I wonder if I’ll ever just become immune to the stress of standardized testing. My level of concern has definitely decreased dramatically over the last few years (remember when I used to not sleep before district benchmark tests?) but I still have that old feeling lingering somewhere. That awful dread over being judged on the results of a test that I don’t actually get to take.
This year, the feeling is a lot less like anxiety and a lot more just like uncomfortable uncertainty. The district testing happened without me ever getting worked up about it, but then I think about it and realize how many doubts I actually have. Watch how worked up I can make myself get when I actually start writing all my suppressed thoughts down:
Let’s start with last year, when I was a dramatically better teacher on all counts. If you remember what happened next, my test scores actually dropped from my Terrible Awful First Year. What if they keep dropping forever? What if I just don’t know how to teach kids what they need for a test? What if I’m actually a much worse teacher than I think I am?
Or take this year, where I’m at a High Performing Charter Network with an obsession over test scores. We have a reputation to uphold. We have lots of data that says we’re awesome, and I’m really not supposed to screw that up. What if our other schools all have great 6th grade math scores, and mine end up being the kind that make everyone cringe and wish they hadn’t hired me? I wouldn’t be able to scoot by on just being good in the classroom, since the very existence of this school depends on the scores we put up.
Sigh. Maybe I won’t even look at my scores when they come back, and just save us all some agony.