Caroline in the Delta

Closing the Teach For America Blogging Gap
Apr 08 2014


The tests have arrived. In perfectly aligned little rows, five rows of five, they test. They test and test and test. Not one, but four reading passages: eight multiple choice, one open response. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat. Why the choice is made to put ALL FOUR reading tests on one day and ALL FOUR math tests on the next day is beyond me.

All of this: beyond me.

And for some reason I decided it was logical to arrive with the old adage, “When thou state tests, thou plays movies during all other time,” which in fact is the worst idea anyone has ever come up with because the last thing 25 tested-to-death sixth graders want to do is sit quietly and watch a movie. Even if they did nap for all those final 5 minutes of every single test, they really just want to run around a scream.

So we played jeopardy instead. I only wrote up one child for losing the cap to an Expo marker. (Yes, the incident was bigger and more elaborate than that, but the bottom line truly was the cap of an Expo marker– those are expensive!)

The real blessing to my heart was after school, when the third and fourth and eighth graders arrived promptly at 3:25, even a parent coming to do the accompaniment for a rather difficult church song well executed by a fourth grader. Our first talent show rehearsal. The eighth graders did an excellent job of mentoring the younger kids, all of them pairing up to help: one sitting with the clump of hosts, helping them write their introductions to all the acts; one helping a gorgeous gospel singer hit her notes with a richer sound; me sitting with the nae nae girls, telling them to repeat this one part over and over until they’re all throwing their hips in the same direction at the same time, smiles wide and those side conversations stopped.

It was glory, pure glory.

And let me reiterate that a parent arrived to help with guitar player for his daughter; the third year running and I’m always in awe. Their whole family warms my entire sloppy heart, with how kind and proactive and visible they are. I wish I could teach their daughter, but I likely won’t be here by then.

Speaking of, ATC is on a roll. We had our final PD event on Saturday, and overall success but something I can’t quite talk about with getting personally offended due to items that were not personal in natural at all. I feel like a minor failure, but shouldn’t, and I recognize that but also still own the failure bit. The job description is coming, always coming, and one day soon I’ll actually apply to the job I’m already working.

Life. I’m living it.

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