Tuesday, June 14, 2016


For me, proctoring is the very least rewarding task I perform. I used to feel that way about lunch duty, which some people thought was a great way to know the students. But when you work in a school of over 4,000 and they're running in and out of this huge room, the chances of sitting down with one or more of your students is close to nil. In fact, if you're doing cafe duty, chances are you're dealing with, oh, the boys who come in with girls' programs and don't expect you to notice, or the kids trying to slip through who are cutting math, or the food fight, or whatever else on today's menu.

Proctoring is another thing altogether. There you are with an entire class, and it's likely you know precisely none of them. They ask you questions about physics, or calculus, or Chinese or whatever, and you get on the school phone and try to find someone to answer. Of course, the school phone probably doesn't work. If someone's calling you, it doesn't ring. If you're calling someone else, their phone doesn't ring. Because that's how we roll with official Department of Education classroom equipment.

Maybe someone in the hall is watching, and wants to come in and offer helpful advice. That kid seems to be looking in the direction of some other kid. Why aren't you circulating? How come you're standing in the front and not the back? Why didn't you write the time on the board? Why did you turn your back to the kids and write the time on the board? How come you let that kid go to the bathroom without an escort? Why did you make that kid wait for an escort to go to the bathroom? Can't you see he's dying?

What does this teacher keep in her desk? Hmmm. No tissues. I was looking for tissues. How long will it be before I get relieved? If I sneeze, can I use one of these pieces of looseleaf? Man, she has a LOT of looseleaf paper. I wonder if anyone would notice if I stole a few of these dry-erase markers. I never have enough, and she has eight boxes.

That kid looks like he is cheating. But I'm not gonna move him. I'm gonna move the kid he's copying from. There. I asked him to do me a favor and sit in this other chair and now that guy can't copy anymore. Man, am I smart. Maybe I'll get rated highly effective for this. Uh oh, Here comes a supervisor. She wants to know why I moved that kid. I tell her.

She walks over to the kid I suspected of cheating, and tears his paper into pieces. Now all hell breaks loose. Turns out his sister is in the class, and she's very protective. Wants to beat up the supervisor. So do I, but I've already envisioned the consequences and they aren't good. How can I slow this down? Supervisor is calling for help. How come the phone works for the supervisor? It didn't work for me.

Oh man, they are dragging the kid and his sister and two others screaming about how unfair life is. None of this had to happen.

The solution, in my view, is to only have teachers proctor their own students, you know, the ones we teach, the ones we know, the ones we are sworn to help.

But I'm a dreamer, and after all Merryl Tisch thinks we're all a bunch of crooks who'd do anything to up our miserable stats. Odd they hired us in the first place, considering that.
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