Today I took the Praxis II Elementary Content test. I passed. I kicked butt actually. I must take a moment to brag. I scored a 195 out of a possible 200, with a passing score of 141. I took the test in a highly secure computer testing facility. I was photographed, scanned with a metal detector and had to turn my pockets out. It is safe to say there was no cheating going on. I was concerned I wouldn’t get my score for several weeks, but thankfully the results came up at the end of the test sparing me weeks of agonizing uncertainty. I now can state that I do infact know more than a 5th grader, or at least as much.
Next step: I to mail in my official documentation including a notarized oath of alligence to the United States, trascripts, proof of the 24-hour preservice class and the blood of my first born….well maybe not. Then I wait. After hours of work and many hundreds of dollars I will be eligible to… Drum roll please…. look for a job. Yup, that’s it. If I’m lucky enough to find a school to employ me, then I will need to shell out well over $1000 and take an aditional 290 hours of coursework (plus homework) while performing all the duties of a first year teacher, which everyone I’ve even know has told me is a greuling year. Then, after the year (or more) is complete and I pass all my classes, and my principal agrees, I will become a certified teacher. Take note of the number of hours of class work: 290. the average 3 credit college cours is 45 hours of classroom time, so that is like taking 6+ college courses or 3/4 of a full course load. This seems like an awful lot of time, effort and cash to become a teacher. Don’t get me wrong, I think it’s important that teachers be qualified to do there job, and passing a content knowledge test makes sense, but somehow I think there is something a bit messed up in this process. For example, having a master’s degree allows me to teach my subject matter (in my case psychology) at the college level. I had master’s level teachers at my 4 year college, but many master’s level teachers work at the community college level. However, I am not allowed to teach that same subject to a middle or high school student without this expensive and lengthy process. This process doesn’t account for the fact that I have a master’s degree, nor my grade point average, nor the awesome score i got on my test. It’s all pass fail. Graduated college, passed the test, went to the class. The fact that the teacher said I had the best paper in the class doesn’t put me at a different place in the porcess than the person with the worst paper. It’s pass fail. I understand the need to pass/fail and for cutoffs, but this certainly doesn’t motivate one to do their best.
So what time to relax and wait, right? Not! Well, in order to get my middle school social studies certification I still need to take the subject matter Praxis exam, which isn’t being offered again until September 17th. And sadly that is a paper and pencil exam with essays, so not going to be getting any scores for that test at the end of the day. Nevertheless, I am applying for jobs as if i’m already certified. (I’m not lying, I’ve noted the information on the application.) Today I returned, high on my test score when I decided to check out the school district where I wanted to apply to just to see if any job openings appeared. I’ve done this quite a few times over the past few months, but never has there been, but today was different. The job postings were numerous and the application deadline, yup, you guessed it, today. Frantic I began my on-line application and started clicking on the jobs that I wanted to apply for. I was hoping you could rank them, as in I really want middle school social studies, but then I’ll go with 5th, then 4th then 3rd grade, but that wasn’t an option. So, several hours later and a few moments of panic over items and technology and question wording I submitted my application.
Sometimes I think my life would be a lot easier if my passions more easily aligned with my checkbook and my daily schedule, but alas, that is not to be. So let the adventure begin in it’s very slow, red tape, bureaucratic, money sucking, life zapping way. Here’s to no teacher left unemployed!