Blogger’s Note: The New Mexico Public Education Department has added a new rule to the annual nondisclosure agreement signed by public school teachers in the state. This rule demands those signing not “disparage or diminish the significance, importance or use of standardized tests.”
New Mexico Middle School Teachers, this morning I’m really talking to you. I’d like to take just a minute or two of your valuable time to “parage” a bit about how Standardized Testing 2015 is really about the best thing that’s ever happened to testing. You see, I think we need to turn that testing frown upside-down. March through May of 2015 might very well be the greatest ten weeks or so you’ve experienced as a public school teacher. Let’s look at it week-by-week. I know, after taking a minute to look through the weekly calendar of sorts below, that you’ll be thanking and applauding the non-educators, politicians and multinational corporations that synergistically came together to institute the norms, core competencies and best practices that rolled together we can very simply call: PARCC/Spring Break/PARCC/EOC Days (that’s PSPE…or “PissPee” if you’d prefer…try it, it’s even more fun when said that way!)
- Week One: March 2-6: After weeks of buzzing excitement, three days of school earlier in the year getting to pre-pre-test for it all, and countless meetings, Professional Development opportunities and Test Security forms to gleefully sign, PissPee finally starts like opening presents under the tree and tinsel on Christmas Morning. The 8th Graders get first crack at the new online test, while the 6th and 7th Grader longingly wait for their chance. The school, as it will be for pretty much the entire next three months, is COMPLETELY QUIET. Those noisy kids are a thing of the past, and you, desperately overworked middle school teacher, can relax in that quiet, either getting to proctor the online test by walking and drinking your morning and afternoon coffee, or teaching the old-school way, before computers, because they are all being used for the test. Think about it: here’s you chance to dust off those old lesson plans, the ones were you get to lecture and show movies. You know, like teaching used to be “back in the good ‘ol days”!
- Week Two: March 9-13: Now it’s the 7th Graders turn to explore new worlds of testing challenge. 8th Grade teachers, don’t worry about having discussions about the testing you just took, as the rules clearly state you and your students can’t talk about it. Whew! There’s one less thing to worry about, right? Instead, before the next round of testing, you can do a unit you’ve always to do. As long as the unit isn’t noisy and involves no moving about the school, anything goes, as long as it also doesn’t involve a computer. Keeping this in mind, this 8th Grade teacher is already dreaming about that paranormal unit we’ve always wanted to do, the one with the week-long seance. It’s perfect for these conditions!
- Week Three: March 16-20: Time for the little ones! Sixth graders get to learn to type through testing! As resources and other factors, such as body development, have made it impossible to require typed papers before, the little guys now get a chance to act all big and wrap their tiny hands around mice and keyboards. It’s almost as exciting as sitting on Santa Claus’ lap! Meanwhile, it’s probably time to get those opting-out students out of that little room next to the Counseling Office, the one with the mop and cleaning products. They had the chance to be in that nice, quiet room for quite some time, as they’ve chosen to “opt-out.” A few blinks of the eye as they adjust to the light and they’re officially back in school in no time!
- Week Four: March 23-27: Time for make-ups for those rapscallions and sleepyheads who missed a test or two. Also, this is important time for testing on the odd-chance that the computer system couldn’t quite handle the load of wonderfully, interestingly A/V-rich testing videos and simultaneous users. If things “blowed up,” we’ve got it under control! And if not, that means a solid week of non-testing curriculum right before Spring Break. Or not, we’ll let you know around March 20th! Oh wait, I almost forgot, Week Four also includes the good ‘ol 7th Grade Science “SBA.” Yeah, just like previous years! Here’s a chance to revisit testing days of yore lovingly looking at the old-timey answer booklets in which students will make their circles “heavy, dark and completely fill the circle”! 6th and 8th Grade teachers, you’re completely unaffected, except for those rapscallions noted above. This is as good time as any to point out that you teachers haven’t had as much to grade these days. Heck, you’ve most likely HAD NOTHING TO GRADE for weeks now, between the testing, old school lectures, movie-watching and quiet seances. 3:05 in the afternoon comes and you head home, teachers, empty-handed…day after testing day. What could be better than that!
- Week Five: March 30- April 3: Spring Break!
(To Be Continued Tomorrow, or Monday if the blogger doesn’t feel like working on the Weekend)