Cathedral Building

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Tomorrow is my last test (and step) necessary for NYS teacher certification.

I have to leave at five in the morning to be sure I get there on time (it’s in upstate NY, I’m in Western Massachusetts).

Reviewing material that essentially amounts to everything you’d teach anyone in every subject in grades one through six is harrowing and nauseating, and I’m low on confidence.

It’s been over a year since I’ve taken a class on content or been in a formal classroom.

If I don’t pass this, I don’t get my license.  Forget that — if I don’t pass this, I lose my feeling of self-worth.

Because right now, how well I will teach this material is being measured by how well I do on this test.  I’ve taken and passed the others (while I was still learning and student-teaching and practicing); this is the only one left.

That feeling is creeping up on me — maybe I’m really not good enough, aware enough, experienced enough, to have a classroom of my own.

Filed under education testing nystce

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Like Tolkien Except Less Climactic

a Friday in March: After waiting for the refund to come in from the school so I have enough money, finally register for NYSTCE ATS-W and LAST.  Choose one county over, an hour away. 

System glitches and tells me to call.  Office is closed until Monday.

next Monday in March:  Call the office.  The only downstate testing sites with open spots now are Staten Island and the Bronx.  Choose the latter.  Always room for adventure.

Thursday night: Gain very sweet secret-not-so-secret admirer.  Schedule coffee Friday night.

Friday night before date: Find out that, because of the awkward gap in train times at exactly when I need one, the train I need to catch will be at 3:45 in the morning.  Dammit.  Well…naps are better than nothing.

Friday night after date…and morning after date:  Can’t sleep.  In fact, don’t.  At all.

Saturday, 3am:  Packed to stay the night at a friend’s house, have brother start the car for me.

3:10am: Can’t find boots.

3:20am: Car informs me on the way that it needs gas desperately.  I’ll get gas on the way home on Sunday, forget it.

3:41am: After catching every other light and getting stuck behind a pair of the slowest drivers ever to hit the road before 4 in the morning, pull into a parking space and grab my stuff.  Run for the train.

3:43am:  Get to the doors…as they close and the train pulls away.  Either they are running fast or my phone is running slow.

3:47am: No panic…get back into the car.  I can get gas and beat the train to the next major train station about an hour away.  I’ve done this before.

The car will not start.

It continues not to start for the next fifteen minutes.  And then reminds me that I have no gas.

Other train is not happening.

3:57am: Call my friend in Astoria who is just getting up for work.  Ask about parking near him.  Just a municipal lot.  Only takes quarters.  Four dollars. 

Exchange singles at the gas station.  Grab a vitaminwater, roll, protein bar.  Mm breakfast.

Guess we’re driving.

Sometime just before 5am:   Arrive in Queens after playing it by ear when directions were missing a step.  Get on the subway into Manhattan.

5:32am: Arrive in Manhattan and discover that to get to the high school in the Bronx for the tests without being so early that I end up stuck out in the cold for an hour, I shouldn’t take the subway up there until 6:48am.

Grab some fruit at a Duane Reade and try to waste some time in there. 

5:59am: Walk down to a Starbucks I found using the maps app on my phone.  It would be open at 6…on a weekday. 

Stand out in the cold for almost an hour.

6:48am: Catch the subway to the Bronx.

7:13am: Get there.  And wait.

8:40am: Finally start the test.  Finish just before noon.

2:03pm: Finally start the second test, with its 1pm arrive-by time.

Honest to whatever is out there…by the time I got to the tests themselves they weren’t even that big a deal anymore.

Filed under nystce odyssey I better pass these things certification exams education