Oh my. This was a week. First, we did the district writing assessment. They call it a writing assessment, but it is a response to literature, so really is a reading assessment. This has always been really irritating to me. Maybe it is a good idea, as it could potentially prepare them for the same sort of essay on the CST writing test. I get that. That is if this year’s CST test is a response to lit. Of course the most useful essay for them to know how to write for their life in school ahead is a persuasive one, cause almost anything they will be asked to write could be served well by a persuasive essay. But, we teach them to prepare for a test, not for life. And there is the rub. As a teacher of English Learners, albeit advanced ones (verbally incredibly astute, academically incredibly far behind), it takes a long time to teach them things like essay writing and I would prefer to use it on things that will truly count, in the long run, rather than in the test run. But ni modo. Response to lit it is. So we did that, and last week, (remember the practice essay?) they sat there dumbstruck when it came time to write. This week they seemed to know what to do. At least they almost all made an effort to put five clumps of text on the page, representing the minimum five paragraphs I told them to write. I haven’t read many of them yet, but they seem to have tried to follow the ridiculously obtuse prompt and write an essay about the story they read.
On Wednesday another teacher and I took our 8th grade AVID students to the local community college for the day. They are participating this year in a 5 session tech prep program, two sessions of which took place at the college. It was a long day, but the kids got to see eight different career possibilities. I think that everything we do like this opens their eyes to their own choices in the future. Even though I have hopes that they will attend a university, not all will, and at least maybe they will remember they have possibilities at the CC level as well.
We managed to enrage a number of the other 8th grade teachers in the process of this trip. While we did send the kids around with teacher permission slips, (and if a teacher said they couldn’t go, we abided with that) we did it only a day ahead of time. They were furious that we hadn’t done it three days in advance so they could adjust their curriculum. That makes total sense, and I’ll absolutely do it next time. However, I had no idea there was a three day rule. I still miss the unwritten rules of this place. No one has ever mentioned such a rule to me, either here or at the high school. (The principal didn’t know about it either, when I asked her.) I wish they’d just tell me. Oh, wait. They did. Well, not me, but they told the uninvolved person who would be sure to do so. Task completed!