Wednesday, May 27, 2015

End of Year Testing Season

Yesterday as I walked a student from our reading group back to class she innocently asked me if we were going to have reading group on Friday. "Because if you are," she explained, "I won't be here. I'll be in Paris to see my dad. And after Paris I'm going back to Africa because I miss my mom."

My heart stopped. And I am ashamed to say, it did not stop because she was leaving, or because this sweet, lovely girl has been in this strange country all year without her mom and now will finally go back to see her (as a mother this makes me tear up just thinking about it). My heart stopped because if she leaves on Friday she will only be able to take half of her SOL test.

Yes, my  thoughts immediately went to testing and not to the actual child's well being or what is best for her. What has happened to me? What has happened to all of us? There was a time I called this time of year pool-brain season because once the pools opened it seemed impossible to get any work out of the kids. Now it's testing season, and once testing has started it is impossible to get any non-test thoughts out of the teachers.

Sadly, because she gave us so little notice we have two choices, we can give her the test early and let her last two days of school in the United States be while taking the standardized test, or we can let her miss the test and get dinged as a school for a sub-group student who didn't participate. I don't know what the decision is, or even who is involved in making it. A large part of me is hoping that it will turn out she was wrong and she isn't going to Paris this Friday, but on the last Friday in June so she can finish out the year. Or that she is only going to Paris and Africa for the weekend and will return the following week. (Because people do that, right? Go to Paris and Africa for the weekend?) 

More than anything I'm hoping I can use this as a reminder to myself to keep focused on the students first. 

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