Nerves and anxiety were running high here last night and this morning. It’s the writing portion of the FSA today – a timed portion of standardized testing – and timed tests are not her friend.
She has a cast on the hand that she uses to write and has to type her test today, something that she doesn’t do well. She also hates essay writing and was terrified that she might fail.
She was told that this test would determine her placement in middle school. Middle school y’all! Something no kid should have to worry about, especially since it’s over a year away. She’s only in 4th grade!
But this is a public school in America. Where homework piles up nightly. Where standardized testing causes our kids anxiety. Where being a kid is impossible, because they are always measuring, pushing, and pressuring.
I almost didn’t send her today. I almost opted out of the test, but then I gave her a choice.
I told her I didn’t care if she failed – and that I knew she wouldn’t because she’s so bright. I told her tests and grades didn’t determine her value, worth, or intelligence. I asked her to choose whether she wants to take it, and if she does all we ask is that she does her best. And if she tries hard, then we would be proud of her.
She felt better and this morning felt ready but still nervous. So I took a page out of my friend Liz Petrone’s parenting playbook and drew this little heart on her hand.
Green was for luck and the heart meant that no matter what happens we love her.
I will be thinking of her and all the kids being tested today. And hope our educators remember that all kids learn and test differently and that’s ok.
They don’t need more pressure, nor to be taught to the standards of frivolous tests, just love, understanding, and compassion.