October 2017, I officially got hired as a high school art teacher.
Walking through the halls of the school was unreal. I couldn’t believe I had made it. I stood up proud and told myself I was going to be the best art teacher, just like the one I had all through high school. Ms. Young, She was one of the reasons I wanted to became an teacher. I also find art was the one place where I felt… normal. I finally had a place of belonging.
Although, back when I graduated high school (12 years ago now!), I went into graphic arts instead. Having to teach by rules and standards like the SOLs, really discouraged me from ever becoming a teacher. After years of education and a number of different jobs, I realized I should have been a teacher all along. I went back to school to get my bachelor degree in fine art. It was the best decision I had ever made. I am actually part of the small percent in the world that is really working in a place they love.
Now, let us fast forward to a few months into my first year of teaching. If anyone tells you that a teachers job is easy, they clearly do not know any teachers. My first year was so stressful. After a couple of months I finally raised my hands and said,“Ah screw it I am just going to roll with it…”. As a second year teacher now my advance to the first year ones, is to just let it go and try to stay above water because once you acknowledge that you are just going to trade in that water your first year, the easier it will be one you.
” …between 40 percent and 50 percent of teachers leave the profession within their first five years… “
During this time not only was I teaching but I was trying to complete that list of 9 other things… you remember right? Well, I had been hired as a Provisional License Teacher, which basically means that I had three years to complete the list, or so I had thought.
The contract that I had signed when hired actually stated that I had one year to complete all the exam portions of the license requirements. I was nerves about this, I knew I wasn’t good at tests, especially reading and writing!
During my first year of teaching I took the Praxis Core exam twice. This test was based on the contact you are going to teach, art. (Easy, I knew I had that). I took the VCLA a total of 7 TIMES! Come the summer of 2018 I started to get really worried I was going to loose my job. I was doing everything I could to make sure that did not happen. I emailed my admin. to see if they could help, I emailed the department of certifications to see if they could help, and I have had two tutors, and countless mornings and nights studying. Nothing was working. I needed up having to go to the doctor to get antidepressants and anxiety medication because I was having break downs over my scores I was getting on the test.
Come October 2018 and seeing that there was no other option but to reach back out to the department of certifications. You wouldn’t believe the response I got.
“__ asks that you complete the assessments in the first year to ensure you are able to successfully complete them, but you have until 2020 to complete all of the deficiencies. ”
You wouldn’t believe my anger. During my first year of teaching I had not only been teaching, but studied for an exam I had taken 7 times, went through two tutors (one paid), studied for an art content exam, and got put on medication for my stress and worry over a test that I NOW DID NOT NEED TILL 2020…
Why was this not told to me in the begging?
Currently, I have held off on the exam and I have been completing the other item left on the list, endorsement course. School, courses, homework, all this I am good at, I passed my first course with a 97%! I stopped taking my medication, and I went to see a therapist to get a cognitive evaluation done (I have a learning disability in reading, and memory). I have not had any accommodations since high school therefore, if I wanted them for this exam I had to get new documentation to prove it. ( Which to me is another hoop because LD doesn’t just GO AWAYYYY…). I have also been in getting in connect with the DOE (department of Education) trying to find out the real reason for the assessment in the first place. More to come on all that.