How can anyone learn under threat??? I asked that in an earlier post, and now I’m hypothetically asking in order to point out that obviously scores on reading and math exams and everything else will have gone down. You cannot test children during or after a series of escalating crises and expect the scores to be the same as before or improved. Children do not automatically have that self-bullshitting skill pushing their parents and most other adults into thinking we can fake our way to ‘normalcy’ aka The Way Things Were before the pandemic. (In terms of climate change, I recently heard the term “double life” used to describe the need to get on with daily life while knowing that this is an emergency; I would rather just call it what it is, masking, a mechanism any neurodivergent person will recognize.)
No educator wants to hear that their work during the last three excruciating years was largely for naught. But it was. Students know this. Teachers ought to accept that reality and begin to strategize around it. My teaching efforts were wasted along with everyone else. Because we cannot learn under threat. We are not machines.
Have we entirely abandoned Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs? Physical and emotional security is primary. Without that, an individual cannot build up to self-actualization.
I’ll repeat in case the point has just slipped past you as they sometimes like to do: Physical and emotional well-being is the foundation on which everything else depends.
We must solve what ails us if we want to have any hope that our children will ever thrive again. Ten years ago this sentence would have sounded melodramatic in reference to the overall trend, and ten years before that you’d’ve thought me delusional for even thinking it. But I wouldn’t have said it 20 or even 10 years ago—about white students at least. Now everyone faces existential threats on many fronts. Now existential threats are shared beyond the many different minority groups in the US. I would argue that this is the cause of students’ overall test-score plunge. What’ll it take for us to remember that? It would be better for us all if we could, especially our educators who are frustrated to the point of burn out, and our students who know they’ve missed so much and feel that much more pressure for it, adding another weight on top of everything else our youth must now bear.
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