Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Everybody Needs a Pep Talk

I cannot even begin to describe how stressed my life is right now. The state writing assessment is in a week. Actually, it starts on Monday. They revamped the whole entire thing this year and only gave us one scored example. Not to mention, they only gave one sample prompt for each purpose of writing; however, we are still ONLY doing expository.  And the sample scored essays were on the same prompt they have as an example. Way to go state of TN! Way to set me up for success! [insert picture of me being a 5 year old and sticking my tongue out---that's the nicest i could write]

I, as well as my colleagues, have been working and working on creating things for our kids to practice with. Our efforts have been tireless. Today, my kids broke down. I mean they B.R.O.K.E. D.O.W.N. It's hard. I didn't read Emerson until high school, yet one of the state prompts is on Emerson's "Self-Reliance."  My kids are 13 and 14. What do they know about Emerson? What do they know about transcendentalism? Yesterday, we discussed the excerpt, but even with explaining, Emerson is too above their heads. Today, most sat staring at their blank sheet of paper for like 20 minutes. Keep in mind, all they get next week is 60 minutes. 60 minutes to read a passage and craft an essay by answering the prompt that coordinates with said passage all the while not making grammar mistakes, using syntactic variety, incorporating literary device, etc. I keep trying to encourage them. I keep telling them give 100%. No one can ever be mad if you give it your all!

They weren't finished, so I stopped class with a few minutes before the bell would ring and showed them this video. We all deserve a Pep Talk!

Y'all, regardless of the outcome, I am SO proud of my kids. These are MY babies. I am SO proud of them for not complaining very much, for persevering even though it's hard, and for giving it their all every day this month. They encourage me! ;)



jess said...

Hi - new follower, but I thought I'd just commiserate a little! Standards are similar here in NY, I'm not a secondary teacher, but everyone in my family is, and honestly I don't know how you do it. The mandates by the states are crazy and with all the reports, lesson plans, and write ups that teachers have to submit I'm not sure when you guys actually have time to teach! I'll stick teaching at the college level, the politics and the pay are horrifying but at least no on dictates what I can and cannot teach.

You all deserve a lot more than than the paychecks and thanks that you're getting (or not getting!).

Natalie said...

Dude. That just SOUNDS hard. I wasn't writing those type of test essays until high school for AP English. What are they thinking asking middle schoolers to do that? And why isn't my own middle schooler freaking out?


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