Saturday, September 03, 2005

LAST & ATS-W

I have been remiss in describing my experience writing both the LAST and ATS-W on the same day, and interest prevents me from going into any great detail. Suffice it to say that I found the effort significant to the point of describing it as an ordeal. By the time I was on my third hour of the ATS-W (the more difficult of the two—by far) I was having difficulty making it through the final essay question.

I found the LAST to be rather easy, but I'm the first to admit that it is the kind of test that appeals to me, the kind of thing that I tend to rather well on. The essay question required an argument to be made, either pro or con, on the subject of monetary fines to parents for their children's truancy. The position taken did not matter as much as the style of writing and ability to structure an essay.

The ATS-W was far trickier. It required an ability to figure out what the test writer's intentions were—intentions which were far more opaque for me than on any of the practice exams that I wrote or looked through. The essay question required a defense of creating a safe learning environment, along with two descriptions for how safety can be promoted in a classroom setting at the grade level I intend to teach. Not a simple question, but the structure was laid out in the question and a reasonable bit of planning lead me to a decent answer (considering almost eight hours of test writing that day).

So, the bottom line is that September 20th will bring news that I can hopefully forward on to D'Youville and be one step closer to certification. On that subject, today I sent by post my Ontario College of Teachers application form and various documents required to begin the application process. I have transcripts to send, D'Youville to corral, and placements to complete before I can consider this final phase in this process complete.

So, this marks the end of the theory portion of my teacher education and the beginning of the applied. I begin my first placement at a local middle school in a grade 8 classroom. As part of the practicum process, I am keeping a daily response and reflection journal, which is eventually submitted as part of the evaluation for both my practica. I intend to continue to use the space to that end; however, I'm unsure of how I will handle the publishing at this point. I'm considering adding some security features to the site in order to protect some of my personal information, especially considering the level of technology and media savvy I've witnessed from students. I am also concerned about the privacy of the students and teachers I will be writing about. But please stay tuned—I'll update on my decisions either way.