By: Emily Leone
For weeks, my team leaders prepared my team and I for the looming doom of Colorado statewide testing. We heard terror stories about previous corps members finding any and all means to pass the time while proctoring TCAP (Transitional Colorado Assessment Program). As a proctor, we are not allowed to assist the students in any way, we must be present and observing the students at all times, and we cannot sit down for more than a few minutes at a time.
Up until last Tuesday morning, I was in denial. As a City Year corps member, productivity, communication and efficiency are now ingrained in and an integral part of my lifestyle. I just couldn’t accept that I was going to spend 4 hours a day using very minimal brain activity and walking in circles around my students. I dreaded and hated the idea of this.
But of course, when one expects the worst, the best always seems to reveal itself. The morning TCAP began, I begrudgingly entered my partner teacher’s room with a foul attitude. As I was really settling into the idea of myself as TCAP proctor, my partner teacher, Mr. Sanchez, and I began speaking. Just like normal, the wisdom of Mr. Sanchez set me right – I will never forget him saying to me, in a heavy Mexican accent, “Why be anything but happy? Life is too short to ruin your own happiness.
That set the tone for the rest of the week! Not only did I happily dance in circles around my students like a proud mama bear, but TCAP actually gave me the chance to spend some time with myself, and really figure out what makes me happy. I had ample time to daydream, to reflect on the incredibly unique qualities of every student I’ve worked with, and to fully appreciate every member of my team. What I had previously apprehended so strongly blossomed into a really joyful experience.
I know that playing a part in someone else’s happiness makes me happy. I did not become a part of City Year for myself, and so I should not have made TCAP a personal problem. As soon as I re-understood my purpose as a City Year corps member, TCAP became a way for me to support my students. Remembering that I play a part in lifting others up actually lifted myself up! It is truly amazing what can come from the wisdom of others and a simple attitude adjustment.