‘Twas the Night Before PARCC


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I dedicate this poem to all of the inspiring teachers I am proud to work with at H.B.W.

‘Twas the night before PARCC, when all through the school,
All the posters were covered, for that was the rule.
The Chromebooks were charged in the classrooms with care,
In hopes that good wi-fi would always be there.

The desks were arranged, in rows that were neat,
Where students would soon ELA tests complete.
And Mr. S. in his sneakers, and I in my flats,
Were ready to pace ’round the classroom in laps.

Then deep in my soul there arose such a feeling,
Just what would these PARCC scores one day be revealing?
I knew in my heart that the Common Core
Wasn’t all that a teacher was meant to be for.

The pride of a child who has finally gained
The concept he worked so hard to attain;
After some soul-searching that does appear,
To be the real reason that we are all here.

Knowledge, compassion, patience and love–
I knew in a moment what a teacher’s made of.
For all of the data from standardized tests
Will never quite measure what teachers do best.

“Now! Music, now! Laughter, now! Teamwork, and Grit,
On! Kindness, on! Morals, on! Wisdom and Wit;
To the heart of our purpose! If you have heard the call!
Now teach away! teach away! teach away all!”

A teacher who’s met with a challenging case,
When faced with despair finds hope in some place.
So off to the classrooms, the teachers they flew,
With their plans full of standards- and something else, too.

And then in my classroom, I stood at the door
And greeted the children I had woken up for.
As I wrote on the board and was turning around,
In the classroom the children came with a bound.

They wore Under Armour, from their heads to their feet,
And they were truly the nicest kids you could meet.
Some tall, some short, some in-between
Each had their problems; each had their dreams.

Their bags – how they lugged them and giant instrument cases!
The innocence of childhood still shone in their faces.
I loved them. I did, every last one.
I treated them like my daughter or son.

As we readied ourselves for the business of PARCC,
I knew that their scores would not measure my mark.
Have I taught them to wonder? To question? To read?
To live life with joy and the courage to lead?

Have I given my all, the best of myself?
Have I shown them they’re special, like no one else?
I inhaled slowly, and exhaled through my nose.
And doing our best, to the occasion we rose.

I wrote the time on the board, and I nodded my head.
We began the PARCC test, which I no longer dread.
Let us know our real task and never forget:
We see the potential in those who may have not found it yet.

So let me proclaim, while my blog’s still in sight–
Happy PARCC test to all, and to all a good night.

Jennifer Kleinknecht has been the media specialist at H.B. Whitehorne Middle School since 2007. She writes about life as a school librarian on her blog, “The ‘Yes’ Librarian”. PARCC testing begins at HBW on Monday, April 30.

Photo by Ron Smith on Unsplash

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  1. Mrs K ,
    You will never cease to amaze us…..what an incredible way of expressing the feelings of a teacher with PARCC approaching. Thank you for adding your wisdom and literary talents to our week ahead.


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