I am a mother.
I have been a special education teacher for over ten years.
I am a synesthete, but didn’t realize it until I was 30 years old.
I am slightly dyslexic.
I second-guess myself on facts that I know…or don’t know…or maybe I do know…
I will explain: Since I have started teaching, I have done VAAPs, VGLAs, SOLs, curriculum based projects, sol practice tests, NWEA testing, etc.
I have also hugged students as they cry about a test that really doesn’t matter when they grow up. I have emailed parents to tell them their child had a hard day…due to a standardized test that really doesn’t judge them on what they know. I have also had to look in a student’s watery eyes and tell them “I am sorry; I am NOT ALLOWED to help you with this test.”
It breaks my heart. As a teacher, as a special education teacher, I went into this field to HELP, but the testing part of this job knocks us all down. I understand the reasons behind it. I do. However, some people do not test like the norm. That is where the testing struggles.
We do not all think the same. We do not all test the same.
- ·Some of us are artists and may see the world differently.
- Some of us may be dyslexic, which might take us a little bit longer to read or write something or maybe some things seem more confusing than others.
- Some of us have ADD or ADHD and it is hard to sit still for hours at a time staring at a computer screen.
- Some of us are synesthetes which can mean something very different to each synesthete…we are proof that we all see the world in a completely unique, amazing way. Unfortunately, not many people know about us.
- Some of us have testing anxiety and all of our knowledge tends to vanish as soon as we click “START TEST” and it remarkably appears again once the test ends.
- Some of us have other disabilities such as autism or visual perception difficulties, that hinder our ability to do well on the test, but can very well lead a very productive life once out of school. So what if some of us cannot tell the difference between a short or long hand on a clock. Our eyes and mind may trick us…we have technology and digital clocks for that.
- Some of us are hands-on people and can show you how to take apart anything and put it back together again, but can not show this knowledge on a multiple choice standardized test.
I am not bashing tests. Some of them work well. Some students perform well on them. But some like those above (some are me, some are people I know, some are my students) cannot show how bright we truly are on an SOL type test.
My point is that:
- I was a student that did not test well.
- I am a teacher that sees students, bright students (IEP does not mean a lesser intelligence; “special ed” does not mean dumb…quite the opposite…), that struggle on long, standardized tests, yet they have honor roll.
- I am a mother and it worries me to think of my son taking these tests. He is already so bright but high intelligence isn’t the only thing you must have to be successful on tests. Trust me on that one.
- I am just a writer with synesthesia who also teaches.
- These are just my opinions, my words, my thoughts. If you disagree with them, that is all right.
- We are all different people with different views and different experiences and different ways of thinking.