So I have a small pile of life-experience scribblings that I've been wanting to write about in depth but pushed to the bottom of my want-to-do list. Now that I've moved it to the top, I'm unsure where to start. I think I'll go surreal first.
Several nights ago I had another creative dreaming experience worthy of noting. Even though I made a note about it, I didn't write much down at the time so little is left, but here's the scene that I still see clearly in my head. I'm in a car driving down an unfamiliar street. Well, in my dream-life it might have been familiar, but in my awake-life I have no idea where it is. (By the way, I've had tons of dreams about driving, and often the car won't go, I'm going the wrong way, I get in a minor wreck, I have to push it—all sorts of crazy situations built upon, I assume, my dislike for driving and my sometimes fear of driving unless I know the road and route well). It is a rather nondescript city/neighborhood sort of street. A tall brick building looms just ahead on my right and there is a man riding a motorcycle just in front of me. Nothing much is going on until the motorcycle and man start to leave the road and drift up into the sky. This is slightly alarming to me, and I watch the motorcycle instead of the road ahead. I'm driving slowly and I'm beginning to swerve just a little as I look up and out of the top of my windshield. I don't remember any noises from the bike or anything else. I just continue to watch the motorcycle float up into the sky like a balloon. It isn't like a rocket but it goes straight. Okay, then what do you know but I settle back to watching the road and I see a camel walking along the left sidewalk ahead of me.
I wish I could tell you more. I think, however, there wasn't really any excitement. What my memory tells me is that I went into the brick building and launched into yet another school dream—I have way too many of these dreams as well.
That's my segue to the next scrap: School. Okay, I'm going to cheat a bit; this is not a new cute-school-kid experience, but it's a funny one. Imagine the cutest, shortest, smallest 4th grade boy you can, with a bigger-than-he-is grin and dark dark brown eyes. One afternoon in a long-ago reading group I worked with this boy. Let me first add that a couple of times when he came to sit at the table with me he had a handful of broccoli kept over from lunch. On this day he walked up to me, wearing the oversize grin, shook his head from side to side and said: "I don't have any broccoli in my pocket." Then he reached into that pocket after taking his seat and out came the handful of broccoli, grin still lit.
Current school story:
My new work position this year includes a heavy amount of time spent administering reading comprehension and vocabulary tests. We give the tests at the beginning of the year to see any growth or drops in grade-level scores from last year, and then we organize our reading extension program for the kids who are not at grade level or above. My fellow tutors and I did almost all of the testing as a team, taking turns explaining the answer sheets, giving the directions, and monitoring the testing. It came time for our last test and we were in meetings. I had been doing most of the directions part of the process, so I volunteered to give the test by myself while the others stayed in the meetings. No sweat, I thought. Ha!
Rushing back to our room, I snatched up the tests, the pencils, the timer, and the directions. I got to the classroom on time, and the teacher got the kids situated. For this group we were using the same test booklets from their previous test, so all I had to do was hand them back to the kids, give the directions, and start the timer. Right. One student didn't get a test back. Ah, right, she had been absent. Silly me. Okay, I'll zip back out to our room and grab a new test for her. No big deal.
Slightly big deal. I return, ready to begin, only to see a student with hand raised. Um, this kid next to me doesn't have a test. What? Where is your test? Oh, you were gone too? That's right! I KNEW that—teacher interjects: Why didn't you say anything when she went out to get the other test? Kid: no answer.
I run back out and the teacher returns to reading the kids a story. Huffing and puffing—yes, really, not just fairy-tale-orically—I deliver the new test to the kid, walk back to the front of the room, and finally begin directions. I finish and then ask if there are any questions. Three hands go up. I nod to the girl in the front row. Uh, when are we going to do this part? she asks while pointing to the blank part of the booklet. Well, hmm, (there's nothing there, I think to myself. what is she talking about?) don't worry about that. We're just going to do this one part. Okay, next question. (and for some reason the girl raises her hand again and I call on her again). Wait, is this a question about the test?—I ask this first. Yes? Okay. Um, do I need to move my desk so that they can't see? (they already had their "privacy folders" up). No, you are fine just where you are. Okay, more questions? Girl in the back. Go ahead. Girl: What if we have to go to the bathroom? Me: Well, this is only a 20 minute test. Do you have to go now? Yes? Teacher: Is it an emergency? Student: Yes. Teacher: Okay, go now. (Then she looks across the room at a student who hadn't been there all morning) When did you get here? Did you go to the bathroom before you came in? Student: shakes head no. Teacher: Okay, you better go now. I guess I'll keep reading the story while we wait.
Wait. Wait. Wait. The students return. Okay—I wasn't going to ask if there were any more questions—you may begin. The students work quietly, and some work rather quickly. I watch the room and roam around as needed to make sure that they are on the correct pages. Before the test is over, hands start going up as students finish the test. I go around to check and make sure they haven't skipped any pages. Sure enough, four kids have missed two or three entire pages and I must return their tests to them to finish. Then the oddest thing happens. Students start getting up and bringing me their tests. Go back to your seat, I have to say several times. I will come to you. Pretty soon, other kids finish and decide that even though they were not asked to get up and come to me, it must be the right thing to do. I have to interrupt the testers and announce: When you finish, stay at your seat. I will come to you. Not one minute later I look up and see a boy start toward me, test in hand. I make mad motions for him to sit back down and he does so.
Finally the test is over. I call time and collect the booklets and materials. As I leave the room, I mutter to myself: Sure, I can handle the test on my own. Nope, I don't need the others. No help at all. What a joke!