I'm coordinating our site's MAP testing, which our district is mandating (and paying handsomely for, I'm sure) for all 9th grade English and all Algebra 1 students. One of our vice principals will be coordinating our Smarter Balanced (Common Core) testing, and she and I went to a training/meeting about that testing after school a few weeks ago. I asked why she wanted me there, and she said it's always nice to have another person off whom to bounce ideas, notice impossibilities, etc. I like to know what's going on at school, this one didn't cost me anything but a couple hours of personal time, so I went.
A lot of good information was put out in that first meeting. What really stuck with me, though, was that we spent the majority of the time (or at least a very large plurality of it) discussing how to handle special education education students. Obviously that's important, but why/how does that merit such a large segment of time?
Today the vice principal sent me an email asking if I'd attend the second meeting on the topic, in several weeks. You know what? I hate meetings. Always have. I'll attend them if I'm needed to and if the cost isn't too high, but other than that, well, I'm not very interested. This next meeting, though, has a very high cost--it's all day, during school.
If you've never taught you probably don't understand how much most teachers despise missing school. You have to work extra hard to prepare for a substitute, you worry the whole time someone else is in your classroom with your students, and then you have to go back and pick up whatever pieces need to be picked up. And for a high school math teacher, the probability is very low that you'll get a substitute who's interested in or capable of teaching your subject; there just aren't a lot of math teachers sitting around on the substitute list waiting to be called. I miss one day of school and then I have to juggle all the planning I've done and the bottom line is I'll then have to load the students up with a little extra work to get us back on schedule. My students don't sit around watching Frozen in my class, they're too busy learning math. It's not like I have "slack time".
So I don't want to go to that meeting. I declined as delicately as I could. I wouldn't mind knowing how this testing works and how it can be implemented, but I don't want to give up a day in the classroom to find that out. Aren't there better ways of getting this information out nowadays? I don't know, something to do with using all that technology (TM) we have for giving those tests?
Just a thought.