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What they DIDN’T Show

As I’ve grown up, schools have become more and more focused on standardized testing. As a child, I put up with these tests because that was just the way it was. I was taught that each year I would be tested. Some imaginary greater-being need to know if I had learned for the year. I didn’t understand it but I didn’t argue.  Luckily, I have always been a strong test taker. I don’t get panicky. I trust my gut. I do well. It’s a simple and mind-numbingly boring process.The thing is the standardized tests weren’t even necessarily checking to see if I learned, they were the check to see if my teacher had done their job. But these tests have never shown the really important things. This one test didn’t show the amazing things my teachers did for me as I was growing up.

  • They didn’t show how my 2/3rd-grade teacher taught me how to be a leader in group projects and speak up for what I thought was a good idea.
  • They didn’t show how my  4th-grade teacher built my confidence as a learner and showed me that I was actually smart.
  • They didn’t show how my 6th-grade teachers helped me over come moving across the country and leaving all my friends by sending me packages from my old class.
  • They didn’t show how my 7-th grade science teacher helped me as I battled depression and actually cared about if I was mentally healthy.
  • They didn’t show how my Algebra 2 teacher knew I wanted to be a teacher and when I was his teacher’s aid, let me teach the class some basic concepts I’d already learned to try something I was passionate about.

That’s the thing about standardized tests they don’t show the whole picture. It’s like one of the pictures that are so zoomed in you can no longer tell what you are looking at.

As a teacher, it isn’t the teachers who were focused on having good test scores that I remember and want to be like. In fact, it’s the opposite. It’s those teachers who cared about me as a person more than if they had good test scores that I try to be like. If any of my students think back on me as a teacher someday and think about the things the test didn’t show, that is how I will know I have been a successful teacher.




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