Day 71: Proctoring an SAT

I wasn’t planning on using this experience today as I thought it was the same as substitute teaching. It’s not. The last 3 hours were nothing like my substitute-teaching experience and so I have decided that it will take priority for today’s blog experience .

I proctored two 2nd grade children (we’ll name them William and Kate ;) while they took two SAT tests. The tests were Reading Comprehension and Math Problem Solving. I was given brief instructions on how to follow the book (although it is very self-explanatory), and off we went.

I first had to make sure their desks were cleared, that they had their pencils, scrap paper, etc. They also had privacy folders that they could put up around their desk to give them some privacy and help them to not get distracted. Let me tell you, I was feeling the pressure. Unlike teaching a lesson plan, these tests were going to be used in scoring the child in their education level. It was important that the kids were comfortable, not distracted, and could understand the directions clearly. My instruction book was very formal and I was taken back to my own elementary days of SAT taking, when your teacher made you feel like your hand would get cut off if you so much as touched the book before you were supposed to. I thankfully have both of my hands left. Too bad I can’t say as much about poor William and Kate after today. :D

So I read the instructions for the Reading Comp. test, told them they could start, and then sat back for 40 minutes of down time (which was a perfect time to get some reading in). I wasn’t counting on the 2nd-grade mind distraction factor. While Kate stayed pretty still and diligently did her work, William was a different story. Every few minutes I would look up to make sure they were staying focused and filling their bubbles in properly. It was during these moments that I learned William was not excited about taking this test. For instance, I gave the kids these testing aids that look like a phone. They are a plastic tube shaped in a half circle. You hold it to your ear and if you talk really silently in the mouth end, you can hear yourself really well without other students hearing. (They’re actually a great idea!) Anyways, half the time he was just playing with that, staring at me,  or flipping his pencil around. I would silently tap the SAT book I had and he’d get the idea. Poor kid.

After they were finished, we took a break and wow- these kids needed it. They were drawing on the white board, eating their snacks and, because it was raining outside, running around the circle of tables. (Yes, I let them run. Yes, it was carpeted. And, no they didn’t fall or injure themselves.)

Next we had the Math Problem Solving, and unlike the Reading, I actually had to read these to them. Every problem. For all 44 problems. And we’re not just talking “What’s 5+7-2?”. These questions were problems. Basically I was reading paragraphs. Forty-four paragraphs. And you have to rad them slow because you can’t repeat them and you want the kids to hear it all. And you can’t forget that in between you have to wait 10-15 seconds for each child to complete the problem. Yes, it was a long process. It’s a good thing I love to read aloud.

I will say this. I really miss SAT week at elementary school. I loved those tests! In fact, when I would wait for William and Kate to finish their math problem, I would actually be doing it myself too. Haha, some actually took me a a few seconds! The best tests were the Otis-Lennon Thinking tests that included patterns and riddles. Loved those. And the out-of-routine schedule was so exciting! And when you were done early you could just draw or read! It was the best! Ahhh, yes, today was a great day to be taken back to the days of my youth.


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