Teaching for the Test

Timothy Eckert
Staff Writer

Recently while at work, I was busy stocking when a woman approached me and asked me if I was currently a student as she pointed at my Millersville University sweater.  I replied that I was. She asked me what my major was and I told her that I was an education major. She proceeded to tell me that she was a retired Warwick elementary teacher with several decades of experience. In regards to my own endeavors, she responded by saying, “Well, I commend you because this is a tough time to become a teacher with all of the new standardized testing. Teachers are now under such pressure that they are just teaching for the test and that is not education,” and with that she wished me luck and continued shopping.
I thought for a long time about what she said. She was absolutely right. These PSSA tests are no way to really educate children. They just force kids into learning what the state thinks is important. It does not contribute to the personal growth of the student in regards to personality, mannerisms, and decision making. Gone are the days where a teacher could take their class outside on a nice day and discuss a good book. Nowadays, the set curriculum dictates what the teacher has to teach on a daily basis, how many tests to give, how many projects to assign, and how many books to read in a short amount of time. The list goes on and on. Shoving algorithms and chemical formulas down a student’s gullet for the sake of improving a school’s standardized test scores is not education at all.
As hard as it may be to make time for unorthodox curriculum detours, I encourage any other education majors to consider the words of that wise, retired elementary teacher and pause every now and then in your own classroom and take a break from what the state dictates and make time for what the real meaning of education should dictate.