Testing, testing…state testing

Someone once told me that a test doesn’t define who I am as an individual or what I accomplish. This is something that I try so hard to instill in my students.

However, high stakes testing is a reality in public schools across Texas. The word test, or let alone STAAR, brings mixed emotions to many students and teachers across the state. It’s a snapshot view, so to speak, and can’t define who students are and what they have to offer. However, students are so much MORE than what a test shows.

Testing doesn’t show a student’s heart, intent, or creative abilities. High stakes testing shows what students can do on one day, at a specific moment, and how they answer specific questions. It leaves no room to show if a student doesn’t understand a specific question other than them scoring it wrong. So many students do great because they can analyze a test question and choose the right answer.

However, what about those that are not good test takers? What about the students who are not on grade level and work below a grade level test? What about the students who just have a bad day and don’t do well? Those students are left feeling vulnerable, unsure, and uneasy. As someone who used to fit into struggling learner category, high stakes testing brings back many emotions. The feeling of frustration bares its ugly head in so many capacities.

We can say all day long it’s just a test and it is. However, so many of our students have anxiety, act out, and have difficult days before, during, and after this test. I don’t have an answer on a solution. I just have a heart and an open mind for what is to come each day before, during, and after testing days.

However, as an educator, I ask for educators to have patience with our students during testing times. I ask for us to remember what it felt like to test and what emotions it brought to our lives. Our students have real fears, emotions, and anxiety.

It is up to us, as educators, to keep stability, consistency, and support THEM each and every day! Our students are WORTH IT and, even on testing days, I look forward to every opportunity to be surrounded by students each and every day!

Set the tone, BREATHE, and enjoy every opportunity you have to be with your students!

State test (1)

Courage to be seen

Courage is the most important of all the virtues because without courage, you can’t practice any other virtue consistently. –Maya Angelou

Courage: Something people are born with an innate sense of knowing while others have to build up over time. It seems some have more courage or the ability to be seen without difficulty. Courage looks different on so many people.

The Merriam Webster dictionary defines courage as “mental or moral strength to venture, persevere, and withstand danger, fear, or difficulty.” Strength is something that isn’t defined as how much you can lift or withstand. It’s how much you can take, how much you can endure, and how much you can hold and manage without breaking. In education, strength looks so different on so many due to the different capacities we work in.

However, we all face different capacities (or so it seems) each day. Decisions and trials, though, still make us have a unique bond. A bond that is so great that it gives us a community of strength as the days and weeks go on. A bond on strength, camaraderie, endurance, and hope. A bond that gives a net of encouragement on those days when we wonder what we can give when our internal tank is empty. A bond that encourages us to have courage and to be the best we can be to serve our students and our community each and every day.

As educators, we must have the courage to be seen and the moral strength to take on the day to day difficulties. It’s tough! No class or book can prepare you for the trenches you endure and face each day. Some days can be amazing and others can be really, really difficult. Difficult can continue on for days and that makes you appreciate the really good days even more. As people, we must have the courage to endure the trials, overcome the struggles, and continue to lead with the willingness to show up and have the courage to keep going.

Courage may look so different on so many but having the courage to show up is the first step in moving forward. Move forward for the better as well as the ability to keep going and to be seen. Take a breath, have a plan, and have the courage to be present day in and out.

Courage starts with showing up and letting outselves be seen.

Stronger than you realize

You are stronger than you know

Someone once told me “you’re stronger than you know” and the words remind me every so often that I really am stronger than I realize. Whether it is when a tough call is made or a situation that just isn’t how you saw it coming, YOU are stronger than you realize!

Every day, we face decisions and circumstances that make us stronger. Whether it’s a tough call or a tough situation, YOUR input vastly makes or breaks a situation. Your strength is shown in how you handle situations, how you recover from tough calls, and how you move forward for the better.

Kelly Clarkson has a song, “Stronger,” and some of the lyrics hit home.

“What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger, stronger
Just me, myself and I
What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger
Stand a little taller
Doesn’t mean I’m lonely when I’m alone”

YOU are strong and YOU are stronger than you realize!

Winston Churchill said, “never, never, never give up!” As we move forward with a task or circumstance, know YOU have so much potential. You are stronger than you realize and can take on your situation head on.

No matter the circumstance, you make it happen! How you face situations, circumstances, and events all show how strong you really are. Stand tall, stand firm, and realize that you are so much STRONGER than YOU realize!

Kindness: pass it on!

Be Kind whenever possible

Did you know today is World Kindness day? I recently learned about it and was really intrigued by the concept for two reasons. Reason one is the the idea of adding it to the calendar. A day in the whole year to celebrate kindness. However, it’s only a day. Shouldn’t we, as people, celebrate kindness as much as possible? Shouldn’t there be a wave and a desire to be kind daily?

I digress, kindness is a simple act. A smile, a conversation asking about another family, holding the door for someone, striking up conversation, giving a compliment, and the list continues. Kindness can be a grand gesture to one or the world to another. Kindness doesn’t take time; kindness takes heart!

Reason two is the fact that we as educators must model kindness day in and out for those watching our every move, comment, and heart. In my classroom or around school, I even find my students repeating what I’ve said to each other and in the tone or time I say it in. Bottom line is the fact that our students are watching each and every move that we make.  Take it as an opportunity to instill kindness into their hearts each and every day. Show love, show kindness, and take the time to give kindness day in and out.

Be kind & pass it on!

Realize & Recognize the amazing

Everyday, we as educators, have goals, items to attend to, and tasks to meet. We strive for our best in a society that doesn’t always appreciate what we do. We deal with questions, emails, and roadblocks in our path.

Unless you’re in school, an organization, or have been in school, society doesn’t always realize what we face day in and out. The meltdowns of many students, discipline, lesson planning, long term planning, curriculum, parent complaints, conferences, and the list continues. Society also doesn’t see the light bulb moments, the AHA moments, the connections, and the smiles and love our students give and receive.

 

resizedYou are amazing

As educators, we have got to stop & realize and recognize we are amazing! Society may not say it or recognize it but we, as an amazing community of educators, need to say it and recognize it daily. When we see amazing in our schools and communities, we need to recognize and acknowledge it. We need to note it. We need to say it! We need to cultivate and grow an amazing culture of educators. We must recognize the good that comes our way!

YOU can move mountains & be an amazing educator day in and out! Own it!