Tuesday, September 21, 2021

Pandemic Teaching Nightmares

 Today I took a half sick day. I went out to lunch and then to the swimming pool. I also called my doctor and got an appointment.

I left early because I was having a panic attack.

Since school began on September 7, five of my students have gone out on quarantine (after one tested positive for COVID). I can't get these teenagers to wear their masks properly unless I am looking straight at them.

School started on September 7, and on September 13 we started district-wide standardized testing. This is done through an expensive online platform that the district purchased a subscription to. The test took 3 full days and part of a fourth. I looked at the junior-level test. It was excruciatingly hard.

Today, September 21 (full moon), we had a practice for another standardized test, this one run by the state of New Jersey. Can you believe we spent 75 minutes practicing how to take a standardized test?

The real standardized test is scheduled for three days next week.

I had a panic attack because I always do when I have to administer a state standardized test. I'm so afraid I'm going to do something that ruins the students' scores that I'm much more likely to actually do it. The expensive testing platform programs are confusing to use.

So I asked my administration not to assign me the job of running the practice test, and they went ahead and assigned me anyway. There is literally no one in the school administration who worked on the last state test in the spring of 2019. Not one administrator who remembered that I have difficulties doing this.

Well, y'all will be proud of me, because I schooled the entire administration today. I melted down and was openly flustered and upset. When an administrator came in to help me create a new password (I just made a new one two days ago), I made the password HellonEarth1! and made sure the admin saw it.

The irony is that the whole practice was a fiasco school-wide, and my class got going first by some strange mystery.

When the practice test was winding to a close, one of the administrators came to apologize to me. But she wasn't among the ones I asked to assign me a benign testing duty. My guess is that she drew the short straw. But it only made me feel worse when someone apologized to me for something she didn't know about.

If I could comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable, I would shut down all the Big School corporations that create and administer standardized tests. You can't believe how many there are. And how much money they make. And how bad they make kids feel about themselves. And how stressed they make the teachers who have to run the testing.

Pearson, Linkit, Kaplan, and all companies that "gather data": go suck a cactus. I'll bet your CEOs go hob-nobbing at Davos every year. I'll bet they would taste good if slow-cooked with some root vegetables.

Hardest school year since my second, so far. So glad I didn't spend my life in this profession.


Debra She Who Seeks said...

What a situation! I hope things improve for you, Anne.

jenmoon said...

I'm not a teacher, but I work at a school and we are extremely short staffed. Like one of my coworkers was hauled away with chest pains yesterday, so I doubt she's back for the rest of the quarter. I called in sick today because I couldn't stop having diarrhea from sheer fear at having to go back and be cried at and screamed at every day this week. I had an anti-vax mom yelling at me and demanding to speak to a manager--none of them were able to-- and I just...I just don't want to be abused every day to stay alive and have a job, but there's no options out there that aren't about service and abuse.

e said...

Even slow-roasted with vegetables they would probably taste bitter.

Debi said...

Remember your a land owner now! It is your happy place. That said, WTF! privatize everything or what! The Real Standardized test is LIFE! and the courage to administer the ridiculous for the greater good.. my deepest sympathies, Anne
PS.......Canada needs great teachers!

Janie Junebug said...

These days students spend so much time practicing for standardized tests and taking standardized tests that there's little time left for learning. I'm surprised the kids didn't join you in the panic attack.


Marty said...

Meanwhile, ihere in Massachusetts they’re toying with the idea of dismantling the megalithic MCAS state testing system. Untold amounts of money have been made because of it while teachers have had to set aside real lessons to prep and administer it.

Bohemian said...

My Granddaughter's High School has had the entire Girl's Volleyball Team come down with COVID and now Quarantined! This is not going well. She is certain we'll be back to Pandemic Home Schooling very soon... ugh, neither she nor I did well with that and for the Special Needs Students like her, Resources for their IEP were not included for the Pandemic Home Schooling either... so neither of us knew what she was doing or how to do it! I commend you for your devotion to your Students success.

yellowdoggranny said...

just reading that gave me a panic attack.