In which I complain about work

Yes, I realize that people I work with read this. Yes, I realize that people in other places have been fired for talking about work on their blogs.

I’m not about to say anything here that I wouldn’t tell anyone I work with anyway, so I’m not that worried about it.

This week was TAKS testing, and the party line, the district mantra, the state mandate is that these tests are good for measuring student achievement. Maybe so, but they’re breeding a generation of anxiety attacks, and not just in the kids. When a third grader nervous because they might not pass third grade if they miss the test or don’t pass the test, something is wrong with the system. A single test should not be the determining factor for a child’s success.

What makes it worse is that my school district makes people in my position go out and monitor the test, meaning that we go out to the schools to make sure they’re not cheating. This just adds a bunch more stress on the teachers and students, and I don’t care what the testing director for the district says, every campus I’ve set foot on has had nervous teachers and counselors because they’re afraid I’m going to write them up for things they’re doing wrong.

I try my best to put the counselors, principals and teachers at ease and let them know that I understand what they’re going through. I remember what it was like to be a teacher, but there are test monitors who don’t remember, and who take the opportunity to strike fear in the people they’re supposed to be there helping. Each of the past two years I’ve heard horror stories on the campuses I’ve monitored about their last test monitor and how mean they were, or how they just made everyone feel uncomfortable.

It’s really a shame. It’s a long enough week as it is, especially for the teachers who have to sit for hours on end watching kids take a test. No reading, no grading, no email, nothing. It’s mind-numbing, and having someone there looking over your shoulder for a mistake that could cost you your teaching certificate makes it that much worse.

It’s the part of my job that I dislike the most, so I try to make sure the staff at the campus aren’t afraid of me. I do my job, but I make sure they know I’m in their corner. It’s too bad everyone doesn’t do that. We’ll all be glad when this week is over.

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