January 19, 2008

CSET: The Bane of my Existence

I love California: the diversity, the beach, the 70-degree Christmases. I was born and raised here, I know the ins and outs and the In N Outs, and there are always new and interesting people around every turn of life who augment my own experience as a human.

However, there are several things about California that are really starting to get on my nerves. First and foremost: the program the state puts forth for an individual to become a teacher. Holy-Hannah-Montana-sold-out-concert! The hoops, circles, and rigamaroles one must go through just to step foot in a classroom! I'm sure it's rough trying to get certified in most states, but word on the street is that California is the longest and therefore most grueling. At this point in my certification, I heartily agree.

My recent beef comes in two forms. The first was arguing for weeks with the dean of Curriculum and Instruction about my program that they messed up last spring. I switched from part-time to full-time night classes, but my schedule was overlooked and I've been fighting to be able to take certain classes "out of order" ever since. The dean told me that I am NOT, in fact, allowed to take one more class this quarter, and in doing so, extended my program another six months. Don't get me started on that, because some of you wouldn't appreciate the things that would come out of my fingers.

The second form of my beef is something I had to suffer through last Saturday until my brain popped. It's this nifty little thing called a CSET: California Subject Examination for Teachers. It is a heinous test, for anyone who's had to take it. Yes, I'm sure those of you who had to take the MCAT or LSAT must be saying I have nothing to complain about, and I actually agree with you, but this is my blog and therefore my complaint forum. Go get your own.

Now, the CSET is a different test than the CBEST(California Basic Educational Skills Test). If you didn't pass the CBEST (notice the word BASIC in the acronym) you have no business being a teacher. No, the CSET actually tests real knowledge. I had to take three subtests to be certified for a single subject credential in biology. One of the subtests covers all things biological and tests everything I learned during my undergraduate years, um, 7 years ago, and the other two subtests measure my knowledge in "general science", which is a gross understatement, because I was required to know "everything from anthropology to zoology", to quote Ted during the phone call after my harrowing experience. So even though I had just spent 5 straight hours taking 3 intense tests, I thought about that one phrase of his and we played a game over the phone as I drove home. Did you know that the only letters that don't have a specialized science attached to it are J and Y? I can kinda see Y, but J? Ted's suggestion: Japanology. Here's our list:

A - Anatomy, Anthropology, Aeronautics, Astronomy, Archaeology
B - Bioethics, Botany
C - Chemistry, Cladistics
D - Developmental Biology, Dermatology
E - Ecology, Evolution, Entomology, Endocrinology, Embryology, Engineering
F - Forensics, Fluid Mechanics, Forestry
G - Genetics, Geology (geophysics, geochemistry), Geography
H - Histology, Hydrology, Herpetology
I - Immunology, Ichthyology
J - ???????
K - Kinesiology
L - Lichenology, Limnology
M - Mammology, Marine Biology, Microbiology, Meteorology, Mineralogy
N - Nematology, Nephrology, Neurology
O - Orthopedics, Oceanography, Optics, Ornithology, Organic Chemistry, Oncology
P - Paleontology, Physics, Physiology, Pathology
Q - Quantum Mechanics, Quantitative Analysis
R - Radiology, Robotics
S - Statistics, Soil Science, Seismology, Spectroscopy
T - Teratology, Tectonics, Taxonomy, Thermodynamics, Toxicology
U - Urology
V - Virology, Volcanology
W - Wildlife Conservation, Wave Theory
X - X-ray Astronomy, Xenology
Y - ??????
Z - Zoology

Yes, yes, I'm very well aware that we're nerds and that we have "too much time on our hands." I'll just say that before Shannon Hyer beats me to it. Gee, with all that time, I should have had plenty of it for studying purposes.... If I failed any of the three tests, it will be because of my ease of getting distracted. Maybe we should get a kid.


Kizzycakes said...

hooray for your blog. i love it. sorry about your educational woes. sucks, doesn't it? and if you move to another state you have to get certified again. not as much work, but still more hoops to jump through. good luck.

The Hyer Family said...

You're so smart...I wish I could be like you...sorry about your sucky test...I hope you pass! Glad to see you blog!

Montgomery Family said...

Hi Allison, it's me, Karen (Ellis). I was so excited to see a link to your blog from Shannon's. Sorry to hear about your certification woes. You would think CA wasn't in desperate need for good teachers. Whatever. Anyway, check out my blog so we can be blogging buddies.

PS Read My Sister's Keeper...amazing book. I just read that Dakota Fanning and her little sister are making it into a movie.

Brittany said...

Hey Allison, thanks for the email telling me about your blog. Now that my braces are off I don't have the same great excuse for coming home to California every other month, and I know I'm going to miss it (but not the braces)! I really rely on the Pasadena Blogs to keep me informed. I loved the wedding pictures, I'm excited to start hitting your reading list, and the Pres. Hinckley tribute was great. By the way, the chorister in my new ward isn't nearly as entertaining as you are!

monalucie said...

How about Y-chromosomology

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