Test anxiety; such a major part of our children's public education. I thought to myself, what we need is a personal accounting of how tests impact kids. For this reason, I provide to the readers a first hand accounting of the 24 hours before a test as seen through my eyes.
I picked up my children at school yesterday. They had their checklist of intrusions to ensure that school is more important than any other aspect of their lives. The teacher's suggestion list included how to eat, sleep, and regulate their behavior. The test is more important than any other aspect of their life, and they need to follow this list. At this point, the teachers job is complete. They have convinced my children nothing is more important than a standardized test!
The next step is to get the children home. Discussions will be different tonight around the dinner table. Countless discussions regarding how they are nervous about tomorrow's test will replace discussions such as what our dog did that made us laugh. Dinner goes well, but they are concerned about what they eat. "Dad, I have to go to bed by 8pm." and "Tomorrow we have to have eggs and oatmeal." recounted over and over again. Mission Accomplished! School has intruded on the most important part of family time. Discussions around dinner have been successfully replaced for one evening with discussions about standardized testing.
Bedtime....some anxiety over the amount of sleep they need for tomorrow. Alarm clocks checked over and over again. Breakfast routines checked and rechecked. All is good until tomorrow. Again, mission accomplished. Bedtimes routines disturbed by anxiety.
Tomorrow arrives, it's only 2 hours before school. One child wakes up and can not eat. Slight temperature, wants to stay home. The other child is nervously optimistic. Breakfast goes okay for now. The child that can not eat tries to eat a banana. He wants to stay home. I tell him if he does not go, the school will have a retest day. (Oh my goodness, I feel so good using negative reinforcement.) He decides to go to school instead of missing a day with his friends. Breakfast routines interrupted by testing. Only one step next.
We make it to school. Mission Accomplished.
Thank you common core, the publishers, test providers, and teachers. If it was not for you, out children's lives would not have the anxiety you bring to the table every day in public education. Only 9 more years to go and this nightmare will finally be over.