I started on my master’s degree on October 1, 2017. I have had my teaching certificate (to teach general education, any subject, grades 1-8) since 1996, but I have always thought about making the move to teaching special ed, and when my school sent out an email last spring to ask if there were any volunteers interested in making the move to special ed (and stating they would pay a portion of the cost to get certified in it), I knew it was time to go! I got the move to special education on July 31st, and I started the new job on August 1st. I applied for and received a temporary Intervention Specialist one year certificate to allow me to teach special ed for this school year, and then there were criteria to meet before the next school year in order to renew the temporary IS certificate and then later to move it from temporary to a standard certificate (which is like my other certificate and has to be renewed every five years).
To renew the temporary IS certificate in Ohio, I have to take classes in special education and receive a certain number of credit hours, and I have to take and pass the Praxis state test in special education (test #043 for any teacher friends interested in knowing which one). I haven’t worried at all about the college credit hours; I knew I had enough on my master’s college class schedule this semester to take care of that requirement, and I was never worried about passing the classes. What worried me was the test! I HATE TESTING (giving these types of tests to students and also taking these types of tests myself). What really stressed me about it was the fact that if I didn’t pass this test by the beginning of June, I wasn’t going to be able to renew the temporary IS certificate – and that meant I wasn’t going to keep my job in special ed at my school (AND I LOVE THIS IS JOB!!!). It meant I could be moved to any grade level and any subject, and I didn’t like the thought of that.
I decided to take the test starting in early February so I would get my results and know if I had to study harder and take it again (and possibly again and again and again). I’m so glad I made that decision!!! I dropped Jake at school this past Friday and headed to a nearby university to take the test. They sure do take test security seriously for these teaching tests! I had to show my driver’s license, then have my right palm scanned three times, then my left palm scanned three times, and then my right palm scanned again. Then I had to read a document that was in very small print and took up an entire page which told everything I couldn’t do regarding the test, and then I had to sign my name to a page and then sign my name digitally as well and have my picture taken and stored with my palm scans and digital signature. Then I had to lock everything I owned except my driver’s license into a file cabinet and have someone walk me into the test room, sign me into the test, and watch me sit down to take the test (and watch me take it on video camera from another room).
I was so happy to finish that test!!! There were a LOT of questions and NOT a lot of time (I felt like), but I did finish all of the questions within the allotted time and even had enough time to go back and check the ones I flagged that I wasn’t sure about initially. When I finished, the lady had a printout waiting on me – AND IT SAID THAT I PASSED THE TEST!!!!!!!!!!!!! I don’t have my actual score yet, but I PASSED THE TEST!!!!!!!!
It was the craziest feeling; I literally felt IMMEDIATELY like someone lifted a huge rock off of my shoulder blades and chest (where I have come to realize over the years that I carry all of my stress). I came home, and Ted took me to lunch to celebrate, and then I did a little work when I got home (and emailed and texted and called everyone I knew to let them know I PASSED THE TEST!!!!!!!! WOOHOO!!!!).
At 5:00, I sat down, and I told Ted that I felt so tired suddenly. I felt like I’d been all GRRRRRRRRR for weeks, and then all HURRAYYYYYYYY since getting that paper saying that I PASSED THE TEST, and suddenly I felt like I was going to pass out. And then I laid down on the couch and pretty much did pass out. I fell sound asleep and slept from 5:30 until about 7:30 when my SIL came in to drop off our nephew to spend the night, and I felt right back asleep when she left until Sahara came in from work and woke me up, and I went upstairs to bed and slept until 10:30 on Saturday morning! It was the best sleep I’ve had since August, and I KNOW it was because I was just suddenly not worried anymore and not stressed anymore and relaxed for the first time in MONTHS. And it was then that I realized how worried I’d been (because I just wouldn’t let myself consciously think about how I felt all those months because I would start to freak out when I did think about it).
I feel like a new person!!! LOL
I PASSED THE TEST!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
What this means is that I will send a copy of my transcript for this semester and a copy of the test scores to the Ohio Department of Education, and I will pay and renew my temporary Intervention Specialist certificate for the 2018-19 school year. I will take April, May, and June off as my college break, and I’ll start back on my master’s degree July 1st. I’ll have three research classes that I am aiming to complete by August 15th, and I will do my practicum (kind of like student teaching) from August through December. My semester officially ends on December 31st, and I will be technically finished with my master’s degree in special education. I’ll renew my temporary IS certificate one more time in June 2019, and I will then have to take five reading classes and pass another test (Foundations of Reading for teacher friends who are interested in knowing) because the state of Ohio says that any new certificates filed after June 2017 have to include passing scores on that test and the reading courses as well in order to get the new certificate. Depending on when the courses are available (at a different college unfortunately than the one I’m currently attending), I will take them either spring 2019 or during the entire school year of 2019-2020; I’ll figure out this summer which college I’m attending to take those five classes and when the classes are available and get enrolled. Once I complete the reading courses and pass the Foundations of Reading test, I will then move the temporary certificate to a standard certificate in special education (so either June 2019 or June 2020 depending on how quickly I can complete those five courses and that test).
Right now, I have decided that I am just enjoying an entire weekend of not thinking about any of my college assignments or test 043 (BECAUSE I PASSED THE TEST!!!)!