Saturday, March 26, 2011

Copping a Feel

This week, I've been administering/proctoring our state's standardized testing for 6th-8th grade students.

I've never been so felt up in my life (and I've been to Spain).

Let me just back up this booty train for a second.

Massachusetts takes A LOT of pride in its education system. A child is expected to do everything possible to open the doors to an Ivy League college later in life, and parents are (for the most part) extremely involved. There are always exceptions, but this gives the general feel of how it goes.

So, on the state standardized tests, there is a ridiculous amount of pressure. They are geared up for it all year and every teacher works cohesively with one another to best prepare students to succeed. Then, there are several days of testing over the course of two months, each test lasting about 5 hours depending on how fast the student works.

So basically, we're talking about 20-25 hours of testing for most students.

This is stressful on even the most prepared "typical population" kid.

My kids are special education. A coloring project throws them off, never mind entire days of high-stakes testing.

For two days this week, I worked one-on-one with B, an Autistic student. He has trouble concentrating on your face if you're talking, gets up frequently in class to flail his arms or skip, is obsessive about texture and is one of the happiest kids you could ever meet. For his test, we were by ourselves in a small room away from other students so he wouldn't distract them and could receive a little help from me (reminders to stay on track, helping him read questions aloud, tracking his answers so he didn't put them in the wrong place, etc.)

Problem being? One of those textures he's obsessed with happens to be my face.

He doesn't do this to a lot of people, but he just gets fixated on the way certain people feel. I know, this sounds really weird, but basically it translates into him constantly trying to pat my face and rub his face on my arm. I have to tell him that it isn't appropriate behavior, but that lasts two seconds before he's trying to hold my face again. He calls me "Cheeky Mrs. D" and tells me I "have the cheeks of a much younger girl", which actually cracks me up.

I love him to death, but if I wash my face one more time this week it's going to fall off. (Also, can't imagine Purell-ing my arms 37 times is doing wonders, either.)


  1. "He calls me 'Cheeky Mrs. D' and tells me I 'have the cheeks of a much younger girl', which actually cracks me up."

    Uh, how many girls does he do this to that he'd know that? Also, autistic or brilliant?

  2. I love this story! I seriously can't imagine how boring life would be without students to entertain me :]

    On another note, do you think that all of the pressure to do well with the testing forces teachers to just "teach to the test"? In AZ, it seems that teachers are pressured to get better standardized test results than over all class grades with their students and it frustrates me to no end!