It seems like forever since I’ve been online. Sorry for that. Last week was the STAAR test for my kiddos. For those of you not in the teacher world (or in Texas), that’s the State of Texas Assessment of Academic Readiness. It’s Texas’ version of the Common Core test. I don’t like the test, and I don’t know any teachers who do, but we have to prepare our kiddos for the test no matter how much or little we agree with the test itself.
Me personally, my issue with it is that it doesn’t really test what it says it tests. They revamped the test in order to test higher order thinking skills… Well anyone with a brain will tell you that you can’t test someone’s ability to really think with multiple choice questions.
But you can with an essay…
But what they are asking for is not an essay.
Oh, they call it an essay, but it is decidedly not one. For one thing, it’s only 26 lines. For another, there’s no analysis involved. They want the students to use their personal life as the source material for an “expository” essay, and formulate an argument without using any of the different types of appeals (pathos, logos, ethos) for the “persuasive” essay.
Furthermore, it was designed by businessmen, not educators, and so English and grammar skills are not what the essay portion is designed to test.
Let me repeat that: the essay portion of the English Reading/Writing test is not designed to test the student’s ability to write well. They want to know if they can formulate a thought and get the point across in as concise a manner as possible.
This is supposed to make the test more accessible to all students with the understanding that not all students will go to college. In other words, this test is supposed to test “practical skills,” not academic skills.
What it does is tell kids that the skills that I’m teaching them about figurative language and literary analysis are not important to real life… And, since the English test happens a whole month or more before the other tests, the students feel as though they’re done learning in my class, because they don’t need these skills for “real life.”
Well, there have been recent neurological studies that show that reading and literary analysis are important for life. They help you understand people better (character development), and they help to increase cognitive processes (close reading) that are important for decision making. Don’t even get me started on vocabulary skills and the importance of figurative language! I think Mr. Keating from Dead Poet’s Society said it best:
“Language was invented for one reason boys: to woo women, and, in that endeavor laziness will not do.”
Powerful words that too many men do not understand.
Anyway. I could go on and on about the test and how wrong it is, but I think you get the gist. The point is that the test took up my whole last week. It’s exhausting to sit/stand/walk around a room and watch children write and keep them from doing anything else for five hours or more at a time. I can’t be online when they test, I can’t be on my phone, I can’t read a book or grade papers or work on lesson plans… I can do nothing but watch them test.
I nearly fell asleep twice.
It’s also frustrating because it is such an important part of my job. In fact, if all my kiddos fail, I may not have a job for the following year. It’s as simple as that. So for the week of the test, I go off the grid.
But now it’s done and I am back. I can be a fully functioning member of society again.
In other news, I finally decided to do away with the Massage Guy. He wasn’t keeping my attention, and was lousy at online conversations.
In that regard the Boy has seriously spoiled me. He and I have always been able to maintain an ongoing conversation via text that I wish we could maintain in real life. Massage Guy, on the other hand, would answer my questions without opening it up for further conversation. The answering of questions suggested that he was interested, the lack of follow up questions or conversation suggested that he wasn’t interested, or interesting for that matter. While it would have been nice to let him try out his massage skills on me, the lack of communication is an issue that I don’t want to deal with. I’ve been there before, and as the Boy is working really hard to correct our communication issues so that we don’t have that problem in the future (now that we’re friends again), I don’t want to deal with that sort of thing ever again.
As for the other guys: haven’t heard from Superman or the Artist in quite a while. I’m not surprised about Superman, the few times I’ve cyberstalked to see how he is, he seems really happy with the other girl he was talking to while we were briefly dating. She’s obviously more his taste and more his age, so I hope that works for him. The Artist I’m mildly surprised about. There was that one drunk text at 5 something in the morning, but, other than he apologized for sending that text, there’s been no further communication. I think I’m okay with this. He wasn’t worth the time anyway.
