The students are practicing for state exams and I have spent most of the week giving standardized academic achievement tests to kids who find school a challenging experience. What I appreciate most about this week is watching students think. I walk into a room and everyone I see is focused on the task at hand. I sit across from a student and ask them question after question and watch their wheels turn. This much concentration has an intense effect on students. Afterward many say their brains ache. I can just picture all of the new synapses they are creating as a result of their hard work. Yes, there is a lot of politics around testing. No, I do not think the system is perfect by any means; however, I believe it is important to give students opportunities to for extended focus and experience the mental exhaustion after a job well done.
We expect our muscles to be sore after a good run, why not appreciate brain ache after a good “think” ?