Saturday, October 11, 2014

The Best Laid Plans

Yesterday I planned to give a practice test to my students, so I could give an actual test on Monday. We have an agreement in our school that my department gives tests on Mondays and Thursdays, so that kids don't have to cram for 15 tests a day. But it turned out that Monday schools are closed, which kind of put a crimp in my plans. Being adaptable, I considered the situation for many hours, did extensive research, and determined the best course of action would be to give the test on Tuesday, agreement or no agreement. Let them give me a counseling memo. It wasn't my idea to close the school.

But alas, when I got to work yesterday I received an envelope of PSAT forms. Apparently, my students, who barely speak English, can take a long time to fill in such forms. I was therefore nominated to help them so that they didn't hold up all the quick form fillers. But I was supposed to do this immediately, and how was I supposed to give and review this practice test I had while filling out forms? I'd do my best, but I couldn't promise anything. Let them put a letter in my file. It wasn't my idea to give kids who'd been in the country for 6 weeks a PSAT exam.

I worked up some activities that I thought the kids could do without a whole lot of my direct input, and figured, OK, this will work. But then there was a totally unrelated crisis (and no, I did not create it intentionally), and I actually had to miss my first class. This put everything out of kilter. So I decided I would put it off for one more day. I would give my practice test on Tuesday, and then give the actual test on Wednesday. Let them dump me in a rubber room, which of course has been abolished and doesn't even exist. It wasn't my idea to have a crisis.

But then I realized we were giving the PSAT exam on Wednesday. My classes were not all going to meet, and those that did would be shortened. Would it be fair to the students who just took the grueling PSAT to take another test? Would they be able to do it in what would not even be a full period? And would the students who hadn't just taken the PSAT have an unfair advantage?

There was only one possible solution. I would have to delay the test yet again, making it Thursday. Would my students be broken-hearted at having to wait so long? Would parents call in complaining their kids weren't tested enough? Would there be marches and demonstrations? I determined the answer was most likely negative. Also, Thursday is a designated testing day for my department, so I wouldn't get the counseling memo, the letter in file, or the trip to the rubber room that has been abolished and doesn't even exist.

So perhaps there is some degree of harmony in the world after all.
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