I Failed My Teaching Certification Exam…AGAIN

They said “third time’s the charm” but I guess my brain didn’t get the memo. I failed my Florida Teacher Certification Exam (FTCE) AGAIN for the 3rd time. I must admit, the first two times, I DID NOT STUDY so I wasn’t too surprised but this third time … man, I must be dumber than a bucket of rocks.

Let’s Rewind!

For those of you that don’t know, I’ve been a teacher in Florida for 4 years. My first year, I taught in Tampa and was fortunate enough to teach 2nd grade even though that wasn’t the grade level I was eligible to teach. I don’t know how things work where you are but in Florida, if your Bachelor’s Degree is not in Education and you’re interested in being a teacher, you can complete an application with the Florida Department of Education (FDOE) and send over your official transcripts to be evaluated for a potential subject you can teach in temporarily for 3 years.

My degree is in Interdisciplinary Social Sciences so it only made sense for me to be eligible to teach Social Science/Studies grades 6-12. Due to some unforeseen circumstances my first year, I ended up having to teach 2nd grade instead of 7th grade Civics but at the end of that year, I took the FTCE in Social Studies to get my professional certificate because my school requested me to and I FAILED.

So, my 2nd, 3rd, and 4th years of teaching, I actually taught middle & high school Social Studies. During that time, I was getting exposed to the material that I would be seeing on the actual FTCE for my subject area. Towards the end of my 4th year, I took the test because it was going to expire and I was hoping I would pass. I don’t know why because I didn’t study for that one either but I was banking on the fact that I taught Social Studies for 3 consecutive years so at this point, I’m an expert. LIES!!!! I FAILED AGAIN!

This time, I had no excuses. I waited until I was done with my Masters degree program to actually put in the effort to study. I studied for about a month and then studied more intensely the two weeks leading up to the exam. There is so much content. I’m literally being tested on the history of the entire world. It’s overwhelming to be honest.

Nonetheless, I went in with my head held high and shot my best shot. The questions on the test looked familiar. I sat there thinking “I actually know this stuff.” I took almost the entire 2 hours to complete the 119 question exam. I was writing down notes and everything. I do want to point out that multiple choice tests are not my thing. I overthink, over analyze, and then get anxiety when it’s test time. I’m more of a writer. You tell me to write an 8-page paper on the history of the world and why it’s important, I GOT YOU! You ask me to complete a multiple choice test and I’m struggling to remember what the date is.

Anywho, I finished the test and waited for my unofficial results that tell you PASS or NOT PASS. I looked at my sheet the proctor gave me — NOT PASS! I was shooketh. SHOOKETH I TELL YA!!! But I wasn’t mad. I figured, in due time, I’ll pass. Had to give myself a pep talk “go back to the drawing, keep up the good work.” Now I’m waiting for the official results to come out so I can see what my actual score was to see how close to passing I actually was.

I say all that to say this: To those interested in teaching in Florida, you will have to take a subject area exam. There is no way around this. Trust me, I tried to find it. I advise you to take it in a subject you’re interested in and/or really good at. I’m interested in History/Social Studies but to be honest, the test is just too much. How can you test someone on the history of the world?

To the creators of the Social Science FTCE, have you considered separating the tests in the segments you test on? For instance, you test us on geography, political science, economics, world history, & us history. Why not make those into their own individual tests giving teachers the OPTION to certify in more than one area? Because honestly, I don’t know if I’ll take the test again. It’s overwhelming and it costs too much to keep retaking it.

Either way, I encourage current and prospective educators to truly consider if this is the career path for them because at times, it is going to feel like your going in head first into a brick wall. These tests are truly humbling and your bank account may look sick. Nonetheless, keep your head up and do the damn thang!



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