Standardized testing booklets have landed on our students' desks this week. This gives all the core teachers a break for the week, straining their voice once every hour or so to give the kiddos about five minutes worth of direction:
"When you see the 'go' sign at the bottom of the page, that means you turn the page."
"When you see the 'stop' sign at the bottom of the page, that means you need to put your pencil down and close your book, after stabbing yourself in the eye with it, of course."
"When you realize you've fallen asleep during the test, please make sure your drool pours forth toward the fold of the book."
I am not giving the test, as I am an elective teacher and we have to give the test only if one of the core teachers are sick or have died. I've been lucky in the past...meaning everyone has survived. Let's hope that continues.
Prior to this week, we had a meeting to refresh our memories, especially about the no-no's. For example, the test cannot leave the building. As far as rules go, of course this one is a given, but some genius actually did this in our district, and therefore, every other teacher must listen to the rules:
"You cannot take the tests home and clean up your students' work!"
Who has time for this? While I catch up on my soaps, I'll set up the TV table and get my big, pink eraser out and get rid of all the kiddos' smudges, just to be sure. Giving the test just wasn't mind-numbing enough.
"You cannot give any more rules than the ones provided." So, if they write three words for the essay portion, you cannot tell the kid, "if you don't want to be screwed, write more." Instead, you just scream at the top of your mental lungs, but they can never hear you.
After all these rules have been placed on the overhead as reminders, Big Brother's Ministry of Education threatens you with your own teaching liscence: "If you invalidate the test in any way, you may face probation or your liscence will be revoked."
So, make sure you fill in those circles heavy and dark.