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.

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