We spent my reading class taking a reading test. We take it every couple of months. It measures how much students have grown in their reading skill since the last test. It can be stressful for some kids. We always talk before we take it. I remind them of all the tips and techniques we have learned to help them be successful. I remind them that it is just one tiny measure of all their abilities. I remind them that they are important and have more meaning than just the numbers on a test.
Then I wait.
Giving tests is kind of boring for the teacher. I have to wait. I mean, it isn't like I don't have five million things to do. It's just that none of those things are teaching or dealing with students - which is obviously the part I prefer.
So, I waited, and then one by one they finished up their tests. And you know what? They did great. I was super proud. One of my students, let's call her Abigail, had such a look of surprise when she saw her score. She put a hand over her mouth, and waved me over. "Look!" She said. She pointed at the number, which had gained over 100 points since the last test. "Look!"
"Well, that's great, but I'm not that surprised. You are such a hard worker." She is, but it doesn't always show up on tests. Abigail was beaming, and it brought tears to my eyes to see her so happy about her success. The best was when one of my differently-abled students go their results. The entire class congratulated him, and he beamed to be among friends.
The classroom community can be a beautiful thing. I love the way a class develops a personality, and spirit. My reading class is HIGH spirited by the way. They are a tiger that can get out of control if you let it. They've got a lot of energy, which is good because I am their final class of the day. But I love the way they have come to look after each other. Some of them are friends out on the playground and some of them are not, but in class is different. In class, we are one united group of readers.
Maybe it helps that I love reading so much. I love talking about books and answering questions about books, and thinking about books. This class is really loving our current novel, and it happens to be one I've loved since I was their age. It is one of my favorites, and I get the double joy of watching them enjoy it, and listening to them talk about it. It isn't a bad way to spend the afternoon.
And, I'm just pleased as punch to see them succeed. Their lives aren't easy, and they work so hard. It is so good when those numbers on that computer-automated test actually reflect the beautiful picture of who they are.
I will never get tired of spending my days in a classroom full of students. They are complicated and lovely, and it is a gift to spend my days with them.
Keep the light of learning bright,