It’s been a long and depressing day. It’s hard to work so hard for something, and see it not turn out the way you hoped it would.

My students’ test scores came back yesterday. I waited until today to tell the kids how they did because I wanted some time to look them over first, and I wanted to have a chance to type up and get a letter translated for parents. I didn’t want to tell them one day, knowing that their parents wouldn’t get a letter until the next day, so I waited.

I hate testing. Let me just go on record as having said that. One test that my kids take on one day does not show how much they have truly learned this year. Especially when one of the biggest things I teach my kids is to use their resources, but during the test, they can’t use any resources. Walls are covered. Computers are off. Books are closed. Discussion is prohibited. Responses can’t be discussed or justified. All of the adaptive behaviors that we, as adults, use to help us, we take away from our kids, and then tell them that this test, this one test on this one day, defines their success as students, our success as teachers (and parents), and our school’s success. And yet, as an adult, I openly admit that I don’t know the answer to everything. And one of the things that contributes the most to my success is my resourcefulness. When I don’t know something, I know where to find out. I google. I read books, magazines, and any other print source I might need. If I don’t know how to solve a math problem, I use my resources… If nothing else, I have friends at the local college who can show me how the math problem works.

As I had to tell a couple of my kids that they didn’t pass, and then watch them crying as they realized that they’re not ready for third grade, I couldn’t help but feel like I am a failure as a teacher. Am I taking away from them by holding a position that keeps other (read that as better) teachers from getting a job there? Am I really cut out for this?

Very early into my first education class, I decided that I didn’t want to teach at a school where the kids were predominantly high achievers. I’ve always been a huge fan of the underdog. I wanted to work with the kids who needed it the most. I wanted to work with the ones that were poor, struggling in school, and at a high risk of failing, or even ending up in trouble down the road. I sought out those schools and those students, and was lucky enough to fall in love with a school during my student teaching that was full of all of the things that drew me to teaching in the first place. From the second I walked into that building, I have felt like I was at home. But the past few months I have been questioning whether I really am cut out for this. These test results definitely make that self-doubt much harder to shake. If I left teaching, would my leaving open up a job for someone who would do a better job? For someone who could make more of a difference for these kids?

Maybe I shouldn’t be so hard on myself. I truly have done everything I could have for these kids. I know at the end of the day that there’s nothing more I could have done. But could someone else have done more, if I weren’t there?

I guess I have a lot to wrestle with, and I wish there was an easy answer that would make me feel better. There just isn’t.

Moving on, I do have something good to say.

Usually by May (especially late May) I am on 3 different medications for my allergies. I usually have a horrible sinus infection, constant sneezing, headaches, pressure… the works. This year, nothing. An occasional sneeze and a slight stuffy nose a couple of times, but it’s cleared right up within a few hours. The only thing I’ve done differently this year is that I have mostly avoided dairy. In using almond milk for smoothies and cereal and using soy cheese, I have almost cut it out entirely. On top of that, I have noticed that the times that my sinuses have been a bit stuffy, I stopped and thought about it, and every time, I had dairy the night before.

If that’s not some inspiration to become a vegan (or at least come a lot closer to it) I’m not sure anything will motivate me. It has been really eye opening to see how much milk was affecting my sinuses. I’m definitely going to be cutting it out, or at least way back.

On that note, I’m going to hit the bed. I have morning duty tomorrow. Nothing quite like getting up an hour early to watch 250 or so kids sitting in the hallway!