with love and squalor

Closing the Teach For America Blogging Gap
Mar 12 2011

an addition to praxis reflections

I just want to add to the recent posting trend of commenting on the Praxis II exam I took today.  I agree with others who have expressed criticism over the Praxis testing system.  They are expensive, somewhat disorganized, and I’m not sure how useful they are.  My closest testing center was very far away (wutup sleepy little far western massachusetts, which I had to leave to get to Connecticut), and because the test started at 7:30 a.m., I had to spend additional money to spend the night in a hotel ahead of time.  I am pretty relieved it’s over, and I didn’t think it was too difficult, although it was kind of strange.  I prepped from a book I bought (also expensive) which was definitely helpful, but also kind of unhelpful in some ways because it wasted a lot of time reviewing minute details of science and social studies when, in reality, the science, social studies, health, and art, and even the math sections were all extremely extremely basic.  I probably didn’t need to read any of those sections in the book except maybe the math for some basic review since I haven’t taken a math class in many years.  But the language and literature section was kind of hard.  The ETS website said the test doesn’t emphasize pedagogy, and I’m not entirely sure what they think pedagogy means, but in my opinion, the language section did indeed do that.  There were a lot of questions using teacher jargon that has many different names for the same things that I simply did not know.  I am pretty sure I passed, knock on wood, but it certainly wasn’t indicative of any ability to teach or anything else.  I also think it’s, I don’t know… unfair, maybe? that my test had a total of 18 review questions provided by ETS and nothing else anywhere.  The book I bought wasn’t even really for my exam.  There was no real way to prep for the test, and as someone who is not an education major, it was kind of inaccessible.  For an alternative certification path, it seemed kind of strange to me.  I don’t know.  I feel bad complaining about it, to be honest, because if I am going to stand up in front of a classroom in August then passing this Praxis exam is the least I can do.  If I default to the, “well I’m not an education major” excuse, then devil’s advocate can default to the, “well then maybe you shouldn’t be teaching” response.  I understand that.  I just wish it had been easier to prepare and that the jargon and phrases and weird names were concisely explained somewhere accessible.  It would really be a shame if I didn’t pass the exam because I don’t know what “basal reading style” is, when if I were given a definition of what it is I am 100% positive I could accomplish teaching it.  …Well, maybe not teaching it, just yet, but certainly understanding it and critically determining how to implement it.

12 Responses

  1. Thanks for posting this nice and effective information regarding praxis exams. I just know that this exam is very helpful for those who are looking for a bright future in tutoring

  2. adrilicious

    Sorry to creep on your conversation – but I interviewed at Amherst too! I remember meeting an amazing Umass woman, you didn’t teach about tree age did you Leah?

    • haha no, i taught subtraction with regrouping. all these cool kids in the area – are you at moho?!

  3. (it wont let me reply directly to your comment sooo) did you graduate hs early? i think i got stuff in the mail from bard way back when, but took a more traditional route, i suppose. i actually saw one of my interview-day mates at a “third deadline accept” event and hit it off with another girl so we became facebook friends.. so there were at least 3 of us that day! i’m a CCC now for TFA, so my boss sends us the list of accepts when they announce them, but only the umass ones. i too wonder what happened to the other 8 candidate that day….!

    • aea107

      yes i did… one year early. best decision i ever made! although it has made me somewhat anxious about my age in regards to assuming an authority position this summer/fall. but i am sure i will figure it out. what has your experience as a CCC been like?

      • at least you got ECE! i was getting nervous about teaching middle school until i realized i was 10yrs removed from it.. so while my height may not be a determining factor… i at least have a decade haha.

        being a CCC has been fun. i sort of stumbled into it.. got an email from a TFA employee who said someone had recc me for the position &i was considering TFA post-grad, so i figured why not? i love love love my RD and i’m one of three at umass which is nice since the school is so big.. i mostly fb creep people to put into our source database and do classroom presentations, so it’s not a tonnn of work, but it’s been nice to already be a part of TFA and esp now, to be able to [be on track to] walk the walk instead of just talk(ing) the talk!

        ps. sorry i have taken over this post with comments! we can always fb or email :)

  4. after my match content praxis.. agreed, agreed, agreed. i can/want to teach middle school math and the secondary math exam i had to take too covered material my math-y majoring boyfriend couldn’t figure out in its entirety. gah! we’ll have to wait until april, i suppose. but wutup western ma! are you in the 5-college area?! i’m quizzing myself on which school you could be at ;)

    • aea107

      haha, actually, no, but pretty close. i went to umass amherst to do my final interview. but i go to a really (really, really) small somewhat “alternative” school in the berkshires… i doubt you’ve heard of it, honestly!!!

      • aea107

        ahh, i mean, at amherst college! i think. yes, amherst college. i was so in another world that day. i saw on your blog that you go to umass. maybe we were in the same interview!

        • I was at amherst for mine.. back on dec 3, to be exact! alternative & berkshires… my first guess is williams because there were people on my interview day from there, but i wouldn’t consider that alternative, necessarily.. when i was considering 5-colleges, hampshire was obviously #1. bard & mcla are the only other non-CCs i can think of! you have me stumped if it’s none of those…!

          • aea107

            yes it is bard! well, specifically the bard campus in great barrington which we call simon’s rock, but the administration/rest of the world calls bard college at simon’s rock… it’s an auxiliary campus of bard for people who opt to graduate high school early. it is supposed to be a lot like hampshire, really, although essentially more like bard’s annandale campus. i believe my interview was on the 2nd. i have been really curious as to whether or not anyone else from my interview group got in… too bad there’s no way to check.

        • Thanks alot – your answer solved all my problems after several days srgtugling

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