It’s a bittersweet time, at least for me.
Testing means no planning for the morning. No teaching. Just a quiet room full of test-takers. So planning is easier. During the testing weeks, we also get a longer recess, so that’s nice, too. But walking around during the test, I can get a glimpse of the answers the students are putting. And sometimes that can be heartbreaking. Seeing a student put the stupidest answer, on a type question we just went over the week before, just makes you want to cry. Or watching a student who struggles with reading (yes, even in the fourth grade) tear through the test and finish first, in about an hour too early.
Or the kid who breaks his pencil at the tip, then tries to hold it together to answer the questions, instead of raising his hand and asking for a new one.
You tell them to take their time. You tell them to read carefully. But sometimes, that just doesn’t help.
Testing takes all morning. We start the test at about 9, and don’t finish until 11:15, which is our recess. Just about everyone finishes in that time, but some just barely finish, and some have to go to the extra time room to finish. You want students to take their time, because if they finish too early, they may sit around for close to an hour with nothing to do but read a book. Sure, that sounds good to me and you, but to a student, that’s grueling.
I had one boy today that, during the math portion, would just stare out in space from time to time, as if the answer was written somewhere on the ceiling. I have another boy who just sits and gels for about 5 minutes at a time. It looks like he stayed up til 3 a.m. or something (I doubt he did, but you never know).
It gives me a lot of time. I’m supposed to walk around the class and monitor, and I do. But I can’t walk around for the entire 2 hours and 15 minutes. I walk around, then sit. Walk around, then sit. Sometimes I’ll check papers while I walk around, or while I sit.
But I gotta keep moving. One year, our principal walked around the school, and if she found teachers sitting at their desks, wrote them a note in their box reminding them to keep moving.