Education Opinion

Sittin’ around on my assessment

By Katie Hanifin — May 14, 2009 1 min read
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Ahh, May! How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.

Well, maybe I should first acknowledge that, as a teacher, there are a lot of things I don’t like about the month of May, then we can get to the good stuff. For example, I don’t particularly like that each May I find myself characteristically cramming five units into three weeks. And, as the weather warms, I’m not a big fan of seeing more cleavage in the high school hallways than in an R-rated movie.

But I digress; I do love May - the fresh spring air, the bountiful blossoms. I offer the latter both literally and metaphorically, as every once in a while a student just “gets” a particular concept after months of laborious instruction. But I’m going to be brutally honest, here.

I, Katie Hanifin, derive a perverse joy from the subliminal transfer of all my effort, urgency, intention, and worry to my students. After all, it’s final exam time.

That’s right children, behold the state test. I drop it dramatically before them with a THUD. A sweeping sense of righteousness overcomes me as I peer into the stressed expressions of my normally apathetic audience. Like a vindicated prophet, no longer a dismissible babbler of you-need-to-know-this, I am elevated to communal sage, Keeper of the Supreme Secrets.

Whereas before I would pester them to give of their after school time, I’m now the belle of the ball with too many suitors. Why can’t every month be like May?

Well, that’s a good question and it forces me to ask myself, why have I been sitting all year long on my assessment? Is it really the assessment that drives instruction? I do love to say that so as to sound like I know what I’m doing. But something’s not right here. In the real world, how many big, scary tests are waiting for you every May? How do we manage to continually and collectively improve, create, elevate, and enlighten our world if no one is threatening us with No. 2 pencils?

The more I think about the big, scary, all-encompassing assessments that await my students in the coming weeks, I’m starting to think that this might be a giant conspiracy by a mind-eating robot named Scantron. Who’s with me?!

It looks like I’m going to have to find another purpose to all this learning than the wait-until-May romance.

The opinions expressed in Teaching Generation Tech are strictly those of the author(s) and do not reflect the opinions or endorsement of Editorial Projects in Education, or any of its publications.