Monday, January 19, 2009

Ok...maybe this will only be exciting to me,

but I just found out on Friday that I PASSED *ALL* THREE OF THE CTEL TESTS!!!!

For those of you not in ear shot when I was whining and moaning about having to take these tests back in December, listen to my tale of woe...

Actually, it all started back in August when I was hired to teach at the local high school. California is all desperate to hire teachers, etc., etc., I thought it would be a cinch to transfer my current credentials (you pick a state, I thought, ,I'm licensed to teach in three states). Not that simple, I learned. Besides having to fill out all of the forms, submit the finger prints (twice), pledge my faith to California with the promise of a blood sacrifice (okay, not really, but it *felt* like that's what they wanted), I ALSO had to take a few hundred tests (okay, four tests). So I put down my first three hundred dollars (not an exaggeration) and made an oath to attempt to pass the holy trinity of the California Teacher of English Learners tests. This battery of tests is only offered twice a year, and while one does not have to take all three tests on the same day, there is an awful long wait-time in between test opportunities. I wanted to just get the whole thing over with. Of course I signed up to take all three that fateful December day.

I mean, I had a whole 6 weeks to study from the time I dished out the cash. SIX WEEKS! AAAAAAHHHH!

After I saw the content of the tests, I thought, "Who am I kidding. This is crazy."

But I pressed on. And I called Maria (PJDs wife) and asked her to graciously loan me a few of her textbooks. Which she did. And then I left them there. And then Peter and Maria graciously brought them somewhere where I could meet them and get the books. Where I got lost. But then they found me, and all was good.

To make a ridiculously long story shorter, I got lost on the way to the testing center on the day of the tests. Then I found a throng of other dazed and confused late lost people and found my way to the testing center. On the way in, the guy I was walking with assured me, "I've taken these tests three times already and they never start on time." Great. That sure boosted my morale.

To make matters better, I sat by another ENGLISH teacher who was on her second try. She only passed one test the first time around. And, she said, the only reason why she passed that test was because she took quite a few linguistics classes in her undergrad work - practically minored in linguistics. Great. More morale boosting.

Then the guy next to me kept letting out a heavy sigh every five minutes during the test. This went on for the first three hours. And continued after the break and went on for the *next* three hours. A girl can only take so much out-of-normal-context heavy sighing. I wanted to kick him.

Afterward, I was quite sure I didn't pass any of the tests. There were a few answers I didn't know, and the essay questions were not easy (oh, yeah - didn't I mention that I had to write *four* full length essays in addition to taking three 90 + multiple question tests????????). Even the best BSer would have had trouble getting around the fact that they were looking for specific terminology to be used competently. For example, one question might read, "name the sociocultural and sociopolitical factors that affect a language learner's development and, in light of that, describe specific instructional strategies for an intermediate language learner currently enrolled in a sheltered bilingual program so that these factors do not hinder language acquisition." *Easy* stuff like that.

I was doomed. There was no way. I decided to just forget about the whole thing and gear up for the next round. And then I got an e-mail on Friday...saying, in bold letters beneath each test, "PASS."

I had to go to the web page and confirm those preliminary scores. Couldn't believe it! Of course only the typed document is official (wouldn't that really *bite* if there was a mistake!).

Anyway, I'll let you know in a few days if it is official or if this has been just another delusion from my feverish nights from last week.


Lena said...

Congratulations! Lets believe it is official! :)
And i surely understand your wish to finally hold those official papers and see that you are done with those tests.

pjd said...

That is AWESOME.

Sounds like a dreadful pain in the ass, these classes and these tests. They seem geared more toward pleasing academic theoreticians than toward ensuring teachers can actually interact with students properly.

Thanks for the shout-out on the books. It was not actually out of the way at all, we had a great time browsing the little store where Sam fell into the bin of kiwis, and it was a true pleasure to get to see you twice in two days.

The next time I take a test and am next to someone nervous, I'm going to use that line. "I've taken it three times already..." Like that line in some song a while back where the girl says, "I'm currently in my fourth year as a freshman at UCLA."

With California so desperate for any teachers, you'd think we'd be easing the requirements instead of increasing them. But we must keep up our standards. We have to protect our place as #34 or whatever it is in terms of school quality and test scores and graduation rate. And, after all, you were coming from Texas.

pjd said...

By the way, it occurs to me that 99.9999999% of all blog posts should be titled, "Ok... maybe this will only be exciting to me."

laughingwolf said...

grats j... and smart thinking to get em all outta the way on one day :D

Jerolyn Bogear said...

Congrats! That is wonderful, you-smart-thing-you. Hopefully, the last one for a while.

Lily said...

Woohooo!!! This is major! Would you say you have come to the dark side...embracing the power of scanning, cramming and B.S.?

You could say it, but I know it isn't are a smart woman! Way to go!

Dalene said...

It's official.

I'm officially intimidated by you! The document was already written, but now it has an official seal.

Seriously, Congrats. But yeah...seriously...girl you are one smart cookie.

bluesugarpoet said...

Lena - good idea! I am all for positive thinking. :)

pjd - never heard about the kiwi incident; makes me wish I could have found the fruit stand just to see that! I have to get my Cali driver's license soon, so I think I'll sit next to a nervous sixteen year old and use that line. Gotta get some mileage out of the entire experience. :)

laughingwolf - thanks! :)

JB - thanks, and I hope I never have to take another one of those tests again. Although it seems to be the annual trend (throwing my money at and passing tests).

lily - thanks! ;)

Dalene - ya gotta be kidding me!!! Don't you know that you are my inspiration, kiddo?! I am only reflecting that greatness, lol.

Karen said...

As a teacher who has had to take more certification exams than I want to remember, I congratulate you!

By the way, I hope you don't mind my nosing in here. I followed some circuitous route from Clarity of Night.

bluesugarpoet said...

All are welcome here, Karen. :) Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment! :)

JR's Thumbprints said...

In Michigan we have teacher exam like this. We were herded into an auditorium like a bunch of cattle. They announced where to go for each test. Probably 400 wannabe teachers. They announced math & science last. There were six of us sitting there, laughing. Still, I chose prison over public schools. Go figure.

Congrats BTW.

JR's Thumbprints said...

Exam = Exams. I've got to slow down.

bluesugarpoet said...

JR - I can totally picture the cattle Only six math and science wannabe teachers - wow!

I thought of you when I was teaching the other day; I wanted to say to a few students, "Hey, we both know where this is going, so why don't we just cut out the middle man. I've got a great prison teacher recommendation for you."

Maria said...

I can't believe I didn't see this blog post that you passed the CTEL test!!

Now I feel embarrassed that I paid 3,000+ dollars (since I was too afraid to take the tests) and still don't still have my clad certificate since I am so lazy and haven't put my clad portfolio together from all those papers I wrote. And I don't even have a job!

You are putting me to shame. :-)