So there I was, Dining and Dancing with the SOLs. This involves taking your 3rd grader, by which in this case we mean the Reigning Queen of Pink, to her school around 6pm, eating fundraiser-priced pizza, and listening to a lecture about what the Standards of Learning tests are, when they are, why they’re important, why they’re not important, why your students shouldn’t stress over them at all, but why you should pleasepleaseplease not go on vacation during test week and make sure they get enough sleep and make sure they get a good breakfast and make sure they’ve studied all the stuff we’re going to send home with them for 2 months beforehand and make sure to quiz them and drill them on the practice tests that you shouldn’t stress over but the URLs are right here, and we’ll have sample test questions sent home every day, but really, make sure the kids don’t worry about this in the slightest – it’s no big deal.
Really. Not to worry at all. It’s just our jobs on the line. Which is the sad, sad, and odd part of it – for most of the kids, this test really won’t affect their lives. Their teachers’ lives, however, will be measured and found full or lacking based on the results of the kids’ scores. As a project manager, I understand this completely – but I have a lot more control over my team’s performance than any teacher ever had over a 3rd grader. To say that this is a goofy way to run an educational system is to risk understatement, but it’s a perfectly valid rationale for the slightly schizophrenic tone to the message. Also, this is a goofy way to run an educational system.
Then we got to the dancing part. This is hook to get people to show up – promise the 3rd graders pizza and dancing, and they will drag their parents.
We retired to the gym, which still conjures in me flashbacks of Hell – from being picked last (well, next to last, most of the time; I was at least reasonably tall and didn’t wear glasses) to coming in last to not being at all athletically inclined, the gym was never exactly a sanctuary for younger versions of myself. This particular gym wasn’t helping with that – we’re going to line up and everybody gets to dance with their kid, isn’t that nice! You’re invited regardless of inclination or ability. It’s like the draft, only with line dancing.
We started with a dance routine lead by an amazing
drill sergeant dance instructor gym teacher who was somehow capable of being in 4 places at once. Her voice is bigger than her frame, which I suspect comes from dealing with small children at a distance, and she moved through the crowd so fast I thought she was disapperating and apparating over on the other side of the room. We “did the Hustle” for one of the dances, but she did it for the whole dance. Every time we turned to face a new wall and clap, there she was! She must be a hell of a gym sergeant.
Anyway, the music teacher / DJ had us start with some new fresh wedding hell called the Cupid Shuffle, which I’m certain was invented by some wedding DJ bent on highlighting the dance floor inadequacies of overweight white guys. I mean, not that I blame him, but I resemble that remark, you know?
Truth: I have all the rhythm of a busted metronome trying to swing, tick-tock-splot, in a bucket of jello. Thanks to events like this, I have the opportunity to prove it to not only my 3rd grader, but to the rest of the 3rd grade cohort. And their parents. And the PTA President. And her camera.
For one brief, shining moment, I held out hope that the evening would end as the last one did – when I was here with Number One Son 2 years ago, he bailed out after about one song. Alas, it was not to be – when the Reigning Queen of Pink dances, she’s in it to win it, baby.
We danced to my Achy Breaky Heart, which (I never knew!) involves moving your hands up to the right and then left, down to right and left, and then slapping your hips – right and then left – and then doing some other stuff. Needless to say, this lasted for about 15 seconds before my “right hip slap” sent my Blackberry skittering across the floor (one of the dangers of coming without changing from work).
There was a brief medley of 5-second musical vignettes that seemed like a combination of “Flashdance in 15 Seconds” and “Name That Tune.” In less than 3 minutes, we covered everything from “Do You Love Me” and Glen Miller’s “In the Mood” to the Velvet Underground’s “Heroin” to “The Twist” to “Day-O” to Katy Perry’s “Last Friday Night.” We danced to them all, my white bread, jello-shot metronome notwithstanding.
Consolation prize: When we came home, someone mentioned that it’s National Margarita Day. Also, this is my last 3rd grader – I am done with line dancing until the next wedding. The Reigning Queen of Pink came home perfectly happy and content – after all, she’s got nothing to worry about.