SOL's are in full swing in my building, and even though I'm not a grade level that has to take them, I can remember when once I was and really feel for the kids and the teachers. There is so much outside pressure. It's completely unhealthy for everyone, but it's just the way it is.
I do like how my new school approaches it though. Last week we had SOL Spirit Week- everyday was a different dress up day for a different test taking strategy and then it all culminated on Friday with an SOL Pep Rally. K, 1, and 2 were each assigned a testing grade level- we made them a spirit banner to cheer them on for the next weeks, and selected one class from each grade level to perform a dance for entertainment at the rally. Additionally, a group of teachers got together and practiced a cheer routine and also put on dance show. And then grade level teams made up goodie baskets for the teachers administering the tests. At my old school, we used to make candy treat bags for the kids, but this school is into healthy snacking so that wasn't in the mix.
Something I loved about the pep rally was how they introduced the testing classes to come into the gym. Each one of the classes had made their own spirit poster and when their class name was called the charged through the paper cheering into the gymnasium. I thought it was awesome. They were actually pumped for the test, rather than dreading it.
I don't really know if there is a lot we can do about this era of testing- but trying uplift everyone's spirits is the least we can do. Again, I just feel really thankful for this new job. Everyday my eyes are opened to a new way of thinking and doing things. And I'm not saying the last job was bad, because it wasn't. I loved working there too- it's just different. It's very easy to get in a place where all you know is where you are and you forget that it's not the same everywhere else. I'm glad my world has been turned upside down, like a snow globe, now everything is pretty while the snow falls and the landscape changes. I'm becoming a different sort of teacher, in a different environment with different needs- and interestingly enough, it seems to be fitting the needs I had. Funny how things work out that way.