In fact, I even hate to admit it, but my school passed AYP - mostly because my students decided to take it seriously. It may have had something to do with that fact that I said "You'll need to understand these poetic devices in the future - say, in an MCA test or Mrs. L's class next year.
I did my job, and I helped my students do their job well - but not because of a test that took eight hours of class time spread out over eight days.
My students learned the most when they wrote their papers. My students learned the most when they read important works by Gary Soto, Julia Alverez, Malcolm X, Sharon Creech, Jack London, and even Bill Cosby. I even think they learned a bunch when two of the boys organized a 70th Birthday Party for Chuck Norris complete with local news coverage. At the Grand Forks Herald, the girls learned there was more to a newspaper than reporting. They learned there were many clubs at the University of North Dakota than they ever thought possible or consider joining.
Some people may say I did my job because we passed the MCAs. I tend to disagree. I did my job because I love literature, journalism, writing, reading, and most of all.... I love helping kids and hearing their stories. I love being that extra little cheerleader in their lives.