With the ELA and Math tests now firmly in our rear view mirrors (and simultaneously so far ahead of us – who knows when we’ll ever see results?), and my students knowing they’re mere weeks away from slamming open the side door for the last time before heading off to middle school, I and my class seem to be settling into a bit of a rut.
Oh, rut, rut what havoc you wreak. See, here’s the problem. These children are so conditioned to think that the tests are the be-all and end-all (not to mention the Alpha and the Omega, as well as all that matters.) Now they’re over, so many, if not most of us, are merely going through the motions. Even with NYSESLAT testing happening this week, there’s just a general malaise of laxity hovering above our heads.
We are struggling to get back into the routines of and playing catchup in Everyday Math (in which, due to a cacophony of scheduling issues in the months leading up to the test, I am a unit behind). We’re basically just doing it now to get it done – it’s all a review of standards-based work we did to prepare for the test. Our journalism unit, which so captivated their imaginations the first couple of days, has sputtered. Word work and shared reading have basically fallen by the wayside as we work to memorize songs for graduation.
Last year, at this time, I was somehow emboldened to basically do what I wanted for the last month. I rationalized it by saying what I said above – the tests were done, so let’s party on. This year, somehow, I feel more of a duty to stay the course. No idea why.
We are beginning graduation rehearsals the week after next. When that starts, it’s going to be exceptionally difficult to rein the class in. Let’s face it, much as they may be crying their little eyes out when they leave me on the last day of school, they are already almost as good as gone? Can I blame them, though? Aren’t I and all of my colleagues, too?
In my class, we will be creating a scrapbook. It’s a fun, creative experience that results in a memento for me to treasure. They’re still learning, so what’s the problem? I’ve got to keep them active and engaged, anyway.
Some teachers will probably be holding movie marathons. At least I’m working their brains. That way, when they go flying out that side door for the last time, they’re going with their brains not having been allowed to turn to mush. Middle school teachers, you can thank me later.