Friday, May 22, 2009

Seriously, I wanna know...

Over the past week, school systems across my state have administered tests that will determine for some children if they will advance to the next grade. This fourth quarter assessment causes no shortage of angst among the children of my community, and I have seen my fair share of nonspecific headaches and belly aches as a result. It makes me pause and wonder, are we teaching only one side of the anxiety equation? Some anxiety is helpful - it motivates, creates energy for us to act upon a situation. Like all things, though, there is a balance between the constructive state and the paralyzing fear of the unknown. Is there some sort of curiculum that we can use to instruct students about constructive ways to relax? Do you have favorite techiniques you use to guide your children and/or patients through nervousness?


  1. My clinical practice (breast cancer) is all about anxiety and nervousness, some of it well-justified. But I tell patients, even with a diagnosis of metastatic breast cancer, that one day they will die (which is true for all of us in the room), it may or not be of cancer (which is true for all of us in the room), and on the day they die, they will not have been glad to have spent however long they had left in their lives worrying and being nervous (which is true for all of us in the room). I think there is a lot to be said for inclusion. Cancer patients often feel that they are different than the rest of the world and somehow therefore excluded from normal life and normal living. It helps to remind them that in some ways, a lot changes with their diagnosis, but in more ways, life goes on the same. I don't know how to translate that to kids and the skills assessment tests, though, sorry... :)

  2. Education is focused around testing and excelling at testing. Little focus is ever on actual true education. ITs a sad unfortunate thing when kids seem to live for the test, and when they pass, they feel that the rest of the year doesnt matter.

    AS a bus driver, i've had several kids remark to me "oh we passed the "REALLY BIG STATE TEST" so we're going on to xyz grade"

    They tell me this to "impress" upon me that they should automatically be given the "rights and privileges" of said grade. Fact of the matter is, its only the test that matters.

  3. I am with you on the standardized tests. So much pressure is placed on teachers to get the kids to pass, and that is funneled down to the kids. I ensure that my two girls get adequate sleep the night prior, eat a breakfast that isn't too carb-loaded, and tell them to do their best - that's all we expect of them as parents.

  4. I've taught(& reminded) my kids to breathe when they get worked up about things - inhale for a few counts, hold for 1-2 counts, exhale for a few counts, hold for 1-2 counts. It sounds simplistic, but stress has a way of making us hold our breath. An integrative medicine colleague also swears by tracing figure 8s. MWAS

  5. Standardized testing is rediculously out of control. We live in a nation of accountability and big business. The big business of testing is making lots of money. And someone has decided that schools are failing if the 5th graders are not smarter than the 5th graders were last year!

    We now give tests that mean nothing to find out how close the students are to passing the state tests. I have lost 6 days of teaching to let me students take standardized testing. Any guess how much money each of these test costs? I wish I knew, but I know that at least 3 jobs that are totally dependent upon data analysis and testing students.

    This is just my perspective as a high school teacher with preschool aged children. I've read here a lot and appreciate your perspectives about working moms.


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