A teacher workday can disappear faster than a sugar cube in hot water. I had all these plans for today: finalizing grades; re-organizing my room; extensive planning for the related arts class I’ll be teaching this third quarter; listening to Bach’s Mass in D Minor in its entirety. Only one thing got completed, and that was only because I had no other choice in the matter: grades for the first semester are now complete.
Much of this week was geared toward today’s end. It was, in other words, a week of assessment. And as much as I feel an odd sense of accomplishment watching kids take a test—perhaps it’s a perverse sense of accomplishment—I hate what I know is coming: grading. And that dreaded grading leads me to take the easy way out: Scantrons.
I can vaguely justify it with the understanding that all standardized testing requires filling in endless dots. “Kids have got to get used to it,” I hear, and I think, “If they haven’t by now, thanks to NCLB, they never will.”
I walked down the hall with a stack of Scantron sheets, and teachers I passed inevitably made firearm jokes. “Hope it doesn’t sound like a machine gun,” one said. The history teacher put it in perspective: “Storming the beaches of Normandy?”
It is an odd experience, though, listening to one’s test results. Whir whir whir grrr grr grr grr whir whir grr whir grr grr whir whir grr grr grr whir whir whir grr whir grr whir grr grr whir grr grr grr whir grr grr grr grr grr grr grr grr grr grr. “He did badly,” one thinks, hoping for better results with the next Scantron sheet