(Ok. I’m lagging. It IS summer after all. But I told myself I’d try to  stay in the groove for the summer, and post (kinda) regularly; there are people who teach on a different schedule, and right now aren’t able to  go camping for a week at beautiful Refugio Beach. And they might like some new material now and then. Though if we don’t stop the Terminator from closing our state parks, nobody will be camping anywhere.)

Anyway, my last post left me holed up at the Holiday Inn in San Francisco, the day after the last day of school, studying for the CTEL. Early Saturday morning, I got to the test site at beautiful Mission High School and snaked a beauty off-street (free) parking spot. I was there an hour before reporting time, so I ate my muffin, drank my green iced tea from my clear plastic jug (no labels; could be used for cheating), and hung out in the cafeteria where they herded all of us after checking for cell phones and “any device with an on/off switch.”

I half-read the misspelled posters touting the nutrition and energy that come from eating vegetables in season, grooved on the courtyard outside and the student-painted diversity (in agriculture) mural on the wall, and listened to the nervous conversations as the place filled up. I would say there were at least three or four hundred people there when they finally sent us to our various rooms. And this was just one overflow site for people who signed up late. There must have been thousands of us taking the test that day all over California. Big payday for Pearson Education.

The talk around me was the best part. By the end, I was feeling lucky to have the gig I have. Not that I wasn’t before, but boy howdy, after listening to snippets like this:

(20 something girl taking the CTEL and the CBEST on consecutive days) “Have you got a job yet?

(20 something guy) “I’m working at an elementary school in the Tenderloin. Some of the kids’ moms…It’s pretty weird…”

“I’m working as an aide until my credential clears, in a SDC class with emotionally disturbed kids. And looking for a job. I swear, I feel like I’m almost begging at every interview; please, please give me a job.”

(62 year old man- I know because they talked about it) “Did you study much, or take any classes?”

(62 year old woman – ditto above) “No, I’ve been too busy with my first(!?) job, and all the BTSA stuff (she used a rather saltier term for an older woman). I barely cracked the book.”

62? BTSA? For those of you not from California, that stands for Beginning Teacher Support and Assessment. Beginning! As in first year. 62! You go girl.

I heard a pe teacher complaining about having 5 periods of 60 kids each. 300 kids!

Finally it was 8 o’clock, and they herded us to our various classrooms. More sitting around ensued while our IDs were checked, our thumbprints taken, the directions for using the facilities given (one at a time, leave your stuff behind), and the I-swear-this-is-me-taking-this-test statements written and signed. By the time we were actually allowed to open our booklets, it was 8:50.

The morning session allotted three hours for parts I and III. Combined, they had 90 multiple choice questions, and one essay question each. The key for me is the fact that the MC questions only had four choices. No none-of-the-above. Much easier.

Details in the next post. (No more promising tomorrow.)