I used to have some smarts, maybe

Published July 1, 2015 by Lynda Christine Rodriguez

Many, many years ago when I was still young and had hope and my enthusiasm for teaching theatre was much greater than my desire for a living wage (a situation my brother calls “Doing another gig for Art and Jesus.” )  I wandered madly through bookstores and libraries seeking ideas to best convey the arts to a group of ex-gang members who had been nudged into a theatre outreach program. This was in the days before the intrawebs were in mass use, so I actually had to go find resources, touch them with my hands, distill knowledge with my own brain, communicate said knowledge onto paper and then put it all together in an Arts Education Gumbo to then serve to this poor children. ( I say that with complete and total sarcasm. One of these children was actually six months older than me. )

One of the games/scene starter bouillion was a phrase to be completed: I used to be . . .. But now I’m . . . .

Have I mentioned I was extremely naiive?

I think about this today as I am relunctantly studying for the PPR (The so you think you can teach test.) I personally feel that standardized testing is proof that evil walks among us, but it is a necessary bear all teachers have to cross.

I used to test well, my neurons making connections and zipping merrily along so my little #2 pencil could dance in the appropriate  bubble and win my place in the 99th percentile.  My neurons have slowed down considerable. In fact, one of the king’s horsemen who worked to put my Humpty Brain back together again. (Okay, I immediately heard the Digital Underground and it’s cracking me up.) said that I would never be able to pass a timed standardized test because my processing speed was so slow.

Eighteen Months later I passed the New Mexico Teacher’s Assessments. On Paper. With a Sinus Infection. In a room full of bitter and resentful teachers. The proctor was wearing a Husker Du t-shirt. I think that helped.

Unfortunately, while the State of Texas does recognize the scores, my Alternative Certification program does not. I have to take the test.

I took and passed two content exams, one for Theatre and one for English Language Arts/Social Studies.  I zoomed through both of those and did well.  I have to take the last test by Mid-August. You might think, well that should be a breeze, after all, didn’t you just spend an entire school year teaching in the wild?

Yes, but I don’t think they made Jane Goodall take a standardized gorilla test.

World’s Worst Fitness Assessment.

I have been studying all day. I’m following the study plan prescribed by the online program. After two hugely embarassing scores taking the test on my own terms, I’m hoping the plan will help. My cat keeps loafing around on the study manual that I have been pretending to read all year.

I used to be able to test, but now I’m grouchy and intolerant and out of bananas.

Don’t tell the gorillas.

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