A flawless uninterrupted Benchmark week? We had made it through Thursday with no interruptions! No crop dusters buzzing our school. No carnival setting up in the front parking lot. Not even a snafu with the booklets! Totally on schedule (on Tuesday we were 5 minutes AHEAD of schedule), I was convinced we’d make it through the week in perfect time.
Until today, during our first bathroom break, when the girls came barreling out one after another, each taking their time to tell me (individually) that the water wasn’t working. Several desperate pumps of the water fountain button confirmed our worst fears- the water was out. Now, this isn’t the first time this has happened at our school. In fact, I don’t think this is even the second or third time. I’m pretty sure this is the fourth time that we have gone without water for any extended, unexpected period of time. But we soldiered on, legs crossed and toes jiggling, through our second test. By the end of our half-hour 30 multiple choice block, looks of distress passed from their eyes to mine and I knew we had to have something done.
“Line up if you need to use the restroom,” I commanded in teacher tone, hoping that if we sent them out now, by some miracle the stalls would sense our agony and water would once again flow. I was wrong. Out they poured, whimpering of thirst and pain, as our school secretary came charging down the hall.
“Ya’ll can go down to the field house and use those stalls, but you’ll have to take your own toilet paper.”
Are. You. Serious? The field house is located on the other side of the track, which is located behind the HIGH SCHOOL. Granted, our school campus is small, but herding the fifth grade class into the heat and away from the pristine quiet of the testing classroom seemed like the WORST possible choice. Nonetheless, we lined up and I prepared to shepherd my flock to clear waters. That is, until an aide popped out of another classroom and, with a stern look reminded me- “You can’t leave those tests in there alone.”
Ah, that’s right! I had forgotten about test ghosts, who cheat in order for us to make AYP. But wait a minute…wouldn’t we not be on school improvement if we’d communicated with the dead before? Regardless, I sat down at my desk and prepared to wait while my children galavanted through the sunshine. That is, until the same aide popped her head in my room and, with a chiding tone said- “You can lock your door and go with them.”
Oh good. Now I have to run to catch up. Halfway across the track I met up with their muddy footprints (for my aide had made them trek through construction machine created mud puddles), and pushed them into a straight line.
Twenty Two Minutes Later, and Twenty Two Minutes Behind Schedule: In our seats, we open our booklets to page 136 and our answer document to page 33. I read the instructions.
“Any questions?” I ask. No, there never are, but Ronesha raises her hand.
“Can I go get a drink?”