Tag Archives: school

Testing, testing …

Part of my job is to assess the learning potential of some of the kids who attend my school. That’s teacher-talk for “giving an IQ test”. Not a real, full-fledged one, oh no, this would be just a brief, abridged version of a full one. I’m not qualified to administer and interpret the complete test, not being a psychologist with the accompanying thousand years of post-secondary education. I am only able to conduct the smaller test, despite being simply a lowly teacher with only five years of university. Fortunately, they are the right type of five years of university in order to be deemed capable by – oh, I don’t know who. Maybe the IQ test fairies?

Anyway, once I score this baby brother of the standard IQ test, I then administer the academic achievement tests. These measure a kid’s current performance in reading, writing and math. Then I compare the results of the two kinds of tests. Normally, academic performance matches learning potential, more or less. But sometimes, performance is far below what would be expected based upon the measured potential. When that happens, I suspect those kids of having serious learning disabilities. Those are the kids who I refer for further testing by our school psychologist – you know, the real qualified professionals.

So that’s what I was doing all morning today. Today. The day the elementary school set was celebrating one of its favourite holidays: Halloween. The day 99% of the population 12 and under wore a costume to school. The day every single classroom had a party in the afternoon, if not all day. The day every single kid was effing WIRED on excitement and sugar.

And brilliant me decided to test today. Perfect.

Still, there was a silver lining. I did get to laugh loud and long – but inside my head, of course.

One girl was plodding through the reading part of the academic achievement test. She had to read aloud lists of words, with absolutely no help or encouragement from me. One of the words she struggled with was “hour”.

And how did she end up reading that word?


The kid is nine. And she was dressed as a cat.


Ready or not …

schoolI went into my school yesterday. I figured that since I technically start getting paid as of September 1st, then September 1st would be a reasonable day for me to go in for the first time this school year. We’re starting school relatively late this year, on September 8th, so this would still give me lots of time to get all ready for the kids. This way, I would actually not be working for free, was my thinking.

Just so you know, teachers in the public school system (here, at least) are on a monthly salary. We are required to be at our place of employment each day 15 minutes before school starts till 15 minutes after school ends. Other than that, we choose when we put in the time necessary to prepare lessons, materials, coach teams, run clubs, etc. Some teachers arrive early in the morning. Some stay late in the afternoon. Some cajole the custodian to let them back in the school during the evening or weekend. Some work mainly at home. But we all put in the time. We have to. During the school day, we’re teaching. We have to have stuff ready to teach, we can’t just wing it (although, to be fair, sometimes we can – it just doesn’t work that well).

It is the rare teacher who does not show up a week or two before school officially begins, ostensibly to set up their classroom and prepare materials that they know they will need. This is especially important if you are changing the grade level or subject that you teach, the school at which you teach, or (and this one applies to me) you have had to move classrooms within the same school.

imagesI had already transported my furniture and boxes to my new room last June. I have so little shelf space that I had left most of the boxes just sitting on the tables. I had put away some stuff in the one armoire-type cupboard. I had placed the furniture and area carpet where I wanted them. Then I closed the door, locked it, and left for the summer.

And yesterday I returned. To a classroom with furniture all piled up in a corner. To boxes piled here and there. To a disconnected telephone. To a carpet tossed in the middle of the room. To a missing computer desk and a missing computer. To the wrong chairs stacked by the door.

So I had to begin again. I spent an hour hunting down the missing desk and computer (someone had placed them in the classroom next door, for some reason), then finding the right chairs and trading them for the wrong ones. I carefully rearranged all the furniture – then rearranged my desk and the computer desk again to minimize the glare on the computer screen. I reconnected the phone and set up a new password on its voicemail system. I gave away a bunch of books to our new Grade 1 teacher – and a rolling bookshelf to hold them all. I set up a laptop computer station for the kids to use in one corner, complete with that area carpet and two big screens for privacy from the rest of the room. I also broke two of those plastic sticks that are used to adjust mini-Venetian blinds.

I worked really hard. And it’s not like I haven’t been working hard moving boxes and furniture over the past several days anyway!

I got kicked out at only 3:30 in the afternoon, because the custodians wanted to secure the school early. No problem, I thought. I’ll have the rest of the week to try to do something with all those boxes and to properly organize my desktop and deskdrawers and my lone cupboard.

This morning, the school secretary phoned me. She told me that there were maintenance people working in my hallway, and that they had requested that no teachers whose classrooms were in that hallway come in today so that they could do whatever they have to do more efficiently. And they may need us to stay out tomorrow too. And perhaps even Friday. But next Tuesday, the first day of school for the kids, should be fine.

Well. I guess I should have gone in last week and worked for free.

School dazed

I had a bad dream last night. I dreamed I was in school, in a classroom that was an amalgamation of the new classroom I am moving into for real, the old classroom that I moved out of in June, and what we used to call the “activity room” at the elementary school that I attended about a thousand years ago.

In my dream, I was trying to put all my teaching supplies away, in a room with far too little storage space (which is actually true: my new classroom has about one quarter of the shelf space that I used to have. This is most emphatically NOT good.). Kids kept coming into my room with science and socials projects, English and French and math assignments to do (again, this is actually a real part of my teaching job). They kept coming and coming, and all my tables and chairs and desks were full of kids and their stuff, and miraculously, more tables and desks kept appearing for them all. And the kids got more and more unruly, and I was less and less able to control them, and I just really wanted to put my own things away because it was only the first day of school anyway. I kept yelling at the kids, and trying to get them to leave, or at least settle down, but nothing worked. Then the bell rang and the kids left my room anyway, still noisy and poorly behaved. They actually laughed at me and my pathetic attempts to discipline them. In my dream, I burst into tears as I shut the door behind them. images

Then I woke up. With a headache.

Yes, the new school year begins in 15 days. Do ya think I’m looking forward to it???