Tuesday, January 19, 2010

The buzkill of the century, or where I get my career aspirations murdered.

With such an optimistic title, aren't you all excited to read on? lol

Anyway, so yesterday after class I had to go into my teacher's office to fill out the paperwork on my background, personal information, etc. for the school to have on file. It was then that I discussed with her my current academic status (fyi: my Master's program will be finished by October or so this year, complete with subject endorsements for teaching) and my career aspirations here in Norway...she listened, then gave a blatant "ouch" face and explained the hoops I will have to hand form, set on fire, then leap through to be able to teach high school English here...

Then I made an "owie" face back, and stifled the urge to break into tears.

So pretty much, my hardcore studying, hundreds and hundreds of US dollars, and high test scores on exams like the GRE, and WEST-B/-E (the Washington state teaching exams) were totally pointless.

Neato, huh?

So by the time my graduate program is finished, I will not "most likely" have to take any more schooling myself to teach, but I will have to send all my transcripts to the national education office in Oslo, have them evaluate my qualifications and make sure they're ample enough, then, and here's the scary part folks: they will pass their judgment on which level of the Bergen Exam I will be required to pass in order to shape young Weegie minds.

The Bergen Exam is (from what I understand) much like the TOEFL back in the states, and if one is educated, even to the pHD level from foreign institution(s) they have to pass either level two, or level three of this exam before they will be applicable for hire in the field of education, health care, and other socially integral occupations.

Oh, and the Bergen Exam, in the words of my teacher:
"Is very difficult, the third level is the hardest, and many Norwegians cannot pass it the first few tries. It consists of a written/grammar section, conversation/oral section, and a reading comprehension section." (say this quote in your head in a British-Weegie accent, as many Weegies sound a bit limey when they speak English, some more than others, usually indicating they studied abroad)
To which I replied, shell-shocked:
"So, if I attend classes four days a week here indefinitely, how soon do you think I could pass that test and start teaching? Could I still make the 2010 - 2011 academic year, even halfway through?"
"Oh no!" my teacher almost laughed when she said this next part: "If you were in classes four days a week all through 2010, maybe you could try the exam January of 2011 and pass...maybe...but it's really hard, dear."
"So, there's no way I can start working this calendar year in a school?" I choked out in reply.
She just shook her head.

Enter emo-Kirstin that left the school with blasting slit-your-wrists music on her iPod, who let a few tears slip out before I got back to our driveway.

Redemption from such a bummed out mood at realizing I'll be sitting on my ass for the next calendar year, just doing homework and keeping house until I'm good enough to get my very own classroom o' Weegie teens, came in the form of a volleyball game.

A bit odd, I warrant you that what lifted my mood was a volleyball match, but still, at least something did! Every Monday evening from 9:00 - 11:00 p.m. (or thereabouts) there's open Volleyball practice that locals can come to just to play around in the junior high gym across the street. There was a turnout of about twenty of us, the youngest being a handful of high school girls, and the oldest being 50-somethings that might very well have been the younger girls fathers/uncles, etc.
Even though I had not played in literally about twelve years (I was on my elementary school grade 5-6 team, impressed?), I did pretty damn good! Not to brag or anything, but I ended up scoring a few points, landed the ball over the net a few times on my own, and got back the bruises at the base of my thumbs that I remember having ages ago...

So, even though I might never actually get a job here in my new country but instead be doomed to a life of homework and cleaning (granted, neither of which I ordinarily mind, being a bit of a homebody), I'm just going to try and keep on truckin', to use a God-awful euphemism, and not give up my career dream, no matter what country I'm in, or what exams I have to clear to get there...