Test Day Differences

Teaching in a Renewal makes it hard to de-emphasize the state tests to my students. The truth is, our school is under a lot of pressure to improve our test scores. That pressure trickles down in all sorts of obvious and less obvious ways. Still, I do my best to tell my students not to stress about the test, and that it's just one small part of how we check what they've learned.

But, when the tests rolled around this year, I realized I undermined everything I've said with what I did.
Source: Flickr

I might have said many times that the test is no big deal, but then why did I treat the testing days so differently?

Two main ways that I treated the kids differently on the four days of state exams were by making sure we made time for a GoNoodle activity to relax them and by bringing in tangerines and yogurt smoothies for any kids who missed breakfast.

I know the reason why I don't do these every day. Morning meeting already feels like a luxury some days. It's not built into our schedule, so I often feel pressure to jump into reading if we're running late. As far as breakfast is concerned, I can't really spend the money it would take. So I just trust the kids to come to school in time for free breakfast.

Whatever the rationale is, my actions still send an implicit message: Today it matters if you start the day stressed, unfocused, and/or hungry. Today I won't allow that to happen.

This obviously doesn't sit well with me. But I'm not sure the solution is as simple as buying breakfast every day or adding a GoNoodle into our morning routine (although that wouldn't be so difficult).

But now that I know that many of my kids skip breakfast, or remain hungry even after eating breakfast, I need to think about how to respond to that. I need to think about how to work with families, administrators, and other school personnel to make sure my kids get their needs met whether it's breakfast or a fun activity to start the day.


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