Monday, October 05, 2009

Being Tested

I knew that today was going to be a long one. I also suspected that it might be trying at times. Mondays are always a bit of a gamble, even when you have all your ducks in a row. But when you add in a few wild ducks, you have to prepare yourself. They'll be quacking and getting underfoot all day.

Neither of my teaching assistants were scheduled to be in class today. Both needed to present themselves for mandatory training at the high school. There were other training dates on the calendar, but I'm the one teaching those and then who would look after the children? It made sense to just have my staff go together today and be done with it. This left me alone to man the fort and to carefully monitor my intake of fluids because 7 hours without a break is a very long time.

To add to my delicate situation, state mandated assessments continue. The fact that today was the first math test did nothing to improve the situation. Math is not the favorite subject in my class.

You do what you have to. I brought in a big bag of candy and promised to be liberal in its dispersal if only they would try to answer a few questions. I further promised a movie in the afternoon if they put forth even the smallest effort at making this day something along the lines of bearable. Everyone agreed and the day ran pretty smoothly, although I really wish I'd declined that second cup of coffee.

There was one problem, though. Being the only adult in a room full of teens means having no one with whom to share the disbelieving eye-rolls. Today was a good day for eye-rolling. And I was all alone. Here's an example:

State Assessment Victim #1: Hey, Ms. Sheep! Don't forget to put me on the make-up list for tomorrow. I won't be here to take the next two tests.

Ms. Sheep: You have to be here. This is Very Important Testing.

SAV#1: (in exasperated tones) We've already talked about this, like, a billion times. I won't be here.

MS: We talked about this? Really?

SAV#1: (pointing across the room) I also told you that State Assessment Victim #2 isn't going to be here either. We're..whaddaya call it? Oh yeah! "Co-defendants."

MS: I need the test administrator manual...

SAV#1: We're carpooling. I hear that parking at the courthouse is murder.

MS: OK. I've checked three times and there is nothing in the "Accommodations And Exceptions" section on court appearances. I don't suppose...

SAV#1: Nope. The paper they sent me said I have to go because of something called "failure to appear."

MS: (begins eating the candy she brought for the children)

Later that same day after the testing is done and everyone is just killing time between candy-eating and lunch:

State Assessment Victim #1: This whole town is full of rednecks.

Ms. Sheep: Really?

SAV#1: Oh, yeah! My dad is one.

MS: You seem pretty sure of that.

SAV#1: Yup. You should see him mowing the lawn. Beer in one hand, wandering around the lawn...

MS: That's not redneck. I see people doing that everywhere.

SAV#1: Yeah, but it's not our lawn.

MS: Not your...

SAV#1: I think he just gets off course sometimes.

MS: (digs through the candy bag looking for the last of the strawberry flavored taffy) I really miss my staff right now...

A few hours later, the movie is done and the dismissal bell is taking its sweet time about ringing:

State Assessment Victim #1: Can I go to my locker before homeroom?

Ms. Sheep: Not yet. We still have ten more minutes before that stupid final bell. You have time.

SAV#1: No, I don't. I have to go to my locker to get my sweatshirt. Then I have to go to my friend's locker so I can put my sweatshirt in it and get my other sweatshirt because that one is clean.

MS: What about the one you keep leaving in the classroom?

SAV#1: That's a spare for emergencies. It's also kind of stinky.

MS: You don't need to go to your locker. You can wait. I know how this goes. You visit all 75 lockers and then you start wandering around. You have to chat with everyone and then you end up getting into trouble and I get a call which will probably end up with me getting into trouble for letting you out early. It's a vicious cycle that could end up with me losing my job. I'll have to live in my car and feed the cats out of the cup holder...

SAV#1: (shaking his head sadly) I know what you're doing. You're stalling. Don't you know by now that this never works?

Teenagers make me tired. Very tired. They suck the life force right out of me and I still don't know how to classify an assessment make up if the kid is in court, although I suspect that the state testing officials would go toe-to-toe with the judge on this matter if it came to that. I'm also now going to be looking at every beer-holding, lawn-mowing dude I pass on the way home and wondering if he is, in fact, mowing his own lawn.

Is it any wonder I am now obsessed with knitting hot water bottle cozies? By comparison, this makes perfect sense.



trek said...

Perhaps I should be more grateful for my own students who also tend to miss testing days but who less frequently are "called to appear".

Julia G said...

You certainly earned your strawberry taffy today! (Disbelieving eyeroll) Are you sure that innocent-looking hot water bottle cozy isn't morphing into a beer cozy for errant lawn-mowing rednecks?

Karen said...

And you were willing to stay alone with them all day with just candy to keep you sane? I hope they give you hazard pay during state assessment testing.

April said...

I don't ever remember movies and candy when I went to school. Not unless you count the "This Is Your Brain On Acid" movie in grade 7.

Kath said...

Hah! Your issue of classifying a student missing state mandated testing because of court reminded me of the time I worked in HR and had to explain to a supervisor how and why we could terminate and employee who went to jail. Ain't life fun?

And I am ever so familiar with working 7 hours without an actual break but I since I have to have juice to keep my blood sugar up, I have learned to become The Fastest Whizz In The West. Seriously - you'd never even know I was gone!

Anonymous said...

whew... glad to know there's other people out there who mow the lawn like I do *grin*

as for the teenagers part.. you're on your own their girl and God bless ya :)


Anonymous said...

Seven hours without a bathroom break?!

Yarnhog said...

Okay, you win: you got a hearty laugh out of me AND made me appreciate my own middle-schooler, whose various misdeeds have kept me occupied all morning. At least I don't have to go to court with him.

Lynne said...

You say maths isn't a favourite in your class - I have yet to meet a primary school or middle school class where it is!