1. Before our last day of testing began I shooed kids to the restroom with the age old adage, “Go try!” I stood in the doorway so I was available to kids in each direction to keep everyone on track and calm. Unfortunately I had to duck back in the room to persuade one young lady to put her soccer ball in the back of the room. I had already asked three times. It’s amazing what proximity will do to urge a student to finally comply with a simple direction. As I went back to the doorway a young man returning from the restroom came to me, “Elementaryhistoryteacher, D. called me a N. (rhymes with digger).” That’s strange. The young man is white and the person using the word is black. “Ok, I’ll handle it,”I said. As the young lady was returning from the restroom I stopped her and spoke with her in the hallway. I said, “Do you know why I want to talk with you?” She told me she did and confirmed the reason. I like to do things this way so we don’t play the ‘no I didn’t do it’ game. She told me she doesn’t see anything wrong with it and she can say it at home. “How would you feel if one of these white kids around here called you that?” She told me she wouldn’t like it. “Exactly,” I told her, “He didn’t like it either.” The young man was just as offended. I explained to the young lady that she can use that word all she wants to at home if it is allowed, however, at school she has to abide by my rules and I don’t allow it to be spoken….EVER.
2. My loud talker talked more than normal today. I could hear him coming up the hall after breakfast. and at the end of the day I heard him all the back down the hall. He began his day in my room with two pennies. He thought it would so cool to take those pennies and flip, flip, flip, flip, flip, flip, flip, flip, flip, flip…..them on the table-top. I asked him to stop. Flip, flip, flip, flip, flip, flip. I asked him to stop again or I would have to take them. “You can’t take them, their mine. My Dad says so. You take anything of mine and you’ll have a problem.” Flip, flip, flip….I took them. They are on my desk as we speak. I hope Dad shows up.:)
3. You could tell it was the last day of testing. Everyone is tired of it and everyone is tired of a strange schedule. I had several finished within 20 minutes... a test that should at least take them 40 minutes to finish. Instead of reading after they finished most everyone opted for mouthing at a friend across the room while I constantly leaned down and told them stop, don’t, please don’t, you need to read, I’m not going to tell you again, no, stop, don’t, put it away……Heavy sigh.
4. This year it was someone’s great idea to allow them to have a little snack in the middle of the two test sections. Look up brain based learning and you’ll understand why. I’m not against it….it just doesn’t always work out like it should. My proctor and I had been so proactive in taking up all the test materials after the first section before handing out any food or drink. Today’s snack selection was a 10 ounce bottle of water, a few goldfish and a few animal crackers. After a few minutes I told them to finish up so we could get started on the second section of the test. I told students not to drink all the water in their bottle. They could cap it and place in their desk for later. On no, my direction makes too much sense. Nine year olds are not about what makes sense. Most turned up their bottles and guzzled them down. Except for two young men who decided they would hold their water in their mouths and then spit it at each other just when I happened to walk by. Ick was what I thought when I felt a big, warm splash of water mixed with spit on my foot. Reminder to self…..shower immediately upon entering the house.
5. Once all of the water bottles were empty we had quite a little chorus going on of water bottle orchestra. Seems once they were empty the bottles made “cute” little crinkly noises. Yes, YES, let’s all try. Ms. Procter and I couldn’t get the trash can around fast enough. Crinkle, pop, crinkle, pop, crinkle, pop, crinkle, pop, crinkle, po, crinkle, p, crink, cri, c, finally silence……for about 20 seconds.
6. About midway through the second section of the test I noticed many of the kids were squirming in their seats. Knees were moving in and out, legs were jiggling, and some had tortured looks on their faces. You guessed it…..10 ounces of water in and some will want to flow back out. Nope….can’t go. We are testing. Sorry. Cross your legs. Finish up. Sorry. I can’t let you out yet. We were finally done and after taking “the tests” up to the office so they could be under lock and key I allowed my students out of the room one at a time so they could finally get rid of their 10 ounces of water. It was too early and I was chancing a much dreaded TESTING VIOLATION, but when ya’ gotta go…..ya’ gotta go.
