Shelly wrote a post titled WHY HOMESCHOOLING WORKS and she also wrote TEACHERS ARE NOT BROKEN. These two posts were like a breath of fresh air to me.
Shelly writes, "Men and women work very hard in college to train. They have high hopes of becoming the teacher kids enjoy. They want to teach with their own personality, in their own time-frame and with the ability God instilled in them. What they find when they arrive on the job are rules, stipulations, road blocks and denial. They must force the kids to know the material "on time" for the test. They must force parents to teach at home. They must force families to push their children beyond their capabilities at times so the child is not behind. The joy is stripped of teachers in such a way that it is very hard to pass the joy of learning on to their classroom full of students."
Today is the first day back with my students. The 3rd, 4th and 5th grade students will be spending the next 3 weeks doing the SBA's, New Mexico's standardized testing. To put it bluntly....IT SUCKS! Everything comes to a screeching halt while we're doing these tests. All the extra programs, like P.E., art, computer lab, etc. are cancelled because we use all available teachers. Administrators are so stresses about doing well on these tests that they have passed this stress onto the teachers and we feel compelled to teach a certain way and cover a certain amount of material, no matter whether the children are getting it or not.
How do these tests tell you whether I am a good teacher or not? I know you have to evaluate me, but really!?! Now, what about coming in, unannounced, on any given day? That will give you a better picture of my teaching ability. Whomever designed these tests needs their head examined! Why would you put a question on a test asking a kid in New Mexico (remember now...we are landlocked)...about a YACHT! I've taught for 19 years and 95% of my students pronounce this word: y (as in the spanish work "ya")...a (as in "at")...ch (as in "church")...t (as in "Tom")! Don't even get me started...I could go on and on.....
My other point: How does one test or set of tests tell you all the things your child knows or their true ability level? Many students have a fear of tests, don't eat breakfast most of the time, don't care, or have a different learning style. I know tests are a given and children need to learn to deal, but aren't the elementary years when I should be helping them overcome these fears, figure out how they learn best and giving them a love of learning. These tests just freak the children out.
No Child Left Behind is a crock of @#$% and so is standardized testing. I refuse to put more stress on these 10 year olds then they already have. During testing, I bring in snacks every morning, suspend homework, do a lot of art projects and tell them to do the best they can.
Until the public school system gets a major overhaul, keep homeschooling your kids. You're the best teacher they could ever have.