A lot of lists have been making the rounds of creative things to do for four hours, or worse all day, while actively monitoring a standardized test. While I could come up with a similar list of things I have done, such as marking the passage of time by applying fake nails discreetly inside my pocket (Or worse, what not to do, such as spot a beverage from yesterday across the room, decide to risk drinking it and do a wild “I just drank living ants” dance in front of my class) a lot of us are overlooking the most valuable thing we can do with our time, pray.
Pray for your students, each and every one of them. You’ve got the time. You could pray all of the mysteries of the Rosary in the vast sea of time you will spend staring at the flickering fluorescents and the malfunctioning analog clock.
I proctored a district Science test recently, and after praying a few decades(that’s not hyperbole for you non-Catholics, that is what we call the set of ten Hail Marys), ended up constructing this rosary out of nearby trash. I will not post a tutorial, the problem-solving aspect is part of the fight against boredom. If you have ever read stories of saints, charisms and little old ladies who think they have received a gift from Saint Therese because they smell roses after praying the rosary, (only to recall that their rosary is made out of rosewood soaked in rose oil) I would caution you that you will smell like latex gloves or circus balloons after tying this many knots in rubber bands. There is not a patron saint of surgeons and birthday party clowns giving you a gift or a sign here.
The rosary has been called Our Lady’s lasso, used to rope and wrangle the stubborn sinner and bring them back to the faith. With that in mind, a rosary made out of rubber bands could double as a slingshot or a tourniquet if things really took a turn for the worst in your classroom that day. If you are not Catholic or don’t know how to say a rosary, Google it. It won’t put you in harm’s way. You are allowed to say this prayer. You won’t be struck by a bolt of Catholic lightning and forsake your past in an instant (probably won’t anyway.)
I don’t recommend actually constructing a rosary out of trash during the state test, but if you have big enough pockets and discretion is your goal, have at it. Anything that encourages you to pray for your students is a good thing. They need it. They need it not just because they are up against some of the most cognitively inappropriote tests our state has ever seen, but because they face the same test that every living soul does, and the stakes are VERY high. Eternity.