If you’re a regular reader of my blog you will know that I am not a fan of the OSSLT for a variety of reasons, and usually I condemn the test but this post has a positive tone for a change. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not at all praising the test, but rather I want to publicly share how impressed I was with the students and staff at Huron Heights.
We chose to have all our grade ten academic level students attempt the pilot test in two back to back sessions with a 15 minute break in between. We got all 270 students signed in and the test was set to begin at 8:10 am. As soon as we began, we ran into major technical issues. I was one of the designated “tech support” and was thankful I chose to wear sensible shoes as it seemed like every student writing the test had tech issues. It was a stressful start but what happened the rest of the morning was a true credit to character of the Huron community.
With patience and grace, almost all (minus maybe 10 students) finished both booklets of the OSSLT at Huron. In debriefing with two of the ENG 2D classes yesterday morning, virtually every student had the white screen at least once if not a couple times, every student had the spinning wheel of doom for anywhere from a few minutes to 40+ minutes, and over half of them had to power off their Chromebook because their screen froze which meant they had to get a new password from a proctor and that process took a long time as the proctor website was overloaded as well. In reading the tweets, news articles, and connecting with other educators around the province, it sounds like this was a ridiculously stressful experience for many students, and although I know many of our students felt anxiety and pressure, they handled the process like pros. I was fully prepared that if I couldn’t offer the proper tech support, I would hear about it, but the exact opposite was true. In many cases, we actually laughed at how bad the tech situation was and students expressed gratitude for us helping them even though we couldn’t really do much for them. That truly impressed me and speaks to the caliber of students we have at Huron.
In our debriefing sessions yesterday, we were visited by one of vice principals and we discussed that this experience, although unpleasant, was actually a really good life lesson for all of us. Life doesn’t always go the way we had planned and stressful situations are a reality, but at the end of the day, being able to manage your emotions, keep your anxiety level down, and persevere through challenging circumstances are qualities that will serve you for the rest of your life. Our students demonstrated these qualities in spades and I couldn’t be prouder to be a Husky.