Torture Might Be The Wrong Word But ...

The state of Texas is in flux at the moment where standardized testing is concerned. The wonderful men and women of our legislature decided a few years ago that 2013 would be the year to end one test, the TAKS, and fully embrace another, the STARR. Tomato/tahmahto, neether/niither, TAKS/STARR it's all the same, just more of it.

Completely phasing one out and bringing the other one in is making for a very loooonnnnng testing season. We began in February and have given a standardized test each month. I feel for the kids but not all of them are testing in both the TAKS and the STARR, I'd explain it but it's so convoluted that I confuse myself thinking about it, suffice it to say that as a test administrator, I'm spent. 

Let me elaborate for just a moment what being a test administrator entails. It's not difficult, really it's not. If you have organizational skills it's a piece of cake. The taxing part is in not being able to do anything while the students test. You can do nothing, and I do mean nothing, while ANY student in your assigned room is testing. Actually, I exaggerate. There are two things you can do while the students test, you can breath and quietly walk around the room, this is called actively monitoring. Do you have any idea how hard it is to do nothing other than breath and pace for three uninterrupted hours? Perhaps the government would like to look into this instead of water-boarding a terrorist. Just a thought. 

At HHS we are fortunate in that we do have another teacher in the room with us so we can tag team the pacing around the room. Occasionally we'll take a break and sit and watch the dust settle, look at each other briefly, and then resume the tag-team pacing.

Tuesday, at lunch, my co-monitor and I were discussing our stream of consciousness while we tested that day. Hers ranged from did a couple of the girls go shoe shopping together to why did she wake up at four that morning knowing full well that she needed her sleep so she could maintain decorum while testing. Mine ranged from mentally counting the cars and trucks that passed by and trying to distinguish from the sound if it were a truck or car and if it was a truck what type of truck, semi, cement mixer, delivery etc., to every time I passed the maps that were on the wall noticing the terrain of each continent and being amazed at how much of Australia is desert. Did you realize that almost three-fourths of that great continent is desert?!

Wednesday, my eyes kept landing on this picture (worry not fellow administrators, all of these pics were taken AFTER all the tests were returned to the hermetically sealed room that houses those golden tomes) 

With each round of the room I'd notice something different and ask myself myriad questions.

I noticed that in the crowd of men was one lone woman, front and center. I wondered why she was there alone, was she waiting on someone, was she considered daring to be there alone? 

I also wondered if all these men had ditched work to go to the game or was it a game played on Saturday. Another question I had, was this opening day or did they always have the bunting on display?

My eyes were also drawn to the word 'Coke' at the top of these silos. 

Initially I thought of the beverage, until, on one of my rounds, I noticed the word 'coal' and vaguely remembered Hank telling me something about 'coke' and 'coal' in the same sentence. At that point I realized that Coca-Cola was not advertising on the silos...I felt sheepish. Although no one knew about my silly mistake except me so there was no need to feel sheepish and then I felt sheepish for feeling sheepish. Oy. 

Today, I just paced. I'd run out of things to do. Counting passing cars was passe, the picture no longer held my interest, and, since the test given today was the Social Studies test, the maps were gone (can't have anything on the walls that might give the kiddos any ideas). 

We have a respite for a couple of weeks, then, we get to pace and watch dust settle all over again. 

Oh. Joy.

1 comment:

  1. Oh. My. God! I am so thoroughly impressed by your patience, endurance, and sanity. What on earth do these officials think they are doing to you? The other day I had to sit in a waiting room for 1.5 hours with no reading materials, but I did have my smart phone to help while away the time. I am so sorry that you have to do this yet again!