As we come in to the half-year holiday I thought I’d take a few moments to reflect on how excited I’ve been about the latest developments across the New Zealand educational landscape.
I’ve spent much of the last fortnight assessing my students, writing reports and generally getting things ready ahead of the mid-year break.
If there’s one thing I love more than assessing my students, it’s watching them participate in those assessments. There’s nothing more rewarding as a teacher to see 25 kids all sitting up straight, with sharpened pencils, awaiting the commencement of a 60 minute test for reading, writing or maths. As I see them struggle through the hour, asking questions about the various test items they appear not to understand only to have me say, “I can’t help you there because that’s what I’m testing,” it excites me hugely that the data I gather from these assessments is ultimately going to form the cornerstone of my overall teacher judgements.
What is even more enthralling is the fact that my overall teacher judgements, the assessments I make of my students as a professional, are sent to the Ministry of Education where, through no fault of any particular public servant or politician, they are published on a website where they can be downloaded by any media organisation and all New Zealand children and schools can then be ranked from smartest to stupidest.
To hear the joyful sighs of excitement in my students’ voices when I announce yet another assessment fills me with hope and sanguineness as we head towards the mid-year holiday – a holiday in which I plan to do absolutely nothing in relation to my class’s education; a holiday where I plan to sit on my couch and watch television and play space invaders on my computer; a holiday where I will drink myself to oblivion every afternoon because I’m not in school and 2 o’clock is beer o’clock; a holiday where I will not see my school until 8:27am on July 21.
That is why I love teaching.
SAID NO TEACHER EVER.