Monday, May 11, 2009

My Least Favorite Part Of Teaching

Proctoring exams is probably my least favorite part of teaching. Keeping my mouth shut for any extend period of time is pure torture. Proctoring AP exams is the absolute worse.

This year I proctored the AP Physics exam. They needed someone who wouldn't screw it up as there are two exams going on at once. I cannot imagine why I would have this reputation. I'm the biggest screw up at something I can't even mention here because of a certain person that reads this blog.

Proctoring is stressful for me because I worry way too much about screwing up. What if I calculate the time wrong? What is I read the instructions wrong? What if I lose a paper?

A few years ago, something really bad happened during one of the AP exams. (sorry, but I can't say what happened.) The evil and more evil cops from ETS came around and everyone involved was interrogated for hours. You could have been a teacher, a student, a secretary, an administrator or even a janitor. No one was exempt. Everyone was suspect. I had nightmares for weeks after it was over. (The mystery was solved a year later. I found out because I knew the people involved. The school never told us the guilty parties were caught and never apologized for making us go through such torture.)

I mentioned that there were two exams going on at once, let me get back to that. Fifteen kids were doing one exam and five were doing another. One group had two 45 minute sessions, with survey questions and other stuff in the middle. The other group had a solid hour and a half to work. Packemin HS does not have optimal testing conditions. I had to call twice to get the loud music in the next room lowered. The dumpsters are right outside the window and we got treated to ten minutes of garbage bag toss during the exam. The bathrooms were locked during the ten minute break and we had to run around to get them open.

The kids who took this exam are great. For the most part, they diligently worked so hard you could feel the heat from the wheels turning in their brains. Only one kid gave up. I know him well as he is one of my AP kids. He alternated between sleeping, fiddling, drawing pictures and making origami airplanes. I was worried that he did the same thing during the calculus exam but he and other other kids in the room assured me that he actually took that exam seriously.

Now, the next big proctoring assignments--REGENTS EXAMS. I can hardly wait.


NYC Educator said...

I also hate proctoring. It's down there among my least favorite things. Lunch patrol was the single most unrewarding activity I was ever compelled to do, and I really hate disciplining kids, but it's become second nature to me and I see it more of a survival skill.

I also hate going to meetings run by pompous morons who couldn't teach their way out of a paper bag, and alas, folks like that seem to run the system.

Anonymous said...

I hate proctoring. I also hate the interruptions.

I was giving either the ITBS or COGAT to 5th grade. It has a section were the kids were to estimate answers. They are given something like 5 minutes to do 10 problems.

Right in the middle then principal comes on and reads the riot act to the school about something. Then she wanted to know why so few kids made 6th grade G&T from our school. UGGG. Current principal has a huge sign put on the intercom in the office during all testing. He can't unplug it (wanted to) because teachers need to be able to call the office for emergencies. They can't use e-mail on state testing days.

Then there was the year they decide TAKS test day was the perfect day to mow the lawn around the portables. Now no outside staff members are allowed on campus during state testing days.

Pissed Off said...

Those meetings are bad, but I can use my I-pod or read a magazine or just make fun of the person running it with the person next to me. They beat proctoring.