Sunday, May 6, 2012

Rapunzel Pencils and Test Day

     My newest life adventure involves me returning to school for a master's degree in teaching.  In order to student teach this year I am required to pass the California Subject Examination for Teachers (CSET) proving that I know enough English to actually teach people.  For English there are four tests that have to be taken and all four are pass/fail.  These are the tests I have been preparing for these last two weeks.

     Saturday morning I woke up at 6:00 to get ready and get to the test in plenty of time.  I had everything I would need for the test including 5 pencils, my trusty white eraser (the only kind I use since taking art classes), directions to my location, and my study notes for last minute cramming.  I got to the sight early, locked my purse and cell phone in the trunk and took the necessary items to check in.

My test taking location.

     These testing rooms are seriously like Fort Knox.  All your personal possessions are taken away from you (save your pencils), you are fingerprinted, and your ID has to sit on your desk through the entire test.  For a room full of test takers getting everyone set up takes at least 30 minutes.

     As I am patiently sitting at my desk waiting to be fingerprinted, I notice everyone around me has yellow pencils that actually say #2 on them.  Oh crap!  I just pulled random pencils from my kids' box at home.  Mine have Rapunzel.  I'm not sure Rapunzel is a #2 pencil.  What if I take the entire test in a pencil that is not #2? 

My "vitally important professional test taking" tool of choice.
     At this point I begin having a complete break down convinced that even if I ace all the tests no one will know and I will have to sit through this hell again.  This is when I start thinking that maybe I can barter with the smart guy next to me who brought 5 beautiful yellow #2 pencils.  Maybe he can spare just one for me.  I would even be willing to offer him Rapunzel in exchange if he wanted.  Who am I to say what he might like? 

     Trying to be calm and quiet, I lean over and politely start "I know this is going to sound really silly..."  To which the young man replies in a loud (probably not that loud, it just seems loud because the room is so quiet) monotone voice that "I'm sorry, but I'm deaf."  Now everyone is staring at the woman who tried to start up a conversation during quiet time (me) and I'm still stuck with my 5 Rapunzel "going to make me fail because the machine won't read the dots right" pencils.

     I resigned myself to my private hell.  No, I never got an official yellow #2 pencil.  Yes, I finished all four tests with 2 minutes to spare (whew!).  And hopefully I pass the tests, but if I don't, I am so blaming Rapunzel!

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