Tuesday, April 20, 2010

The Dreaded Test

This week we are doing the state mandated, Stanford Standardized testing. I am not a huge fan of anything "standardized", since I encourage my children to be individualized in the ways God has wired them to be. But I understand what these tests are geared to do. I understand because I am an adult, and have gone through the high school entrance exams and the college entrance exams and the SATs. They are peptic ulcer inducing tests. As young adults we sometimes see these exams as a means to measure our worth and our potential. How awful when that thinking is allowed to perpetuate the minds of our young children!

This morning I was reminding my very perfectionist-driven son, who is in the 6th grade,and very obviously nervous about this test, to just breathe. That this is just a state mandated test and it in no way means anything to us or the course we have set. But, very upsettingly,I found out that a former teacher, somewhere along the way in his public school education, had told him that these standardized tests were what they used to decide whether or not the kids would be promoted to the next grade level! Holy moley! No wonder the kid was nervous!

To think that some person, who was thought to be a trusted educational advocate of my child, had decided to lie to my son...and to make that lie something that gave him unnecessary anxiety, at such a young age, just makes me furious! When I explained to him that this test in no way was the litmus test he thought it was, he physically calmed down. His shoulders, which were up around his ears, relaxed to their normal anatomical position. He was able to breathe! May I add, he will probably do fantastically well on this test NOW, since the anxiety is gone!

As adults we must be mindful of what we tell our kids.As parents we need to know that there are others who we entrust our little treasures to, daily, who may not take that job as seriously as we would hope they would. We mustn't use anything, even IF it would end up being for our perceived advantage, to kill their spirit. Ever.

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