I'm a huge fan of the Moth podcast. If you haven't heard of it before, it's a collection of true stories told live, without notes. I was listening recently and heard the story, My Unhurried Legacy, by Kyp Malone. The story is a good reminder that the children we teach are, often times, small replicas of their own parents, fated, or perhaps doomed, by genetics. The story is about a man whose daughter begins kindergarten. Without giving too much away, the teacher has some concerns. But, the "concerns" were him. He had the same issues growing up. He recognizes himself in his daughter, and realizes where this will lead if he keeps her in her current classroom with a teacher who doesn't understand them.
The story stuck with me for days, as I began the school year and met my new students. Two and half weeks into the school year, I've started having some "concerns." As I pick up the phone to talk with parents, I remember Kyp Malone's story. I might just be speaking to an older and more experienced version of my student; and so I tread carefully. I should anyway. I'm OK with that. But, I wonder if, in today's high stakes testing environment, these "concerns" might be interpreted differently. Are they intensified by the need for all students to reach standard? Even for students as young as kindergarten?
Luckily for Kyp and his daughter, he was able to pull her out of the classroom and send her to a Waldorf school. For what shouldn't feel like a utopian view on assessment, but does, I recommend reading the Waldorf school's approach, Assessment without Testing. Just don't look up their tuition rates.