I have been spending, on average, 16 hours a day at school for the past week. It is grueling. The difficult part is that the vast majority of this time I am actually doing my work. Shocking.
While working on the whole graduation thing (May 1 for me), I managed to sign up for the PRAXIS II. Because I’m assigned to elementary ed (which can mean anything from k-8 in the Delta), I registered for two exams. 1) Elementary Ed: Content Knowlege and 2) Elementary Ed: Curriculum, Instruction, & Assessment
I was absolutely required to take these exams on April 24, at 7:30 and 10:45 am, in East Lansing at MSU (about 1.5 hours from my university in Kalamazoo). This meant that the half marathon I trained months for that was the same day was immediately nixed. It also, more heartbreakingly, meant that the service for my uncle who passed away recently has to be relayed to me via relatives as I could not make the 11am event in Novi (another 1.5 hours from MSU).
Yesterday morning I printed out a study guide that some generous Corps Member posted on our facebook group. Reading it, I was absolutely confused. After searching for about an hour and a half on-line for more information and study guides for my exams, I ended up with a 100 page print out of what I thought must be closest to the exams I would be taking. They included two essays that asked for explicit and defended LESSON PLANS. I was reeling, no idea what I was going to do, and decided to just leave it to my logic, praying, and fully believing that Teach For America hired me for a reason and I am capable of passing these tests.
I went to bed around 2, woke up at 6, and was in the exam building by 7 with an energy drink and a Cliff bar. I took the exams. Both were entirely multiple choice. I was thrown for loops with questions asking me what would be a divergent learning method, what are sight words, and what the benefits of a Self-Referencing Test are. WHAT. I was glad that one of my answers was Sacajawea (not sure if it was the correct answer, but everyone loves Sacajawea) and more glad when my 4 straight hours of testing were OVER. I was a bit shocked that I struggled most with Social Studies (not math? not science?) content, and ended with complete confidence in my score on one test and a bit of a rock in my tummy about the second. I’ll get my scores back in about four weeks.
Other Teach For America – related life events: I am in the process of buying a car for under five grand; I am attempting to set up my teacher observations in one of the more poverty-stricken elementary schools in Kalamazoo; I am a mere 25 pages into my required reading.
For the next week, Teach For America is on hold, as I attempt to earn the piece of paper that will ultimately allow me to pursue this mighty goal of being an educator of low-income beautiful smartie students.