Saturday, February 27, 2010

Well that was a lot of thinking...

I spent this morning in Bellingham, taking Washington state content tests in order to get a teaching license.

And in other news, I'll probably be working at Starbucks for a good long while...

No, well, maybe, but those tests were tough. I took the history test and the general social studies test, so that I can get certifications in each and ostensibly be more marketable as an educator. But I'm really not confident that I passed either test. Each was 110 multiple choice questions; the social studies one actually had repeat questions from the history exam - so I either got a whole bunch right twice, or a whole bunch wrong twice. Some of the questions seemed legitimate, but too many of them were poorly worded, or had such vague answer choices that arguments could be made for almost any of the answers.

But the bigger question is, what do the tests really tell the state of Washington about my potential in a classroom? No one can argue that we don't want our teachers to have some content knowledge in the subject they're teaching - I mean, duh, you need to know something about what you're teaching in order to create appropriate lessons, activities, and assessments for students. But the tests I took today don't measure any of those skills. Whether or not I can rattle off the main causes of the Russian Revolution has little correlation to whether I can adequately describe those causes in language appropriate to a 15 year old. Or help that 15 year compare the causes of Russian Revolution with the causes of the French Revolution. Or (even more tricky) persuade a 15 year old that the Russian Revolution is a) something he needs to learn or b) something that has any importance, relevance, or usefulness nearly 100 years after the fact.

Perhaps I'm just bitter at the possibility that my college degree in history and four years of teaching history, may count for nothing compared to 220 random social studies questions administered on a random February morning.

4 comments:

keby February 27, 2010 at 3:39 PM  

Ben's said very similar things about his certifications tests too. I think the state Board of Ed just like making everyone take stupid tests.

Hope you'll be able to get back in the classroom soon!

Mrs. Wookie February 27, 2010 at 4:32 PM  

Completely off topic:

Fond du Lac gets name-dropped on this random blog I found today. Props, NavyWife!

Read here: http://brucemctague.com/olympic-update-3

Thought you'd of all people should know. :D

Michelle February 27, 2010 at 8:50 PM  

Welcome to Washington state. Home to the most ridiculous education tests in the world. Just look at the WASL. Yikes! Our poor children! I hope you pass the test and can get back to teaching and leave the coffee making to someone else! =)

YellowBunnies February 28, 2010 at 9:20 AM  

I feel like half the battle is just getting an interview. If people can actually MEET you and SEE you teach, then of course you're going to be a teacher again! I hope it works out. Coffee rocks, and I'm pretty confident that I may join you as an over-educated service worker in the future (Barenaked Ladies lyric I listend to this weekend: "You get your PhD, how happy you will be when you get a job at Wendy's and are honored as employee of the month.").

I'm currently waiting to hear back if I'm a finalist for a tenure track position in my own department. Rumor has it that my current line might be ending due to some politics in the school and without the tenure track position, I may be unemployed come August. If I can just get to the interview stage, I think I might be able to persuade them to keep me around! Hang in there!

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