It would appear that I have been tapped (with a large stick upside the head) to be a State Test Administrator. Even though I am not “highly qualified” in the area of physical science, I am nonetheless able to read the test booklet and write the “Time Remaining” on the chalkboard and so I’ve been chosen to administer the test to two students who apparently need a “separate setting” and “100% extended time.”
For those of you unfamiliar, some (but not all, apparently) high school students are easily distracted while they take tests in their classrooms and need to be put into another classroom to concentrate sufficiently. This has always confused me. If I’m an easily distracted person, wouldn’t a new setting with different things to look at and a different number of ceiling tiles to count provide an even greater distraction than the classroom with which I’m familiar? Exactly what is distracting you from taking the test, anyway? A dozen or so other students all poring intently (and silently) over their own work? Yeah, that sounds like riveting stuff.
These students are also to be afforded 100% extended time to take the test. Students are normally afforded up to 4 hours to take the State Test. So this means that these students will have 8 hours to take this test with only bathroom breaks and a 10 minute break for lunch. At the risk of appearing even more callous and uncaring than usual, don’t you think that an easily distracted student would give up well before the 8 hour mark? I know for a fact that even with my highly trained intellect and the stamina to sit still for hours (forged in the soil science lecture hall of PSU) I would have an extremely difficult time concentrating on a multiple choice test for that long.
The real problem here of course is that I’m in charge of administering this Test. While doing so I am strictly forbidden from doing Anything at All besides administering the Test. That is, I must stare at the tops of the students’ heads for (possibly) 8 hours. I must not use the computer, grade papers, read a book, or breathe loudly. Does this sound like a setup to anyone else?
I have always been the student in the back of the room who grew bored with the pace of class after 15 minutes and drew entertaining cartoons in my notebook concerning my teachers and rabid armadillos. So you can imagine that if anyone ever wanted to torture a confession out of me all they would have to do it put me in a classroom where nothing at all was going on and make me sit quietly. I’d cave and tell them whatever they wanted to know in 30 minutes. (Actually, if they somehow found a rabid armadillo, I’d be undone in less than 5.)
I suppose that it is the fate of all great people to face their worst nightmare in order to reveal to the world their true brilliance; President Lincoln had the Civil War, Mandela had apartheid, and Whitney Houston had crack.
I’m sure that there are some people who will protest my description of how difficult this Test will be for me. After all, I’m an Eagle Scout, Highly Qualified Teacher, Best Dad Ever (on Tuesdays and Thursdays only), National Board applicant, and All Around Nice Guy so surely such a trivial thing as the State Endurance Test For Extreme Boredom should pose no problem whatsoever, right? I sincerely hope so, but just in case please don’t ask me what’s in my water bottle!