Thursday, May 16, 2013

Testing Affective Disorder

This week I've felt quite down and weepy. One morning I was walking down the hallway to my classroom before school and I felt close to tears. I could not identify a reason. And I tend to analyze those types of things to death.

I've known folks who suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD - such a great acronym). Personally, it hasn't been an issue for me, for which I'm grateful during some of our dreary winter days.

Then it hit me. I suffer from Testing Affective Disorder (TAD). I know this isn't in the DSMV but if we're not careful it will make it into a future edition.

Symptoms of TAD:

  • Exhaustion but difficulties sleeping
  • Crankiness; tendency to overreact to small issues and small children
  • Fatigue due to lack of fresh air and sunshine due to indoor recess everyday
  • Constant craving for chocolate, complex carbohydrates, and alcohol
  • Strong, negative feelings, especially towards Pearson and state policy makers
  • Lack of patience with family, traffic, and any emails that say "Urgent!"
  • Dreams that consist of #2 pencils and bubbles attacking
  • Visceral reaction to rows of seats, such as in churches or auditoriums
  • Hearing voices, most notably those of children begging for a break
  • Urges to scream as loud as possible because of the need for constant silence
Those sound absurd and mostly they are. But the more I think about it the more convinced I am that the testing season truly does affect many of us significantly. 

As a teacher and a parent it hurts me to hear that a few of our fifth graders, who began their reading test at 9:00 am didn't finish it until nearly 5:00 pm. I'm on edge watching so many of my former students as they face these tests. I am pained as I watch teachers try to balance pushing their students to do their very best on the test without making them overly anxious. A really tough line.

I've written before about my frustrations with testing, but the more it happens, the more concerned I get. Testing Affective Disorder is clearly satire. At least, I think it is.

1 comment:

Dahlia said...

Yes, yes, and sadly...yes.

I used to always wonder in horror at how entire nations could be convinced to commit atrocities against their own people. But as I think about what schools are allowing and participating in in regards to testing, I quickly realize the slippery slope we have been on for a couple of decades. We are now living in a country where teachers - the people whose love for children is only second to the families of these children - are now responsible for carrying out abusive practices that hurt our children and lead to the decay of our nation.

Perhaps my dramatic tone is related to the fact that I teach third graders, the first group that takes our aptly named SOL exams...but I don't think I am wrong...