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This Is What It’s Like Proctoring


Carlos has his head down, hoodie covering his body. I passively try to wake him up.

Sara, behind him, wearing a rasta beanie, says, “He’s dead,” referring to Carlos.

Carlos Peña, behind her, crumbles paper and throws it around the room. He stares at me from between his fingers when he’s not doing this, face planted on his palms. He wears a Marley shirt.

Nick, next to Carlos, isn’t working on the quiz anymore. He stares at me too. It seems like they’re trying to intimidate me.

Carlos Peña makes the “44” Dove Springs gang sign at me with his hands; laughs silently then puts his head down and makes the “blood” gang sign at me.

Brandon, in front of Nick, works on his worksheet, having finished the quiz. I caught him earlier repeatedly typing 6 to the power of 66666. . . into his graphing calculator.

Daniel, in front of Brandon, listens to earbuds, thumbing across his smartphone. He sometimes calls me over, takes one earbud out, and tries to get answers from me.

Elvis, in front of Daniel, listens to earbuds as he sketches the schematics of Nike Jordans using Google Images.

Maricruz, next to Elvis, has a highlighter out to solve a perimeter problem, highlighting “twice the width.” Bottled tea is opened on her desk. She, too, listens to earbuds.

Monicky, behind her, is tired. She looks at me and smears her palm across her eyes to let me know just how exhausted she is. Like Brandon, she works on busy work: a fraction sheet.

Daniel Jimenez, behind her, wears a sweater showcasing a girl in bikini with Indian feathers on her head. He cheats off Leonardo, aka Panda, who takes the TI-84 Plus graphing calculator and drags the cover against his cheek to slide it off.

“Jimenez, turn around in your seat,” says Holly, a push-in tutor like me.

Lizbeth, one seat between her and Panda, fidgets with the zipper of her Hello Kitty backpack. She has done most of her work and has reached her limit, understandably.

Jonathan, next to her, lifts his head when the bell rings prematurely for an announcement.

Alexis, wanting to get even closer to Alayna, scoots back two seats, puts his head down facing his lap, looks both ways, and thumbs covertly across his smartphone.

Alayna, behind him, laughs coquetishly then covers her mouth to regain composure. She leans back and swings her wide-open eyes down and to the right when she sees me say get back to work.

A girl, transferred from Mexico recently, and before that Hawaii, sits by herself at a computer station in the back.

Dominic, alone in his ATX hoodie in the row farthest from the door, skillfully flies under the radar as he sleeps in his ATX hoodie, his skateboard propped against the brick wall.

I sit on a desktop in front of Dominic, proctoring.

April 10, 2014 10:13 pm

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