Saturday, March 15, 2008


Took two teacher certification tests today. The content knowledge test wasn't bad--120 questions in 2 hours, and I finished about 45 minutes early. They made us sit there until the end even if we finished, however, which was a drag. There were perhaps 4 or 5 questions I didn't know. 8 years as a bookseller, 6 as an English prof, and 2 as a librarian certainly helped here. Not to mention the BA and MA in English and the BA in French Lit.

The pedagogy test was a different animal. We had to choose a work from a list and explain how we would teach it to 9th graders. You never know what books are going to be on the exam, but I choose wisely in my recent re-readings, for Things Fall Apart and 1984 and Romeo and Juliet were on the list. I wrote about characterization and theme in Things Fall Apart. We had to discuss potential problems the students might have understanding the story, and how we would address these problems, and we had to cite specific examples from the text to show how we would teach our chosen skills using the book, and how we would address the potential barriers to comprehension. I feel I aced this question.

Question II, however, was a catastrophe. I never finished. We only had an hour to answer both questions and I barely got through part III of IV on the second essay. Ooops. We were given a student writing sample and had to describe a strength of the student's writing, two weaknesses in the writing, two grammatical or other errors, and then we had to create an activity to address weaknesses in the student's writing. I didn't get that far. Have mercy on me, oh great certification test judges in the sky!

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