Losing sight of the goal

Today was a tough pill to swallow.  I looked at my kids as a number.  As data, as a result of a test.

I can’t remember the last time I did that.  Usually I can distinguish between the two. Usually, I can look at the numbers and remember the faces behind them. Today, I saw the lowest point of the year for some of my kids.  I was frustrated, took it out on myself and them.

Today, after meeting number who knows how many, I forgot what made me the teacher I am.  I lost sight of my end goal.

Kids, they aren’t a number.

They aren’t the SOL score at the end of the year.

They aren’t the machines that can be driven into the ground.

They will mess up.

They will make mistakes.

They will break.

This time of the year, we want to drill, drill, drill.. quiz, quiz, quiz.

We have standards in which are kids need to hit.

We have standards on how we are judged.

But at the end of the day, they are kids, they are people.  They need compassion.  They need someone to believe in them.  They need to be appreciated. They need someone to care for them.  I’m glad I caught myself. I saw a picture a kid posted on instagram from the Tides game yesterday.  One of my best kids.  He’s burnt out, stressed beyond belief.  He doesn’t deserve that.

In being so wrapped up in trying to get them ready for a test, I nearly forgot that they just want to be kids.  And making them into tiny robots and robbing them of joy isn’t going to make them do better.  In fact, it will stress them out more, do more harm than good.

It’s just a test.

They have the rest of their life to get ready for, one test won’t change that.

Tomorrow, I’ll go back in and let them think a bit differently, help them ease their minds, as well as mine.  We all get a bit too stressed at this point of the year.  Sometimes, you have to take a few steps back to move forward.


3 Replies to “Losing sight of the goal”

  1. Oh howie the fact that you admit after all the craziness that your students are “kids” and should have fun and still be kids after the fact that they have to pass these stupid tests, is why you are such a great teacher! You treat your students like the little individuals that they really are! Just trying to understand how the world works and how to fit in and enjoy being a kid! This blog post made me tear up because it made me think of how hard my little brother, Aiden who’s 13 has been pushed to pass his tests and how he feels less than great if he gets a bad grade! It really makes me sad knowing that most of his young life has been taken away by how hard school really is these days! Kids can’t be kids without being pressured into fitting in! It makes me wish times were like the old days when we still had recess and got walk in talk and didn’t spend all day in the classroom studying things we probably will never use in real life! Sorry to ramble but you made me think! Thanks 🙂

  2. They may fall..but how many pull themselves back up! Yes and who set the seeds for that to happen? It is never an easy road that takes us to great heights! Heroic HH!! You have the toughest yet most rewarding job a person could ask for!! And you have been recognized many times …awesome Howie!! ??

  3. Howie, I think every teacher needs to read this post. Today as I went back to the elementary school that my son attended and got to go back and thank one particular teacher who was instrumental despite the standardized tests that seem to rule educating a student in today’s time to say “thank you” for believing in my son when the odds were stacked against him. Every teacher makes an impact on a child. Children are our future. Teachers like you are the ones who help inspire them to what IS possible. Keep being the great educator you are!

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