As I write this, a local principal is addressing the local media to give last minute TAKS test-taking strategies to any kids watching, and reassuring parents that the teachers have done their best to prepare the students for the test.
Yes. The madness is upon us.
For those of you who are blissfully unaware of how Texas does state testing, TAKS is for grades 3-5 (at the elementary level - they take it again in middle school and high school) and comes around every April.
Texas is different from the two other states I've taught in because they've decided that they're going to label schools based on TAKS performance. That way, the whole community will know if a certain elementary school is unacceptable, acceptable, recognized, or commended.
As you can imagine, this causes a very unhealthy level of pressure from any Texas principal. The atmosphere in our school these last two months has been steadily approaching outright hysteria:
Countdown to the TAKS test on every white board.
Two hours of after school tutoring every Tuesday and Thursday. (Since October!)
Semi-mandatory Saturday school for under performing students. (Since January!)
Since the TAKS test starts tomorrow, the school has organized a pep rally today. The lower grades will perform cheers for the upper grades. The teachers are going to do motivational raps.
Somehow, I got out of doing any performing today. If anyone from the administration questions my loyalty to this school or to our 3rd-5th graders, I'm going to whip out my heavy duty camera and proclaim myself the official photographer of all this hoopla.