I actually did it

29 Jun


I said I was going to do it and I really did.  Unfortunately I might have made a mistake.


I signed up for the GACE biology test.  I should have looked at the review questions first.  Out of 18 practice questions, I was only able to answer 7 of them correctly.  This just won’t do!  I have a biological science background with the agriculture, botany, genetics and biochemistry, but it has been over 15 years since I did stuff with the Krebs cycle and photosynthesis. 


In contrast, I took the science practice test and scored 17 out of 20, which is a lot better than I thought I’d do.  The physical science stuff stuck with me better since that is what I spent the most time teaching way back in the day.  The geology section is a bit rusty, and I don’t have much of a background in that at all.  But that’s the test I should have taken.  Oh well.


So I’m busily studying an old college biology hoping to bone up on the subject.  I hate the thought of wasting $120 like that.  I took the NTE version of this thing back in 1989 or so and passed, but that was then. 


The purpose of this testing is to open up some new teaching options for me.  As much as the world of severe disabilities has chosen me, I feel like it is beginning to UNchoose me.  There are many factors coming into play.  The alternate assessment is certainly significant, but it’s not the only thing.  Taz’s mother is driving me batty as she works at the school.  If it were just for 4 or 5 years, it wouldn’t be such a big deal.  But 7 or 8 years; it’s almost like some sort of marriage or something!  It’s longer than most military enlistments!  It’s a long time to have the same kids everyday day after day.


  I’ve had Spaz for 6 years and I’m coming up on 7 years with him.  Even though he walked for graduation, he can stay through his 22nd birthday.  So he will be staying around another year.  It just takes so long to finish out a student and progress is often at a glacial pace. 


The physical nature of the work is something I have to watch out for.  In my mid 40’s, I’m no spring chicken.  I do okay with the lifting but having to do all of it all the time will get old quickly since Coach will be gone.  Larry and Ravi require constant lifting and moving and they continue to grow and get bigger! 


And with only 20 years to retirement, I need to find a quieter place to settle in and do the minimum amount of work necessary in order to draw a salary until my golden years.



Just kidding!


The pull and attraction of doing collaborative work involves marrying my science background with my Sp. Ed. experience plus possibly helping some other teachers with classes that are becoming more and more diverse.  Inclusion is becoming more and more of a reality and I wouldn’t mind getting in on that wave while it’s still cresting.


And since I’m chained to the oars of the NCLB slave galley, like every other teacher, I’d at least like to be on the productive side of things.  This monkey-brained alternate assessment crap is for the birds.  I can have an opportunity to work in the golden zone, and push a few over the line into a passing score.


I feel like I’m being pushed along plus enticed into something better.  But I’m going to do another year of this business and see how it goes.




2 Responses to “I actually did it”

  1. GAA Results! at 8:23 pm #

    I got the results of my students’ GAA portfolios and I was extremely upset. Overall my students did very well…actually that should be reworded to say that “I did very well”. With all of the hours and hours of work that I put into those portfolios and with all of the sweat and tears, I was desvistated to find out that one of my students failed in the area of math and another one failed in the area of English/Language Arts. I almost cried when I got the news. It was reported to me that the one who failed the math portion did so by only one point. The student who failed the ELA portion did so because of some error on my part. I know this because it received an NA which means it was not scored. I had six third graders who were taught the same standards and did pretty much the same activities which were documented in the same way, but one of them was not scored because of some stupid typo! I have so many problems with the GAA but the problem I have now is “not knowing”. I don’t know why these two students failed in these areas. I will NEVER know! I won’t get the portfolios back so I can’t see what I did wrong. As their teacher, how can I learn from my mistakes if I don’t even know what the mistakes are? I NEED CLOSURE!

  2. Dick Dalton at 8:57 pm #

    Thank you for the update!

    And thanks for some inspiration for a decent post. You know this is and has been heavy on my mind.

    But do not feel bad. I am sure beyond any doubt that those portfolios represented your best efforts and are absolutely NOT indicative of your performance as a teacher of students with disabilities. They are a testament to the insanity of a political bureaucracy gone wild. When will the sodomy of our educational system end?


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