Out of the park.

Yesterday the principal told me that I made it through to the next round of the district-level Teacher of the Year competition. That means we’re down to about 15 or 20 semifinalists out of 160 nominees. I was honored and thrilled, or at least as thrilled as I can get.

So I asked what was next. He said that some district personnel would be paying me a visit Friday (i.e., this) morning. Later I got a call saying they’d be in around quarter-to-nine. This presented a problem. The problem was not the short notice. It makes perfect sense that I’d get as little notice as possible so that I couldn’t stage a dog-and-pony show.

No, the problem was that I had scheduled a practice test for this morning, so the district personnel would get to observe how I administer tests.

The district folks turned up at maybe ten minutes to nine. There were five of them. My kids were working on their tests…

…and I watched the hell out of them. I strolled back and forth across the front of the room. I walked up and down the aisles, tiptoeing over student backpacks. I checked my watch to see how much time was left, and double-checked the clock to make sure the stopping-time I wrote on the board was correct. A student asked me for a pencil–I gave him one. With an eraser. And this one time, I strategically switched from having my hands in my jacket pockets to having them clasped behind my back–and not one single student was distracted.

With five minutes left, I told them there were five minutes left. And I don’t mean around five minutes, I mean zero five colon zero zero. I gave a one-minute warning exactly four minutes later. When time was up, I called, “time.” I was a test-administering machine.

The district personnel stuck around for about ten more minutes, which included grading the practice tests and beginning a review for next week’s final exam. So they only saw maybe five minutes of actual teaching. But I defy them or anybody to find me even one person in this district who gives a test as well as I do. I’m a lock for the next round.

Off to celebrate.

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