Will This Be On The Test?

by lisa st john

board-413157_640

This is the value of the teacher, who looks at a face and says there’s something behind that and I want to reach that person, I want to influence that person, I want to encourage that person, I want to enrich, I want to call out that person who is behind that face, behind that color, behind that language, behind that tradition, behind that culture. I believe you can do it. I know what was done for me. —Maya Angelou

Could someone give me a number please? My humanity is questioned daily by captchas (should I be worried that it takes me at least two tries each time?) The robot on the other end of the phone wants my routing number, not my name. And guess how my clients (public school children and parents) are supposed to tell if I am “highly effective?”

A number.

I don’t have a number.

I work for kids and their parents (sorry administration, but you can change far more often than seasons so even though you sign the checks…the parents taxfully write them.)

So I am asking the blogosphere for help.

I need a number.

Please send the appropriate algorithm, formula, or matrix–via the comments section below—so non-educators can assign me the correct scores. You know, from the tests.

Please assign a numerical score to the following scenarios.

Sam lost her scholarship and Renee lost her virginity. Both are equally upset. Do I (A) make the time to talk to Sam, (B) make the time to talk to Renee, (C) make the time to talk to them both, or (D) send them to the counselor and go make copies of a multiple choice packet that will certainly be on the test?

Lily just got out of rehab for heroin addiction so I bet she doesn’t much feel like writing an essay about whether or not the United States should hold another Olympic game. Probably not too high on her priority list, but hell. It’s part of the test. (Do I get a high score for getting her to write it anyway, luring her with some one on one time after school?)

Erik, who prefers Erika thank you very much, needs to talk about the fact that s/he thinks Gerri has an eating disorder. Do I skip lunch, sit with them, and listen, or do I send them to the social worker with a signed pass? Then I would have time to yell at them with my big red pen because they incorrectly used the oxford comma.

BUT WHEN DO I COPY THE MULTIPLE-CHOICE PACKETS!?

Did I mention that I teach in a public high school? I teach English (according to all the paperwork). I teach English. Damn. Here I thought that I taught kids. You know, YOUNG … HUMAN … PEOPLE?!

Sorry. Back to the numbers. It’s difficult because I don’t know numbers. I know words. I do remember the numbers 10:32 (when I called David to see why he wasn’t in school for the third day in a row). I remember that the coroner said he was already dead—that he had shot himself at around 9:00. I know that number.

I wrote J up for ditching my class and when he asked why I told him that I cared about where he was.

I called home about S and the long sleeves in the summer and when she asked why (since she was a straight A student) I told her that I cared about her, not her grades.

But… I still need a number, a score. Did I mention that my effectiveness as an educator must be linked to the students’ test scores? None of this will be on any standardized test.

I want to give Ann an “A” for showing up and graduating on time even though her dad is in jail and she has to get her younger siblings to school every day because her mom works the graveyard shift.

I want to give Bill a “B” because he is smart but lazy.

I want to give Carrie a “C” because she is an “A” student on paper but it’s causing so much stress that Ativan has been prescribed and no “A” should cost that much.

And I really, really want to give Daniel a “D” even though he is technically failing because taking English III a second time is not going to benefit him in any way, shape, or form.

So. Have you learned enough? Can you please give me a number?

Then I can add it to the kids’ scores to figure out if I am effective or not. Okay? Easy, no?

When non-educators stop telling educators how to teach—oh what a world that would be.

Dear Politicians:

I feel like a square in a Sudoku puzzle. Just line me up, fill me in and by the time you are done I will still be in the trenches laughing when L finally “gets” the deeper meanings about human kindness from reading (insert redundant novel title here since it’s not on the test).

I will still be hugging T when he gets into (insert far too expensive ivy-league school title here).

I will still share their joys and their sorrows. I promise to teach ninth graders how to use a tissue instead of their sleeve. I hereby solemnly swear I will still be teaching children and not tests. I’ll see you on the other side of this pendulum.

Sincerely,

Teacher

Disclaimer: At no time were any students’ real names used in this blog. No FERPA or HIPPA or confidentiality agreements have been broken, bent, or twisted. This is all fucking hypothetical, fictional, and hair-tearing-ly ethical.

Leave a Reply

1 Comment on "Will This Be On The Test?"

Leave a Reply

Sort by:   newest | oldest | most voted
Denise
Guest

Awesome. From me. The mother of a senior.

wpDiscuz
%d bloggers like this: