So my daughter says to me, "Why is the symbol for Valentine's a heart anyway? It's a muscle pumping blood! That's just gross!" And then she walks away.
This is life with a middle-schooler. Two-way conversations are for losers apparently. You walk in, you say what you want to say, and then you exit. As dramatically as possible. Flip the hair if you can manage it, maybe even exhale loudly. And as it turns out, these are pretty good guidelines to follow when you go in for a mid-year review.
Mid-year is where teachers often start reflecting on how they've been losing the heart and passion for teaching. Or deciding that they've actually just simply lost it. But it's also a good time to figure out a way to get the blood pumping again, and find a way to fall in love again.
I cannot fall in love with testing or data meetings. I'm sorry, but no. They are not love-able. They will be single forever. They are THE ORANGE.
These two things however, weigh heavy on my mind daily, as a teacher of a testing year in Virginia. I got moved to fifth grade this year after eight years in second. I taught fourth and fifth grades at the beginning of my career- but back then, we took tests with pencils and paper, and we taught lessons on how to properly fill in bubbles. "Circle the edge, now color to the inside. Start on the outside edge, and color to the inside. Outside to the inside. Out and then in. Circular motions, folks! Like a whirlpool." Like a whirlpool that will suck you to your death, is more like it.
We taught lessons on how to erase completely. Lessons on how to make sure your pencil eraser was PRIMED for the job. "Before you erase on your paper, erase on your pant leg. Make sure any hard crusty bits are off, and then, with a now rubbery and soft tip, gently, GENTLY NOW! Don't rip the paper. Gennnnnnntlyyyyy erase the mark. Completely. I shouldn't be able to see any stray bits. Also this means you shouldn't have made your whirlpools too dark. Let's practice again making bubbles lightly but completely, and then we'll try our erasing technique." It was a necessity to watch Bob Ross videos prior to the teaching to make sure you could get that happy little tree voice down. The zen of testing.
Data meetings meant you stood at the scantron, ran a card through and tried to guess which student it was based on how loudly the machine marked up the card. Zzzzttt-zzt-zzzzzzt-zzzzzt! "Oh, yeah. That was Timmy. Just lighting the world on fire, that kid."