When life throws you lemons, thank it for the snack

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Standardized Testing

I know many people view testing, especially standardized testing, with much trepidation, fear, dread, horror, and/or disdain. I have always seen it in a different light.

As a tester, I loved taking standardized tests. This was the one time I could be in a truly quiet and focused classroom. I enjoyed the opportunity to answer challenging questions at my own pace with very few distractions from other individuals who were not on the same motivational plane as I. Honestly, I always came out of any standardized test (SAT, NEDT, Iowa, etc.) the same way I now come out of a meditation session: refreshed, relaxed, with renewed focus. I never suffered from test anxiety on standardized tests. I was leery of course tests, though.

As an instructor, standardized testing provides me with a break from the all-too-often discouraging prospect of trying to enlighten students who are in my class forcibly (not by choice). It gets tedious and depressing to see students day after day sleeping, playing on cell phones, reading, or talking while I am trying to pass on knowledge. It's insulting and hurtful. BUT, this blog is about positives, so let's go back to that. As an instructor of a college course at a high school, I fit nicely into the loop hole so that I don't actually have to deal directly with the standardized testing environment. I don't have to pace the room in near-boredom, watch-dogging students to ensure they are on task and not cheating somehow. I get a relaxed schedule and a "free day" this year.

As a parent, I get to encourage my child and give her the stress inoculation tools that I try to instill in my students. I have found that the more confidence I have in her, the more confidence she has in herself. That is exceedingly rewarding and heart-warming. In addition, she does not have homework to bring home, so that's one less "fight" or "tooth-pulling" session to worry about.

Friday, April 1, 2011

My Mother

There are times when dejection and depression set in, primarily due to stress. There are times when I question my sanity and purpose in life. There are times when I wonder if I'm doing any good on this earth. There are times when there seems to be no reason to keep working, when I have a desire to quit fighting, when I think I should stop persevering day to day, when I just want to give up.

At times like these, all I really need is a talk with someone who really cares about me. That's when I'm grateful for my mother. She's not a perfect woman and I didn't have an idyllic childhood. Neither did I have a disastrous, chaotic childhood. I do know that she loves me, though. Just hearing her voice, when all the other voices in my life seem to be ignoring me, lifts my spirits. I'll admit that I don't always listen to her advice. I don't know of any child who doesn't believe that they know what's best for them. But I do understand that the fact that she's giving me advice means that she is listening to my woes and that she cares enough to help me.

Moms are all too often taken for granted. Too often do we doubt their intelligence or their sanity. Too often do we undervalue their worth, their contributions to our health and well-being. I thank God for my mother, for just one person who can bring me back from the brink, letting me know that there is always a reason to keep plodding along.