Tag Archives: state testing

Tales From the State Test

Dear NYC Department of Education,


You’re probably looking at this photo and thinking “Hmmm, what am I looking at here?”

Well I’ll tell you what you’re looking at.

This is a picture of a GIANT FUCKING COCKROACH, roughly the size of my man-handed fist, trapped underneath a book bin, then secured with a chair. This massive fella decided to show himself in the middle of the NY state test today, casually sauntering across the library floor like he owned the place, causing two of my 4th graders to jump out of their chairs, and, subsequently, the entire room to start screaming bloody murder.

As the only adult in the room, I had to act quickly and maturely.  This consisted of me screaming “EVERYBODY STAY CALM!!!!!!” like a batshit psycho, while darting across the room to the shelves, grabbing the nearest book bin, dumping out the entirety of its contents onto a table where 4 kids were test-taking, holding my breath, and trying to retrace the life choices that had lead me to this exact moment in time, so that I could undo them.

Once I trapped it beneath the bin, I put a chair on top of it, just in case that motherfucker decided to try something funny. Trust no one, DOE.

After the chair was secured and I had both swallowed the vomit in my throat and wiped the tears from my eyes, the kids were asked to sit for another hour, alongside the cockroach, and finish their exams.

So that’s why everyone failed.

Miss Emily

The Final Straw

Me: “Make sure you are answering THE QUESTION BEING ASKED.”
Kid (extremely confident): “Oh, I did. I double checked. TRIPLE checked!”

The test question provided two fractions, one for the amount of purple marbles in a bag of 24, one for the amount of red marbles in a bag of 24. It then asked, “Are there more purple marbles or more red marbles in the bag?”

Kid’s answer: 1/4

And with that, testing season comes to a close.

Miss Emily, out.


Anyone Have a Job They Want to Give Me?

Because I clearly need to leave mine.

This is bad for so many reasons I don’t know where to start 

When I signed up to be a teacher, it was because I wanted to work with children. Not be treated like one.

I wanted to help children. Not cause them more angst (and if you’ve never been part of a test-prep season or proctored one of these hours-long state tests, especially to children with special needs, then pardon me when I say your opinion on this is about as worthless as Ebola Mom’s gloves).

I wanted to inspire creativity. Not urge kids to write a more boring, to-the-point essay, as THAT is how you rack up the points. No time for creativity or flowery writing, kids. Stick to one, direct answer. Quote right from the text. Don’t overthink it. (These are things we SAY!)

I wanted to help the child who asks for help, not shrug my shoulders and say “You know I’m not allowed to help you with this,” (because if I am caught helping, I’ll be fired), and then pass him a tissue as he bursts into tears (not even sure I’m allowed to pass him the tissue– better double check the rule book.)

I wanted to make children smile. Not cry.

And now 50% of my evaluations are based on these test scores (with zero consideration for the fact that half the children I teach have special needs). The rest is based on a stranger’s opinion– someone who doesn’t know me, my school, our curriculum, our philosophies, the unique strengths, needs, disabilities, and challenging home environments of each and every one of my students.

God forbid an evaluator had walked in two weeks ago, when my 9-year-old student showed up late to school, hysterically crying. Mom couldn’t get out of bed to get her to school, so she took the city bus all by herself, missed her stop, and ended up lost downtown. I sat with her in the hallway, getting the full story, making sure she was okay and being properly cared for at home.

Had this been the moment an outside evaluator chose to capture, I would have been marked “ineffective.” And moments like this happen ALL THE TIME. But there is no section on the teacher rating chart for human kindness and compassion.

You’re ruining everything, Cuomo. Well– not everything. You’re taking a system that is already broken, coming at it with a chain saw, then burying it beneath one huge steaming pile of horseshit.

Happy Spring Break, NYC teachers.