Friday, April 27, 2012

Under Pressure

Under Pressure is not only my favorite Queen song, but it's also how I've been feeling for a while now. Two and a half years ago, I began taking classes to get a reading endorsement. Due to having a baby and my work schedule, I was only able to take a class here and there. I just finished my last class, so you might think that the pressure is over. You would be wrong!
The classes were difficult from time to time, but nothing I couldn't handle. I actually really enjoy taking classes (I guess that is one reason I was meant to be a teacher). The pressure began in June of last year, when the principal of my school made a point to tell the rest of the staff that I was "almost done with my reading endorsement." Technically I was almost done, one class away from finishing the program, but I realized at that point that he had taken some vested interest in my education.
The pressure grew a few months ago when I was told that he planned to make me the school-wide reading teacher, because "it just makes sense to have the only person in the building with a reading endorsement, teach all the reading." Once again, this shouldn't have been a big deal, but I hadn't taken the last class at this point, and there was still the dreaded PRAXIS exam to think about.
The pressure became almost painful a week ago, when out vice-principal (who has taken on the responsibilities of a reading specialist) advised our staff that she will be taking a job at the district office, and will no longer be taking on the reading specialist responsibilities. I know that I have been reading between the lines quite a bit, but I also think it's more than possible, based on all of these circumstances, that both of the principals in my building are expecting me to take on this role next year.
I'm very excited at this possibility. It shows that they value me and the skills that I have to offer, it gives me even more job security, and I would love to work with more students to help them meet their true reading potential. The issue comes with the PRAXIS that now stands in my way.
I have done a lot of research in-between my study sessions, and have realized that Oregon has a very high standard for passing this test (in fact it's higher than any other state's requirements). The average person gets a score of 580. What is the Oregon standard? 610! That means the average person who takes this test, misses the Oregon requirement by 30 points!
Knowing that my superiors are expecting/relying on me to pass this test, that it is extremely difficult to pass, that it is so expensive to take, and that I just plain want to be done, are all reasons that I'm feeling so much pressure to pass this test and earn the endorsement. The test is tomorrow morning, and I've been studying for months, but for some reason I can't get past the feeling of dread. Now that I've vented just a bit, it's time to get back to my flashcards. I hope that I don't let myself and everyone else down!

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