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What Is Making One First-Year Teacher Reconsider Her Future? Lots Of Testing.

Kimberley Asselin sits in a rocking chair in front of her 22 kindergartners, a glistening smile across her face as she greets them for the morning. Even at 9 a.m., she is effervescent and charismatic.

Yet behind Asselin’s bright expression, her enthusiasm is fading. Asselin, 24, is days away from finishing her first year as a teacher, the career of her dreams since she was a little girl giving arithmetic lessons on a dry-erase board to her stuffed bears and dolls.

While she began the school year in Virginia’s Fairfax County full of optimism, Asselin now finds herself, as many young teachers do, questioning her future as an educator. What changed in the months between August and June? She says that an onslaught of tests that she’s required to give to her 5- and 6-year-old students has brought her down to reality.