Tuesday, March 27, 2018

That's Not on the Test!

Tears streamed down my bloodshot eyes as I stood in
front of my students.  “I need a few minutes. Can you all
work silently on your Study Island assignment while I get
myself together?” I pleaded as I futility wiped at my eyes.

“What’s the matter, Mrs. Miller?” several asked.  

“Are you ok?”

“Who did something to you, Mrs. Miller?  Who do I need
to beat up?” This coming from a student who has not
hesitated to be “difficult” throughout the year.

The week had started normally enough.  I was geared up
and ready to teach my 7th graders.  My lessons were on
point. I had my I DO, WE DO, YOU DO, along with my
exit assessments all ready to go.  My students were going
to show mastery over the standards as we prepared
for the upcoming I-STEP It was going to be a great week!
 I could FEEL it!

Turns out those feelings were wrong.  

First, there was a threat on my life from a student.

Then a death in the family.

Finally, a disagreement with a friend.

All of this on top of the normal stressors of life--
you know, the ones that come from being a wife, mom,
teacher, and human being.  


By mid-week, I was emotionally bankrupt.  This led to my
eyes leaking right in front of my 7th graders.  I had no
idea how they would react, but they enveloped me in their
love. Many came and hugged me, telling me they hoped I
felt better soon. Some empathetically rubbed my back.
All showed a loving concern for my well-being.

This touched my heart.

I took four days off for my bereavement period. When I
returned to school, relaxed and rejuvenated, my students
once again surrounded me with their love. There were
explanations of “We missed you, Mrs. Miller!” and “We are
glad you’re  back!” This, along with countless hugs made
me truly remember why I teach.

It isn’t to prepare students for a bajillion assessments.

It isn’t to get a rating of highly qualified on my teacher

It isn’t for the paycheck.

It isn’t for the schedule.

I teach because of days like this.  Empathy is not
something that will ever be measured on a test.   I don't
get evaluated on how well I taught empathy this year.
There is no data to analyze that shows the way my kids
are able to consider the feelings of others. We won’t get
accolades or a higher school grade because our students
have grown in compassion.

And yet, this is what matters most.  

And this is NOT on the test!