Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Half Is Better Than Nothing

That's it.  I've had it.  State assessments have officially lost their charm for me and I doubt that we will recapture that special magic.  Ever.

Today we inflicted the last two sections of the math test upon the hapless students and they did not take kindly to this.  My earlier bribes of candy and free time in exchange for minimal effort on these tests are no longer effective.  Resorting to threats of an extended school year and the loss of gym or music because they have to go to the math lab during those times isn't working either.  They are done.  And we still have two more writing tests left to go.

It begins with one student losing all patience with the process and putting his head down.  (The first to fall today was the boy who is Gauged And Aerodynamic.  He and his holey lobes barely lasted half an hour)  This signals the first stage of the mutiny.  Eventually, he will begin tapping his pencil loudly.  Soon he will snap his state-issued protractor and his calculator will need to be removed before it suffers a similar fate.  Ms. Sheep will have no choice but to end his test session because it is clear he can go no further with it and she doesn't want the other students disturbed.  

But it's too late...

Soon, everyone will be affected by the I Hate Testing bug and it is only a matter of time before they have all decided that this is a waste of a perfectly good morning.  It's Game Over.  Worse, we can do nothing until the official testing time has passed and this leaves an hour and a half of dead time.  During this endless parade of minutes, the kids are no longer testing.  They are resting.  Granted, there will be repercussions, but those are very far away.  In that moment, they have beaten the test.  

Fine.  That's how they want to play it?  I hate these tests, too and am just as cranky.  I have weapons at my disposal.  When they pull this stunt tomorrow, I'll be ready with math worksheets instead of dead time.  I no longer have to wait to start classes.  I'm also going to sit there and eat all the candy.  I'm going to do this whilst making very loud "nom-nom" noises and I'm going to wave the wrappers right under their noses so they can get teasing whiffs of taffy that will never be theirs to enjoy.  

I might even use my laptop to play that motocross game they all like to play and announce my score every five minutes.  Loudly.  Or I might not.   I'm still considering that course of action.  I want to torture them, but not at the risk of my dignity.  I'm not very good at that game...

I'm just cranky.  I promise I'll be more mature about this when the time comes.  I will just take lots of deep breaths and remember this morning when Gauged and Aerodynamic asked, "Is Friday a half day?"

My original answer to that was in the negative since I didn't have an early-release day on my calendar.  However, a quick check with my Organized Teaching Assistant revealed my error.  The students do have a half day on Friday.  Sure, the staff have to stay for workshops but I can live with that.  The place isn't half bad without all those pesky children running around.  We can order out for lunch and talk about boys.  It'll be a nice way to kick off the long holiday weekend even if I do have to attend workshops.

All I have to do is make it through two more days of 8th grade testing.  I can do that.  If an early release day, lunch and a long weekend of knitting are being dangled before me, I can do anything.

And the first person who mentions to me that 7th grade testing starts next week will not be getting any taffy.  I'm not kidding.

SA

10 comments:

Julia G said...

Oh, dear! Maybe the problem is students don't always appreciate the practical applications of boring math formulas, like using 2πr to calculate the circumference of one's gauged earlobes.... I have enough trouble getting gauge on my knitting, I can't imagine what my earlobes would look like if I started messing with them!

Betsy said...

What a waste of good teaching time all this state testing business is...to say nothing of skewing the curriculum...I am truly in awe of those who still teach...I can't/won't anymore...thank those of you who still do...

Karen said...

Be glad you don't teach here. They passed a rule that food is no longer to be used as incentive/treat for anything. No more cupcakes for birthdays, no Halloween party, no ice cream at the end of testing weeks, no fun at all. It stinks.

Anne said...

Egads. I used to LOVE standardized tests. All those cute little bubbles to fill in with random patterns.

Wait. That's not what we were supposed to do?

Donna Lee said...

Standardized tests are such a waste. I feel for you and I also feel for the students. Some kids just thrive on these things and some? Well, we know about those. Our kids take tests almost every year and it's a whole week of lost curriculum time. I don't miss it.

trek said...

Gauging creeps me out. Gah. Saw a guy at the store the other day with 3" holes in his ears. How does he think this will feel in forty years when his grandkids are pulling on the "toys" in grandad's lobes?

Or perhaps he won't procreate.

Only two more days to go, Sheepie. Bring chocolate.

Knitcoach said...

Your crankiness is absolutely understood and justified!

Cursing Mama said...

What I want to know (and this has nothing to do with any kind of testing) is what parent is letting their baby put gauges in their earlobes? Every time I think of it I am blown away - what happens to these ears when these people are 42 and hoping to get that really awesome promotion that includes a company car and access to the corporate golf course? GAH!!!!!

Kath said...

I think if the folks who decided these standard assessment tests were mandatory were required to actually supervise the testing in several classrooms full of kids (such as your class perhaps?) those tests would go away pretty darn quickly!

Mia said...

Just sayin' hi :)