like BIG. TIME. MELT down.
They were upset about an issue with a few other students in their reading group and we were spiraling out of control quickly… Tables being pushed around, chairs being knocked over. There was no point of trying to “talk through” this episode like I had done dozens of times before with this child that day. We were in full on melt down mode and I quickly moved to damage control. It was time to get the rest of my class to safety and remove the student for a break.
How DARE they interrupt my precious small group time!
Didn’t they know we only have two and half weeks until state testing?
There is no time to be wasted, especially not my precious (insert Gollum voice here) small group time!
Not any time for that matter.
They were just being so selfish!
Relieved… I marched next door to take back my class with every intent to quickly reassemble back to our reading centers like nothing ever happened. We had stuff to do, people!
But… as I opened the door and called for my class to return to our now learning ready room. something amazing happened.
It started off small… one student asked how our friend was and if they was safe.
Then another asked if there was something we could do to help.
Then another… and another…
Soon, I knew quickly returning to centers so we could work on last minute test prep was the LAST thing my class needed to do at that moment. They needed to talk. WE needed to talk. I needed to embrace THIS teachable moment.
I didn’t become a teacher because I wanted my kiddos to do well on state testing. I became a teacher because I wanted a hand in creating people who care about others. People who grow up to become successful, kind, and accepting citizens of an international world. I educate children… not tests! What was I doing?!?!?!
So, instead, I called for a class meeting on the carpet and we discussed what happened. We talked about why this student was upset. We talked about what we could do to help this student (who was obviously overwhelmed) cope with their issues.
And best of all?
The STUDENTS came up with the idea as to how to make the students feel welcome when they were ready to come back to class. Let’s just say our special friend’s mailbox was brimming with 15 notes by the end of the day. #proudteachermoment #tear
That folks, was when I was reminded about why I became a teacher. It’s sad to think that something like this had to be the event that catapulted me back from my FSA-stress-induced haze I had been walking through. But I am so thankful it did. That brilliant kind and empathetic-filled day burst through my sickly testing haze!
So please, next time you feel yourself stressed out to the max about state testing, remember we became teachers for the little PEOPLE, not the BIG TESTS.