Tuesday, March 24, 1992

TAP tests, a relief and a burden, were tackled today. The tackling was sloppy and exasperating, yielding results in line with such work. At least, and we are all thankful, everyone tried their best to do what they could. I wonder if we harped a little too hard on the importance of doing their best (though all those 1 percentiles from last year would indicate that they did not do their best).

So, a peculiar day has a peculiar description. Hour 1 was truncated today by breakfast, to be served at 8:00 AM. Mrs. Korman wanted to let them sleep if they preferred, though today no one wanted to do that. Wonders will never cease. We chatted for a little while about the test, and they talked among themselves, we played the four letter word game (more attention than I've had in months, weird) and then they went upstairs for breakfast. I was a bit dubious that they could all get fed in 20 minutes, but breakfast was Danish and juice. Nothing like a healthy start to the day! All that talk about a good breakfast, and a sugar overload was the result. However, it may be the best thing, for all these future diabetics have several powerful sugar rushes a day and possibly they would be at a disadvantage without them.

All the SWAS kids were in our class for the test, and they were conscientious, diligent and overwhelmed. Several gave up part way through, others trudged on, but they had no idea what they were doing. I made an answer key and checked their day's work, and out of 57 comprehension questions, most answered about 15-18 correctly. Using the raw score/percentile equivalents from 2 years ago, that is going to put most of them at 20-25 percentile. Only 2 of them scored as high as 40 percentile. They were not disgusted, which was gratifying, since they have 2 more days of this to go through. I am anticipating a little more frustration as they proceed.

Without a 3rd hour, and just watching them take the test during Hours 1 and 2, the beginning of the day was quite boring. 5th hour was ready to relax, and I didn't feel much like challenging them. I was going to fiddle with the dictionary, but their hearts were not in it (not open rebelliousness but glum resignation) and we ended up discussing money and had a pretty good lesson about jobs, careers and earning enough to get by. We talked specifics (how much one could make in different fields) and how much it would take to support various lifestyles. They were operative, helpful and eager.

One exception, Danika, who spent most of the hour with her head down. In fact she only raised her head once, when Joseph, leaning forward in his desk, had the leg of his desk collapse and he tipped over; everyone burst into an uproarious laughter, especially Nigeria, always generous and full of brotherly and racial love, couldn't restrain herself and roared with the glee of the crowds at a Roman amphitheater. Danika was pissed at being disturbed and told Nigeria so. She used her usual colorful selection of vicious profanities.

Later, Mr Rickover, a vice-principal, came in, supposedly looking for someone, but we had only 12 kids in there and he looked for about 5 minutes. They all laughed at him when he left, and I had to wonder what he was up to. Most strange.

Hour 6 tackled the end of their projects, though some (in fact many) don't seem to understand the concept of deadline. I have been telling them for weeks that today was the last day, and they still didn't hand them in. I printed those that I could find, but some had nothing to be found. I spent a lot of my time wading through the lists of files on discs and got what I could. Now I have to read them all and offer an evaluation and a critique. Those that worked accomplished something, those that didn't have nothing.

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