Choosing learning over testing
“Don’t lick the carpet.”
Chasity Sharp is a Randolph County kindergarten teacher. “I laugh everyday,” she says—often at the things she finds herself having to say or do.
Ever since she was a kid, she wanted to be a teacher. She’s here for the long haul, but she understands why so many colleagues are leaving.
“I don’t want to be glorified—just respected.”
For a number of years, our teachers and school service personnel have been disrespected. The thing is, most teachers, aides, parents, and students actually want the same things:
- Smaller class sizes.
- Pay and benefit raises competitive with neighboring states.
- Mental health in every school—not just counseling for kids but also professional development for teachers.
- More votech, art, music, civics and home economics.
But nobody bothers to listen.
Maybe the biggest thing for Chasity is a desire to spend more time teaching, and less time testing.
“My kids got art for a week. They had an art teacher for an hour a day, for one week. Meanwhile, we spent six weeks testing, in kindergarten. Two full weeks, three times per year. The kids have to answer 60 math and 60 reading questions each, on desktop computers they’ve never used before and may never use again. When we tell them to pick up their mouse, they start screaming. It’s a nightmare.”
All that testing for what?
“It’s pointless. People forget I’m doing my own assessments with these kids all year, everyday. They’re my kids. By the time we finish doing all these tests, it tells me nothing.”
We can have a state where the people closest to a problem are also the ones crafting the solutions. But first we need to listen. Chasity was our 2,693rd conversation during our summer of 10,000 conversations.
See some of our plans to address this here: