SOLs, Zeros, and Ones

This has been a week of zeros and ones..or, rather, ones and zeros, and generally in that order, and with an even an extra zero attached to it.

I have about a dozen (oops…there’s a two) 11th (see…ones) graders who had to take the English 11 reading SOL in the last week.  Even though they actually have another four months before they have technically finished their 11th grade year, they took their end of course test in the last week.  And the state thinks it’s important that my students do well on this end of course test, which only puts a wee bit of pressure on me since I am their teacher and I am supposed to be educating them on these SOLs…

But, these 11th graders are in my John Tyler Dual Enrollment class/AP Lit class which actually have no real tie to the English 11 SOLs except, and this is fortunate for me, they cover roughly the same thing…reading, writing, grammar, editing.  So, even though I have not given these students a single benchmark test, SOL based quiz, practice SOL exam, or even a sentence about what is on the SOL exam, they took it.

AND PASSED IT!  100% pass rate.  Yup…that’s a one and a couple of zeros.

I’m super proud of my students; they did a fantastic job.  I don’t feel like I can take credit for their success.  They had incredible foundations built by their former teachers.  All I did was teach them information for a collegiate curriculum, and only for about three months.

What kills me is that the last time I taught English 11 and the students took the SOL, they did nothing near as well, and I worked my butt off to prep them for the SOL.  I will not go into percentages and statistics.  I’m humbled by the fact that they didn’t do as well as I had hoped or planned.

But, this week…well that’s another story of ones and zeros.  I achieved a huge goal for me.  Don’t want to go into that..not yet.  But it involves ones and zeros in the right order and in the right amount which makes me incredibly proud of myself.  Yup…happy about those ones and zeros.

And then I was evaluated today.  Which wouldn’t be that big of a deal, except that I can’t read Dr. Marks’ body language to tell whether or not she is pleased, happy, etc.  And I’ve never really been observed/evaluated by her before.  And, on top of that she was evaluating me for my usage of technology…not literary analysis.  And, on top of that, I was diagnosed with the flu yesterday.

Oh boy.  I have no voice, no energy, and paltry knowledge.

But, God was merciful, my students were lovely, the technology worked, and my voice didn’t crap out too badly.  I floated around the computer lab on wobbly knees (yay for prednisone which makes my joints feel loose and out of place) and managed to help my students who, thank God, didn’t pull out their cell phones, eat their lunches in front of the computers, or wear their hats.  After all was said and done, Dr. Marks stopped me in the hall and said three lovely words (not a zero or a one), “Good observation, Heather.”

I wanted to collapse against the wall.  I didn’t.  I managed to maintain my dignity and professionalism.  I wanted to gallop around the building (zero energy for that) and shout (zero voice for that).  Instead, I went to the English office and basked in the pleasure of feeling like I earned a perfect ten (another zero and one).

So, this has been a week of zeros and ones.  I feel very much like Mr. Bennett from Pride and Prejudice when Elizabeth has just told him that she does want to marry Mr. Darcy because she loves him.  I love his pride and sense of self-satisfaction.  Yup, give me a smoking jacket, a good work of literature, and a little piece and quiet.  My ones and zeros lined up just right this week.  Of course, next week looks to be quite lovely as well. I’ve seen some wonderful ones and threes lining up.  One to three inches of snow on Monday to possibly make for a three day weekend.  Followed up by a day off on Friday to make for another three day weekend.  Followed by another possible round of snow the next Sunday on the 1st.  At this point, it looks like less than one inch.  But I can always hope, pray, and cross a couple of fingers.

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