After leaving CSUS I attended Simpson College in Redding, Ca.

I attended Simpson for a few reasons.

1) I wasn’t about to stay in Sacramento and take remedial English, and Art History in addition to my Teacher preparation courses.
2) I would save money. Simpson was located IN Redding, and I could live at home. After 3 years of excitement in Sacramento, home sounded pretty nice.
3) It was a shorter program by about 6 months.
4) I could student teacher at my old high school, which is something I always wanted to do.

Getting into the program, as I mentioned was fairly easy. I applied, got an interview, and was accepted. The only problem was trying to figure out what type of program I had been in at Sacramento.

When you go into a credentialing program there’s 2 routes you can take

Route 1-You take your course work, and take a subject competency test for your specific subject. This is what a lot of Science, Math, English, and History teachers do to get their credential.

Route 2-A waiver program. It basically says you’ve take an extra amount of coursework in substitution of taking a test.

I had no idea if CSUS was a waiver program, or relied on using state tests. I needed to find out however. I of course preferred the waiver option. It would mean no test. I didn’t like tests.

I went down to CSUS one afternoon, and wandered around for a couple hours trying to find out if we were on a waiver program, or not. Nobody could tell me. I called Simpson College and told them my situation. They said if I could get a document with the official CSUS seal on it, signed by the Dean of Education saying I was in a waiver program, then that would be fine. That sounded hard.

I went to one of the main offices at CSUS, and told them I needed something on “official” paper, saying that CSUS Art dept. was on a waiver program, and sort of explained my situation. The lady kind of looked at me funny but went ahead and typed it out for me, and had the Dean sign it, and gave it to me. I turned it in to Simpson, they accepted it, and I was good to go. It was too easy.

To this day I don’t know if I completed an actual waiver program or not.

Simpson is a Christian college first and foremost. Their basic job is to educate missionaries, and future pastors. They decided that there was a great market for a Teacher Credentialing program as well, so they decided to offer one. My group was one of the first through the program.

The program was a total joke.

They made the first mistake of lumping all the elementary teachers in the same classes with all the secondary teachers. We’d spend a week or two sometimes learning how phonics are an important part of our students day.

When was the last time your high school english teacher taught phonics. The only high school kids who still learn phonics have other issues.

We spent time doing all sorts of little kid type activities. The primary educators out numbered the secondary edcucators by about 10 to 1, so of course all the lessons were geared towards preparing them, and we were told to “adapt” what we learned to our own level.

Sometimes the secondary students were given packets to read, and we were sent in other rooms to read these packets while the primary teachers had lectures and guest speakers. We weren’t getting the same quality of education as our fellow future educators, that was for sure.

I had a teacher for my Curriculum class named Mrs. Brooks. She was a nice lady, but for some reason she hated my soul. I think part of it had to do with the fact, I knew we were not being given the same bang for our buck as the primary teachers, and I made a point of making my views known whenever I could.

One instance we had to prepare a math lesson for primary kids. What this had to do with me teaching high school art was beyond me, but I did it. I showed some hip hop Sesame Street thing about the number 5, and gave out a lot of candy, and stuff in piles of 5. I made sure to use extra cheesy primary teacher voice for the whole thing.

“O.K kids, let’s count to 5 to-ge-ther!! oooone…..twooooo…..threeeee…four….FIVE!!! YAAAAY!”

The class thought it was great, Mrs. Brooks did not.

YOU CAN’T READ!!

One time she had this group come into show us a demonstration on what it was like to have a learning disability. These people put you in different groups, and gave different “activities” to perform. The problem was that one or two people in each group had different materials than the rest. One group would have a story to read aloud, and each person would be asked to read a specific section. One person’s section, had letters that were all mixed up, backwards, or on different levels. When they asked the person with this copy to read, of course, they had trouble.

To make it worse, the “teachers” made you feel bad for not being able to read this garble. This was supposed to simulate how some teachers can’t detect learning disabilities, so they get frustrated, angry, or just assume the kid is stupid. They of course had “teachers” playing angry, frustrated teacher, as well as paitient, kind teacher.

I saw this activity as totally unrealistic. The “kids” were all future teachers with BA degrees, who just sat there and took the abuse the “teachers” gave out.

This wasn’t real life.

In real life these are the kids who act out, and cause disruptions.

With the help of my friend Alan, I decided to help make the simulation more “real

The “teachers” would walk around your group and say things like
“Ok Jaimenacho, it’s your turn to read…please read the next section.”

Of course my section was jumbled letters, and made no sense. So we’d begin our “simulation”

“I can’t read this…it’s a bunch of jumbled letters.”
“What’s the matter? I asked you to read that section. Is it too hard for you?”
“No,it’s jumbled. I can read his paper, you didn’t jumble the letters on his.” I’d say pointing to my neoghbors packet.

This of course wasn’t what they wanted me to say.

“I’m more interested in you reading your own paper, and not your neighbors.”
“Well then you shouldn’t have given me one with jumbled letters.”
“Ok we’ll just give you some more time…pay attention to your friends as they read.”
The teacher would let others read and be very positive as they read out loud.

“Good Job Anna!!! nice reading. Did you see how well she did Jaime, and how she did that?”

“I bet you I could read her packet too.”

No response.

Alan would have a similar packet, on another table, and he’d have trouble reading his packet and I’d take the role of the bully.
“HAHA you can’t read. YOU’RE STUPID.”
“Shut your mouth grease FACE!!”
“Don’t call me GREASE-FACE illiterate freak!!”
“Be quiet, I’ll kick your rear.”
“FINE liet’s get it on, I’ll meet you behind the library. That’s the building with all those books you can’t read in it.”

We’d banter like this for a while; Slip each other nasty notes. Eventually the “teachers” got sick of it.

“Why don’t you go sit outside Jaime.”

The funniest part was they were seriously sick of me. I had totally ruined their “simulation”.

Of course I didn’t go outside. I went and hid under a table, and started throwing paper at people. Alan of course participated as well.

After awhile, the “teachers” ended the simulation. They tried to sum it up with as positive a spin as they could put on it. It was great, they looked so frazzled by the end of the thing. It made it more obvious how hard it was to teach kids like that. They didn’t even stick around for follow up questions. ANd everyone wanted to know how to deal with “kids” like us.

Of course this didn’t set well with my professor either.

She called me into a “meeting”

She called me unprofessional, and a few other names. She told me NO school would hire me. I wore jeans to class, and didn’t dress professionally, etc, etc. I tried to explain to her that what I wore to class, and to my job are totally unrelated. I also took my opportunity to let her know I was paying about 10 grand to be taught how to teach 1st grade. It became clear after about 5 minutes of our “meeting” that nothing would be resolved, so she excused me.

Just to make her mad I would wear Knit beanies to class the rest of the year.

JUST LIKE A PRAYER

Every class was begun by saying a prayer; which was fine. It was a Christian school first and foremost. I had no problem with saying a prayer before class. Unfortunately, Alan saw it as a moment of quiet time he could try and make me laugh. I would be there with my head bowed, and eyes closed ON purpose so I wouldn’t have to look in his direction. He’d always, grab my knee, shoulder, or do something stupid, and I’d be fighting back laughter. It was like this every day.

Overall I got a second rate education, for a first rate price. I didn’t learn anything about education that wasn’t basic common sense. I understood a lot about primary education, but very little about secondary education. I think however, the program has been drastically improved in the years that followed. I’d like to think we had something to do with that.