We also got some results back from state tests and I think just about every teacher in NY is feeling beaten down. The results were not good. And not because the teachers didn't do their job and the kids didn't put everything into it that they had. Really it's just because the state moved the bell curve down about 30 points, putting a child who really is a four at a three or even a two. See, after the results come in, the state then decides where their cutoff points will be. Since their agenda is to show amazing growth over the next few years and impress those that hold federal funding, there will be an amazing steady growth over the next few years.
Yes, they are playing a game. We all do it. The song and dance observations, the super pretty and packed portfolio, the extra sparkle you add to your lesson when you know you're being watched and when what you do it great without the extra glitter.
I don't think there are too many teachers out there who are feeling stellar about returning to the classroom in a couple weeks.
What I'm getting at is that I just haven't felt teachery this summer. My priorities are shifting with going back to school. The state scores meant to create motivation are doing just the opposite for many teachers that I know. I haven't touch BlogLovin in about two weeks, but have been pinning like mad...clothes and food that is. I cringe when I see all the teachers things that come up on my Pinterest.
You know what I realized? My obsession with blogs, Pinterest, and all things teaching have created a lot of stress in my life. It's always about finding a new idea and making things super cute. When I didn't have the time to spend on reading every blog out there and obsessing over my classroom, I found that I was more relaxed and had more of a life. When I started thinking about this, I realized that after thirteen years of teaching, I am still open to new ideas but I don't need to recreate everything all the time just because someone did it better. What I do works and I don't need to "fix" everything.
I think teachers can be very competitive. It's in our nature. We all want to think of the best ideas and do their best lessons. But who says new and shiney is always better?
In this crazy season of winding down summer and gearing up for the new year, remember to take stock of what you already have and what you already know. Don't feel like you are lacking because you don't spend your life on school, standardized testing tells professionals to do ever more, or to can't keep up with the cuteness all over the Internet.
Feel great about who you are as a person and a professional.
Know that it is about what you say and do as a teachers that makes a difference. It's not about how much you have, how much you spend, or how cute your room is.
It's about the kids and helping them grow as little people.