Tomorrow marks my son’s 100th day of school; I unceremoniously passed by my 100th day earlier in the week. I guess high school students don’t celebrate like kindergartners do! For the 100th day, I thought I should post a quick reflection on my job.
In the Jan 2013 issue of National Geographic, the Editor’s Note contained the following photo:
I teach high school students in an era of standardized testing, which I feel can be taken the wrong way by teachers. If teachers allow the test to be the goal, then standardized tests only reinforce mediocrity. However, when reading the Jan 2013 issue of National Geographic, and seeing this photo, I realized my place in the modern world of testing.
I have always thought of my job as preparing students for a exploration, a journey into an unknown, but bright, future. The standardized test, for me, is just another item to put into the backpack for that journey. It is important, but not the only item students should take with them from high school. If teachers focus on the test, the journey ends with putting one item in the backpack. Rather, I like to help the students prepare their packs with many tools for their journey. The test is just one part. It’s a small blip on the radar of their educational career. Students need to be explorers, inquirers, and problem-identifiers, not test-takers.
For the 100th day of school, let’s focus on why we teach. I teach because I prepare student for a journey, which in part includes a test. The test is not the end goal.