In the fall semester of 2015, I started a Master’s program in school counseling. Three months later, I hated it. I felt I was pursuing this path because it seemed like the logical next step in my career. My life has never followed a “logical next step” trajectory, and it felt dishonest to who I am as a person. I don’t say that to discount the wonderful work of counselors, just that it isn’t for me. I couldn’t see myself as a counselor ten years out, and that’s not a good start to a two-year program.
Three months is not long to decide to quit graduate school. You can imagine my embarrassment when family and friends asked how my first semester went, and only months after telling them I was going back to school, I was telling them I wouldn’t be returning for a second semester. When I cited that “my heart wasn’t in it,” I could see older adults give me that generational side-eye reserved for millennials perpetually “figuring it out.”
At the end of March, my students will take the Reading STAAR, the statewide standardized test for Texas. As you’ll recall from last year, I am not a proponent of standardized testing. I wrote an essay for my students entitled “The 27th line,” to let them know that they are worth more than test scores and that their value is not numerical.
This year, I am giving a specially designed card to each of my students with a handwritten note inside. I will hand them out the day before the test, so that each kid walks into the test knowing that their teacher loves them no matter what.
I have made these cards available at a very affordable price on my Etsy page. If you would like to purchase one (or 100) for a special student or students in your life, please help me in telling kids statewide, nationwide, and worldwide that a test says a lot less about a person than we have come to believe.
If you are like me, and you occasionally err on the side of rebellion, you might want to send a card to other people who might need to hear the message of the 27th line. I will personally be writing one and inviting any interested students to write one with me, as we whistle the Hunger Games theme.
Here are the cards: