Relief! On SOOO many levels!!!
Friday night I got the results back from the last two teaching tests I took last month to get my teaching certification in Illinois. While I don't plan on teaching in Illinois I still had to pass all three (one I took last year) in order to graduate. I thought I did terrible on them last month, and was extremely nervous to get my results knowing if I didn't pass I'd have to come back to Illinois just to take the tests...which would obviously be really stressful. But I got the email with my results on Friday and somehow managed to pass BOTH tests. Woo-hoooooo!!!
In addition, my last day of student teaching was on Friday. I couldn't even begin to express how relieved I am to be done with this experience and be able to move on. The entire experience was less than desirable and every day was a countdown of having one more day done. While I look back I can't believe it went that fast but as I was in it each day, the hours spent there felt like days. I feel like I could write a book about all I experienced in my short time there but hope to just journal about it when I have the time. I have been very turned off from the experience and have been reconsidering my route to teach special ed. However, the last few days I have had to remind myself that it is kids with special needs that I went into this for. My heart is HUGE for these kids and I've never had the calling to teach kids in a resource room. I may have to take a different avenue to get to what I want but this experience had reinforced what I don't want to do. While my supervisor from NLU didn't seem to understand my desires, I'm thankful I no longer have to answer to her and instead can follow my own heart and God's calling for me.
Along with my student teaching being over, I also completed my portfolio last Sunday. This process began back in March 2010 when we had to create an online portfolio of what we wanted to learn through the program and how we were going to learn it. The grad school programs was set up that by the end of the schooling we should be able to show how we learned all we wanted and were supposed to learn under specified categories created by some high-up person at NLU though the classes we took. It was a tedious process where we had to show work we did to prove we learned what we did in twenty different areas, write up an explanation of why that artifact helped me demonstrate that I learned what I was supposed to and then write a reflection on my own work and why it worked or didn't work. It was so time-consuming to find the work to enter in each area (a few I had to create from scratch) and then enter them and do each write-up. I spent countless hours on it and am so thankful to have Jason at my side to take care of Cooper, dinners, cleaning and anything else life brought our way the last month. Yesterday we had our final seminar and had our portfolio reviewed. After one mix-up and scare that I had done something wrong I ended up getting "target" on all the areas and ended up passing and being told I had a "solid" portfolio. Another HUGE relief. Portfolio is done, reviewed and approved! In addition, I turned in my last paper of grad school ever! I had to analyze how my teaching worked for two student and then reflect. Ohhhh, it's so good to be DONE.
I have so much left to learn but I am determined to get my head back on straight and focus on what the calling is -- to work with kids in a low-incidence program. This program was a stepping stone (a very long, hard and time consuming stone!) but one that is now over and allows me to do what I have wanted to do since my trip to Mexico in 2009. (read about that here) I never in a million years would have thought I'd have completed my masters...just completing my associates agree was a huge success but I did it. Graduation is set for June 23 and there is no way I'd miss the chance to come back and walk in cap and gown to receive my diploma. :) Until then, I'm off to find a job doing what I've been called to do!