"Clever Boy's father called to let us know that his mother was killed in Afghanistan last week. He won't be at school for a few days and would like you to collect work for him."
This sucks on so many levels.
One of the hazards of working in a building that serves a lot of military kids is that the odds will eventually catch up with you and you'll get a message like this. That doesn't make it any easier. And the fact that it isn't the first makes it suck even more.
So, we got together work for Clever Boy but I really don't care if he turns it in or not. He has other things to deal with that are lot more important than a writing prompt and a set of workbook pages on states of matter. Mr. Math actually talked with Clever Boy's Dad (who is divorced from Clever Boy's mom) and it was obvious that this has hit the family hard (despite the divorce) and that they need to deal with this before we need to worry about school.
So, the week after we finished The Very Bid Deal Government Mandated Test, I'm struck with the realization that although the government makes a big deal over the damn test, and everyone is so obsessed with the damn test, that when you really get down to it, IT ISN'T WHAT REALLY MATTERS. (Although 50% of my evaluation of a teacher is now based on this damn test.)
What really matters is that we take care of our kids.
What really matters is that we are here when a kid loses his mom.
What really matters is that when a kid needs a shoulder to cry on, we're here.
What really matters is that when a dad is choked up about losing his ex-wife in the line of duty, we're here.
What really matters is that we are here, taking care of many of the kids that society doesn't really care about because they're poor, or have disabilities, or their parents have issues, or no one really cares about them at home. We are here for them.
What really matters is that we try to do whatever we can to get these kids to grow up to be decent human beings with the skills to take care of themselves and have a happy life.
We just don't teach these kids about science, or social studies, or math, or reading, or whatever.
We're teaching them to be good people. And it's a damn hard job. And no freaking test is ever going to measure that.