TAKS Day General by Joel Wagner - March 5, 2008July 2, 20105 We have our first of four TAKS test days today. They seem to have increased testing security quite a bit this year over last year. In fact, we are supposed to have some monitors from the state coming to our campus at some point during the day to make sure we are doing things correctly. I’m new at this campus, and things are run differently here than they were at the campus where I taught last year. We get to be with the students we are testing from before 8:00 to at least 2:00. We sit with the students in the cafeteria at lunch. We don’t get a conference period. It’s pretty much a wasted day as far as teaching goes. Now I understand the importance of this test and if I were a core area teacher, I would actually love the challenge that this stuff brings. But I’m not. I don’t teach these kids any of the writing skills that they will be tested over. I don’t know the strategies that they are supposed to use in their classwork. I have no clue. Somehow, I just think it’s a bit odd that they have me in there giving a test while the language arts teachers all have 2nd period conference, so they are out monitoring halls while their kids are taking their test. Oh well. I don’t schedule or plan these things. On the subject of multiple choice tests, I voted for Mike Huckabee in the Texas primary elections yesterday. Now back to my non-politically charged blogging… Joel WagnerJoel Wagner (@sywtt) began teaching band in 2002. Though he had a lot of information, his classes were out of control. He found himself tired, frustrated, disrespected by students, lonely, and on the brink of quitting. He had had enough. He resigned from his school district right before spring break of his second year and made it his personal mission to learn to be a great teacher. So You Want To Teach? is the ongoing story of that quest for educational excellence.