Monday, May 12, 2008

Shoot High, Aim Low

On a day like today, it's best to keep your expectations low. We finished our standardized testing, except for makeups, on Friday. That means that today was officially the "rest of the year." I know that there are still plenty of workbook pages to fill, and at least four more stories to read in our anthology, but the kids in my class have determined that the end is nigh.
What does that mean? We work hard to cram all the possible grade level appropriate content into the kids' heads before testing begins. That generally means that by late April or early May, we have filled their heads with all the knowledge that the state requires. This still leaves us with another four to five weeks of tap dancing and review as we prepare them for launch into the next grade.
That is why we find ourselves with the freedom to do something as frivolous as have a multi-cultural assembly, or a Science Fair. In the parlance of the classroom, these are known as "may-do's". We have finished the "must-do's", and so now we get to enjoy ourselves, scholastically speaking. The tendency toward anarchy is even more prevalent in my class, and consequently the fun has yet to start. Instead we find ourselves reviewing classroom procedures and rules that were in place back in September. I know that for many of my students I am the embodiment of that thing that keeps them from running into the hallway and spilling out on the street. Their vague antipathy has begun to grow points. There was a time when I would have taken this all in stride and put on a happy face. But now I'm feeling sad and tired. "Burnout," my colleagues tell me.
I won't argue that point. I'm going to teach them about Sly and the Family Stone and how magnets work before they leave. No matter what, I still want them to walk out of my room the last time remembering something that no one else will teach them. That's how I keep my expectations high.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

In case you run out of material, the capital of Burkina Faso is Ouagadougou.