Today I lost track of the number of times someone said to me, “You just have to teach to the test.”
After just five years in education, I’ve seen a lot of changes. When I began teaching, we were being trained in things like assessment writing, project building, and curriculum design. Now we’re being told how to implement someone else’s lesson plans, how to fill in someone else’s paperwork, and how to teach to someone else’s test. Most days I feel like a factory worker, assembling the next big doodad that someone else far far away created.
What about my ability and need to create? What about the fact that I know my students? And why are we paying people (good money) to write curriculum if we’re “just teaching to a test” that isn’t based on any curriculum at all?
What will our students learn? Who decides what they learn? How will they learn? And what is my role in that as a teacher? I thought after 5 years I would have solidified all of this, but each year I find that more gets taken away from me. It’s a terrible feeling.
Other phrases I wrestled with today were as follows:
“We have a test today?”
“She get that from her mama.”
“I’ll just call you ‘white girl’.”