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There is a certain about of pressure that comes with being a high stakes teacher, okay, it is a ton of pressure. A high stakes teacher is a teacher whose class performance on a standardized test is directly tied to the School Performance Score. At a small school, this means there are only four or five classes that are responsible for almost a quarter of the school’s rating.

At a large school, there could be 20-40 classes responsible for this score and that leads to the comparison problem, “Why are your students at 50% and Mr. Blank’s are at 70%?” Then there are the teachers that do not have any high stakes test tied to the school and they do not feel as valued or even looked down upon because they do not have the pressure the other teachers do. Whether you are a high stakes test-associated teacher, a core class teacher, or an elective teacher, we all experience different types of pressure and we have acknowledge that we are all in this together and must learn to appreciate each other.

The High Stakes Teacher. We feel the weight of the world upon us. We study data, constantly comparing last years’ scores to this years. We analyze individual students wondering if they will score proficient for our school. We can become consumed with test taking strategies and sometimes forget to have fun. We worry about if the other teachers will blame us if the students do not perform as predicted. A high stakes teacher will wake up to nightmares about standardized tests, often wondering, “Did I do enough?”

The amount of pressure that comes with being a high stakes teacher is all-consuming. Our fate and the fate of our students is left to a test we did not design, we cannot see, and that seems to change every year because no one (the powers that be) cannot decide on a curriculum.

The Core Class Teacher. We worry if we did enough to help the high stakes teacher. Did we push enough? Will she have to reteach skills I should have taught better? We worry that she will judge us and feel she has to do everything. We are scored differently than the high stake teachers and we feel guilty because we know what will be on the test that our students have to pass, but we know we work just as hard as the high stakes teacher.

On the other hand, we feel undervalued, since we are not tied directly to a test, the administration seems to forget about us and fails to understand that we need support too.

The Elective Teacher. We have to create our own learning standards and people resent us for it. The students think our class is a joke and doesn’t really count so we have to work harder to make them take the class seriously. Not everyone sees our class as a connection to success in other classrooms and in life. It is extremely frustrating that we are not valued as we should be.

Our classes sometimes become a “dumping” ground for students that are discipline problems or just need a “filler” class so we have to work with students who did not want to be in our class to begin with and are not interested in band, P.E., or FACS.

The Solution. [fusion_builder_container hundred_percent=”yes” overflow=”visible”][fusion_builder_row][fusion_builder_column type=”1_1″ background_position=”left top” background_color=”” border_size=”” border_color=”” border_style=”solid” spacing=”yes” background_image=”” background_repeat=”no-repeat” padding=”” margin_top=”0px” margin_bottom=”0px” class=”” id=”” animation_type=”” animation_speed=”0.3″ animation_direction=”left” hide_on_mobile=”no” center_content=”no” min_height=”none”][bctt tweet=”My point is yes, we are all different, but we are all the same. We have to stop compartmentalizing ourselves when it comes to high stakes testing and all feel the pressure of these tests.”] We are all in this together. A high stakes teacher could not do what she does without the support and hard work of our regular core teachers. Those scores are not just hers; they are all of ours. We have to stop comparing test results as well. We all have different students and teaching styles. Sure, Mr. Blank’s students are at 70%, but he teaches AP classes while Mrs. Blank’s students are second time testers and it is a miracle they are at 50%. Her individual growth is greater than his. We need to look at our results as a group. Not as his or hers. Our elective teachers reach our students in a way a regular teacher cannot. They see them on a more personal level and are given the opportunity to pull in more life connections and lessons. Sometimes it takes that PE coach to push that student to do better in English. If the lecture came from the English teacher, it may not have been as effective.

We are all in this together. They are not your kids or her kids, they are our kids. We have to stop separating ourselves and we have to stop saying, “Well, she doesn’t get it, she is not an EOC teacher or an ACT teacher.” We all have our individual challenges that make teaching difficult as well as rewarding. [bctt tweet=”Everyone plays an important role in our school scores: every teacher, every administrator, the coaches, the students, the custodians, the school sectaries, the counselor, the parents and the community”]. We are all together and that score reflects all of us, not just a select few.[/fusion_builder_column][/fusion_builder_row][/fusion_builder_container]

Alice has been teaching for fourteen years. She currently teaches English I, English III, English...

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