When Arehzo Poirier’s former first grade students were ready for third grade standardized testing time, this Florida teacher had something special for them. After her then-third grade son received an inspirational letter from his teacher prior to test time, Poirier decided to pen one of her own.

Standardized testing can be a polarizing subject for some families. With a growing emphasis on the results, it’s no wonder why kids and their parents react so strongly to standardized measures. When Poirier’s former students were nearing the Florida Standards Assessment date, the teacher felt it was important to remind each child of what truly is important.

Poirier wrote, “The Florida Standards Assessments (FSA) is a big test, but it’s not an important one in my eyes.” The teacher continued, explaining, “The real test is how you present yourself as a student and as a little human every day of your life.” Here’s the rest of her moving letter:

Dear Former Poirier Friends,

Next week you will take the FSA for the very first time. This is a test I am sure you have heard a lot about. It will test you on your math and reading skills. Can you remember what I told you whenever you took a big test with me in the first grade? I always told you to stretch yoruself and brag about your brain. The FSA is a test just like any other test we took together in first grade. It will tell you and your teacher what you’ve learned in reading and math and what you can do with these skills on your own.

The Florida Standards Assessments (FSA) is a big test, but it’s not an important one in my eyes. The real test is how you present yourself as a student and as a little human every day of your life. The real test is how you showed kindness to those less fortunate that yourself. The real test is how you perservered and never gave up, even when things were tough. The real test is how some of your were able to make me laugh out loud every day. The real test is how some of you have a smile that can brighten even the darkest of spaces. The real test is how after two years you all still make me proud to have been your teacher.

I don’t write letters like this to all of my previous first graders. You were all very special to me and you always will be. I am writing this to you not because the FSA is important or extraordinary, but because YOU are.”

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The first grade teacher told TODAY, “Writing the letter made me cry as I wrote it, because I meant every single word.” Poirier also added, “My son is in sixth grade now and still has that letter (from his third grade teacher) in his desk at home. As a parent, seeing the look on my boy’s face as he read that letter made me realize testing isn’t so bad if it’s approached in the right way. It inspired me to do the same with my former first grade friends.”

—Erica Loop

Featured photo: Tjevens via Pixabay

 

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