500 Words Per Day: Testing Anxiety
I read an article today that had something to do with Jerry Seinfeld. I'm a huge fan of Seinfeld to the extent that I still laugh out-loud when watching the reruns in syndication. The article had something to do with something called the 'Seinfeld Strategy.'
I haven't the slightest idea if there is any truth to this being something Jerry Seinfeld actually did/does, but it sounded worthwhile so I thought I would give it a whirl. The gist is that success is somewhat dependent upon consistency of practice. So, in Seinfeld's world, he would make the effort to write every day. The author of the article writes:
Top performers in every field — athletes, musicians, CEOs, artists — they are all more consistent than their peers. They show up and deliver day after day while everyone else gets bogged down with the urgencies of daily life and fights a constant battle between procrastination and motivation.
He also adds a simple caveat: the daily task has to be "meaningful enough to make a difference and simple enough that you can get it done." I think this is a solid plan.
My plan, therefore, is to make it my daily goal to blog 500 words. I have no particular agenda, but I'm thinking that I might blog about my Bible reading for the day or about something in education that happens to be irritating me at the moment. I'm sure of this: there will be no lack for things to blog.
For example, today I'm particularly irritated by the amount of tests that I have to administer to my students in order for them to be qualified as students. It's almost like the state and federal government doesn't trust teachers to teach so they mandate all sorts of tests just to make certain we are doing something in the classroom. I spent some time tonight reading through the 2nd grade Diagnostic Assessment manual which was enough to make me want to take a sick day.
Where do people come up with all this stuff? Add on top of 2nd Grade Diagnostic Assessments the ten Alternate Assessments I have to administer and Brigance Comprehensive Assessments I have to administer before I can write IEPs and it's easy to see why my students are stressed out and why I am ready to shave the skin from my scalp (I have no hair to pull out).
Fact is, teaching ought to be exciting and thrilling and a daily adventure. Learning ought to be worse: a delightful and amazing journey into the unknown, where darkness is illuminated, ignorance replaced with wisdom, and grace heaved into our hearts in massive doses. We get to live on this earth for a very short period of time if we are lucky enough to live at all. We get to spend some of those years in formal educational settings. Why, oh why, would we want to steal all the joy that should be there and replace it with anxiety and stress?