Friday, July 15, 2011

Sink or Swim

In approximately a half hour I'm getting in my car and driving nearly 25 miles to a testing center, where I will take the Professional Teaching Knowledge examination for the ABCTE English Language Arts teaching certificate.

I signed up for this online program a year and a half ago, in late January of 2010.  I've already been granted one six-month extension, which ends July 31st.  If I do not take both my exams before the end of this month, I forfeit my tuition.  If I do take them, and fail, I can apply for another six months for a retake.

So I'm venturing my PTK today, ready or not.

So why am I not ready?  Several reasons, some more reasonable than others.  In the first place, the ABCTE website is not the clearest to navigate and it wasn't easy to find out where the material even was to be found.  In the second place, I was diagnosed with possible ovarian cancer the month after I signed up.  Going through surgery and chemo isn't conducive to study and retention.  In the third place, I can be a terrible grasshopper.  Sing and hop from task to task and do what seems most attractive and best at the time, oh, yeah, and never mind delving into hard and esoteric new subjects.

And my biggest reason of all for putting off really, really studying until the past three or four weeks?

I've been a substitute teacher for the past two years.  And as much as I love and enjoy the kids (even the mischievous, difficult ones), as much as I enjoy sharing and enciting knowledge, understanding (and all the rest of the Bloom's Taxonomy levels of learning), I hate, hate, hate educational politics.  I hate the prospect of having to join a union that does not reflect my political views.  I hate the squabbles that go on in the media and sometimes literally on state capital grounds over the perceptions of teachers and their rights.  And most of all, I hate the squirmy, slimy, cuttle-fish-ink-squirting politics that goes on in individual schools, where policies both official and unspoken make it difficult to maintain good discipline, let alone to guide the students to high levels of understanding.

But I paid the money.  It's a big chunk of change and I mustn't waste it.  And like it or not, becoming a public school teacher may be my only hope at this stage of my life of getting a steady job and getting my debts paids off.

So I'm going.  Wish me luck.

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