Psst…

Mrs. Garza!
he whisper-yells
hand raised, 
tests await commands to start

You got a baby trash can?

Trash can? I moved it 
to the front
hand sanitizer
box of tissues
bathroom sign-out sheet

He mumbles, looks around
making sure no one hears
or at least he tries

I walk to his desk

You got a baby trash can?
a little tiny trash can?
You see, I got sunflower seeds
eat em when I'm bored
I don't wanna 
put em all over the table, 
you know...

Yeah, I know,
spit

I get it 
I eat them on long road trips
so I don't fall asleep 
while I'm driving

Testing binder in hand
I walk to my office
looking over my shoulder 
letting everyone know 
I'm sort of watching

Yank, yank, yank, yank

Use paper towels
that's all I've got
take a bathroom break
if you need more

Psst...
Mrs. Garza
thank you

He sets his desk
as if breaking bread
computer plugged in-
he forgot to charge it
a bag of sunflower seeds
slouches agains the testing divider
paper towels stacked and ready
pencil
scratch paper
testing ticket

Today you'll be taking...

Crack!
He snaps the first seed
Tuesday, May 24, 2022

Testing Season and Sainthood

SOLSC Day 24

Ahh, the Lone STAAR State. With the end of spring break we get into full-on testing season. We fast from regular schedules in favor of more disciplined stamina building test prep, the school desert. Pre-pre tests. Check the data bible to make sure we’re following everything TEA says is all good and holy. The gospels tell us what should’ve been taught by now, what still needs to be taught, what may or may not be tested and then the prophets warn us to prepare for field test questions. Testing demons attack on the day of the test(s) and even tempt kids and adults to quit before they start.

The congregation met today after school. We received intensive study lessons focused on Testing Commandments. We learned about possible sins: students cheating, teachers scoring tests, helping with test items, marking on an answer document, switching answer documents, working on a different test, stepping out of the room, lack of monitoring students, starting and stopping times, keeping visual aids uncovered. Taking a nap.

We also learned about mortal and venial test administration errors. Scoring a test before returning it. Mortal TAE (test administration error). A student in the wrong testing room before the test starts. Venial TAE. However, both testing sins must be reported to the high priest of testing commonly known as the CTC, Campus Testing Coordinator.

Ex-communication from a church at least allows us to settle our differences with God. Texas flat out revokes teaching licenses. No absolution. No redemption.

We all wear blank looks because our lesson requires us all to stare at the camera Jan Brady style. TEA gospel. We already took some independent study courses and earned our certificates. Confirmation of our ability to test students requires one more class. Some of us have been chosen to earn an esteemed designation of OTA, Oral Test Administrator. I received my certificate yesterday, a fresh parchment looking document I filled in with my name and the date ready to download and send off the the CTC.

It’s a demanding time, but we all celebrate when it’s over. One more class to go. I get to confess my training and qualifications by signing the Oath and submitting it to the CTC. One step closer to TEA sainthood.