Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Stress

Y'all, it is on weeks like this that I would seriously consider homeschooling. But then again maybe homeschooler's have to do standardized testing too.  I am not sure.


I have exactly 20 minutes to blog before I head out the door to go to the school cafeteria. This morning I had to bribe The Girl, with a promise to meet her for lunch, because she has been freaked out by the completely out-of-control chaos that is public school Standardized Testing week.

I am so irritated about how ridiculous the whole situation is. So much so that I probably shouldn't be writing about it, lest I say something unkind, and regrettable.  Which I try really hard not to do here.

The pressure started building last week. The Boy spent two days at home with anxiety and major stomach trouble.  Yesterday The Girl (who wasn't yet testing; her tests started today) came home because she felt like she was going to throw up.  

They aren't sick, they're worried.

This morning at the gym one mom complained that her little girl was complaining of the same symptoms and another mom said that her son had nightmares all night.

When we walked into the school this morning, the assistant principle was walking around telling the kids, "All you have to do is focus. Just keep focused!"

No pressure there.

Uh Hello?  How about "Good Morning! It's going to be a great day!"

And you know, the teachers are all freaked out too , but if the administrators are riding them even half as hard as they are riding our kids then it's no wonder they all look like they might explode! Everyone wants a school that is rated in an excellent category. But you know what? These teachers?  They are stressed beyond what is rational, and it is reflecting and showing itself in outstanding ways in our children.  

It just makes me wonder if this testing is all worth it.  This week I feel like my kids aren't "kids", but simply a means to get a good school rating. This isn't building up our children, it's stressing them out.  

And there is precious little I can do about it. I have told the kids that they don't need to worry because they know what's on the test (they are both good students), but it doesn't matter because the teachers are required to nag the kids on everything from what they should be eating for optimum brain power to test test taking strategy. Bombarding them with so much test taking info that the kids are literally sick.

I love our school. It truly is one of the best. My kids both have excellent teachers. But something is going to have to change, or our kiddos (and teachers!) are going to be burnt out before junior high.

Time to lunch! Thanks for letting me vent!

7 comments:

Megan said...

Ugh. Sorry to hear about the not-so-fun week you guys are having. We aren't to the school phase yet but I'm not looking forward to these types of things. I'll be praying for you and your kids.

mer said...

I am in total agreement with you on this. Our testing was over before spring break, but it is stressful. Everything hinges on those all-important test scores...and it makes me cringe. I love our school too (so much) but those 2 weeks of testing make me re-evaluate homeschooling every single March.

Hang in there.

C D said...

... not to mention so much teaching is for the tests, not for the sake of learning.

Makes my stomach turn and I don't even have kids.

Every mom I've spoken to (and you know I know a lot now...) says the same thing.

ack. hang in there and know you have prayers in your corner!

Cindy Cates said...

Oh I feel for your precious kids! As a school counselor it gets all over me that we are putting so much pressure on these kids. Trust me in saying the teachers are under way too much pressure for these tests which makes them kinda crazy also. Hopefully the counselor at their school is doing some lessons to help them prepare a bit.
Good Luck!

Blue Skies said...

I'm so sorry to hear of the pressure your kids are under!! I know the public school testing procedures have been a really big part of the reason why our kids are in private school right now. I've witnessed the frenzy you are describing amongst the public schools around us too.
My kids are currently doing their Stanford Achievement tests at school. They've had three days of tests for a half a day each day. I've admired how our school handles it. They apparently don't emphasize it much at all to the kids. My girls haven't shown any worry about the test at all and I attribute that to the attitude that the school has in general about this test taking time. They just remind the kids that it is all the same stuff they've already learned. Of course, there is not as much at stake for our school when it comes to the test results either.
Interestingly, our school helps to administer the tests to homeschool students in the area at the same time. They come in and sit with our classes to take the test too. I'm sure that is voluntary on the part of the homeschool parents.
Hugs for The Girl and The Boy!!

Chel said...

We HATE standardized tests. Our son is in fourth grade and very laid back in general. But he was all wigged out about the tests this year. And they didn't even count for promotion this year! I can't imagine how sick it would make a more wound-up by nature child!

And my husband, who teaches on the collegiate level, hates them more than I do. He says the tests teach kids to follow a pattern but not to think.

Ugh. Hang in there... summer's coming!

Janel said...

My neighbor works for the Superindendent of schools and even she cannot stand this testing. She was just talking about it the other day and how awful it is.

I was surprised to learn that the teachers bonus' are based on the tests scores! No pressure there either.

We are only in 1st grade so we have not had to deal with it yet. It does not sound like fun at all.