This week and next, while beauty by definition, are going to be a bit more hectic than usual. I am plowing through research papers. (I caught my first big plagiarist of the year – he took one of the free samples from one of those research paper mills on the net. He used to have an A…) Plus, the dreaded CTEL test (which certifies those of us without a CLAD – if you don’t teach in California, follow the links) is the next day after the last work day, and obviously I haven’t studied. I’m up to chapter 4 in the book that supposedly covers what’s on the test, but…  My plan is to take a shot at all three parts (7 hours or some such) and see what happens. There’s another round of testing in the fall, and I can take another, better informed shot at it if I fail this time.

Our district has been offering classes to prepare. BUT THE PEOPLE TEACHING THE CLASSES HAVE NEVER TAKEN THE TEST! How silly is that? The classes span hours and hours after school and on weekends. BUT THE PEOPLE TEACHING THE CLASSES HAVE NEVER TAKEN THE TEST! The classes get all into SDAIE techniques and all the latest shtuff for reaching/teaching EL students. BUT THE PEOPLE TEACHING THE CLASSES HAVE NEVER… you get the idea. So I’m not going for the classes.

The test is in three parts, and you can take them separately, but I’m going for the marathon. Everyone I talk to says that part I, the one about morphology and allophones and that genius Krashen, is the hardest one. Most us English teachers had the basics of that stuff back in the day, so I’m hoping that I’ll be OK, after I brush up by reading the book they say most of the test is based on. Most of the horror stories I’ve heard have come from math and pe teachers who aren’t used to “front-loading” vocabulary and reading response groups and syntax. I almost aced the 10 question practice tests on the website, but… It’s one of those tests where, as my principal put it, not passing is like not having a credential in California. So there’s a little pressure.  You can take classes to clear the requirement, but the cheapest round of classes that takes care of the whole thing is $2000. The test is about  $270 plus fees and such. We have until the end of this year to pass or show progress toward passing. The district will pay for my gas to drive up to Cupertino, and for my test fees. If I pass.

The scuttlebutt is that our district is sort of using this whole thing as way to get rid of older (read: more expensive) teachers. Central admin figures (the story goes) that the old veterans will find it too much work or too expensive to deal with, and simply retire. Hmmm. I do know a few who are just going to bite the bullet and pay the two grand and take online classes rather than face that test.

I think you can string it out (by paying for a $55 emergency credential and passing at least two parts or taking classes each year) until the end of the 2011 school year, but eventually everyone will have to meet the requirement.

Anyway, the point is that I’m a little busy reading and then reading some more, and then wondering how something so akin to the whole language debacle of the early 90’s has now become something so vitally important to the education of our immigrant population, that my entire career depends on it. (Deep breaths)

So for the next couple of posts, I’ll be having a guest artist, so to speak. From 1991.

Tomorrow: mrC’s first “real” job.