I pour my heart, my soul, my energy, my everything into teaching until the cup runneth over. And then? Then I keep pouring.
Drip after drip, some days it feels like I have given every drop I’ve got. I don’t stop. I’ve got to keep rolling.
…because this is all for something. Something important. Something that matters…all this hard work, it pays off. Hard work always pays off.
Or so I thought.
Then EVAAS comes out.
EVAAS. The Holy Grail of teaching that tells you exactly how good you are. Or aren’t.
You can be red, green, or blue.
Everyone is seeking blue. Blue means you are living your best teacher life. Your kids learned the most, grew the most, and you are the best.
Green is okay. It means you aren’t red. It means you are fine in that your job’s not on the line. Recently, I learned that there’s such a thing as a “good” and a “bad” green. Let that sink in. Imagine if the green on stoplights worked that way…
Now we come to red. Most good things aren’t red and this is no exception.
Your teacher color is quantified by some sort of *mystical formula that produces a number on a number line that corresponds with your color. The way they reach that number is unclear. Fuzzy. No one has ever been able to explain any of it to me.
After end of the year testing, the EVAAS people punch in these formulas for the whole state of teachers and 6 months later we are given our color. It’s like the Hunger Games…may the odds be ever in my favor.
I would like to state for the record that the tests they use as a baseline for their top secret formula are rubbish. They are culturally biased and developmentally inappropriate bubble tests that can take hours. They are supposed to measure educational growth but after administering such test, I don’t see any correlation to them and what or how I teach. Then again, I don’t teach boring passages all day. I don’t actually think you can quantify anything that way (them OR me).
At the same time…when you pour your heart and soul into something it’s hard not to want some sort of validation. As much as the tests mean nothing to me and as wack as the EVAAS formula is, somehow at the end of the day, I found myself caring. It somehow, some way mattered to me.
I work until I’m nearly blue in the face, shouldn’t that be reflected somewhere…shouldn’t my EVAAS look like a Smurf?!?! Oh yeah, in case you were wondering…EVAAS odds weren’t in my favor. I did not find the Holy Grail this year.
To be honest, based on last year’s testing and how poorly I thought it represented my kids and where they actually were, I was not expecting to be blue. I probably should have been happy that I wasn’t red. Yet, it still stung to see…that according to this system I am not in fact awesome, amazing, spectacular, or top notch.
According to this system, it wasn’t for anything. What I did/do didn’t matter all that much. It didn’t actually mean that much of something. I’d have been better off telling the kids to sit down somehwhere so we could practice passages all day.
Validation wasn’t coming in the form of EVAAS.
That’s a funny thing.
Why am I seeking validation from bunk science that is based on flawed formulas and farcical testing?
Am I insane?
These colors and numbers play with my mind. They leave me stuck between a rock and a hard place. Straddling the line between “testing is terrible I don’t want to be measured that way anyway” and boo-hooing. Stuck on the fence of test prep vs. teaching. I am sure there is a balance. Everything has balance.
Then I come back to this validation thing. The doing this for something thing. The idea that this teaching thing I do matters. I just have to find that validation elsewhere… because exactly what kind of teacher do I want to be?
Ultimately, when I ask myself who I am as a teacher, my kids matter the most. They are top priority. Seeing a previous non-reader blend cvc words, watching a child who never talks lead morning meeting, witnessing a boy who struggles with addition create an array and accurately multiply…those things aren’t quantified in that test. They don’t show up in EVAAS (side note, for 3rd grade math does’t even factor into EVAAS). They do matter though. They mean everything. These things are what my kids need. These things are showing me that my kids are learning and growing. And my kids…they mean far more than my EVAAS. So I will keep teaching and hope that next year, the odds are ever in my favor, even without the test prep books.