Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Step Up to ISTEP

--Today was the beginning of ISTEP for Indiana schools and my very own former middle school. I was asked to come and help the teacher that took over my 7th grade position after I retired. I was glad Shelley took over my former world and room that I loved--nice windows! She's a good teacher and works hard for her students and the school. I have been back many times, but this is the first time I was back in the scheme of things so to speak.
--I was to help Shelley out any way she needed me and also to go to other classrooms and check to see if any of the other 7th grade teachers needed a break. It was fun to be an outsider looking in for a change. I knew the procedures and felt comfortable in the ISTEP setting.
--Students surprised me with their readiness to take the test. Maybe they are just resigned to the fact that this is the way it is. Half way through the test and during the break, I asked how the test was going for them, and they remarked it was okay.
--None of the students knew me because I've been gone long enough that none of my students I had remain. I forgot how friendly and how much fun it was to talk to these middle schoolers. They didn't know me, but they were ready to share their thoughts and the dreams they had the night before--so funny that they just start telling you stories whether you want to hear them or not. I forgot what great story tellers they are. Time flew by after the second half, and soon it was time to go.
--I'll go back tomorrow and see how they really felt about yesterday. I wonder what new stories I will hear. Maybe one will be good enough to share.


  1. I'm guessing IStep is the state test? I like how you described kids' wonderful openness to sharing their stories, "whether you want to hear them or not." There's something so powerful about their trust in "The Teacher" at this age, isn't there? I can't wait to hear if one will be good enough to share!

  2. Your story of collecting stories is plenty good enough to share, why look for one of theirs? I think there is more to their willingness to share with you than their openness, though. Middle school students have great instincts when it comes to sharing with adults--you are clearly giving out trustworthy, good listener vibes!

  3. Tam, I think what you're describing are some days I am looking forward to, just a touch of teaching & that's enough. I love that you expressed the ease of being there, in the moment, just having a good time with the students, who really matter. I enjoyed every word. Have fun tomorrow!

  4. Isn't it wonderful the way writing helps us to notice little yet important things in the course of a day. Living just like a writer with your eyes wide open. Ears and heart too! Sounds like the children were happy to have you there.

  5. What a great way to step in and help - sounds like it was rewarding for you too.

  6. How nice that you went back in to help! At one point, I was probably one of those middle school kids sitting in YOUR classroom taking that test. Now, I am giving that test to my own students. Your slice made me think of one of my current kids. The other day he told me he plans on being a teacher here at our school. I smiled and said, "well, maybe one day we will teach language arts together." Luckily he liked that idea. :)

    Thank you for being such a great teacher for me those many years ago. :)