Missing teachers

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Let’s see. Who’s left? Who’s left who started with me? I was one of twelve or thirteen new teachers then. None of them are left. That colleague who needed reassurance today? She pointed out that I was one of the few remaining teachers she knew. “All these new faces,” she said.

Eduhonesty: In the next few years, other faces will vanish, including my own. It’s not that I am working too hard, although I have worked virtually nonstop for every minute of the last week since Saturday night. It’s that I am working stupid. We are gathering far too much data and some of it is manifestly impractical. Giving a test in English to a new arrival to the country who does not speak English wastes time. Giving multiple tests to find out students’ academic readiness levels also wastes time. It does not require weeks of testing to assess students’ academic levels — or it shouldn’t. A lot of that data should already be stored in student files. Updates to that data ought to be accomplished within a day or two.

If we want student test scores to improve, I have a strategy to suggest: Why don’t we try teaching students instead of measuring them? Why don’t we restore planning time, so that instead of hastily prepared PowerPoints we can set up interesting experiments instead? Why don’t we stop measuring the threat and attack it instead? We are a full month into school and my district is still measuring furiously. This is ridiculous.