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Cold hearted woman?

I made my students cry. In the math test. What a horrible person I must be.

The math teacher of the grade 5 class (age 10) where I taught last week asked me to supervise today's math test. She couldn't make it because she had to be in an examination sort of thing, so of course I agreed because it seemed to be one more important experience. She gave me the tests and explained everything to me, and to be honest I didnt think it would be much of a deal: handing out the tests, supervising so that noone is cheating, collecting the tests, done.
Reality was different. I arrived early in the classroom to prepare everything, already wrote the date and stuff on the blackboard. There were not enough places to sit for everyone since we were in a different classroom than usual, so I had to get a table and chair from the room next door. But there was a class in there, so I asked politely whether I could borrow a desk and chair for the math exam next door. The teacher there was not very happy about me disturbing her class and told me that quite directly in front of all her students. But as I was in a hurry and didnt really have a choice I took a table anyway. That is, two girls of her class even came out to help me with it... Great start.
Then my grade 5 kids arrived bit by bit, they were supposed to get out earlier from the lesson before, but that didnt really work, so we already had a bit of a late start. Then it took me really long to hand out all the sheets and papers (next time I'll know better, I'll not do everything on my own but get students to help me...). Of course, with 33 students in one class.
The math teacher showed up for 2 minutes (she had told me she would be coming, to be there to answer urgent questions) just while I was still handing out the work sheets. She gave me a really puzzled look and asked me why I was starting that late, and that I should hand out quicker - also in front of the class.
Once the students all had their sheets the questions started, so I went around to answer them quietly. But each time I went somewhere it became noisy in the classroom, so finally I said that I can't answer any more questions if they're getting noisy each time.
Then there was silence.
Until I heard a little sniffing. And again. A little girl had started to cry! First I didnt know what to do, but finally I went there, since the boy next to her had started crying, too! And I didnt want a crying epidemic in the classroom. I tried to calm them down and to encourage them. I succeeded with the boy, but the girl didnt come down during the whole 45min.
After a while I started answering questions again, since they had so many! Most of them are really small questions like "Am I allowed to write with pencil?" or "What do I do now with the equality sign, it doesn't fit in the line any more?" Use the next line!
And some kids just don't understand that I can't help them in a test, I can't give them the answers. But it happened a few times more that I saw tears in their eyes when they didn't know an answer and I couldnt help them. It's like their whole life depends on this math test. And you have to be really cold hearted to be able to be consequent and not be influenced by a few kids' tears.

I realised I am not (yet?). It was a horrible experience for me.

Later on today I ran into the teacher whose class I had disturbed earlier on. It turned out that she had had major discipline problems with that class in that lesson, and when I came in she had just created a silent working atmosphere, and I blew it all. So we apologized to each other and everything was fine again.
I also met with the math teacher later on, and hearing the context of it all she was also sorry that she had overreacted a bit when she came in, and that the kids crying is normal in grade 5 math tests.
Somebody could have told me! Well, now I know, and I also learned that supervising a test isn't just done with supervising...
5.10.06 15:12

bisher 2 Kommentar(e)     TrackBack-URL

Kate / Website (6.10.06 06:23)
oh my goodness. that sounds HORRIBLE!! poor you. i would have no idea that would happen... the poor wee kids, they have no idea that it doesn't really matter!!

Martin / Website (10.10.06 23:14)
puh, now im somehow happy that i skipped my aim getting a teacher... i cant even stand when "older" girls are crying and a 5th grade girl i would tell everything to make her smile again - i dont envy u this time!

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