My Return to Twin Lakes Middle School

As you may know, I have been attempting to volunteer my services at Mandarin Middle School.  It’s been about a month now and I’ve made two separate trips to visit them, but no one from that school has ever contacted me.

If you’d like to see that complete story, it begins here.

If you know me from your visits to Daily Teaching Tools, you may also know that I spent my final five years as a teacher at Twin Lakes Middle School.  So, my thinking went, why not offer my services there?

I called and spoke to the principal’s secretary and inquired about volunteering.  It just so happened that the principal herself was standing nearby–her secretary told her it was me and mentioned why I was calling.

Ms. Flynn was delighted and said, “Sure, Mr. Manis, come on in.  We’d be delighted to have your help with testing this week.”

I have to say my timing was not accidental.  I knew that all schools in this county would be testing throughout the week of April 16.  As a matter of fact, the people I talk to at Mandarin Middle School mentioned that is one possibility for my services.

Of course, you know how that worked out.

So, two years and five months after leaving Twin Lakes, I returned and was warmly greeted by my former colleagues.

I found out while talking with them that the sixth graders this year for the first time were scheduled to take their FCAT reading test online.  If you’re not familiar with testing in the state of Florida, the FCAT is the high-stakes standardized testing given to students each year.

They didn’t give me much time to do much talking.  They put me to work right away.

The first thing they asked me to do was to carry a large, rather heavy, cardboard box to the media center.

When I arrived in the media center, I realized that a group of sixth graders had already gotten there and were preparing to take their test online.

It turned out that the contents of the box I was carrying were several large pieces of folded white cardboard that were to be used as study carrels separating one workstation from the next one.  The only problem was that they had to be put together.

The sixth grade house administrator, another volunteer, and I worked feverishly to assemble these things in time for the students to take their tests.  I asked the house administrator why this had not been done ahead of time and all he could do was shrug his shoulders.

While all the kids and the test proctor waited, we pieced these things together with six plastic clips per carrel and began placing them around the individual computers.  Surprisingly enough everyone remained quiet and patient as we completed this task.

Once everything was in place, the proctor was able to begin reading the directions.

At that point, I returned to the main office to find out what they would like me to do next.

Coming Tuesday: More about Volunteering at Twin Lakes