Monday, August 12, 2013

A Post of Victory!

I finally passed.

If you follow me on Facebook, Twitter, or real life, you know the good news: I’ve passed the Praxis 2! For those of you who only read this blog... I’ve passed the Praxis 2. I guess you’re finding out now. Maybe you should click that like button on Facebook or start stalking my every move in real life. 

For those of you who don’t know what the Praxis 2 is, all of those lazy teachers that only take the job so they don’t have to work past 3 or during the summer have to take big tests to prove they’re qualified to teach in their subject areas while they’re taking the extra classes they have to take to get certified. But they exist so you can’t, say, just read one or two books then decide that what someone else is teaching is wrong, then demand that everyone learns only what you think is appropriate. But I’m just being silly, who would do that?

Regardless, I passed. I can’t tell how happy this makes me... I’ve failed the Praxis 2 countless times over the past year. It sunk me to a level of despair I don’t think too many people really knew about. To be honest with you, I wasn’t sure I was ever going to pass. Despair is a funny thing, really. It gets into your head. It rattles around in there, tells you that you’re not good enough, and that the best you can hope for is to give up all your dreams and work a job that staves of starvation until you eventually succumb to any number of the things that are out to kill you.

Yeah... I went to a dark place for a while.

But then I mustered up, and I threw away the $60 dollars of Pearson-related study materials for the Pearson-sponsored tests (hmmmm... it’s almost like they WANT you to keep taking the test over and over and over and over and over again...) then I studied how to take a test thanks to the teacher who would have been the teacher I would have worked under, had I passed the test the first three times. (Lucky number four, baby!)

While I’m throwing a lot of sarcasm in here, I fully understand that it is necessary to ensure the people standing up there teaching your child understands what needs to be taught. Just do a quick Google (or Bing... just because you’re on a TV Show that’s being sponsored by Bing doesn’t mean you can’t participate in Bad Shakespeare experiments. I’m assuming those are the only people that use Bing.) search for the latest “controversy” over a teacher that is trying to teach. 

Quick aside: you’ll note that most of those controversies are started by one or two people. So... are we assuming that one person represents 6000 people now? The way that politicians jump on it, I’m just assuming.

Moving on.

My point with the complaining about the test is what I DIDN’T do to pass it. I didn’t sit down, learn what I needed to know about English and my subject area. Actually I did that three times. And each time it wasn’t enough. What I ended up having to do was learn the mechanics of taking that particular test. Then I took it. Then I passed.

Oh, I wouldn’t have passed if I didn’t have the knowledge of English. My point is that I didn’t study a word of English since the last time I failed the test. (other than my regular speaking of it.) Really the result should have been the same... I didn’t suddenly absorb all the knowledge I needed walking down the street. People weren’t shouting, “MAKE SURE YOU UNDERSTAND THE USE OF SYMBOLISM IN DON QUIXOTE!” I was burning through past seasons of Breaking Bad and Malcolm in the Middle on Netflix, not  re-reading all of the great literature of the world. By all accounts, I should have failed this time like I did last time. I just knew how to take a standardized test.

But today’s post isn’t just a rant on standardized tests, I have a whole career to rant about standardized tests. No, today is a post to thank everyone who helped me out during this time. Like I said, during this time, I got low. Very, very, low. There were days when getting out of bed seemed like a struggle. Passing that test flipped a switch. Things aren’t 100% better, and I still have a long road ahead of me, but I feel more like myself. I feel like I’m back on the right track after some stupid, stupid missteps. 

So, after all the rants, and all the worry... thank you. Those who helped me, you know who you are. I appreciate it. Even if you just took the time to read these little posts, I appreciate that too. After a brief stall, I’m extremely happy to be back on the right track, eventually doing what it is I want to do with my life.

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