The Viking’s still around. For one thing, we work together so he’d have been around no matter what, but he has been inviting me to do teachery things more often. Just today we were grading papers together at Starbucks. It was about half an hour of work and 90 minutes of conversation.
Still no spark, although I am beginning to think he is more involved in the students than I originally thought. Not sure they are his passion (like they are mine), but I think he might care about them more than I initially observed. Perhaps all the things he does for them aren’t just for his resume…Maybe this job is more than just something to “pay the mortgage” (I was watching Thank You for Smoking recently, it’s a must watch).
In the middle of it all is the Boy. His situation is…complicated. It’s also his personal business and therefor not up for discussion on here.
But our interactions are fair game.
He’s been working really hard to do things my way this time around. I’m trying really hard to not hold him accountable for the way things were before, but it is…difficult. Sometimes he inadvertently does something that reminds me of before and makes me leery. I’m trying really hard not to fall back into being a doormat like I was, but I’m also wearing my feelings very close to the surface with him.
This is not okay.
Like recently, he was offshore, and now he’s back, and I feel like I had to be the one to initiate contact, while offshore he had been pretty consistent about contacting me and not making me chase him down. My feeling was that offshore he had nothing better to do, but being back on land, there was no need for he and I to communicate. I was a thing of convenience. I don’t think this was his intention, but it is a little how I felt, especially when I finally got a text from him and when I asked him what was going on he’d made plans with a handful of people. Well, to be fair, he’d made plans with me, too, but for next week. He and I could have done something sooner, like over the weekend when I wouldn’t have to rush all the way back out to where I live like I will have to do when we go to the museum on Thursday.
The combination of knowing he’d made plans for the weekend with other people, and hadn’t communicated with me at all, while on the boat we talk every day, made me feel like we were going back to me being the unimportant leftover.
Part of that might just be that I’m hormonal. Part of it may be that certain aspects of my life are getting a little grey again, particularly with this test looming over my head this past week. I’ve kind of been my own personal little black rain cloud this week.
As my kids would say, I’ve been “in my feelings” on and off all week long. This is directly back to the way things were when he and I split officially last time: things are unstable in certain aspects of my life, and while he was offshore, I was able to use him as my rock, my constant line of communication. Since he’s been back, that’s not the case. And while I needed him to be there for me, he doesn’t need me at all. It hurts a little.
This is exacerbated by a conversation I had with my roommate. She asked me what my happiest moment was. It’s hard to find many happy moments some days, and whether for good or bad, my happiest moment in recent memory directly involves the Boy. It has to do with the very last time we kissed. We were kissing in his car and he smiled. It’s a small thing, but since things had been so very tumultuous with us, that smile meant a lot.
It was as satisfying as the first time we kissed when he was holding onto the steering wheel and his breathing changed and I finally had to ask if he was going to kiss me. Then, he had said something about not being able to think. In that moment, he had made me feel like the most beautiful creature in the world.
That smile in the middle of the last kiss brought all that back, and it made me unbelievably happy. That feeling is why I let him back in, and he’s firmly back in… so long as I remember that it’s not likely that we’ll get back to that place. It’s hard for me to remember sometimes that that place is gone.
So that brings everyone up to date. Massage Guy’s out, the Viking’s still in (albeit not firmly in), the Boy’s around, and testing is over, which means I can get back to real real life.
One last thing: I signed up for Camp NaNoWriMo, although I’m now nearly a week behind because of that stupid test. Since I’m working on my first ever romance story, I might use this as a place to post my musings. Maybe. Or maybe at the end of the month I’ll post my edited work for your perusal. If anyone would be interested in something like that, let me know in the comments below. In the meantime, although it’s late, tomorrow I’ll post the March recap.
Now, though, I’m going to go enjoy a cup of tea and get started on my story for Camp NaNoWriMo. Thanks for hanging in there with me while I was out, and thanks for spreading the love! We’ve reached over 200 followers, and while for some of you that might not mean much, it’s a significant number of people for little ol’ me.