It’s on the computer, this test for six year olds. The text sits on the left side of the screen with options to scroll down several times to view it in its entirety. Then on the right half of the screen the questions about the text loom. Not only does it take a full ten minutes for me to run around and help everyone log in, but each week, when they raise their hand to press the submit button, we wait together before the screen shows the confusing data of their efforts. I squat down next to each one, put my arm around a little shoulder. The feet, too short to touch the ground might be swinging after sitting for so long. As I make eye contact with each child, I make sure to acknowledge all the gumption it takes to engage in a task like this on a Friday afternoon in March, “You worked so hard on this.” The smile I get in return is the punctuation to my week. This is what we do. We labor, at a challenging pace, through hours of intensity every week, in sickness and in health, regardless of economic struggles or wellness. Our challenge is a secret we teachers share with the children. We pour our souls into making our learning communities meaningful and authentic, regardless of the task.
Giving first graders time to practice taking a test with as much support as I can muster on a Friday afternoon