Yesterday, my school gave the PLAN and the PSAT to all 10th and 11th graders. Because of testing this massive group of students, we had a late start. When I told another friend of mine about this, she was amazed because in her district, they charge each kid $15 to take the PSAT.
Why is my district paying for this test? Good question. I think it goes back to a former superintendent that declared EVERY kid in our district is college bound – or something to that effect. I’m all for optimism, but where do we get a little dose of reality?
It would have been nice to be given a standard answer to give our students as to why this was important and why they should take it. I can pull the lines of incredible scholarship opportunities out of my butt as good as the next teacher. Who are we kidding? Not every kid is going to be a National Merit Scholar. Bet hey, we’re trying to find that diamond in the rough…
A few times I had to wake up a couple of kids and say, “Hey, we’re starting section 4. Give it a try.” During a break, I had a conversation with one of my current students who happened to be in my room for testing. She was asking me why she should take this test. I’m giving her my best lines about possibilities for college. What does she tell me? She’s not going to college. She’s going to be a singer. She has it in her mind that she’s going to get a record deal by the time she’s 19.
I’m trying not to be that teacher that bursts her bubble and points out that this is a pie in the sky dream. I start asking her if she’s in the choir, if she’s had any voice lessons, why voice lessons are a good idea for someone who wants to be a singer, etc. Well, according to her, she doesn’t need any lessons or to be in the choir because she’s already perfect. Her uncle has some sort of recording studio, yada, yada, yada… It took everything I had not to roll my eyes or give her that you’ve got to be f***ing kidding me look. At this point, I realize I should just stop talking, get up and start test #5.
That would be wonderful if her dreams did come true. But I’ve been around long enough to know what a long shot it is and that it takes one hell of a lot of hard work to achieve that kind of dream. And let me tell you, hard work is a concept of which she has yet to become familiar.