Respectful or just plain crazy?

What principal in their right mind takes on proctoring two grade levels of pilot testing thereby blocking her schedule for the entire morning for 6 days?  Me.

Its brand new assessment. The pilot was handed to us, not chosen by us.  The emails that started arriving were lengthy and involved. The training modules were many and time consuming.  I had already called the help desk 3 times and hadn’t even seen students to test yet.

That was my thinking. But as my Friday moved from proctoring to a student appointment to a parent meeting (discipline issue squeezed in) to a GATE parent meeting without a moment to breath, I began to question my thinking. And sanity.

A good night sleep does wonders. Nope, she’s not crazy at all. One of my mantras as an elementary principal is I take care of our teachers and they take care of our students. So when this pilot assignment arrived on my desk, I thought of the four teachers this would impact. It was enough that I was interrupting their class time, projects and instruction. Did I really need four people to figure out this new testing situation and protocol or was it sufficient that 1 person struggle with it, gather some feedback and then we all move on.

A good night sleep and hindsight helps too. In the last three days of testing, I’ve called the help desk 6 times. I think a few of the kids have finished but I’m not 100% sure. A student and I (to our own amazement) successfully located a tutorial within the test to show us how to match boxes in two columns and how to erase an incorrect connection. Albeit something that should not have required a tutorial. We figured out how to flag a question to come back to later.

I don’t know about the students, but I have learned a lot. And as the sessions move along, I’m able to better guide our students, help them feel less anxious as they navigate this new format and keep my own head above water in terms of managing the tests in the secure browser and keeping the testing environment calm and orderly.

So I stick with my original motivation for taking on the proctor role-it’s respectful to teachers’ time, energy and sanity.

I’m looking out for them; they can focus on our students.


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