Thursday, April 19, 2007

Super Serious Testing

It never ceases to amaze me that super serious testing isn't taken all that seriously by those being tested. The ones who are super seriously tested are the teachers - and bored beyond earthly comprehension. After all, with the crazy pressure being put on us, we do everything except invoke the Almighty before the gateway tests our students must pass in order to get to the sixth grade.

We are required to count and recount and put the test booklets and answer documents and examiner's manual in a double secret whammy position so that our Assistant Principal doesn't hyperventilate and cause us to stand at her "Table of Shame" while she recounts and matches answer documents to her satisfaction.

Bored doesn't even begin to describe how I've been in that silent room, listening to the tick, tick, tick of my timer, making sure my wall clock matches the time to the second. I have walked circles around the room, making sure those kids are on the right page, on the right question. I have diligently ignored looking at the test questions - why put yourself through that agony? One year, I watched a girl answer questions about the Civil War like she had never heard of the event. She said that Frederick Douglass was a Confederate General. It was all I could do to walk away without hitting her on the back of the head. I swore that I would try to never look at the questions again.

So, tomorrow, we have one more test and then it is finally over. It will be more over for some than others. I heard about the kid who fell asleep on question 27 today. Her teacher had to shake her awake and inform her that the test was still on.

I remember when BrownBear was in 3rd grade - she fainted during the Science test. Her teacher said she looked up and BB had slid onto the floor. I walked by the clinic and there she was; all pale and clammy. That's how I know that these tests are a little too serious for some.

I just want a quarter of that seriousness out of my students this year.

And guess what? I got a new student Wednesday. And we handed her a number 2 pencil and told her good luck and make sure you pass this Math test, because here in the New South, we test you no matter what, and you'll be held back if you don't pass, even if you've never been in this class a day in your academic life.

Welcome South, Brother!

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