Saturday, January 23, 2010

Seriously... How Did I Ever Graduate?

Ugh. The test was hard. The best thing that I can say about it is it's over. I will find out sometime this week if I passed. If I didn't pass, I can't take it again for another 60 days. I'm not going to worry about it because there is nothing that I can do now except wait. I am going to start studying for the art test on Monday, and whatever happens, I will keep going.

Okay. So. It's been 7 years since I've taken a test. Well, in May it will be 7 years. I throw that phrase out, that so many people use, "I'm just not a good test taker". But I had forgotten how true that is for me. I mean, seriously!!! How did I graduate? It's not that I struggle with reading comprehension... I understand what they are asking me, but it's the reading the question part... I'm totally literate. I love to read. But I have trouble focusing. Serious trouble. Especially in situations like this. I can read the same sentence ten times and have no idea what it says. Not because it's confusing, but because I am thinking of something else while I read! The testing center was fine. They do everything that they can to make sure that it is a comfortable test environment for users, including little walls between each seat and headphones to block out the noise. But I'm a special case.

I am not exaggerating. I had to read every question AT LEAST three times to make myself pay attention, because the tiniest thing, the SLIGHTEST distraction, and I am off chasing rabbits. I'll tell you the biggest repeat offender rabbit and then list a few more of today's frequent flyers.

Rabbit Numero Uno: The cameras!

When I sat down in the room, which was not what I was expecting by the way, no formal instructions were given. The guy just walked me to my seat, whispered "is that you?" and pointed to the screen where my name and picture were glaring at me. I whispered a yes, he pulled out my chair for me and then walked away. So I looked at the screen and started clicking. There were 10 pages or so of explanations, and one page said that if I needed to take a restroom break at any point during the test, or if I encountered any problems, to raise my hand and a person would come get me and pause the test. So I expected a person to be in the room monitoring us in case there were any problems. Well 30 minutes into the test, the girl next to me raised her hand, and to my surprise, the door opened and someone came to assist her. WHAT? I hadn't looked around (because I was struggling to focus from the beginning) so I hadn't noticed that the room only had test takers, and no administrators present. Guess what that meant. They were watching us!!! There were cameras! This happened a dozen times and every time it drove me crazy! I wanted to look around and find the cameras! But I knew that they were watching, and is there anything more suspicious than looking for cameras? No! There isn't! So I just kept my eyes on the screen and fought to pull my attention there as well.


Other distractions:
- I misread a questions and thought it was asking me about growing planets when in fact it was asking me about growing plants. Had a minute of confusion there while searching the answers, followed by some silent chuckles.

- I tried the head phones and it did block out some sound, but it also made me feel like I was underwater AND I when the only noise I could hear was my breathing, I noticed that my nose was whistling, so that wasn't really an option. ALSO, the headphones had little microphones attached so I looked like a cross between a DJ and a telephone operator. Not a distraction I needed.

- Every single question that asked about teaching procedures, which was probably 75% of the questions, I imagined what I would do if I were teaching and had that problem/issue/situation. Hello! Not the right time to daydream about my future job and all the cute kiddos I am going to see every day. Focus Kim!

- I was tired. I have trouble with blurry vision at the end of the day when my eyes are tired, but this week has kind of been one long day with short naps each night. I woke up with a blurry left eye. Which made me think about glasses. And what kind I will get. And what color they will be. And how they will look on me. And if they will hurt my nose.

- When I started getting hungry, I thought about what I would do when I left the test, and should I pick Brett up so we can go grab breakfast, and then I realized it would be lunch by the time I finished, and I didn't really want to eat lunch out, but we only had sandwich stuff at home, and he eats sandwiches for lunch all week, so he wouldn't want a sandwich. ENOUGH WITH THE SANDWICHES KIM! You're supposed to be taking a test not calculating Weight Watcher points for all of the possible lunch spots!

- I was also worried because there were SO many tricky questions. These tests are designed to be tricky. It is all multiple choice. They give you a question and four possible solutions, but on many of the questions, I thought that several solutions could apply. The point is to pick the BEST solution for the age group in question. How should I know if a line dance or cartwheel is a better test of motor skills for a fifth grader? Sorry. That wasn't in the book. And there were a few questions where I thought none of the answers sounded right. And a few questions asking me about totally foreign concepts. So of course I started imagining finding out that I didn't pass and being embarrassed when people asked and not having passed the test yet when it is time to start interviewing for next year's teaching positions... I mean, I was on question number 20 and already mourning my failure.


I was also distracted by:
- the orange sweatshirt next to me.
- the pregnant lady in the corner.
- the sound of trucks outside.
- a pimple on my neck.
- how much louder my mouse seemed to be than all of the others.
- how dangerously comfortable I was when my head started to droop.

I'm seriously not a good test taker.

I pay attention just fine when I am reading things that interest me. And I have figured out ways to study as well... when I read aloud I catch what I'm reading the first time around because I can hear and see the words at the same time. But I can't read the questions aloud in a testing center. Especially when there are cameras watching me!!!

But I made it through. I was a little weepy when I got home. More from tiredness than anything else. I walked in the door feeling a little defeated, but I was met by a huge bouquet of flowers and my husband waiting in bed for me because he knew I would be tired.

I shed a few tears... just a bit of stress release... and lay in Brett's arms for a good hour and a half. Then we got up and went to see Avatar in 3D. I said "Avadar" on accident when I was buying the tickets and that set me to giggling. And then they showed that trailer for the Tom Cruise spy movie, which normally wouldn't interest me, but it is co-starring Cameron Diaz and she has a REALLY funny moment in the trailer, so I was all giggles again. And I am feeling better now.

I LOVED the movie. Visually, it was just BEAUTIFUL! After a morning of forcing my eyes to NOT look at anything interesting, I feasted on the colors floating in front of me. I also loved the tortilla soup that I had at On The Border after the movie. And most of all, I loved being with my husband for 8 uninterrupted hours. I missed him so this week.

Thank you to everyone who wished me luck and encouraged me. I wish that I had started studying sooner. I covered all of the information, but I would have liked to cover it all repeatedly...

Screw rabbits. I am off to chase some MUCH desired sleep. This girl can't live on five hours a night.

I didn't mean that about the rabbits... they're sweat. It's not their fault I'm so... me.


Marie said...

Oh my goodness! You make me laugh! And I hope you can laugh now too. It's over for now. Time to relax a bit. I'm so proud of Brett! He done good, as we used to say in Marshall. I'm sure you did fine.

And the answer is line dancing. Actually, that could be the answer to most questions, come to think of it.

Jennifer T. said...

You are the writer I used to be. I hate you. Just kidding. I actually LOVE you! You cracked me up over and over with this post. I can't wait to see you THIS WEEK!