SAT Season

Is it okay that it’s 7:38 pm, and I plan to change into my pj’s, crawl into bed, and read until I fall asleep (which will probably be in about 23 minutes)?

What I mean to say is: I’m tired. It was a long week. As an SAT tutor, my life goes in cycles: test-crazed, stress-inducing, schedule-challenging cycles. Usually I work with students for 8-10 weeks before they take the SAT, but there are always a few stragglers who show up 3 weeks before the test, wanting to cram all that knowledge into a few measly hours of tutoring. The result is that that things get really crazy right before the SAT, as demonstrated by my previous week. Lots of my students want to have extra sessions, and parents start to get nervous and call a lot more. I really enjoy my job, but I can feel pretty brain-dead after a day of back-to-back sessions.

Spring is an all-around hectic time for high schoolers. AP tests, college admissions decisions, standardized testing… They’re busy folks, too. The amount of stress that gets put on some of my students is unbelievable! But I was one of those over-achieving kids too, and I remember the huge amount of pressure put on the decision of where to go to college. In the end, I hope I teach my students that their worth lies in something deeper than test scores or college credentials. I truly believe that, even though I spend my time helping them jump through hoops to get ahead in the education system. I want each of them to have every opportunity at their fingertips; I want each of them to continuing growing into the incredible people they are. I just don’t want something as tiny as a standardized test to limit their goals or their achievements.

So, that said, here’s to my brilliant, dedicated, enjoyable, talented, hard-working students: Good luck! And remember that, as Thomas Merton wrote:

The purpose of education is to show us how to define ourselves authentically and spontaneously in relation to our world — not to impose a prefabricated definition of the world, still less an arbitrary definition of ourselves as individuals.

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