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I am a high school English teacher in an urban high school in Oklahoma City. I am a member of the American Federation of Teachers, Local 2309. I am a Democrat, a union activist and a worker for social justice. I also am a Christian (Congregationalist). I play chess and coach our school chess team.

Wednesday, August 03, 2011

Day 3: Testing, Testing, Testing

Today, we tested, the first of many certainly. This was the Gates Reading Test to determine the students' reading levels. I think this will yeild useful information. I'm curious about the reading levels of my students. I have suspicion that many are reading well below grade level, but this will give me a better indication.

My question is, what then? I am not trained in reading remediation. If I find that Jesse reads at the 6th grade level, then what should I do. I am not asking this as a rhetorical question or to simply show dispair. I really want to be a good teacher, one who meets his students' needs, but sometimes I feel that the ocean is so big and my boat is so small.

Another problem I had arose when they were finished with the test. The portion of the test they took today was over vocabulary.Explaining the test took about 5 minutes, and taking it took 20 minutes. I ended up with 10-15 minutes after the test. I spent the time talking about some of the class procedures, but I felt as those I didn't use the leftover time well.

When I came to my last hour's class, I had run out of test answer sheets. So I had the students read M. Scott Momaday's essay "Way to Rainy Mountain", and had the students write a couple of paragraphs about home and family as well as summarize the Kiowa legend Momaday recounts in the book. Later they will be writing a reflective essay, so I felt it would be useful to read a reflective account that we can return to later.

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