7. About 10 minutes into the second section I positioned myself over by my classroom door. We are required to walk the room during testing and try not to hover, but I mean really……the kids feel our presence. I tend to lean on my stool some and walk the room some as well. The test police be damned. I was standing close to my door in order to peer across the hallway into another fourth grade room to see where they were at the process. Were we ahead of them or were we behind the group? Suddenly, a person appeared at my door. That’s unusual because no one is allowed in the hallways during testing. It was a mom, though I didn’t recognize which one. I try but I don’t see them that often and there are 85 of them. She beckoned for me to open the door. I waved my hands back and forth and mouthed “NO, WE ARE TESTING.” I pointed to the door where a huge sign was there for all to see. In fact, she had passed large orange cones at the entrance to our hallway with signs posted on them, and every door she passed had a testing sign. She finally went away. Our younger grades do not test science and social studies so they were not testing today. Seems a mom was taking medicine to her little one and thought she would swing by and say hi to her older one in my room. I later found out this mom was told several times not walk down 4th and 5th grade hallway because of testing and it would be a violation of the integrity of the test. What does she do? Exactly what she wanted to and the request be damned. Makes you kind of understand where the kids get this type of attitude. Rules and procedures? Oh, they are for that other guy. Not me. I shudder to think what kind of internal paperwork I would have had to fill out if I hadn’t been by my door to stop her from knocking or coming on in. We are constantly told each and every little procedure has to be complied with or we could possibly loose our certification. I mean we are talking about state and federal laws here….they govern the test. I will be expressing my opinions about this matter to school officials at a later time….believe me.
8. One of my mothers came to have lunch with her son today. She came on out to the playground with us and we exchanged pleasantries. Finally she told me what was on her mind. Seems her son…..a well parented, straight-laced type of young man, had been getting love letters and mom was shocked. She said she had several that her son had given her. I asked her to make a copy of one and return it to me and I would handle things on my end. Seems the young lady was writing some explicit things that the young man didn’t understand. She thought he was “hot sexy” and “wanted to to do the night thing” with him. Apparently "the night thing" is some type of song lyric...I wouldn't know. Reminder here……..I teach students who are NINE.
9. While I was keeping one eye on a corner of the much too large playground full of too many children I kept up my conversation with the mother mentioned in episode 8. Suddenly two girls came up and mentioned that one student had left the playground to go after a first grader in order to “jack her up” (the girls’ words…not mine). Jack who up? What do you mean? I finally determine one of our fourth graders was upset with a first grader because the first grade little girl was mad at his sister. He had already slapped her on the playground and then followed her class off the field to “get her”. I found the young man’s teacher and alerted her. They finally located him and apparently he won’t be around for the rest of the week if you get my meaning. A breather……for him and us. We have a daily problem of some kind with him
10. I noticed four little girls kicking away at smart, heart-throb of a boy. He’s that kid in elementary school that ALL the girls LOVE. Whereas in my day we usually pined for the young man from afar little girls today are much more assertive. Heart-throb has been literally harassed all year by the girls. He finds a love letter in his desk at least once a day. Now it’s getting scary. Seems he finally had to tell one girl, “I don’t like you.” And she retaliated by instigating a kick fest with a few of her friends. The scary thing is they really feel they are justified to hurt this young man because he doesn’t return their feelings.
11. During lunch I found several papers on my floor. Some were filled with information for the ‘Push” game. The kids fold the paper in such a way and you choose a number to find out who you are going to marry, how many kids you are going to have, etc……I remember making them and playing with them. These papers were different. Instead of choices like marry, like, or date they are murder, stab and kidnap. Oh my……the names involved didn’t just include various students in the class, but my name was on the list as well as my high school aide. Oh my, oh my! We had a class meeting today and I hope I expressed to each and every student my disappointment and shock at these choices, and that I would prefer they not be played at school at all. I followed the proper procedures and turned the papers over to the counselor.
12 Once again I had some climbers in the boys restroom. We have a wall that divides the urinals from the stalls. The boys attempt to climb it so they can sit on the ledge. We have begged for something to be put on the top of this divider wall to encourage the young men NOT to sit up there. It might not seem like a big deal, but remember I am contracted to maintain the safety for these boys. All I need is one busted head....
13. Rat-a-tat-tat….Bam, bam, bam….thump, biddy, biddy, thump…rum, tum, tum, rum, tum, tum….tap, tap, tap, tappy, tap, tap. “Quit thumping and banging!” I beg again and again, and again throughout the day. Students, hands, fingers, and arms mixed with table tops equal little Ricky Ricardos and the bongos. I half expect to hear Ricky exclaim “Ba-ba-loo!” any minute.
It was a long day. I deserved a good cry and I took it. I get to teach tomorrow...really teach. We are going to back up now that the test is over and revisit the Louisiana Purchase more in depth. Perhaps I can replace some of the inappropriate behaviors with ones that involve learning. Two more days until the weekend. Twenty-two until the end of the year.
|1. Crazy Working Mom|
6. Jarid and Caydon\'s blog
10. The Crazy King of Clowns