I contemplated leaving that as the full body of this post. This morning did not go well. Everyone has been telling me that ‘you probably did better than you think’ and ‘you always think you do poorly’– but I am quite convinced that I could not have passed my Middle School Science Praxis this morning. I have been going through a whole range of emotions: disappointment in myself, sadness at what the implications of this might be, anger at ETS for their practice test, and emotional resignation.
I had a very hopeful and encouraging first 35 questions of the test. No faint markings to go back to and re-evaluate, no circled questions– just confident answer after confident answer. Then I hit a series of questions of about 5 that I couldn’t answer in a row and I felt myself getting hot and overwhelmed and confused. I plowed through, only answering ones I feel semi–>fully confident with. There just seemed to be more and more blank bubbles piling up on my answer sheet. I left those for later review and proceeded to the first of three constructed response essays. And I hit a wall. The first one just threw me for a total loop and my brain turned to mush. I read the prompt so many times that the words stopped making sense. Needless to say, it was the physics question. I skipped it and proceeded to the biology essay, which went well. The astronomy question went okay, though I may have included one less than accurate statement. I then went back to the MCs and was able to see a few that I could answer. But, still, way too many that I couldn’t. I guessed- and not educated guessing involving eliminating unlikely choices (more along the lines of… well, the answer hasn’t been ‘B’ for a while, so…)- at more questions than I care to admit. I then went back to the first essay and stalled again and just wrote absolute nonsense until the final minute was called. I pity the poor grader who gets my booklet.
I know this is mopey and casts me in a really negative light but I feel like such a failure- something that I frankly don’t have much experience with. I worked SO HARD preparing for this test, I really did. When I told TFA, my friends and my family that I didn’t feel qualified to take this test I received an undeserved level of confidence in me– ‘If I was bright enough to get into TFA, I am bright enough to pass this test!’ Right? I tried to believe it too, despite a decade of physics and chemistry being incomprehensible– I thought I could just buck up and learn it. There is something to it when someone says they are not ‘a science person’ and it is perfectly acceptable for an English major to say this and for everyone to believe it. Somehow, because I can be a biology person and a geology person, and an evolutionary theory and ecology person TFA thought I could be ‘a science (including physics and chemistry!) person’ but I don’t think that I can. The degree of hopelessness that I felt with that first essay question made me realize that I have NO BUSINESS teaching these concepts to children.
So what if by some chance (about a 0.5%) that I pass (and it would be just that- the absolute minimum required score I am sure)? Do I trust TFA and the Praxis and step into a classroom where I will have little brains in my hands? Or do I trust myself?
What if I fail? What if I fail by a little bit- a bit that might be made up by taking it again during the strongly discouraged test date that’s in June– if I can just stuff a few more formulas that have no meaning for me into my head…? I want to tell TFA now (again) that I was misplaced. But CMs are put in placements all the time that they don’t mesh with. You suck it up for the kids and do the best you can, right? Ugh. How is that going to help them? I doubt the likelihood that they will reassign my subject area and there are no guarantees with region or subject if I defer.
Sorry this is so melodramatic. I know self-doubt comes with the territory for most CMs but I feel so defeated and disillusioned today. I also have slept 6 hours since I woke up on Thursday. I still have the EE:CK (which typing made me realize contain my jumbled initials, EKC) on 4/30. And so much pre-Institute work. And… this could all be done before it begins…