Standardized testing can fray the nerves of any student, but it was a letter sent by a teacher in advance of the tests that left an Indiana third-grader and his mom in tears.
Rylan Fallis, 9, admitted to his mother, Abby Fallis, that he was embarrassed for crying in class on Feb. 26 at Pleasant Crossing Elementary School in Whiteland, Indiana. The tears flowed for a good reason, however, as he said they were from a touching letter giving to him and his classmates by their teacher.
"The scores you will get from these tests will tell you something, but they will not tell you everything," the letter read. "These tests do not define you. There are many ways of being smart. YOU are smart! You are enough! You are the light that brightens my day and the reason I am happy to come to work each day. So, in the midst of all these tests, remember that there is no way to 'test' all of the amazing and awesome things that make you, YOU."
The letter was given out ahead of this week's ISTEP testing, an Indiana standardized test for students in third through eighth grade, as well as 10th-graders. The tests are used to assess students' progression as well as teacher performance. Rylan's teacher didn't want to reveal her name according to NBC affiliate WTHR in Indiana.
"Needless to say, when I read it, I cried too,'' Abby Fallis wrote in posting the letter on Instagram. "We need not just more teachers like her, but also more people like her in this world."
A majority of the text of the letter sent by the teacher, who wishes to remain anonymous, is taken directly from a letter written by blogger Kimberly Hurd Horst. The letter was given out to students at Britain's Barrowford Primary School and went viral in July 2014.
The students at Pleasant Cross Elementary weren't the only ones to receive some encouragement ahead of the ISTEP tests, either, as three elementary schools in Fortville, Indiana, got letters in the same vein, according to The Indianapolis Star.
"You are going to go through life and people are always going to judge you on unfair criteria in every avenue of life," Fallis told WTHR, "but you need to focus on the people who love you and what they're saying about you."
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