Sunday, January 30, 2011

Math Nerd and Other Tidbits

I took my Math 8-12 Excet exam yesterday morning at 8:00 at Ryan High School in Denton.  For those of you who don't know, in order to be certified to teach certain subjects in schools, you have to take and pass an exam before you can be hired for a position.  In an effort to make myself more marketable for the Math positions that I would really like to have, I must be high school certified...even though I don't want to teach high schoolers.  But at any normal school, 8th grade Math teachers typically also teach Algebra I for the AP kids which is considered a high school course...thus the need for me to be high school certified.  Currently I have my 4-8 Generalist certification which means I can teach any core subject (Math, Social Studies, Science, English or Reading) within the grades of 4th through 8th.  Ideally this should be a good certification because it *should* make me more marketable because I can technically teach so many things that it gives principals a lot of flexibility when needing to rearrange teachers and subjects due to the numbers and needs of the students.  Unfortunately it also means that principals have a lot of flexibility when needing to rearrange teachers and subjects due to the numbers and needs of the students which means that I could be placed in a teaching position that I don't really feel comfortable teaching, like Science or English.  In order to get my current job as a PE teacher, I had to take the K-12 Physical Education exam a few years ago which, as my husband told me...if he can pass it, anyone could.  Unfortunately that is not the case with the 8-12 Math exam - it is generally regarded as one of the toughest tests to pass and for those people who are not mathematically inclined like I am, I can definitely see how it gets that reputation. 

I signed up for the test at the end of December and promptly set about my study plan - I emailed a friend of my sister-in-law's who happens to be the second-in-command Assistant Principal at the high school and she gathered up some study materials for me ranging all the way from Algebra I to Advanced Calculus.  I bought myself a three section notebook, a big pack of mechanical pencils and got my big, pink eraser ready...I meant business.  It got to be almost a kind of joke in the coaching office because I would work my way through Math every day on my conference period.  Since I am already pretty proficient at Algebra I, I took all the chapter tests first and then delved back into the chapter if there was something I was confused about.  All my problems are neatly written, evenly spaced and I even boxed in my answers.  Over the course of the last month, I worked my way through Algebra I, Algebra II and Geometry and then crammed in a little Trigonometry at the last minute through the use of Spark Notes that I picked up at Barnes and Noble.  I'm sure that my studying might have been considered a bit excessive in the eyes of some people, but despite my athletic appearance, at the core of my being...I am a Math nerd and to be real honest - I kind of secretly LOVE doing Math problems.  There is just something about having a problem sitting in front of me and being able to decode it, solve it and get it right that is really satisfying for me. 

Anyways...back to the test.  I arrived at Ryan HS at 7:30 on Saturday morning with four mechanical pencils, a big pink eraser, a TI-83 calculator, a big bottle of water and a bag of Cheez-Its.  I was armed and dangerous...ready to destroy this test.  My little group of 8 testers in room 221 of the high school all started the test at 8:30 and I was honestly thinking I'd be back on the road home by 11:30 at the latest.  As I finished checking and filling in the bubbles for the answers to the first 20 questions, I checked the clock - 9:30.  Uh oh.  At that moment, I knew I had grossly underestimated the time it was going to take to properly complete the exam.  Sure enough...I walked out of the testing room at 1:05 in the afternoon.  And I was the first person done. 

I do have a huge weight off my shoulders and as I told Craig last night, if I fail this exam I will be disappointed because it means that I will have to take it again in April, but I won't be disappointed in myself because I truly feel that I prepared as much as I could in the month I had before the I took the test.  I'm really proud of my ambition in taking the dreaded test in the first place and even more proud about how seriously I took it and how I truly dedicated myself to being properly prepared.  But I think there was a different kind of motivation for this exam - if this test can make me more marketable to principals then maybe I can find a strictly teaching position and get out of coaching and then be able to spend more time at home with Natalie.  Maybe I was more determined and apprehensive because I have something bigger than myself to think about - a little baby girl that is going to need me to be with her at home.

In other news...
- Craig's knee is healing nicely from the surgery that he had on January 21st. It was just a basic scope and suck and by last Tuesday he was up and waddling around the house and driving himself to school. Hopefully this will be the last one for awhile.

- I have another vision for something that I want to have happen in accordance with the birth of Natalie in a few weeks. I know that we make plans and God laughs, but I know that since we have so many friends and family members close by we will be inundated with visitors during our stay in the hospital and once we get home. I would like for Craig and I to be the only two people that bring her home from the hospital. Maybe I'm being unrealistic, but I just have this peaceful scene playing through my head where Craig and I walk in the front door and show her around the house for the first time...just our little family of four: Craig, me, Natalie and Angie of course. Our family is more than welcome to come over a few hours later, but I really think I would like a few quiet hours at home with her and Craig before everyone else comes over. Craig and I built this house into a home for her and I'd like for the two of us to be the ones that welcome her into it.

- As a celebration for my hard work preparing for the Math test, Craig and I went to PF Changs last night for dinner (plus we had a $25 gift card).  I didn't even have to open the menu - bring me some crab wontons and some crispy honey shrimp with white rice.  Yum.  I even think Natalie liked it because when we got home and were lying on the couch watching the Mavs game...she had the hiccups.

- 34 weeks tomorrow.  And I feel it.  Now I know that comparatively to many other pregnant women out there, I don't really LOOK that big.  But for the way my normally long and lean body is built...I feel gigantic.  My fingers and ankles are starting to swell (thanks for the Homedics foot bath for Christmas Craig!) and my back and hips hurt really bad at the end of the day.  I can feel Natalie moving around a lot more during the day than I used to, but I think that's because she is running out of room so I feel every twist and turn that she takes - even when she is sleeping.  The other night she was really sticking her butt out as I laid on the couch and my whole belly was lopsided - Craig found it incredibly amusing.  Her nursery is more or less put the very least, she will have somewhere to store her clothes, a place to sleep and a chair to be rocked in.  I still have to put up the finishing decorating touches and when I do, I will be sure to post some pictures.

- Next up for us is finishing up basketball season in the next three weeks and scattered in there are at least two more showers (one at his school on February 1st and one on February 15th given by six of my mom's friends) and two baby classes (Baby Basics and Birthing).  I'm kind of excited about the baby classes because...kind of like the Math test...even though I know that things won't always go as I have them planned in my mind, I like to be prepared and have a general idea of what I'm up against.  Craig and I have never been through a birth before and neither of us really know what happens between "Honey, the contractions are getting stronger" and "what a beautiful little girl we have!"  It should be an interesting experience nonetheless.

That's about it for now...I'm taking my mom to Le Peep for brunch and then to the matinee showing of Les Miserables that the high school theater group is producing.  I'm very excited for french toast and seeing some of my former students perform in my favorite musical!

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