Wednesday, March 05, 2014

Testing Season Reflections - Bucket Filling

I've posted about testing season once already. I am one of three ESOL teachers at my school. Because ELLs' academic and language development can be influenced by so many factors throughout the year, it is crucial that we assess their language proficiency annually with ACCESS on top of all the other assessments they receive throughout the year. It does truly benefit us all as their instructors. I'll admit, it's exhausting!!! More than it is exhausting for me, I'm sure it's exponentially more exhausting for our little 5-11 year-olds. By now, perhaps we'll all become numb to it.

It's exhausting for me because there is no flow to my day. My schedule..., well who am I kidding? It's not my schedule. It's, 
                                      "Are they at lunch?"
                       "Are they at specials?"
                              "Oh, there's a Dr. Seuss party?"
                   "Wait, we have a writing/science/checkpoints/math test right now?"
               "Yay! We finished early!!!"
       "Did you say we got 3 new ELLs today? Well, we need to order more books, then."
    "They need two days of testing. If they're not absent, we can meet the deadline."

[Though we test every single ELL three different times, twice in small group and once individually... yes, every single child.] Then, there's, 
                  "There's three of them, why does it take this long?"
   "They can't just send a courtesy email 30 minutes before they pull students (it was a courtesy and it's hen's teeth)." 
             "Cover all the content on your walls."
                         "Testing's over, take down your coverings."
                                 "One writing test on Wednesday, cover all content again."

So, while we're still testing ELLs, now overlapping with small group testing general ed. students, I walk around listlessly. My usually very enthusiastic smile and how-you-dos has been replaced with a less vibrant smirk and an "eh." My bucket's empty, what can I say? I miss my students making my cozy little modular complete with their laughs, enthusiasm, and their awesome kiddisms. I miss all my grades, but closing out the school day with my first graders was always the best. It's been nearly a month now, and I'm dying for normalcy.

I received an email yesterday that made me realize just how much I was craving my regular bucket levels. Thanks so much to this parent for filling it up just a bit. What a sweet message! I have many heart-to-hearts with said student about paying attention in her gen. ed. classes. I try! This made me (until now) secretly swell with pride.

So, while I was thinking about replacing my snowman and snowlady bulletin board with a gumball theme (just for the bright colors), I may do a Bucket Filling bulletin board instead.... after I take down the content coverings for this round. To all you teachers out there, when I can, I will not dip out of your bucket, but rather, I will try to fill them if possible. Hang in there during testing season, don't interpret my smirk as lack of enthusiasm for you. I promise, that's not the case! That smirk actually means, "I feel ya. We'll make it though this."

No comments :

Post a Comment