I Take My Teaching Test

29 Jun

This past Saturday, I took the test to certify me to teach high school English.

The middle school is in the middle of a large, rural area. A group of potential teachers and I all stand outside the school’s front door, waiting to take our certification tests. Across the street from the blandly colored and blandly designed building is a seemingly boundless cornfield. The call of locusts reverberates all around me. A sound so ubiquitous that it seems to come from the heat itself.

“I think these locusts come with the heat itself. I never hear them when I’m in air conditioning,” I say in a low voice to the woman beside me, as if I’ve discovered something previously unknown and of which I’d like to keep secret.

“You don’t hear it in air conditioning because air conditioning is indoors.”

I stare at her blankly.

“Locusts live outside.”

She pauses, waiting for me to respond. I don’t.

“In the heat,” she says.

“Yes. In the heat,” I respond.

“Yea.”

“So locusts live in the heat that’s what I just said.”

She begins to turn and walk away. I assume she’s hard of hearing.

“Good luck on the special needs test!” I call, making sure to enunciate each word. She turns toward me, violently. Several surrounding conversations cease. “You gonna do good job!” I hold my thumbs up. She takes a few steps forward.

Very quietly she says, “The special needs test,” she pauses. “Is for people who want to teach those with special needs. They aren’t people with special needs who want to teach.”

“Then why’s that guy here?” I ask, pointing to a middle-aged gentleman approaching in a wheel chair. The woman looks to him, then to me.

“You’re unbelievable.” She then walks away and stands by the door.

I breathe deeply through my nose, filling my chest with air. I feel strong. I feel powerful. I feel unbelievable.

A noise is heard from the entryway and all eyes turn to see that the door is being opened.

“Sorry for the wait, everybody,” the man at the door says.

The crowd shuffles gratefully to the cool air. Like a bunch of monkeys running to the monkey hat pile after all their hats have been taken away.

“Thank god,” one large, spherical woman says. “I was sweatin’ like a stuck pig.”

“A stuck pig? As with a knife?” I ask.

She nods.

“Horrific. Horrific imagery,” I say, my lips pursed, head shaking from side to side in disapproval. The woman looks at me, confused. I repeat, “Horrific imagery.”

We’re escorted through a small walkway, with windows looking into the main office on our right. The man who let us in instructs us to go to the cafeteria to check in. The building’s interior is as underwhelming as its exterior. Its colors a pallet of brown tones. Remnants of tape sit tacked to the walls. The leftbehinds of sticky paper. The old don’t-need-no-mores of adhesive strips. The lockers are covered in chips and you can see all the layers of paint that have come before. It looks as if the lockers were painted to fit into some kind of urban camouflage. Idiot lockers standing silently in an idiot hallway.

A single line of participants forms in the cafeteria. At the head of the line sit what I assume are two teachers that are on summer vacation. I reach the front of the line, hand over my papers, and am directed to the room where I’ll be taking my test. It’s room seven.

“You know where that is?” the teacher who checks me in asks.

“Room seven?”

“Yea.”

“Sir, if I can’t find a room in a building so small that the rooms are numbered in single digits, I don’t deserve to be a teacher.” I put my license in my breast pocket, flip my hair back, and walk past the table.

**I know what you’re thinking, dear reader. You’re thinking I’m about to come back and ask for directions to room seven. Nope. Assumption be damned. Not gonna do that.**

After getting lost, I sit on the floor and begin to scream out for an adult. Several faculty members frantically approach me. They’re all breathing heavily and clearly frustrated by the man-child who lays huddled before them.

“Where’s room seven?” I ask. “I’m lost.” Thoughts shift to the island.

Exactly.

I’m directed by a man in a large black Under-Armour polo to room seven, which was just ten or so feet away. I could actually see it from my cry-spot. Go figure.

Upon opening the door and entering the room, I see four rows of five desks. This ends up figuring to about 130 desks [Editor’s Note: Really?]. The room smells stale and looks like it doesn’t want to live any more. This is also how I would describe the woman administering the test.

“No cell phones,” she mumbles from her loose, colorless mouth.

I scoff, incredulous. “Lose the phone?” I look to a few of the other participants. “But how will I tweet?

“Put the phone away or I’ll have to ask you to leave,” she says.

“Um, @old lady standing over me, you’re kind of hurting my feelings.”

Her response is to silently hold her hand out to me. I put my phone in it and loudly drop my elbows onto the desktop, my face resting atop clenched fists.

Pouty face.

Another, younger, woman who is assisting the proctor begins to pass out the tests. I consider slapping her ass or something, but by this time, I’m so tired of test taking that I just sit there motionless, slumped back in my seat like the last inches of a melting candle.

The test moves slowly. Ninety questions, all hypothetical, all with multiple answers that, in my mind, could be correct.

Here’s a brief transcription of my thoughts as I progress through the test.

Question 5: “This is easy! I’m going to finish in like an hour!”

Question 28: “How the Hell am I supposed to know this? I’m not a teacher yet.”

Question 45: “Whoaaaa! We’re halfway there! WHOOOOAAA! We’re livin’ on a prayer!”

Question 50: “Where’s ‘E. Someone stab me when I go to the bathroom.’?”

Question 61: “I don’t want to teach anymore.”

Question 70: “I want to scream.”

Question 80: “I hate education.”

Question 90: “All right! Done! I can’t wait to teach.”

There are also a number of short answer questions. I snuck a camera in and took some pics of the more challenging questions.

Then there was this question, which I thought a little unfair and, frankly, a bit offensive.

Pretty sure I marked true on this one.

I finish the test, close the book, take the completed test and answer sheet to the proctor, retrieve my cell phone and leave. My fate sealed.

My sate fealed.

End.

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4 Responses to “I Take My Teaching Test”

  1. Pat June 30, 2010 at 6:45 pm #

    This is a great piece, sir. Very funny. Please continue making full use of your license to offend… it works well in your writing.

    I really liked this: “Idiot lockers standing silently in an idiot hallway.”

    I am, however, curious if the past tense of sneak is “snook.” Perhaps it’s “snuck”…?

    • Kyle Irion June 30, 2010 at 6:52 pm #

      Spell check told me snuck was wrong. On further investigation, snook was recognized because it’s a breed of fish. Snuck is correct, but not recognized. Weird.

      • Pat June 30, 2010 at 7:00 pm #

        Spell check tried to make you look like a fool! Snook! They wanted you to look dumb: I [a breed of fish] a camera in and took some pics of the more challenging questions.

        You should follow up with a legal suit.

  2. Patrick July 2, 2010 at 3:56 pm #

    Further investigation: “sneaked” is the grammatically proper past-tense of sneak, but I don’t like it a bit. Stick to snuck, I did in my short story.

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