You know how when you first get on the road with a long, long trip before you, and it takes a while to get comfortable in your seat? That time before you relax and find your line in the road as you’re trying to get out of the city? That’s where I am, although as of today, I’m on the outskirts of town, ready to roll.
The temporary job I have taken involves scoring high school assessment essays. Sort of a No Child Left Behind measure of student abilities. These essays, written by 11th grade students, require a passing mark to attain a diploma. An exit test, as it were. Top Secret stuff this is. I had to sign a Confidentiality Statement vowing not to discuss any of the essays I score. Considering the quality of work I’ve read thus far, forgetting them as fast as I can offers my only option for survival.
Last week, after being exposed to a variety of essays, I found myself appalled at the state of student writing. Took me two days before I decided my only chance for keeping the job was to turn off my brain. To close my editing mind and stop looking for strong verbs and good dialogue, not to mention complete sentences. I wrote on my rubric paper FORGET WHAT YOU KNOW - STAY IN THE BOX.
This paradigm seems to have helped. Friday they turned me loose to score away. Not sure if I’ve dumbed myself down or am better practiced at adapting to any situation after raising three boys. So far my only conversation with a supervisor came this morning when I was moved to another group. Apparently I scored high enough on the qualifying tests that I needed no further training. When we left today, my new supervisor said to others in my group “Did my messages help you see how to score that?” I looked around. We get messages? I didn’t get any.
I have so many topics I want to discuss, but I’m too tired. I’m making a list as I want to address this plight of the stay at home mom returning to work. And the middle—aged women now having to return to the economy after years of supporting their husband in their careers, or post divorce. The difficulties faced by the working woman--period, as well as my musings on all those alongside me in this temporary venture.
Meanwhile, I can tell you I have made it to the YMCA three nights out of five. Last week, 40 minutes on the elliptical aided in lowering my blood pressure while I pined over the state of the written word.
I’m beginning to think this job will be like driving across Nebraska on I-80—one long line where the road goes on forever and the exit ramp never comes.