Twas The Night Before Testing...

Twas the day before testing, when all through the school
Not a student was learning, not even the fool.
The pencils were sharpened and laid out with care,
In hopes that learning soon would be shown there.

The children were crowded all cramped in their seats,
While visions of bubbled answers danced on the sheets.
And teacher in their desk, and student their chair,
Both settled their brains for a long blank stare.

When out in the hall arose such a noise,
Students sprang from desks, the girls and the boys.
Away to the door they flew in a flash,
Tore down the testing sign and left in a crash.

The hallway lit with the glimmer of neon light,
And students called back to seats with fright.
When, what to their wondering eyes should appear,
But endless questions and answers to fear.

With children back in their seats,
They settled for testing feats.
More quickly than lightning, directions were read,
As teachers spewed and spit words of dread.

“Now fill in the bubbles with pencil number two!
Use your time wisely for the minutes will be few.
Do your best and show what you got,
There may be pressure but perform on the spot."

Kids said not a word but tried their best,
And worked continuously without rest.
Some were finished and some were not,
Regardless all were done when clock hit the spot.

Kids sprang to the door and down the halls,
Answering their texts and taking their calls.
Teachers collected the tests in a nice neat pile,
Brought them to the office, heels clicking on the tile.

As all tests were collected and locked up so neat,
Teachers and students both happy it complete.
A day without these tests both are yearning,
They wish to say, “it’s about the learning.”

Happy Testing to All and To All a Good Score!


Mike said...

This is brilliant, but I have to ask: How do you get away with speaking your mind in a public forum?

I agree with 90% of what you say, and fight 90% of the same fights, and I know your district well, because that's where I went to school. I teach not too far from you, but every time I question the status quo in public, in a staff meeting, or even in small team meetings - I get vilified.

How does your administration react to the things you say? How do you get the powers-that-be to see you're perspective?

Josh Stumpenhorst said...

I speak my mind but I don't think I am saying anything that numerous teachers across this state/country don't already agree with or have written about themselves. Much of my writing is tongue and cheek and little more than that. However, the biggest issue in education is the status quo. That is not to say that everything we are doing is wrong. Although, I firmly believe in questioning things to at least get others to think in a different way. I know much of my writing falls on deaf ears and many dismiss it as just more noise. There are those that agree with me and my work helps inspire them which is not what I intend but certainly encouraging.

I have yet to be told to stop my writing and my administration is very well aware of my web presence here and on twitter. I try to make it my goal to have every thing I do both here and in my classroom come back to the kids. While I may be up on the soapbox occasionally, I try to bring it back to the classroom whenever I can.

I will also say that my district has been incredibly supportive of teachers who try to think outside the box and try new things for kids.

Dave Meister said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Dave Meister said...

(I should proofread before I post!)
For what it is worth, I wish more of my teachers were willing to speak their minds in these places. Very well done Josh!

Paul Colvin said...

Your post reminded me of one of my favorite Tom Chapin songs, "Not on the Test." Thanks for speaking up on this.

Anna Kapnoullas said...

Hi Josh,

I love the poetry format to your post: very unique. I'm aiming to try that on my blog when I find a topic that lends itself.

Thanks for the great poem and the thought-provoking message within it.


Shannon said...

Great poem. I am sharing it on my blog as YOUR poem with the link to your blog! I am also going to share this with teachers at my school since testing is lurking right around the corner for us!


english@GC said...

hi josh i really enjoyed the poem and i'm printing it, as yours obviously, and giving all the teachers at my school, Goodwood College, a copy.

Nazeem Davids
Cape Town
South Africa