May 2010: It's the first morning of the almighty CST's test week. Kids are a little nervous; we teachers are supposed to help them be calm, but the high stakes of this test series and the many disqualifiers are enough to make anyone's heart beat a bit faster today, and we are just as nervous. The personalized bubble sheets are passed out, the number 2 pencils all pointy-tipped and the candy, er, brain boosters I'd distributed are unwrapped and at the ready.
I begin The Script, the same one read aloud to all California eighth graders. And then I hear tell-tale ringing. If anything can disqualify a test, it's a cell phone; it could send or receive answers, tips, photograph the test, and so on, and I am miffed. Cell phones are to be turned off every school day, let alone this one. I pounce.
"Are you kidding me? Whose phone is that?" D. is melting in his seat, his face as red as his Filipino heritage will allow. "All righty, D., hand it over."
He mumbles something, and I just catch, "It's not a phone, it's my shoe."
"Excuse me, D., but I must have misheard you. It sounded like you said the ringing is your shoe."
Sure enough, his left shoe is also flashing a red LED light to accompany the ringing. He squeezes the tongue of the shoe and the ringing stops. It's not a shoe phone, not this year, but next year I'll add "Wear your boring shoes" to the list of test preparation tips.