Spotting the Finish Line

My Spring Break is coming to a close, and that always means that the finish line in coming into sight. This year, more than any, that finish line is such a welcome sight, though it is still in the distance. It’s been quite the marathon, and now it’s a seven-week sprint to summer break.

This year has certainly been one of trial by fire, and we still have a large hurdle to jump. Testing season is upon us. As pained as we may be about that reality, it is the reality that we have. Regardless of what you think about standardized testing, and regardless of why national officials may have decided to me forward with standardized tests this year, and regardless of whether we like it or not, it’s happening.

If you’re giving standardized tests, chances are your scores are probably going to be lower, but so are everyone else’s. That’s just the kind of year that this has been. If your scores aren’t as good this year as they have been in previous years, it doesn’t mean you’re a bad teacher. It just means you taught in one of the most difficult situations that teachers have had to deal with in recent history.

Have you done your best? That’s what counts. Hopefully your districts and school admins understand this and are being supportive. We been fortunate in Georgia to have a state superintendent who has done a lot to alleviate the stress of standardized testing so that it’s not so high stakes this year. And we’ll be able to use the tests for what they should be used for: assessing.

Take your scores and use them to help you become a better teacher next year. Look for those key places where you know you can improve, and move forward from there. Don’t compare it to test scores from previous years.

Hang in there and keep giving it your best. This year has been challenging for all of us, and my heart goes out to all first-year teachers this year, but the light is growing bigger. Vaccines are more available, and the finish line for this school year is in sight, so there are good things coming.

Don’t forget what you learned this year. Don’t forget the new things you tried that helped you be a better educator. When we get back to whatever is “normal”, don’t just go back to everything the way it was. Take these new lessons you’ve learned and apply them, making “normal” even better than it was.

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