Having a case of the ‘Proctor Jones’ is no fun.
Oh, you aren’t familiar with this age-old diagnosis? Well, since the beginning of time (and by time I mean ‘standardized testing time’) teachers have fallen ill to this brutal condition, also known as Proctoritis.
The vast majority of teachers have had experiences with catching the ‘Proctor Jones”, and I have heard tall tales from near and far that a few have never fully recovered.
But first, let me explain.
While taking a three-plus hour standardized test, a student’s brain is left strained, stressed, and fatigued. Every person who has had any form of formal education can remember the dread, fear, and anxiety associated with having a giant test booklet and scantron answer sheet placed on their desk.
During this same period of time though, a teacher, (or the more properly reduced title of proctor) may have a much different, yet similarly painful experience. A proctor’s brain, during and after the administration of a state testing session, is left a giant melted stick of butter.
The directions for a proctor are to make as clear as possible the correct testing environment and seating. The proctor must distribute the correct materials and read the directions to the class. He or she might even write down a few pieces of information on the board before the timer begins to ensure the understanding of the procedures of the exam. This is all very stimulating activity, don’t get me wrong, but the diagnosis of the ‘Proctor Jones’ happens just as the students begin reading the first question and using their brains.
As the students begin the long and treacherous road of taking the test, the proctor walks the aisles and checks to see if the students are writing their answers on the correct sheet. After looking right and left, and at all the student’s faces in the room four or five times, he might glance at his watch for the first time and notice only five minutes has passed. The proctor suddenly to come to the realization that THIS MIGHT BE THE MOST PAINFULLY MUNDANE ACTIVITY IN THE HISTORY OF THE WORLD.
This realization begins to soak deep into the consciousness of the proctor. As time inches forward slower than a line at DMV, or even the service at the Atlantic Center Target, the proctor beings to stare at his or her hands, shoes, or the wall for longer than they ever have before. In the past, proctors of long exams have stated that they actually rather watch paint dry.
Pulling out a computer, grading tests, or even reading a personal book are options, but are frowned upon and are against the proctor rules.
In my case, many of the tests that I have been proctoring have been for students with various modifications to their testing setting. Some of them get the directions and/or the questions and answer choices read aloud. In this case, doing anything but waiting for them to finishing answering is nearly impossible.
Now that you are educated about the deadly proctor jones condition, you might say,”That sounds kinda boring, but the average teacher must do that for only a few exams a year”, or even “Jesus Mr. Jeromy, you’re just such a complainer baby! Suck it up!”
To both of these I would have to agree, yet respond with a staggering statistic. I’ve done the math (actually while proctoring yesterday), and I have proctored over 35 hours of these tests in the last few weeks. Through a great combo of my responsibilities, luck, and flexibility, I have administered every major test given to the 8th and 9th grades this year. These include major finals, all state exams, all Regents exams, and all Regents Competency Exams. Many of them have been for students who receive extra time, and some even with the added fun of reading up to 70 questions and answers aloud!
With a newly developed pride for my record (which I doubt will ever be broken), it might take until mid summer to fully heal from my stage 5 Proctoristis. All I ask is for sympathy, and for exciting things to do in the future to combat the excessive boredom of the final weeks of school.
The next blog with be coming shortly, with a recap of the final days of school (2.5 days left!!) It is always a fun adventure for students and teachers alike. We are almost there!