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Learning at its Best

Dad, We Spent the First Week Taking Tests

Note: This is a cross-post from my own blog Education Rethink.

I asked Joel what he thought of school and he said, “I love it.  We get to play.  We get to learn math.  I’m practicing reading real books.”

“What do you mean real books?”

“It’s like school finally started.  We spent all of last week taking tests.”

“Crazy,” I tell him.

“Yeah.  And they even test you on how fast you read instead of how good you are at reading,” he shakes his head.

I shake my head with him.

*     *     *

If you’re interested, I just released A Sustainable Start: A Realistic Look at the First Year of Teaching.

About John Spencer

I teach. I write. I live. I want to do all three authentically.


5 thoughts on “Dad, We Spent the First Week Taking Tests

  1. This is a great peek into the way children see testing. Thanks for sharing this!


    Posted by dloitz | August 28, 2011, 9:37 pm
  2. While I certainly did not start with any tests, I find myself teaching new kids who differ some from those who graduated last year. I find myself tempted to go back to my old teaching habits, which seem somewhat expected of me. Many were expedient. I hadn’t anticipated needing to unpack and sort through my old habits again. It’s kind of wild to unlearn expectations for a new batch of kids when I feel like I unlearned them already.

    I’m sure we’ll create something grand if I figure out what not to do 😉

    All the best,

    Posted by Chad Sansing | August 29, 2011, 8:03 pm
  3. Was the week of “pre-tests” to measure what was lost over the summer, what was gained over the summer, or some other wasteful metric? Oh, and before I forget, I would like to know who made money off of the tests….

    Posted by Brent Snavely | September 2, 2011, 8:07 am
    • It was exactly what you described along with teaching rules and procedures (not at all the way I approach creating a classroom community). He seems to love it now. He loves the peer interaction. He loves his teacher. But the systemic injustice is hard for me, as a parent, to handle.

      I can tell you who made the money: the huge textbook conglomerates. This is why I’m always a little nervous when when people talk about privatizing education. I’m not very happy with how much they already own. McGraw Hill lobbies for federal reform, knowing that they’re designing tests that half of all kids fail. They then sell more textbooks as a result, but also intervention books, consulting, conferences, online curriculum, etc. It’s like a casino where no one gets to win but the edu-mafia.

      Posted by John T. Spencer | September 2, 2011, 8:21 am
  4. Education is a business fueling our capitalist system.

    As a 7th grade writing teacher, I look forward to the first day of school when I will ask the people I am working alongside to create a vision for our writing community, to detail how our work will go. I am focused on helping 7th graders discover what it feels like/what it means to live a writerly life. We have 181 days for this exploration and a couple of these will be spent taking “The Test.” I believe that these writers will see how one test does not make nor break a writing life and way of being in the world.

    Posted by Kristine | September 4, 2011, 4:59 pm

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