It's that dreaded time of year again.
The names are posted on the window of the trophy case to tell my students when to be where for testing. Today is the last day I have with my students before they test on Monday.
Where has this school year gone? Each year that I teach, the time seems to go by faster and faster and faster. It seems like only a couple of months ago that I was debating where to hang posters on my wall. Now, I'm thinking about taking down all of my decorations for the summer. My mind is already percolating with all of the new activities I want to create, blog posts I want to write, posters I want to make, and policies I want to change for next year over the summer months.
How will my kids do on their tests on Monday? I don't know. I know I've covered all of the concepts. But, I'm well aware that there are so many concepts that I could have taught in a better way. I could have connected mathematical ideas better. I could have challenged my students with more rigorous problems. I could have done a better job of spiraling through review as the year progressed instead of solely focusing on review since returning from Spring Break. I learned a lot from implementing full-blown SBG this year for the first time. And, by that, I mean I made a heap of mistakes. The order I taught certain topics also made things worse. However, there are also things that I did a better job of teaching this year than I ever have before. Let's just say my Algebra 2 students are going to rock the dividing polynomials section of the EOI. And, we didn't use long division or synthetic division a single time! I made my Algebra 1 students justify their answers way more than I usually do. I held students to a higher standard than I have in the past.
In years past, I would be freaking out right about now. Will I be freaking out Monday morning? Yeah. Do you want to know why? I'm going to be in a room with my Algebra 1 students who are being forced to take a standardized test. A test that will tell my school district how well I did my job. A test that will label my students as smart or dumb. A test that will make me feel like a success or a failure. A test that will determine whether my students will be able to graduate with their high school diploma. A test that my kids will be stressing about because I've spent the entire year reminding them what a big deal it is. A test that many of my students are already convinced they are going to fail because they've never passed their standardized math tests before.
What if I taught an entire school year without ever mentioning our end of instruction exam? Could I do that? What if I tried to convince my students that they should learn math concepts on their own merit instead of forcing them to master concepts because they are tested? Food for thought...