Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Smarter Than Most Think: Students Catch on to PARCC's Epic Fail.

I had several students come up for lunch to work on various projects and homework completion today. Usually I just sit there at my desk, eat my lunch and talk back and forth casually with whichever kids are there that day, but today I simply listened to the conversation the kids were having amongst themselves, and lo-and-behold, didn't testing come up. The kids (none of them ones I would ever have thought would have such directed insight at their age) in my room started talking about PARCC; they talked about how they hated the pre-test they took in 6th grade and how much anxiety they felt just taking THAT and how nobody wanted to take the test this year in their peer group. The discussion veered over to how they HATED the new Pearson-CC-based math workbooks they have. They talked about how boring their classes in language arts and math have become over the last two years, how nothing is making any sense and how they know that the teachers aren't happy at all just by the unspoken vibe in the classroom. I sat there listening, soaking up what they were saying, but I kept my mouth shut and said nothing, despite almost bursting at the seams with pride. These kids KNOW how awful what is being foisted on them is and they know there are dastardly games afoot!
Then they turned and asked ME questions about PARCC. "Will we have one in social studies? Will we be getting those stupid workbooks for your class? We don't want history to be boring, too. We actually learn cool stuff in here. Do you like the PARCC tests?" And what seemed a million other questions all at once. I had to tell them "sorry guys" and that I wasn't allowed to talk about it with them and not to worry. And do you know what these smart seventh grade kids said? I quote: "We know. We know that none of you guys like it and you can't talk about it and that the tests are there just to get you in trouble and that if we do bad you lose your job and that totally sucks and isn't far! It's OK, Mr. X. We don't like it either." All that, and I hadn't given an opinion or spoken a word in defense or against. You probably could have landed a squadron of B-52 bombers in my open mouth at that very moment, so shocked was I...
Just when you think you can't be shocked by what comes out of the mouths of kids, you are completely proven wrong...THEY KNOW. I don't know whether they heard it from some other disgruntled teacher last year or if they came to the conclusion on their own. I suppose it doesn't matter either way. THEY KNOW. And the best part? When they told each other about how much their PARENTS hate it and what their moms and dads talk about when those workbooks go home for homework? Heated hatred for what is going on from the homefront. (I got to be a silent fly on the wall for that and was blown away at their observations!). I'm not going to lie or feel sorry for saying it; that discussion was music to my ears! It gave me hope that a spark is slowly smoldering in the darkness and that parents and kids will begin the fiery rebellion that we are bound and gagged from starting ourselves out of fear for our careers. Made the rest of my day in the gulag of public education that my profession seems to be becoming just a little less sour and I finished the day with a little kick in my step!

1 comment:

  1. this is a great read!! i have tweeted, pinned, shared on my own FB page.....please do the same!