“ad nauseam”

I used to love watching the television show Scrubs – they poked fun at television’s ability to magically find a theme in people’s lives.  Yet here I am, reminiscing on the themes that took hold of my life and career today.

I arrived at school this morning to a very cold classroom, a little too cold.  Then I saw the wide open window.  I froze, thinking my room was the victim of  a break-in, especially since we’ve been getting email updates with the latest gang grafitti in both boys and girls bathrooms.  As I looked around, I took stock of  all the technology – Smart Board, Senteo receivers, printer, projector.  All accounted for.  I left, reported the incident, and later found out that the maintenance crew left the window open when they were open over the weekend.

Today the 8th graders were treated to a Town Hall Meeting.  These are called every so often to provide information and address any pressing concerns.  Today’s meeting was called by the administration to reiterate several policies – dress code, locker breaks, PDA in the halls, and conduct in the cafeteria.  They spoke to the girls first, then the boys.  The girls meeting went as planned; the boys did not.  30 minutes into my 2nd core, the boys were dismissed from their meeting.  You could hear them come barreling down the hallway like a herd of elephants, back to disrupt class.  Much to my surprise, they told me they were informed that they had to report back to their meeting after lunch. 

Let’s review – my 2nd core was interrupted because the boys spent 30 minutes walking in a line quietly around the auditorium, and my 3rd core was also interrupted for 30 minutes so they could do it again.

I had to ask – “Why?”

At that point I checked my email to find this article.  We were asked to read it for our faculty meeting after school today.  I found myself perk up as I read my own thoughts, voiced by someone with clout, position, and readership (and a salary larger than mine).  I even reacted out loud when I read the charge to “Stop testing kids ad nauseam.”  I felt slightly refreshed, armed with the knowledge that I am not alone in my thinking; I’m just trapped in a backwards system. 

Then we sat in our meeting.  We participated in a pretty nifty activity with the article, meant more to expose us to instructional techniques.  We did not discuss the article.  We did not debate.  We did not talk about it.  Instead we moved to the next item on our agenda – a summary of programs and strategies meant to improve student test scores.

I couldn’t help but wonder if anyone else in the room got the irony.  After reading such a thought-provoking article about the need to move away from so much testing, we found ourselves listening to the “merits” of testing.