The goal of a test in my class is to discover what a student can accomplish independently.
This is not a perspective shared by everyone. This fact continues to astonish me, but I continue to encounter dissenting opinions.
- My colleague told me that students complain that I don't answer questions during tests.
- My ninth graders get mad at me when I don't answer their questions.
- My students continue to ask questions during tests, despite the fact that I never answer them (unless they are totally unclear on the directions in which case I provide minimal clarification).
This leaves me wondering what other teachers in our local community do. I have to assume that the middle school teachers answer questions since all the ninth graders come in thinking that it's status quo. And I've learned this year that a lot of other teachers answer questions and even explain concepts during tests because I've had the unfortunate circumstance of having four different co-teachers this year in my inclusion Algebra 1 classes. My long time co-teacher was diagnosed with cancer in the fall and has been out the rest of the year (she's doing okay now and expects to be back next year! Modern medicine rocks). I had forgotten what it was like to build that relationship and to teach/train/convince another teacher of some of my teaching practices. I remember very clearly now, because I've had three new teachers in my room since then. It's been hard, really hard. And I've tried my best to be flexible to different teaching styles. But some things really bother me, including anything that will mess up the data that I'm trying to collect by giving a test or quiz. I try to ask nicely. I try to explain the goal of tests in my classroom. I do a fantastic job of modeling what I want. And yet, out of a genuine desire to help students, co-teachers continued to help students during tests. At this point it's almost the end of the year and I know Lori is coming back in the fall so I've given up. I try to put a purple pen in my co-teacher's hand as soon as I notice her helping and ask her to initial next to all the questions she helps kids on. It's a compromise I can deal with for the next 6 weeks.
What are your classroom pet peeves? Is there anything you can't stand more than, "It's your job to teach me!" during the middle of a test? Because I don't think there's anything that spikes my blood pressure as intensely as that situation.