Tuesday, May 26, 2015

It's Just Another Year of Regents Review--Or Is It?

In the throes of Regents review, it's Danielson be damned.  Tests, to some extent, might measure my ability to prep my students and their ability to be prepped or to prep themselves.  Tests certainly do not measure my ability to teach.  Regents review is not good teaching.  It is an attempt to superficially cover a great breadth of material--with the hope that the students work as hard as their teacher.

A group of students in the back are a little too social.  Instead of exclusively helping each other with a set of questions, they stray into forbidden topics of conversation.  I have flashbacks.

In days of old, I told such students, the review is designed solely to benefit you.  I've passed all my tests in life (and with flying colors).  If you wish to disregard the work, you, alone, will suffer the consequences.

But today, who am I kidding?  These students can take me down--despite my best efforts to help them--through sheer laziness, simple teenage sociability or the distractions of modern-day technology.  Then, again, it might be any one of a thousand of other things...that could take down our entire school.

My students' performance on tests has little correlation to my skill as a teacher.  As a student, I did well whether my teacher was great or mediocre.  Other students would do poorly whether their teacher was great or mediocre.  Test performance doesn't even correlate well to the intelligence of students.  Test performance tells me more about who buys into the system.  Quite often, it seems to tell the story of a socio-economic status.  Sometimes, it only tells whether a person had a good day or not--which can be hit or miss.

Some of those kids socializing in the back are sharp as can be.  They just choose to apply their intelligence to spheres other than studying.  And, although I wish they would study a little harder, I'm fond of those students.  I'm fond of all my classes.  Too bad, they're being misused by ed. reformers to drag me down and boot me out!  Too bad they're being misused to close public schools!  Too bad they're being used to destroy unionized labor and middle-class respectability!
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