The past two weeks at school, students have been struggling through their state test. This is such a difficult time for the students that I love so much. It is also difficult for teachers, parents, and the entire school community, just read the post by parents and teachers on social media. The state places a whole years worth of work on a few hours each May. If a child is sick, had a bad night, didn’t get breakfast, etc. then their score is effected which determines their placement for the next school year. I know both good and bad can result from testing because I have witnessed both over the years, but it does not make these 4 days any easier for the school community.
All I do is pray that God will show me how to love and care for our students through this time and beyond. Educators stand in the gap for them and guide them through each spring. Philippians 2:4 reads, “Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interest of others.” This verse is a constant reminder each day and especially during this testing period to love my neighbor. I try to understand how we got to the place that a few hours determine a child’s ability going forward that a teacher could not determine after building relationships for 10 months. I just struggle with the whole child being cared for because so many students need so much more than to be successful on a test. Of course, test like these provide data but should not be all that defines our students.
A quote by Woody Allen reads, “If you don’t fail now and again, it’s a sign you’re playing it safe.” This quote reminds me that in order to be successful in life we all need some failure. As I watch students test this week, I wonder if we are teaching students this valuable tool. Are we teaching students how to fail? Are we teaching students how to learn and grow from failure? Or are we burdening them with the what will happen if they fail. I have heard teachers over the past month give passionate encouraging speeches, but what will be the speech for the child that had the bad day. How will we leave them after we give them a score. I pray that students feel loved and encouraged as Thessalonians 5:11 expresses, “Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing.”
As we close out this year and testing completes for students, I grasp for the verse found in Matthew 11:28, “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” It is time for students to just rest, have fun, and prepare for a new school year to build on both their successes and failures. I find myself digging deeper in how I can show students how to grow? How to believe in themselves in the midst of failure for some and success for others? How not to be defeated but to find their inner passion? How do I show them the love they need during this time of their life when they are learning and growing? How do I love these students (my neighbors)? Failure is important for us all. The struggle for some will be too much failure. These are the students I am praying for moving forward.
As I sit in the silence as students test, I pray for God’s guidance in their lives. I pray for success from failure. I pray for a time of rest and renewal. As I watch students during these testing settings, I am reminded that this too shall pass. There is a time to test and a time not to test. There is a time for everything as Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 reads,
1 For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven:
2 a time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted;
3 a time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up;
4 a time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance;
5 a time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;
6 a time to seek, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away;
7 a time to tear, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;
8 a time to love, and a time to hate; a time for war, and a time for peace.
Always time to love God’s children.
Closing Verse: Matthew 19:14 ‘but Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of heaven.”‘
Challenge: Are you loving all God’s children as Christ loves you?