FAITH | ready, set, test.


This week across the state of Texas teachers and students are at the point in the school year that they have been anxiously awaiting for the past 9 months. It’s STAAR testing week and from previous experience, I can say that testing days are by far some of the most mind numbing, feet dragging, soul draining days as a teacher. I have been seeing former coworkers posting on social media about their testing weeks and I can’t help but say a quick prayer for each and every one of them as I imagine their tired feet being kicked up after their tiresome days.

Testing is honestly, probably the biggest thing I don’t miss about teaching.

The concept that is standardized testing is still I continue to struggle with when I’m asked about my teaching philosophy/future plans as an educator. I won’t delve into too much personal detail but I (and I’m sure many others – educators or not) can see the positives/negatives to both sides of the testing line. One thing I did enjoy about getting to this point in the school year with my students is that it gave us an attainable goal we had to reach. It was a milestone for each student in someway and myself. It was a day on the calendar that we were slowing moving towards during the school year. We had finally made it to ‘that’ point in our planners and afterward there was always a sense of accomplishment – like, I am officially done with this grade level now and can move on. It was preparation in way, for bigger tests/milestones in life and I felt good knowing that I was there, getting to support my students in some way as they were finally able to jump over their personal hurdles in the testing environment.

Then there is the negative…the pressure on both students and teachers was and is something that I personally, and morally have a really hard time with. I know I have read articles about all of the unnecessary stress being placed on students at such a young age right now. Kids coming home and having panic attacks from a state test is obviously not the most optimal educational situation. Kids should be kids. Kids should play, and learn, and enjoy their educations to the fullest. But then how can we hold them accountable? How can we make sure that students are learning at least some of the basic strategies as their developmental peer group? How can we make sure that teachers are challenging them and pushing them to become the best educated members of society that they can be?

It’s so hard isn’t it. To find that balance.

We aren’t close but I know that one day it will be figured out. I have faith in that. For now, I’m going to keep offering up my days for my teacher friends and teachers everywhere as they actively monitor their students take the biggest test they have had to take thus far in their little lives. I’m going to continue to try and set an example for teachers and parents (especially when mine is in school) that while the system is far from perfect, a little grace goes a long way and if we all just stop and realize that we all want the same end result… I think we’ll all do pretty ok on a much more important test that life offers us.

Just my two cents. Happy Wednesday!

Psalm 139:14


“I praise you for I am wonderfully made; wonderful are your works!”

These were the words that I read during my planning period this morning and really, they could not have been better timed. I signed up for these fabulous emails by way of a post on Camp Patton (seriously, one of my favorite blogs – her kiddos are hilarious and they definitely get it from their mama). These little snippets in my inbox every morning have really been helping me make it through the day – especially this week which has been filled to the brim with conferences, trying to get ahead on lesson plans/work, and just not feeling so great in the pregnancy department (hello third trimester morning sickness – we meet at last!).

I know that I have said this before but I don’t think I can really say it enough – teaching is hard. It is by far one of the most satisfying things I have found in this life and I love the feeling I get when I see a child come alive in their learning abilities. However, this year. Oh, this year. This year has been my hardest year by far. I won’t delve into the gory details but I have read the statistics of how long a new teacher lasts in this profession and they aren’t pretty. Some say that 40-50% of new teachers will quite their jobs within the first five years of teaching, because they become so burned out and disheartened by their efforts in the classroom.

I am still maintaining my positive outlook aspirations for this semester, or at least trying to. I still love my school and my coworkers and my kiddos. But sometimes, when the going gets rougher than rough (like this week). I think to myself – what else would I do? What else CAN I do? These are the times when I doubt my abilities the most. Am I creative enough? Am I smart enough? Am I driven enough? What have I done wrong? My mind tells me: I must be the most broken and incompetent teacher out there. Give up.

Then come these words. The words at the top. God made me wonderfully. He made me in His image. I know this and I hear this often but really, HOW often do I let these words speak to my soul? He has given me this desire to teach for a reason. He has blessed me with the tools and opportunities that I need at this time in my life to grow and learn. He won’t give me more than I can handle – but I sure can overload myself and put more unnecessary worries into my life and job than needed. These challenges I am facing at work are teaching me and making me grow. The process isn’t necessarily fun but the outcomes will be great. I need to keep reminding myself of this Psalm on weeks and days where I start to feel so burned out. Because no matter all of the thoughts and doubts and hesitations that run through my mind – He is right there comforting me, consistently telling me that it’s ok. Really, He is telling me it’s more than ok.

It’s wonderful.

Happy Wednesday (: