Be quiet, we’re testing!

16 Apr

As much as I loathe standardized testing, I take it very seriously.

I post messages on the board reminding students to bring their fully charged Chromebook, but leave their phones behind. I put a box of kleenex on each table so students have no need to get up and wander to get one. I faithfully read the script everyday. I wear my serious face.

It was the fourth and final day of testing and students had just logged on. I was sitting in front of my computer, having clicked “approve” for most students and awaiting the last few who were still jumping through the log-in hoops. The room was silent as it should be. A few phones and smart watches sat in the testing box beside me. All was well – and then it happened.

A tiny squeaky little fart.

It happened at the table to my immediate right. You could see the eyes of everyone at the table grow large. They looked from one to another. A student at the adjacent table whipped their head around. The rest of the room sat in oblivious silence – a silence that hung in the air for a millisecond – until I made eye contact with a student.

We started to giggle. I tried to maintain my serious testing face, but the harder I tried the greater I failed. Before too long, I was laughing harder than any one – a silent body shaking laugh I was trying to control because this was a serious testing day. I closed my eyes. I squeezed them tight in an effort to get myself under control. I scooted my chair back so I would look at the floor when I finally opened my eyes.

Gradually, my laughter ebbed. Once more I was in control, a serious test proctor.




7 Responses to “Be quiet, we’re testing!”

  1. Amanda Potts April 16, 2019 at 6:44 am #

    Oh – you capture this moment perfectly. Oh my – a tiny, squeaky little fart. Oh – I’m chuckling quietly here, far away, just imagining it.Thanks for sharing this!

  2. arjeha April 16, 2019 at 7:33 am #

    A little laughter eases the test tension in the room. I am sure your students were in a much better frame of mind for testing after this. All it took was one squeaky little fart.

  3. anita ferreri April 16, 2019 at 10:22 am #

    I feel for the student who let it fly….yet I get the pressure in the room and the need for everyone to let a silent giggle fly!

  4. edifiedlistener April 16, 2019 at 11:46 am #

    What a gratifying and upbeat slice in the face of testing duress. Expertly described, you capture this moment with wit and real human warmth. Something you simply won’t get from a standardized test experience.

  5. Trina Haase April 16, 2019 at 4:49 pm #

    Oh, you wrote about this moment in an absolutely perfect way! Reading your post made ME giggle!

  6. Brian Rozinsky April 16, 2019 at 8:26 pm #

    I know that feeling! Check that: I know *all* these feelings! Well told all around.

  7. natashadomina April 17, 2019 at 5:28 am #

    You’ve done such a great job of bringing this moment to life! The details you wrote about the serious testing room are so familiar. I love how the squeaky little fart created a tiny crack in the serious testing mode that we need to be in. What a fun story to read!

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