Saturday, April 27, 2013

Stress in 3rd grade is nuts

While walking my 9 year old granddaughter to school last week, I got a view into her life in third grade. Remember that I'm 60+ and she's 9, I haven't had a child in elementary school for 30 some years and I that was in third grade in 1961. I'm just trying to be as fair as I can. ;-)


I could not believe the stress she was radiating, worrying about the STAAR tests she would be taking on Tuesday and Wednesday. She was actually wringing her hands and frowning, close to tears with worry. 'I'm afraid I won't do good, Grandpa. What if I miss something and do bad. I won't get to go to 4th grade.'

This had been going on for days before that. She would go from the typical little girl bouncing off the walls, singing the latest Bieber song, happy as a lark, to frowny-faced anxiety, whining 'I don't think I can do well on the test. What if I don't remember everything?'

The insanity I see here is multi fold.
1. She's 9 years old. She should NOT be THAT worried about a test that is a review of past learning.
2. She's 9 years old. She should NOT be THAT stressed about school academics of ANY kind.
3. She's 9 years old. She SHOULD be enjoying school. Enjoying her friends, her teachers, recess and of course fretting over tests. Fretting. NOT stressing. Huge difference.

Now, I've wondered if it was just her and not the rest of the kids, so we've checked with other parents and talked to kids and teachers. Nope, it's most of the kids. They are so worried about these tests that school is more like my office at work than a fun, peaceful, positive learning environment.

This is wrong. This is insane.

Today's homework assignment:
1. Find out why these tests are stressing out my grand kids and work to change it. I invite you to make your own assessment of these tests and how they affect your kids and grand kids.
2. Get involved with your teachers and find out how they are presenting these tests to the kids. What are they telling them to motivate them to do well.
3. Remind the children that these are 'reviews' of things they have already learned. That's how I finally got my granddaughter to relax a little.

It's insane to stress out a 9 year old about a test.