Today my heart hurts for my students. I’m looking at the selections for tests and I think I’ve realized the problem. There are not pieces of writing in the public domain being used that have any language that begins to resemble language my students would understand.
Grapes of Wrath, O! Pioneers, selections from Bleak House.
My students are level 1 and level 2 WIDA scoring students. They have been in an English speaking part of the US for less than two years in most cases. They’re trying to understand English spoken in the year 2017. Why are they also being asked to try to comprehend 19th century British accents and slang completely a-contextually? How is that relevant or fair?
I understand that teachers need to not just educate but illuminate. In my perfect world, I teach students to read and write because some day I hope they’ll learn to love literature as much as I do. However, I’m troubled by what I see in front of me and by how much it feels like students are being asked to set up students to fail.
We differentiate instruction for ELL, SPED, CP, Honors, and AP. We teach different materials. We instruct our classes differently. Why are the tests we are required to give the same tests? How is that in any way acceptable?
And more importantly, what do I do when it is no longer acceptable? All I’ve ever wanted to do is teach. What do I do if I can’t do it anymore?