Friday, April 26, 2019

I Woke Up This Morning and It Was Over

That's what I'll say to a hundred people who ask me how my break was. I mean it'll be gone and that's pretty much it. I can cry, I can mourn, but that won't change anything. I'm still gonna have to get up early in the morning and compete with the other 200 million people on the Long Island Expressway for my chance to go to work.

I'm going to teach Monday, and then I'm gonna proctor the NYSESLAT test for maybe two weeks. I don't remember the exact dates, but I'm sure someone will fill me in when I get back. There's something about sitting around the auditorium and reading questions to 500 kids I don't know that makes me feel like my time could be used better.

I'm sure the kids feel that way too. Maybe they're happy because they get to sit around while the other 499 kids get tested. They get to talk to their friends, play on their phones, or better yet, text their friends who are sitting right next to them on their phones. This way, you see, there's none of that inconvenient and obtrusive face to face conversation, which is so twentieth century.

One of the reasons we're out of our classroom for weeks is Merryl Tisch's edict that teacher cannot grade their own students on state exams. It's kind of odd. You hire us to teach and rate our students, but send out a direct message that we cannot be trusted to do it. In fairness, this is at least partially because we are rated on stupid tests like the NYSESLAT. NY State assumes, if I had half a chance, that I would falsify the ratings and make myself look like a genius. (Maybe that will change with the new law. We no longer have to use these tests.)

The truth is I don't need to falsify my NYSESLAT rating. NYSESLAT rates everyone way too highly. The test is ostensibly to determine the English level of every student, but what it really does is push everyone out of services. That way, you don't have to hire so many ESL teachers. After all, NY State does not consider the English language a subject, and actually writes that direct English instruction is only to help students do well in core subjects.

Via being rated by NYSESLAT, I look like a genius without falsifying anything at all. It has such low standards that I can't miss. Everyone in all my classes is placed too high. I have advanced students who can't produce a coherent sentence in English. But hey, they're advanced. They're college and career ready. English is just some trivial thing that is not needed in NY State. And anyway the only place you really need to use English is on your math exams.

I'm almost finished. I don't consider proctoring exams to be important work. Anyone can do it. They could hire a bunch of students to do it. That's what they did when I took whatever the exam was that I needed to get my certification. For me, the hardest thing was to sit for six hours. It was kind of like proctoring.

Anyway, we're winding down. We've gotten through most of yet another year, and we're still ambulatory. We're still under-appreciated. But we're still doing the most important work there is, with the possible exception of doctors. There are an awful lot of kids who know that and love us for it.

And if that's not enough for you, remember, there's simply a time when a person has to make the supreme sacrifice and go to work. For us, that time comes Monday. And for all those haters, it serves them right that they have to work today.
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