I got up at 5am to-day for a 7:30am appointment at San Diego State University to take the CBEST--a test required for anyone looking to work in education in California. I feel like I passed but I won't know for sure until two weeks from now. I'll actually be really surprised if I didn't--it was very easy. Fifty reading comprehension questions, fifty math questions, and two essays, all multiple choice except for the essays. The reading questions were just dead simple, I had some trouble with the math questions, of course, but even those were mostly a breeze, even without a calculator.
Calculators weren't permitted in the room. Neither was anything else with an on and off switch including cell phones. We were warned of this on the web site and the e-mail containing the ticket to the test but of course there were around fifteen people in the room who brought their cell phones anyway. One girl brought out what looked like a deck of iphones and cameras and said, without a trace of irony, "Does that include these?"
The same girl had also informed the teacher that she thought she was signing up for the online version of the test, which was sixty dollars compared to the forty dollars this on site test costs. I could see the two staff members administering the test didn't quite know how to respond to the girl--I say "girl" and mean it, she couldn't have been older than twenty. I wondered how she had gotten to the campus thinking she was taking the online version of the test.
The prohibition on electronic devices was so complete that people weren't allowed to wear hats (I had to stow mine under my seat) or have plastic water bottles that weren't completely transparent. The two staff members had us wait ten minutes for any stragglers to enter the room and one of them asked if anyone in the room had any good jokes to share. I asked, "Have ever seen someone smuggle a camera in their hat or water bottle?"
"No," she said, "but it must have happened if they have these rules."
"Just wait until you get someone with Google Glass," I said, "who raises a row about their human rights. That'll be a good joke."
I wonder if I'm breaking any rules if I talk about the content of the essay questions. The first one asked for the person taking the test to provide a critical opinion on a subject--it turned out to be on technology used by parents to block their children's access to certain media content (I was against it). The second asked for a personal anecdote. It asked the person taking the test to relate an instance where they were pleasantly surprised by a friend or family member. I asked myself, "Does anything surprise me anymore?" I ended up writing about a Christmas present cryptess sent me a few days ago, a package containing books and rice and quinoa pasta and various other things. Which was nice of her.
If I pass this test, I'll be able to work as a substitute teacher. Which might be a nice way of proliferating my corruptive influence now and again.