Ohio has started a new testing program called PARCC and AIR, which involves standardized testing over the course of 4 months. School counselors (and MANY other school and district personnel) are being pulled from their jobs to coordinate schedules and complete an overwhelming amount of paperwork. We also stop all services that may interfere with administering the tests. The rules of these tests are new, so that requires additional training that takes more support away from students. Our once energetic, positive climate has turned into a frantic buzz of stress and anxiety.
Now is the time for a little perspective. In the grand scheme of things, these tests don't matter. These limitations have been placed on all Ohio schools (and other states dealing with the same tests) and all we can do is take a deep breath and do the best we can with what we've been given. It doesn't mean that we stop fighting for our students - we just have to accept those things we cannot change immediately.
Last week, my school had a Valentine's dance for 4th-6th grade students (no dates, just fun). Before the dance, I was upset about the lack of time I had to be a REAL school counselor and was dealing with the stress of being pulled in too many directions - the last thing I wanted to do was add more to my plate by chaperoning a dance, even though it was my choice to do so. I cannot tell you how happy I am that I went to the dance. It was wonderful seeing my students in a more relaxed setting, dancing like goofballs and smiling like this was the best night of their lives. I was able to enjoy the people they are and not the "data" they represent on paper. This is why I wanted to work with children - they are fun and make my life brighter with their unique perspective on life.
I figured that many of you might be in the same boat, plugging the little holes before you are engulfed in a sea of negativity, stress, and responsibilities. So, here are some reminders about the beauty of our students:
I read this back in November and couldn't stop laughing. It's all about jokes that kids make that don't exactly make sense. I guarantee a laugh!