Standardized testing can cause students, parents, and teachers alike a lot of stress. With weeks of vigorous stress and prep, these challenging tests can weigh heavy on a young student’s mind, causing them to have anxiety, which eventually may lead to them not performing very well on the test.
As parents, we try to do everything we can to prepare our children for all the obstacles they may face in life. Ultimately, we just want them to be happy, healthy, and successful. But we can’t control everything that goes on with our kids, especially when they’re at school.
When Abby Martin’s 9-year-old son Rylan came home one day from school with tears in his eyes, she immediately worried that he was being picked on. With standardized testing in full swing, she also feared that the stress of it all was getting to her young son. But when she asked Rylan what was wrong, his answer surprised her. Rylan was crying because of a letter his teacher had written him.
Abby quickly grabbed the letter from her son and began to tear through it. When she saw what the teacher had written her son, she began to get emotional herself.
Next week you will take your ISTEP test for math and reading, and two weeks after that you will take your IREAD test. I know how hard you have worked, but there is something very important that you must know.” the letter began.
“The ISTEP and IREAD tests do not assess all of what makes you special and unique. The people who create these tests and score them do not know each of you like I do, and certainly not the way your families do.”
The letter goes on to acknowledge the students that speak multiple languages, who are good friends, who like sports and dancing, who are good siblings, etc. “They do not know that you are kind, trustworthy and thoughtful...and every day you try to be your very best.”
Rylan’s teacher informs her students that these standardized tests do not define each individual student, and that there are many ways to be smart beyond what these tests show. She finishes her amazing letter by asking each one of her students to do the best they can, and that she is proud of them and believes in them.
Abby shared the letter on social media and wrote: “I asked him what upset him, and he told me he cried because he was happy about a letter his teacher gave his class before they take ISTEP. Needless to say, when I read it, I cried too.”
It’s pretty understandable why this letter caused such an emotional response from Rylan and his mom. What a wonderful teacher Rylan has to guide him!
What do you think of the teacher’s letter to her students?