This week was like an extended episode of 24. One of the longest. Weeks. Of. My. Life.
First of all, Monday through Thursday, we had no planning period. No duty-free lunch. No official breaks at all. Monday, the reading specialist very nicely relieved me for 10 minutes, allowing me to use the restroom and check my email, but that was the only time I had away from the kids. Thankfully, Monday was a pretty good day with the kids. It was the day before TAKS, so I had the kids working in small groups on review materials while I conferenced with students individually.
Tuesday and Wednesday, while 5th grade teachers monitored my testing students, I was in the 5th grade hallway, "helping" with review for the Science TAKS. I put helping in quotes, because I doubt that I helped very much. There are some very disruptive 5th graders who had no interest whatsoever in actually preparing for their test, and who wanted nothing more than to subvert the substitute teacher in the room. The sub who happened to be me. They wouldn't stay focused, they wouldn't obey directions, they wouldn't stay quiet.
With a couple of these kids, time out and a minute of talking to helped quell their rebellious streak a bit. One student I did have to send out of the room to the science teacher's room. Even then, it took her 2 minutes of clown walking to finally leave the room, entertaining all of the other students with her idiocracy.
On Tuesday, I received no break at all, and Wednesday I did get relieved a couple of times so I could take a restroom break. Thursday was then the TAKS day, where I had to monitor the kids taking the science test. While infinitely more boring than the prior two days, there wasn't the same discipline problem as before. Test-day-mentality, I guess.
After school on Thursday, while supervising the kids getting on the bus, one of the 5th graders told me that he thought he had done really well on the science test. He said, "I knew all of the answers, because, remember, you helped me yesterday!"
Maybe I did help a bit after all.
Still, never in my life was I happier to return to my classroom than I was on Friday, when I could once again spend the whole day with MY kids. We had a very relaxing day where I didn't task them with classwork at all. They read books, they played math games, they worked with review stations (disguised as games), and we went outside and threw the football around. It was a great day.
Many of them also told me how they thought they had done on the math test. They sounded very confident, telling me that some of the problems "tried to trick me" but that they had checked their answers carefully. Most said they had found and fixed mistakes while reviewing. They all felt they had passed. The teachers who had monitored them had also said that all of the kids really seemed to be taking their time, putting their best efforts into the test, and reviewing their work carefully. Those teachers are not allowed to check the kids' answers for correctness or even tell the kids to go back and show or check their work, but they said that nobody seemed distracted or seemed to be pretending to read while really just wasting time.
Based on all of this, I'm really optimistic about how my kids did. I can't wait to get those results back, but it'll probably take about 3 weeks.
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