I just realized I have not posted here at all in 2020. Oops. Time flies when you're having fun? :)
January felt about 2000 years long, but then it usually does, at least here in Michigan, because the sun barely shines and those gray days just blend into each other.
We have officially entered the second half of the school year, which is crazy to me. This year has been flying by! I have chuckled a little that I'm finally in a groove and then the WIDA testing season shows up and throws a wrench into that groove.
With the arrival of February, we are in WIDA season, which means most of my responsibilities for the next month will surround testing/proctoring. Not the most exciting thing to do, but I AM excited to see where the students make the most growth. If I was a bettin' gal, I'd bet my elementary students will make a ton more progress than my middles. I say this because I've certainly had reluctant learners in my career, but never this many.
It's quite sad actually because it signals to me that somewhere along the way the system has really failed these students. (To be clear, I am not saying my specific district has failed these students, I am saying the system as a whole which has not always provided monies to support these students has failed them. These systems can include trainings and other supports for every adult working with ELs...when those monies aren't there and budget cuts have to happen, these supports are often the first to go and that is a state issue.)
I've done what I can to be supportive and teenagers are known for being fickle beings so even though they complain, I know they secretly like that they have someone there cheering them on and nagging them. If they really hated it, they wouldn't follow my advice, and they do; they just don't want me to think that I'm having an impact because that wouldn't be "cool." (Ahh the teenage mind.)
Despite all of that, I do think my elementary friends are more likely to try to "please" and as I have spent time actually discussing this test with them (I have no idea if my predecessor did or not), I'm curious to see how they grow compared to the middles.
The bad news is, one of our EL colleagues is supporting in a classroom for a new teacher so my mentor and I have to cover her buildings for testing. It's not "bad" necessarily, just throws a wrench in things. If I was only testing my own schools, I'd be done by our mid-winter break (Feb 14) if everyone is present and tests on time. As I am supporting my colleague, I have two extra weeks of testing to do to help her. I don't mind helping at all (that's what we do!), but it saddens me that I won't get to see my own groups during those other weeks.
Testing can be incredibly tedious because you're not supposed to do anything except actively monitor the students as they test. This is so necessary but not mentally stimulating (especially when you're me and you're a pretty animated person who is bouncing all over the room all day). My saving grace will be my 6th hour class.
The good news is, despite my schedule change to support testing in the other schools, I still get to work with my dedicated class every day. That makes me so happy because it's the very end of the day and will give me something stimulating to do before the day is over. We are focusing on novel studies this quarter so that's fun too because I'm a reader (even if they aren't!) and being able to talk about the book with the students and finally see them engage in discussions is quite lovely.
I'm hopeful my schedule goes off without a hitch and that we don't have to spend a ton of time on makeup testing because I am eager to get back to my regular schedule and see my groups. They are excited for that as well. Makes going to work a big pleasure.