Take that, edTPA!

I’m not going to lie, it has been quite a week.

We had class this past week and I was pretty distant. Yes, we had a presentation to do and yes I think I did alright for my part (we got 100%, so I guess it went fine). But, quite honestly, my mind has been anywhere else but the present. I have been worried about passing the edTPA, so much so that it has been haunting my dreams.

There’s the one where I scored a 26, when I need a 35 or more to pass.

Then there’s the one where I forgot to upload most of the bazillion supporting docs. Seriously, there’s like a dozen separate files to properly name and upload.

Bottom line, all my nightmares lead to me not passing for one reason or another.

Then came Thursday. The day when everything would present itself. I was terrified. I didn’t want to check my email or the edTPA website and yet I could not help but hit refresh over and over and over all day long. Until it happened. The email from my professor. Deep breath. Tap to open. Another deep breath. And……

I passed! Someone asked about my score and I quickly said I have assumed a new motto – never ask a woman her age, her weight, or her edTPA score. I’m not going to lie, my score is not phenomenal. But, guess what? It’s a passing score and that’s all that matters. I passed and I will soon officially become a teacher.

It is a huge accomplishment on so many levels. First of all, I succeeded! I passed the edTPA and I am officially graduating with my Masters, not to mention a 4.0 GPA. If you would have asked me 20 years ago if I saw myself as a college graduate, I would have laughed. At that time I barely attended community college. Neither of my parents went to college and, quite honestly, I’m pretty sure my dad never finished high school. It’s not like I would have been disappointing anyone. So, Grad school with the honor of Sigma Alpha Pi makes me damn proud, if I do say so myself.

But, it’s not just the fact that I worked my butt off and did well. I DID it. If you asked me as a child what I wanted to be when I grew up, my answer was always a teacher. Ever since kindergarten. Then in 3rd grade I had an amazing teacher and decided to narrow my dream to becoming a 3rd grade teacher. And that was always my dream. Ask my bestie and in a heartbeat she would say that was my plan. Ask my hubby and he would say I wished I became a teacher. So this was my second chance at fulfilling my lifelong dream and I DID it.

And now, amidst all this personal celebration, I am wrapping up my student teaching in 4th grade. Has anyone noticed how close my student teaching placement is to my above mentioned dream job…? Anywho, while I am thrilled to be at the end of the program, I am so sad to leave these 4th graders. They have taught me so much and they have helped me grow immensely. As the last few days are winding down, they keep asking me to stay, which makes me feel like I’ve done something right. All the hard work has paid off. Mostly in ways that cannot be measured by a test score, a research paper, or an intense state application.

I’ve attached a picture of the edTPA handbooks, my official submission, and the supporting documents to show how much went in to submitting the edTPA. Keep in mind, we submitted just one month into our final quarter. And, for the record, everyone in my cohort passed. Go team!!

Three Day Weekend… Finally! 

Monday was President’s Day, so there was no school. I have been so busy lately, I didn’t even notice until last week. I happened to look at the school’s schedule and there it was, that color-coded day to indicate there was no school. And that made my morning! I was definitely ready for a three day weekend!

We submitted edTPA just about two weeks ago, and that was an exhausting process. And now we are in the purgatory known as waiting. Our scores should be available by March 9th, but I am hopeful it will be sooner. So hopeful, in fact, that I have already begun checking the website each morning, which is probably contributing to my restless sleep the last few days. I just really, really believe I will not receive a passing score. I felt so rushed during the process that I have convinced myself I either forgot to upload a file or maybe didn’t answer a question sufficiently. What I did wrong is irrelevant, I just have this lurking feeling that I will not pass. As much as I try to chalk it up to jitters, I just can’t. I have accepted the thought that I may have to resubmit part or all of the edTPA and I am ok with that. I just want to know, ya know? And hopefully, I am wrong. Hopefully, there will be passing score and y’all can say “we knew it!”. I really think it’s the unknown that is playing with my head. I guess time will tell.

