Wednesday, April 13, 2011

TCAP This: Letter to Students from a Torn Teacher

Posted By on Wed, Apr 13, 2011 at 6:03 AM

On the day students across the Nashville public-school system start their TCAP testing, many thanks to the Metro mom who passed along this Education Week column by Amanda Sheaffer, a MNPS third-grade teacher:

To my students,

I greet you at the door with a smile, but I feel uneasy. I see your bright faces and hear your cheerful words with an inadvertent cringe. I am caught in a struggle between what I have been told to do and what you deserve. In my mind, I am clawing and scraping for solid ground, but I cannot find it.

I obey and trust the wisdom of an unknown authority whose face I cannot see but believe to be honorable. I follow, with your hand in mine, and ignore a call beckoning to me from my gut—this isn’t the right way. You come along without resistance, a partnership of blind trust and good will.

For a while I am able to maintain the integrity of our space. Academic rigor coexists with preparation for judgment day, and I meet your needs as individuals. But the crescendo of fear plays in my mind as the test steadily marches toward us. While I am proud of your achievement, I know it is too complex to be represented so simply.

Inevitably, I surrender to the pressure. I cannot serve two masters. I panic and reluctantly declare allegiance to that which holds the most power. ...

It's well worth reading the whole wrenching piece. H/T: Ginny.

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