Tears of joy happen to be the subject of this story. At first, Abby Martin wasn’t sure what had caused her son Rylan to break down in tears in the middle of class. He simply told her he was embarrassed that he did. When she found out why, she knew she had to share the cause of her son’s sobfest on Instagram. It was a letter, from Rylan’s teacher to his third-grade class.
The students were about to take their first series of standardized tests. These tests are important to school districts, but, unfortunately, the emphasis placed on them can lead to a lot of stress for the average student. Especially a nine-year-old like Rylan.
It can seem like a make or break moment for a child who can barely understand such things. So his teacher decided to do something about it.
He wrote a beautiful letter, detailing the ways in which these somewhat controversial tests can’t begin to define a student. Whether it’s your passion for music, art, or sports, a multiple choice math test simply can’t know these things. A test can’t know what a wonderful person you are. It also can’t tell how smart you are. Only how well you learned to take this particular test.
When the teacher’s letter reached the Internet via Abby, it made waves. And when you read it, it’s easy to see why.
“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 you must know.
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.
They do not know that some of you speak two languages, or that you love to sing or draw. They have not seen your natural talent for dancing. They do not know that your friends count on you to be there for them, that your laughter can brighten the darkest day, or that your face turns red when you feel shy. They do not know that you participate in sports, wonder about the future, or sometimes you help with your little brother or little sister after school. They do not know that you are kind, trustworthy, and thoughtful… and every day you try to be your very best.
The scores you will get from these tests will tell you something, but they will not tell you everything. These tests do not define you. There are many ways of being smart. YOU are smart! You are enough! You are the light that brightens my day and the reason I am happy to come to work each day. So, in the midst of all these tests, remember that there is no way to “test” all of the amazing and awesome things that make you, YOU.
All I ask is that you do your personal best and do not give up. You have been working for this since kindergarten and are ready! I believe in you!”
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