Aside from edTPA drama, student teaching is going well. I have found my niche in the classroom and I have become much more comfortable. And I really do love the kids! Every morning in the hall, I greet them as they are chattering with each other and scurrying to their lockers. I feel very Tami Taylor a la Friday Night Lights and it’s wonderful. Of course, I’d be lying if I didn’t say there were struggles. I can’t seem to get through to them with comparing fractions and it’s bothering me. Is it me? Maybe because math isn’t my strong point, they can sense it? Should I be doing something different? How can we move on? I worry that we are spending too much time on this and I want to move on to adding fractions. But, that’s tricky; too soon and everyone will be lost but if I wait too long, I’m going to lose the interest of the ones that do get it. Decisions, decisions. I am glad math will be the last class I give back to my cooperating teacher because I’m hoping to see this fraction dilemma through. 

On to breaking news, I have a job! It’s a temporary, substitute job… But it’s a job, aka income. Yay! Immediately after student teaching I will fill in for a leave of absence through the end of the school year. It is as a Reading Specialist for a middle school at a different school. I’m glad to be gainfully employed for two months but I’m also looking forward to the additional experience at a middle school. Can’t hurt the resume, right? I’m also on the lookout for a summer job. Oh, and also one for next school year. So, if anyone has any leads, you know where to find me. 

I’m back! 

It’s been a long two weeks since my last post. Maybe not too long to my handful of followers, but it’s been long for me. 

Since my final quarter of grad school began in early January, I have been not only student teaching, but also working on the edTPA. What is the edTPA, you say? In one word, as my hubby put it, it is stress. It’s this process that consists of planning lessons, teaching and video recording said lessons, and reflecting on these lessons in a paper that’s approximately 25 pages. Sounds simple, right? Well, here’s the thing, there are also a million little rules that, in my humble opinion, have little to do with teaching. Margin size must be one inch or it is automatically rejected. Page length must be exact or it is automatically rejected. Font size must be Arial 11 or…. You guessed it, it is automatically rejected. And while trying to get every single edTPA duck in a row, I have been student teaching. There are just not enough hours in the day. Thankfully, we submitted the edTPA this past Thursday. My confidence level is low that I will pass, mostly because I felt so rushed putting this thing together in less than a month. I’m really hoping all my ducks are marching in a perfect military style row to Pearson for review. But knowing me, one of those ducks will be distracted by a butterfly mid-march and break formation, resulting in my failing score. At any rate, the waiting game begins. Results should be in within a month, so tune in to see if I will actually become a teacher or if I need to select a different career path. Again. Here’s a highlight from my wild and crazy edTPA prep last Saturday night:

In other news, student teaching has been going well. I started my full take over last week, which means I am teaching all subjects now. I was pretty anxious about math, and I’m still fairly nervous, but it has been going ok. All three 4th grade classes are participating in a math challenge to complete and master a variety of 4th grade standards. Two students have completed the challenge and the prize was to play the Pie Face Challenge with the principal. The principal lost both times and the kids went crazy with excitement. This week, the district superintendent challenged all the 4th graders to complete and master the 5th grade standards. He said he will play the Pie Face Challenge with the first student to finish the 5th grade standards and will have lunch with those who finish by April. Needless to say, these kids are beyond excited!

My favorite part of last week was our social studies class. We were learning about the states in the southeast region and touched on segregation in the south and the Civil Rights Movement. They learned about some key events and ultimately the three 4th grade classes participated in a peaceful protest. Groups of 2-3 students worked together to make protest signs for their march. I may be a little biased, but I thought our students had some of the best signs:

This upcoming week is my final complete takeover. After this week I will start to surrender classes back to their teacher. By choice I have opted to keep math and science longer to try to get more exposure to both subjects. I can’t believe I am just about at mid-point in my quarter. I feel that I can focus more on student teaching now that the edTPA has been submitted. I just hope to get the results soon so I know if I can relax and celebrate or begin working on resubmitting any or all of the edTPA. At this point, I’m alright with either alternative, I just want the wait to be short. Fingers crossed for the best!