next year (and a third of our overall "merit" as a teacher comes from how our students perform on standardized tests), I'm a little less-than-thrilled about the whole thing.
5. I was doing pretty well with my whole "not eating sugar during the week" resolution I set at the beginning of this month until we took our trip to Yellowstone. Since then, it's been back to the cake and the gummy worms and the chocolate daily in order to cope with all the stress going on at work (since running alone apparently is not a good enough coping mechanism).
Maybe April will be a good time to start afresh with that particular goal...