Friday, December 14, 2012

A morning in the life of a test supervisor.

This is from an email I sent to Justin a bit ago. I supervise standardized tests (like the SAT and ACT) at our school on Saturdays a few times a semester. Some times go more smoothly than others.

Omg let me tell you how unboring my morning was. First I got up in time for the test but lost a bit of time to my stomach feeling a bit off. Then I got ready to go and saw all the bikes blown over by last night's storm, so I picked them all up and got ready to go.

Then I realized my wallet wasn't in my bag and I needed the alarm card to turn off the security system when I opened the building for the test. I went back upstairs to look. No dice. Back downstairs to look in the bag in case I missed it last time. Nope. Back upstairs. Suddenly remembered that I had used my cash to make change for prom committee pizza sales and forgot the wallet in my desk. At school. On the other side of the alarm. Panic. Remembered fellow teacher and downstairs neighbor Corina is an early riser and telephoned. Fortunately she was up studying Japanese and gave me her card. Hero.

Running late but disaster averted! Hopped on my bike. Bike does not go. Lurched sideways off bike. Realized that upon being blown over, chain has slipped off gears. Cannot recall how to put chain back on bike. Bail on bike and try to walk really fast.

Still arrive at reasonable time. See the car belonging to another teacher, supervising a different test, in parking lot and breathe relief - he has let students in to the warm. Building door is locked, but sign-in sheet says alarm is off, and no red lights are on. Unlock door.


Recall that in one building, lights mean "on," but in the other building, lights mean "off." Not helpful. Deactivate alarm and open building. Open second-floor door to the outside, where students are supposed to wait before the test.

No students.

Go looking and find them waiting with other teacher in the other building. Bring them to my building waiting room and go swing by printer to pick up admissions rosters printed yesterday.

Admissions rosters printed wrong. And by "wrong," I mean completely blank.

Turn on workroom computer to reprint. 5 minutes later, workroom computer has not turned on. Desperately turn to staff room computer belonging to after-school teachers. Password locked, do not know their password. Suddenly remember old login, which used to apply to all school computers. Hold breath.

Teacher login ACTIVATE! Reprint using different browser.


Take rosters. Unlock secure test storage and remove tests. Hustle to testing area to check in students. Start test at 8:10, just ten minutes after usual and well ahead of required 9 AM start time.

Don't smell so good right now.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Planes, Trains, and Automobiles: Dan & Kath Get Around Japan

As my mom and dad found out, I take an aggressive approach to sightseeing. I'm also a bit of a dweeb when it comes to transportation - I love to puzzle out all the different ways to get from A to B. The end result was a ten-day itinerary that included every major form of transportation available in Japan, with the exception of the rickshaw.

  • All our airport runs were done by taxi.
  • In Fukuoka, we got around using bikes and the subway.
  • From Fukuoka to Kuju and Aso and back, we took a rental car. Both toll roads and windy mountain passes were involved.
  • From Fukuoka to Nagasaki, we took JR Kyushu's Kamome Limited Express.

A beautiful ride near the Nagasaki end.
  • In Nagasaki, we got around by streetcar.
Not really impressive for a yinzer.
Dan likes putting Kath to work.

Granted, there's also some residual monkey park glee in Dan's face at this moment.
(More on the monkey park later.
  • And from Kyoto back to Fukuoka, we took the Nozomi Shinkansen (bullet train).
Oddly enough, the bullet train is the least blurry thing in the picture . . .