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What happened to the FUN??


Senior Member
Remember when we used to have the time to include FUN ways for our kids to learn? Remember when we used to have time to do those hands-on things that helps kids really learn?

I feel like the fun is gone. My administration seems to think we have to do more, more, more to get those tests up, up, up! We are now teaching kids how to take tests rather than the wonderful lessons and units we used to teach. This is only my 10th year, but education has changed so much!

We've started yet another test this year which will be administered at the end of the year also. I have a very low class this year (lowest in our school, actually!), and I'm feeling quite discouraged. There's SO MUCH for me to be sure these kids can do before the end of the year tests.

I've never felt this pressured for test scores. I am a very hard-working, compassionate teacher, and I used to absolutely love my job. Now it's so depressing to see my kids work all day long with nothing to look forward to.

I know many schools are in the same boat. Tell me please.....how do you keep going everyday when the fun is gone?


We have the same pressure but

I still do the fun things. Our district pressures certain school and we are not one of them. I am fortunate to have an administrator who believes that those fun, hands-on activities are needed to teach the skills that they are tested on.
I give my students a reading test patterned after the state test every two weeks. So we do test practice and I teach test taking skills. I also try to create my own tests with the same questioning format that is on the practice state tests.
In my opinion this is enough test practice. If the test is based on the state standards for my grade level and I teach those standards, then my belief is that they are prepared for the test.
I feel for you though. I know of some schools in our district who can't take the kids on field trips until after the test. They have even gone so far as to say no recess because it is time when they should be learning. What has it come to?


Senior Member
Education is in a sad state

Our country's educational practices are in a sad state. What irritates me the most is that the people who make up all these stupid tests aren't even educators or have little experience with education. That's why I teach in private school.


Junior Member
Unfamiliar with private schools

I totally agree with you in regards to testing and who makes the rules. Here in New York, our 3rd, 4th, and 5th graders will now be tested in January! At least when the test was in April we had some extra time. Now, they'll be tested after a nice, long break spent watching Yu-gi-oh. Ugh. Fortunately, I was moved to first - not a testing grade - although I'm sure it won't be too long until that doesn't even exist anymore!
Anyway, the reason I responded is that I was wondering about your last line..."that's why I teach in private school." Out of curiosity, are students in private school not required to pass state exams holding them to the same standards as the public school system? I was under the impression that they were. Does each school decide on their own goals?


Senior Member
private school testing

I also teach at a private school and no the students do not have to pass any state tests. We are state and SACS accreditated, but the only test we give our elementary kiddos is the SAT and you don't pass or fail that. Sometimes I do wonder how our students would do on the high school graduation exam, but our school doesn't require it (yet?) so we don't have to worry about testing, testing, testing. We actually have time for the fun stuff and yes, we do have to follow state standards to a certain degree. I LOVE being in a private school, even though it does have it's share of problems. :)


It is the same in private schools too.

I have taught in both public and private schools. The private school I am now teaching at is the worse on the pressure of having high test scores. If our scores are in the 50-60 percentile -- that is considered low and we are put on probation for a year. Most of our scores average in the 70 to 80
percentiles. A lot of pressure-- I tell ya..

NJ Teacher

Senior Member
Fun is gone

I agree with your post. I have been teaching a long time now, and we've always had some form of standardized testing. It's gotten increasingly politicized, and the pressure has filtered down to the classroom teacher. Now, it isn't good enough in our building to have all the students pass at the "proficient" level, we need to bring those proficient students up to "advanced proficient". With a bell curve, that just isn't possible In our school, we have a study group where we are reading a book that stresses "best practices". Some of these are definitely counter to all of the test prep activities that our principal is pushing. From January to March, we are deep into test prep. The way I deal with it is to still do as much of the fun projects as I can. I try to integrate them with specific learning objectives. When I first started teaching, I was able to celebrate the holiidays for example, with fun projects just for fun. Those days are definitely gone, and it's a shame. So much of what I think we ask kids to do isn't developmentally appropriate for them.


Senior Member
still fun in my room

we play games, use centers, do hands-on things....in order to learn and practice all those skills that are covered on our state test. you can learn and have fun at the same time. sometimes it's a stretch to find a way to make something more interesting, but it can be done.


Senior Member
To answer NYC's question

I think it depends on the private school. My school is also accredited, but there's not the high stakes standardized testing that there is in the public schools here. My school is elementary, and when they transfer out, some go to public school, and they have to take the standardized test, and they've done well so far.

Where I worked last year, the kids took the SAT and PSAT, but it wasn't required to pass on to the next grade level. There are some private schools that still take the same test as public, but from what I've seen, the pressure just isn't there.


Senior Member
I feel like the fun is gone. My administration seems to think we have to do more, more, more to get those tests up, up, up! We are now teaching kids how to take tests rather than the wonderful lessons and units we used to teach. This is only my 10th year, but education has changed so much!

I can totally relate. You almost feel guilty for taking an afternoon for a fun art project. :(

teacher of fourth

New Member
Totally agree with you

I totally agree that there is not enough time to do any fun things anymore. I am in NYC and teach 4th grade which is a BIG testing year. It is even harder when kids are pulled out for all their special needs programs. I try to schedule fun time on Friday afternoons when it isn't too close to testing time. It has become very sad though that you cannot do anything exciting in the classroom.


Private schools have their own pressures

If it isn't test scores, it's VERY INVOLVED, and very educated parents who are critical of each and every thing that is done in their child's classroom. Unfortunately because they write the tuition checks, our administration does let our parents have a say in what goes on at school.

So while we're not required to pass certain tests, our students do take the ERB exams each year which play a big role in whether or not teachers are given contract renewals, raises, etc.