Friday, May 2, 2014

I am a Self Contained Special Education Teacher in the Bronx
By:  Anonymous Teacher

 I am a self contained special education teacher in the Bronx. I have 12 students with special needs. My students are learning disabled or speech impaired third and fourth graders performing on a first and second grade level. Today, as I am reading the questions in book 3 of the math test I see their faces as they are struggling to try and figure out how to begin to answer the questions and all I can do is reassure them that they will be fine. As I do this I... am blinking and fighting back my own tears. As a teacher, emotionally I feel like I have failed these children and was unable to prepare them fully for this and the ELA test. I question myself as a teacher and wonder what I have done wrong. 

 Logically, I know that my task was almost impossible to accomplish. These children are performing 2 grades below level and are being asked to take a test that for the ELA they could barley read and for the math they struggled with, just figuring out how many steps they needed to take to get the final answer, let alone what they would have to do to get there. Every one of my students has grown and shown great improvements in all of the subject areas. These tests will only show what my students do not know and crush their self esteem. Why are any students subjected to these tests? Why are special education students subjected to these tests? They show and prove nothing. These tests not only crush my self esteem and make me question my teaching ability, more importantly they kill my students self esteem and their joy of learning that I have built up in my classroom all year.

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