Project Description

I am 8

A poem written by a NYSUT United member, who asked to remain anonymous


I like to play and school is OK. I am 8, isn’t that great!

Reading is hard, but I’m doing my best, I’ve gone up four levels – from a J to an N. This makes my mom proud of me – she says I am great and I am 8.

My teachers have been working a lot with me, they say I can learn and they cheer me on. They believe in me and I believe in them, oh boy is it great to be 8.

Today is the big day, it is time for the test, it is called the New York State ELA. I get extended time, so I should be fine. I will try my best. I am prepared. I am 8 and I am great.

The directions are read and the test has begun. I am excited to show all that I know. I think I will do great because I am 8.

Oh no, I can’t read this as well as my books! I will raise my hand for help just like in class. I will figure this out and then I will pass. I will do great, I am 8.

What, you can’t help me, surely you jest! I am trying my best! These words are so hard and after all I’m just 8.

It’s an hour already and I have been working quite steady when my butt starts to hurt. Less than one hour to go, but why do they expect me to sit here so long? My body is restless, my eyes start to burn, this is really torture, I’m beginning to learn. I’m starting to think it’s not great to be 8.

I can do no more; my brain’s going to burst. I must sit here and wait quietly while others still work. I cannot draw or read for the state has decreed; if I occupy my mind it may help someone cheat. I want to scream out let me move, let me leave, I am 8!

I get to do this five more times after today; you see they will test me six days in two weeks. That’s almost 12 hours, I kid you not for it is true. I think New York state wants to torture me for being already 7!

Five months later the results of the test are finally here. My family is nervous and I feel fear. I tried my best on that long, difficult test. I got a 2, not a 3 or a 4. I am not meeting standards, I did rather poor. My family and teachers lied. The test must know best. I have failed, a failure am I. All my teachers and I can do is cry. The lesson I learned is that I am 8, and I am not great.


Retrieved from: NYSUT United; June 2013, Vol. 3 Issue 10, p5.