723714_multiple_choice.jpgWe have our first of four TAKS test days today. They seem to have increased testing security quite a bit this year over last year. In fact, we are supposed to have some monitors from the state coming to our campus at some point during the day to make sure we are doing things correctly.

I’m new at this campus, and things are run differently here than they were at the campus where I taught last year. We get to be with the students we are testing from before 8:00 to at least 2:00. We sit with the students in the cafeteria at lunch. We don’t get a conference period. It’s pretty much a wasted day as far as teaching goes.

Now I understand the importance of this test and if I were a core area teacher, I would actually love the challenge that this stuff brings. But I’m not. I don’t teach these kids any of the writing skills that they will be tested over. I don’t know the strategies that they are supposed to use in their classwork. I have no clue.

Somehow, I just think it’s a bit odd that they have me in there giving a test while the language arts teachers all have 2nd period conference, so they are out monitoring halls while their kids are taking their test. Oh well. I don’t schedule or plan these things.

On the subject of multiple choice tests, I voted for Mike Huckabee in the Texas primary elections yesterday. Now back to my non-politically charged blogging…

About Joel Wagner 522 Articles
Joel Wagner (@sywtt) began teaching band in 2002. Though he had a lot of information, his classes were out of control. He found himself tired, frustrated, disrespected by students, lonely, and on the brink of quitting. He had had enough. He resigned from his school district right before spring break of his second year and made it his personal mission to learn to be a great teacher. So You Want To Teach? is the ongoing story of that quest for educational excellence.

5 Comments on TAKS Day

  1. I agree with you, Joel; it doesn’t make much sense to me either w/r/t your being with students you don’t teach. Another illogical move on the part of the Educational Industrial Complex.

  2. I used to get a lot of paperwork during those endless test days. I think they don’t put the teacher in the same room so they can be sure of the “integrity” of the test giver. Our school district would not let the teachers give the test and made them monitor too.

  3. Those English teachers worked hard all year to prepare those kids and they deserve a break. I can’t believe that you had the nerve to complain. Preparing students for the TAKS test is not a fun challenge. It is tragedy that we drag every student down so no child is left behind. I am very offended by your post.

  4. Unfortunately, Texas recently had a rash of cheating on these tests. I suspect you were put in there because of that. You are outside the subject, so you have no vested interest in the outcome.

    I’ve had to monitor state tests before. In most schools, though, it either rotates through periods or is done by the guidance counselor. Of course, I’ve always taught in very small schools, so this is a lot easier.

    At one school, though, it was just as you describe. I lost a full week of instruction thanks to testing and got in some trouble when I complained about it.

  5. maggiemoo: I understand that the English teachers work hard. I didn’t mean to imply that I thought otherwise!

    In fact, quite the opposite. Maybe it’s because I am so competitive. I would hate the idea of my band going to contest with even another band director, no matter how experienced he or she is. I work my butt off getting them prepared and then not only do I not get to work with them, but they are thrown into a weird classroom with lab tables instead of desks, with a teacher they know, but who does not regularly give them tests. If I were a language arts teacher, I would want to be in there working with my own kids.

    I understand that you aren’t allowed to give hints or help or anything, but I suppose that is the micromanager in me.

    I personally have no problem administering the test. I have no problem pitching in to help the students succeed. The point was really to say that sometimes we plan things looking more at the numbers than at reality of what is best for the children.

    Somehow, that message wasn’t conveyed well. My apologies.

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