Surviving Standardized Testing

Guys…it’s basically Operation Overlord during testing week. There are secrets that I would not reveal about this test under any kind of duress.

I have a bruise on my right hip from toting my tests around as I schlep children from place to place. Because of scheduling. we have to pick up our tests during our planning period, and then walk our kids all around the school. Also, there is no leaving your tests unattended. The tests go with me to bathroom. So a bruise formed.

That aside, it’s actually a pretty easy week. There’s not a whole lot of time for heavy instruction, so in general we’ve been reading The Hobbit, drawing Hobbit maps, and reading Cheaper by the Dozen out loud.

My job has been made easier by the fact that my kids have more or less taken over prepping the room for the test each day. They write a checklist on the board and make sure everything gets done.

After the test is finished, we need to move the desks back into their former configuration. In general, this takes a very long time with lot of noise, stolen chairs, and tears. But something magical happens when I say, “Okay, I’m going to time you.” They take it really, really seriously. Even the hucksters have gotten on board. I am proud to say that in 5.46 seconds the room can go from desks spread out in every corner to pods of 4 or 5. It’s a sight to behold. Thank you, Frank Gilbreth, for leading us all into greater efficiency.

There have been a few times this week when I’ve looked out over everyone carefully drawing the Misty Mountains or laboring over finding words with Greek roots, and I’m struck by how good it is for us to be together. I didn’t have any say about who was in my classroom, but I think you have the students you were meant to have. I love them not because they are especially fine students but because they are my students. That sounds a little egocentric, but what I’m trying to say (and saying very poorly) is that I’m with them all the time, and familiarity does not breed contempt but affection. While they drive me crazy, I can’t imagine my classroom without a single one of them. So I guess standardized tests are all right if they can give me a few of those golden moments.

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