Testing and Teaching

I have not met many people who love taking a test.  Most dread it.  Most dislike studying for one.  All hate the stress involved.  But some are good at it.  Some study wisely for long hours and do very well.  Some don't study at all and ACE it {but I am pretty sure it has been scientifically proven that these people are aliens!}!  Some are not especially gifted in the area of test-taking.  I am in the "dread it" and "not gifted" group.  I have never done well on tests.  I have never known how to study well.  I have always avoided tests and cringed at the thought of them.  

I often wondered about the role of the teacher in this and what their level of responsibility is.  Many believe that a good teacher is one who communicates to students well and instructs them in the curriculum before them.  Many think that a teacher is a good lecturer.  Most feel that the methods a teacher uses to impart knowledge is what will help a student learn and do well on tests.  I have realized {after many years of failing tests} that a good teacher is one who recognizes the struggling student, gleans information from the failed test AND THEN re-teaches the information and the bigger, broader lesson. They show the student, by looking back at the test, what they can learn from the sections that they struggled with and shows them how to take better notes and do it differently the next time. 

This is the same in life.  It is the same in my life.

Today is the 1 year anniversary of crossroad kind of day.  It was the day that I had waited for 4 months to arrive.  It was the day when I would have the half of kidney removed that a tumor was camped out in.  It was the day that meant that I soon would have closure.  It was the day that I thought the waiting would end and the {emotional} pain would stop. April 7, 2015 I had my open partial nephrectomy to remove the potential cancer that had grown in my body.  

The 4 months before this day had been a test.  A test of patience, understanding & trust.  I didn't score too well on that one! ;)  It is hard to be told that you have a "spot" in your kidney that you have to patience for 8 weeks to be scanned for.  It is difficult to be understanding when you are told it is a tumor and it can not be biopsied, but instead the entire organ or a portion of it must be removed.  It is hard to trust that it is all going to be ok.  I dreaded these months.  I dreaded the surgery.  I dreaded the results.  

So, after April 7th, the test was over.  Right?  "Not so fast!" is the answer I received.  As I have tried to restore the joy of the fallen stones of my life the testing has been uninterrupted.  And continues...... 

Remember, I am THE WORST test taker.  I have never known why I perform poorly in exams.  And not one teacher has ever been able to assist me in this struggle.  They tried giving me additional textbooks to read, referenced encyclopedia sections I should read, and advised me to read my notes over and over.  

What no teacher realized, while I was a student, is that I am a visual learner.  I need examples, illustrations and graphics, not textbooks, the Brittanica bible and my own notes.  My own notes!?  Oh for the LOVE!  How is a gal, who needs visual explanations, supposed to take notes from a book or a boring lecturer? This one can't.  The notes I had taken were inept.  It would be essential for me to start over and learn how to take notes differently. 

Life is the enclycopedia of illustration for me.  Life is how a good teacher instructs me.  And I feel like I have failed this year's lecture series "Organs, Nerves & Emotions". Sheesh.  Maybe I should have taken it Pass/Fail. 

So, now that I have taken the test once and am STILL in the midst of the 2nd go of it, I need a teacher who can look at how I scored and assist me in gleaning wisdom from the failing grade so that I can test out of this crazy class.  

I don't know the answers.  I, honestly, want to skip the class every day from here on out.  I want a cheat sheet for the retake.

But I can't do that.  I have to hang in there with my Good Teacher and allow Him to gently aide me in recognizing the larger lesson He is trying to teach me with these real-life, crappy illustrations. 

My hope for April 7, 2017 is that I will be able to come back here and write about what I learned.  I hope that I can report in to you all that 3rd time was the charm. I hope that my Teacher can kindly point me to the things that are probably in my notes already but make me read them a different way.  I hope I will share with you all that I have finally passed this stinkin' test!  

And if I haven't....I hope I will be still shoring up the patience, understanding and trust in the long term lesson plan. 


May you find someone who can discern what you need after being tested.

May you not fear the test, for it may make you wiser than you ever thought.

May you crumple up the old notes in order to take new notes on a crisp clean new sheet of paper.
May you not care, one single bit, what you grade you get on life's test.... as long as you trust your Teacher. 
April 07, 2016 — Sarah Stevens

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