Government paperwork sucked up most the day. Bureaucratic surprise visits did not help.
Eduhonesty: I’m feeling a bit desperate tonight. Will some independent authority please do a time study on the number of minutes devoted to testing as opposed to teaching and learning? I am too busy to do that study. But the amount of time spent on testing, documenting testing techniques, documenting the documentation on testing techniques, inventorying materials and filling in random bubbles the barcode label could not include — all that time could be spent on instruction and preparing instruction. My instruction could be much more fun and informative if not for the testing hours from this week and the week before. I am afraid the “diminished-instruction” effect on daily lessons does not hit the radar often, though, since I always have instruction prepared. It’s like making soup. I can always whip soup together, but there’s the boring chicken noodle and the luscious lamb stew. Too much testing leads to canned chicken broth filled with mushy noodles and frozen vegetables. Technique disappears because technique takes time and time has become the missing element, stolen by test prep.
In concrete terms: I worked 12 hours yesterday, taking 10 minutes for lunch, and 20 minutes at some Panera on the way home for dinner, at least half of my day’s labors on paperwork not directly related to instruction. I cut meals for the last two days (The scale made me happy this morning!) I am losing my alleged planning period to more of the same mandated testing today. When I got home last night, I was too tired to grade or tweak instruction so today’s lesson will be a little less interesting and papers are piling up for the weekend. A special education coworker worked until midnight the day before yesterday, mostly to get done with her the individualized instruction plans required by the government. Now if she could just get some time to actually implement the plans… The scary thing is that I know this woman. She will probably regularly walk out of that school at an unsafe hour because she WILL prepare that instruction. Like many others, though, she is planning to change careers as soon as she can practicably put her departure plan together.