Thursday, June 19, 2008

Ruminations at Year’s End (or Proctoring Regents Exams: The Devil’s Work)

Lori writes:

One thing that I learned from being in other people’s classrooms is that many of us don’t distribute letters, like the one about cell phone policies during Regents week, to our advisees. I found stacks of them (why are we given so many copies?) in several rooms I was in. All of that information belongs on a website that parents could check; the kids leave them on the tables when we actually do give them out.

When I proctored in Lieber’s room, however, I found some more pleasant surprises. There was good material from both his SLC cohort group and his English class. I was able to swipe a few good templates. A good use of PD Day in June might be a share fest where people present some of their good stuff. We all say we’re not up for it this time of year, but many of us are already dreaming about the clean slate, fresh start, and new ideas by the time Brooklyn Queens Day comes around. I’m thinking about workshops like I’ve been to at NCTE’s annual conventions. Or even just something they do called the Idea Exchange where people photocopy lessons, units, ideas, etc. and you can walk around tables and pick up what looks interesting. If not, maybe the TI kids could do the conference that they used to do on a weekend, and present workshops for us along with reflections of their experiences. Thinking ahead.

As for proctoring, teachers need to chill with talking about colleagues behind their backs. Proctors can read, and most of us have told kids write in ink a hundred times only to see them write in pencil. And we’ve begged them to fill in every answer, but a kid that failed math all year and says he doesn’t have a clue what to do is not going to answer every question. Get over it. In general, teachers need to be nicer to one another. Especially to newer teachers and student teachers. We need to use our experience to guide not intimidate.

And remind kids to bring sweatshirts.


Anonymous said...

Proctors need to remember that we have been babying our students all year long and we do not care how comfortable they are for the test. I do not mean seating. I mean reading the proctoring instructions for the subject and following them, not eating while proctoring, not having conversations in the room while the students are trying to take the test, walking around to make sure that they do not use a pencil instead of a pen, making sure that students do not cheat, separating students that are talking.

While a student may not know the answer to a question, a later question may refresh their memory. A student who has failed Math all year round, but has plenty of common sense, can very easily pass the Math A regents by simply trying to explain how a problem may be solved.

We all need to remember that what ever we do as an individual teacher, affects every one else's job. Something as simple as alphabetizing the test papers for the Global Regents could had helped Frank go home at 6PM instead of 7PM.

So Lori, sorry for insisting that all proctors follow proctoring instructions and encourage the students to write something so that they may pass a regents that they need for graduation.

Anonymous said...

I agree with Lori on most everything she has said. One of the many reasons why we have cell phone issues is because Advisors don't do their jobs.....they don't inform students and parents about our rules/norms/protocols whatever it is you would like to call them. Also when teachers are using their phones in the hallway it sets a bad example for our students. The postal service actually works pretty well along side of the internet and it also makes things official.

As for the math regents: Lets look at the bigger picture. A student who is taking any regents exam after failing the class is going to obviously have problems, this is amplified with the cohort model.
EXAMPLE: A student who failed spanish 1 and 2 during Freshmen year unfortunalty has to move up with their cohort to Spanish 3 and 4. This inevitably sets the student up for more failure due to the fact that they did not master the skills from freshmen year. Imagine having to take that exam (spanish 3and 4), I would leave things blank as well.

Sweatshirts...As my mother always said, "take a little jacket with you just in case"!

Anonymous said...

As for teachers talking about one another, that is out of control. It makes for a very negative work environment, and should not be tolerated.

Who is responsible for teachers actions? Yes, we are all responsible for ourselves, and new teachers make mistakes early on. But after a certain point, when people are eating KFC during a Regents, how are they held accountable?

We hold our students accountable and give them detention for much lighter infractions.

Anonymous said...

Teachers need to read the proctoring guidelines and follow them.

It says very clearly what is written in pen and what is written in ink, not to leave any spaces blank, etc.

Teachers are talking behind one anothers back because they are frustrated and feel that there colleagues are not being held accountable.

There is a big difference between first years making a mistake and veterans who demonstrate blatant disregard and do not even hand out memos or cell phone policies

Also, reading magazines during proctoring, doing grades for report cards and cleaning the DEAR library are also some things our fellow teachers were doing

Anonymous said...

What about the children?