Thursday, April 8, 2010

Big Girl Pants

Man, I am really struggling tonight with the studying. I did great until yesterday and then I started to lose my focus. Now I'm letting the overwhelmed feelings get the best of me and I'm just starting to crack. I've been half-way between laughing and crying all day. There's just no way I know all the information required to pass this test on Saturday. I know a good amount, and I've learned a hell of a lot, but I just don't know everything I need to know. Remember how I said there are essay questions for every subject? Here are a few sample essay questions:
  • With reference to the US Constitution, explain the differences between enumerated and implied powers. Explain the significance of McCulloch v. Maryland in determining the constitutionality of implied powers.
  • Briefly discuss three reasons that the earth's atmosphere limits the usefulness of optical telescopes. Include refracting and reflecting telescopes in your answer, as well as relevant supporting information.
  • Briefly describe the development of ritual dance as practiced by Stone Age cultures. Include in your answer the function of dance and the characteristics of fertility and hunting ritual dance.
  • How can bean-bag activities reinforce perceptual-motor abilities at the lower primary grades? Include specific perceptual-motor, performance-based objectives used in movement education to support your answer.
I know at this point I'm just whining, but I feel so crappy. I think I just have to look at this test as a practice round and know that I have lots of time left to take it again and pass it. It is incredibly difficult for me to go into something knowing that it's a throw-away. I am not very good at doing stuff I'm not very good at. But the cowardly thing to do at this point would be to skip it, and going through with it will give me valuable experience that I can use next time. Can you tell that I am hating this? I am hating this.

I called my school earlier this week and changed my enrollment from the full-time to the part-time MAT (Master of Arts in Teaching) program. That means I'll start school in August and go one night a week for 14 months and then student teach full-time for six month, graduating in April of 2012. It's not my preference; I really wanted to do the super-quick full-time program and graduate and start teaching next year. But I've been thinking about it for a while and I know this is the right choice for me right now. I'm disappointed. However, what can I do but think about how lucky I am to even have this opportunity and just decide that it's time to start getting excited about August. I am going to love it. I know I am. I'm ready. And I guess it does mean I have even more time to pass this heinous, heinous test.

(To clarify - I have five Oregon state-required tests I have to pass completely outside of school before I can start student teaching. I've passed one already, and the one on Saturday is the second one I'm attempting. It's the hardest of all of them - and the only one that is comprehensive, every single subject taught in school. The first was math/language arts/reading comp, and the final three are comprehensive but only on the subjects I am choosing to get certified to teach - social science (2 tests) and business.)

So let's end on two good notes, because I need that. One is that I had my best run ever two days ago. I don't know exactly why, but it was awesome. I usually pace myself quite slowly from the beginning in the hopes that I'll somehow be able to make it the entire 3 miles without walking. And sometimes I can and sometimes I can't. This time, I just started out at a good pace and just gradually built from there. I felt like I was flying. It felt amazing. My goal has been to run a 10-minute mile. (I'm sure that's probably not very fast to most people, but it would be great for me.) I've never timed myself while running until today; I always just estimate when I get back to my car and know I'm way over 10 minutes. Today was a hard run - I just couldn't catch my breath and I felt like I was doing ok for the first mile, but running in molasses for the last two. But I wore a watch and timed myself exactly and my miles were 10:30, 11:40, 12:25; 34:35 in all. Not great, but that first mile is pretty good! And I was specifically not going as fast as I could on that one because I wanted to hang in there and run the whole three. Anyway, boring stuff, but I feel good that I might be getting close to my goal. First I want to run a 10-minute mile, and then I want to run consistent 10-minute miles when I'm doing 5k.

My second good note is that after months of 15+ foot waves, things are starting to calm down. The reports change often and quickly, so I don't know if this will work out, but I have a session scheduled with Jules for Monday. That thing you just heard? That was angels singing the Hallelujah Chorus. Sweet, sweet relief. I can't even imagine the feel of lifting my board onto my car, pulling on my booties, waxing up the deck, wading out into the water. I feel like I've never surfed before! It's been 2 1/2 months since my last surfy surf, and it was 1 1/2 months before that one. I hope it works out. It would be great to see Jules, and amaaaaaaaaazing to get wet.

So there you have it. Now let's just make it through Saturday.


  1. Thanks for the clarification - that really helped me understand what you're facing. Those questions are pretty rigorous - though the subjects behind them sound interesting. I'm impressed that a Teacher in one subject is expected to show a high degree of knowledge of such a wide platform of subjects - I can only imagine what Sue Sylvester of 'Glee' would have put as an answer to those questions...

    Congratulations on your running. I haven't run since school and probably couldn't manage 100 yards without stopping. Recently it's been hard to get out of my front door, or even bed - buying a laptop was a mistake :)

    Wishing you friendly waves.


  2. Those questions are hard! Shit. Were we supposed to retain any of that from school because if so, I'd be getting a big fat F.

    You are way smarter and capable than you give yourself credit for. Focusing on one thing so completely for as long as you have would drive anyone to kookooland. I hope that once the test is over, and you've done the best you can (because that's all we can do!), you can get a bit of relief and fun back into your life.

    I hope the waves cooperate for you! And congrats on the run! :-)

  3. I was talking with bachelor #4 last night and complaining about those questions I listed and he started to answer them one by one. Grrrrr. Smart people.

  4. "I am not very good at doing stuff I'm not very good at."

    I would like to call bullshit on the above. You have ovaries of steal and are very, very, verrrrrryyyyy good at being a beginner. Look at surfing. You kept at it and kept at it and are still going strong. Ain't no way you started out as good as you are now.

    I'm not suggesting you *like* being a beginner, but give props where props are due, sister. You're brave and awesome and brilliant and beautiful. If you try to contradict me on any of the above, I will kick your ass.

  5. Good luck today! I hope you got a good night's sleep!

  6. Ugh. I can't even believe those essay questions. I had a hard time staying focused just reading through each one, let alone actually attempting any kind of coherent answer. Lucky for you, you're a lot smarter and more determined than I am. If luck has anything to do with it. I know you can and will do it. :) And I hope the waves are perfect for you!