“Laura, you’ve got to stop talking about the Milestones test. You are stressing out our daughter,” my husband stated directly.
“What! What do you mean?” I retorted, surprised that it got brought up.
“What I mean is that all our daughter is hearing at school is “Georgia Milestones…and then you come home talking about it. She is internalizing it. Please don’t discuss it anymore.”
That conversation happened last night. Now, let’s back-track a few weeks ago….
“Mom, my stomach hurts…oh…the thought of the Milestones test just popped into my mind. Oh, I feel sick. I just hate that test, ” my fifth-grader and middle child moaned.
“Please try not to think about it. Just know that we love you no matter what, ” I went on to explain.
“But, mom. Last year I didn’t even finish it. What if I fail? Oh,…I am so worried about it!”
This is a dialogue that is a norm in my house. My youngest son, as a first grader, doesn’t know of this turmoil yet, but it’s coming.
As a parent, I ache that my children have to be so stressed at such a young age. Can they not enjoy childhood while it lasts? Truly, it’s a fleeting time.
However, this seems to be an impossibility with the stresses of school life today. The test, the test, the test. It’s all about the test. It’s engrained in the culture of public school life today.
As a teacher and as a mother, I have made a vow. No longer will the words, “Georgia Milestones” be uttered from my lips. Why? Because learning will never be about a standardized test. As a parent, I want teachers whose biggest stress is what amazing learning experiences to create for the classroom. Stress about scores creates tension, frustration, and motivation to teach to the test only.
I don’t know of a cure for the testing culture, but at the urging of my family, I am quitting my role in this today. If I will remember to put kids before results, I will always make the loving and right choice for the children that I serve.
Will anyone join me?
Make a vow to not utter the words of testing again until the week of the test, and only to speak the directions because it is mandated that we do so. Otherwise, never again.
Kids first. Always.