Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Tales from Summer School

Five more days until the big test... and my oldest student has been transferred. He tried to sleep through class yesterday. I think that's what did him in yesterday.

I thought that my classroom was the crazy one; however, I have been listening to my fellow summer school teachers and I realize that I am one of the lucky ones. I am down to three students. There are others who have as many as 14 students. Many of those kids are not on any of their meds for whatever ails them. Phew.

My students (the rest of them) are as different as they are every year. My girl failed the test because she said she fell asleep and when she woke up, she realized she had run out of time and just started marking answers. I don't doubt that. She is smart and she could be so much more than she thinks she is. Where was her testing teacher?

One of the boys has told me that just last year, he swam across the Rio Grande to get here. I didn't know whether to be proud of him for realizing that this is America, land of the free, home of the brave, or outraged because here I am, trying to educate an undocumented, illegal alien who has failed the all-important test and his failure reflects poorly on my adequate yearly progress. Whatever. He is trying. Sort of. I don't know if he even understands the importance of all this yet. He barely understands me. Which brings me to my next question: why are we TESTING someone in English when he doesn't even understand the language? Some of the data that I have read states that English language learners don't have the ability to truly comprehend English for at least seven years after they have come to this country. Why is this county and this country all hot and bothered to test these kids one year after they have even arrived? He can't pronounce the words yet. He doesn't even know what they mean.

So, here we are, trying to cram down, in fifteen days, what some of these kids haven't managed to learn in two tries at fifth grade. After all, some of the teachers have asked if we aren't going to get these kids student parking. When you get to fail as many times as these kids do, you're going to need a parking place and a prom. We are doing them a huge disservice. I just don't know how to undo it.

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Blogger cupcake said...

Some states are opting out of testing the English as a second language kids. It certainly makes sense not to do it, but maybe that's the problem. Legislators don't care about making sense when it comes to education.

I also don't understand why the EC kids' test scores count with those of the general population. We had two mainstreamed autistic kids plus an EC class of hard core autistics, and those scores counted right along with the rest of the 3rd, 4th and 5th grades.

I feel your frustration.

6/20/2007 7:33 AM  
Blogger Dewey said...

This sounds so incredibly frustrating. I'm really lucky that I don't teach a subject that's part of any standardized test except the AP exam. And that is frustrating enough.

6/22/2007 9:52 PM  

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