Letters to War June 24, 2003: The Teaching Test Troubles

******This post is part of the Real Army Wives series which runs every Monday on storiesofourboys.com. The series follows our journey through the 1st year of the Iraq war, 2003-2004. **********


June 24, 2003

Dear Alan,

……Operation Iraq is getting more news time now. The big issue is the mounting amount of coalition troop deaths since the official end of the war. Just this week there were at least 6 British troops killed, and American lives are constantly lost.

Two more were reported yesterday, and each time I hear of it–it’s just awful. I mean not only could that be us (God willing it won’t be), but I feel so awful for those families. I’ve thought about how I would feel and what I would do– Oh!! So terrible! I feel so bad for those families.

I had my teacher certification test today! What a day!

Well, I slept later than I planned, first of all. By ten I was on my way to Waco, about to stop in Belton to pick up Siobhan, who was going to ride with me. Well, then I realized I’d forgotten my test ticket, which you have to have!

But we had planned to go early, so I was okay. Siobhan went on without me, and I circled back home for my ticket and still made it to Waco at 1:00 — 30 minutes before the test.

So I’m looking at my ticket–and I realize–my test is in AUSTIN! (It was given in both cities, but you have to take it at the site you are registered for.

Aughhhh!!! So I go in to ask the administrators what to do. Well, I was so early they weren’t there yet, so I hopped back in the Blazer and drove 90 mph to Austin, and I made it in an hour–very good time.

I was so afraid they wouldn’t let me take it, being so late. But they did. They were even nice about it.

But, Alan, that test was HARD! I just hope I passed. You have to get 80% right to pass!

Well, I was planning to go to Stephanie’s BBQ afterwards, but she cancelled it. But Cloe, Elsie, and Sarah all dropped by unplanned. That was a lot of fun. Sarah and Cloe stayed until 10pm.

Oh! And while I was in Austin the guys next door cut my  our grass! Yay!

Well, that’s about all the news. North Korea situation isn’t looking good.

I love you, Alan. You’re my lobster.





Kayla, Heather, Cloe, Elsie, & me, watching movies at Cloe’s house. Cloe was on the phone, which is perfect because it always seemed like Cloe managed to talk to her husband way more than the rest of us did.


Around the first of May, I’d started teacher certification school.

Anyone with a bachelor’s degree could enroll, take the “highly qualified” teacher exam, and apply for a probationary teacher certification. My degree was in psychology, but if I completed the course, passed the exam, and taught for one complete year in a Texas school, I could have a teaching certificate.

In the meantime, I was an intern.

Teacher training helped me to pass the time with something other than board games and t.v. watching, so I suppose that was good. It gave me a goal to work towards, even if it was a goal I wasn’t particularly excited about.

The first month of teaching classes were in a large class of about 50 adult students. I was probably the youngest one there, having only just graduated that year, and having graduated a semester early at that.


We did learn all sorts of teaching strategies I would have never dreamed up otherwise, but we never learned how to teach a child to read. It was immensely helpful, but it certainly didn’t compare to a 4-year-teaching degree.

The second month of teaching school was broken into grade levels. I was signed up to be a 4th-8th grade teacher, so we were all put together. That brought the class size down to around 20. For that class, we focused mostly on math skills so that we could all pass this intermediate teaching exam.

It was a good thing, too. The teaching exam was no joke, especially on math.

I won’t make you wait, as I had to wait. I’ll go ahead and tell you that I did pass the test, and then my job hunt was on.

Never did it occur to me at the time that the whole botched test location was perhaps a sign that I should pursue a career I actually wanted, rather than one that just seemed easy to obtain.

Isn’t it funny how sometimes all the signs are right in front of us, but we don’t see them?

Was I praying about this decision? I don’t remember, honestly.

Looking back at this letter to Alan, it looks like the Lord telling my guardian angel to attempt to spare me this giant face-scrape on the sidewalk I was headed for.

“Hide her ticket. Take her to the wrong city. Gracious, don’t let her die while she’s driving so ridiculously fast trying to get somewhere she doesn’t even belong…”

Sometimes you just have to fall flat on your face to see more clearly, to snap out of your stupor.

July and August were a series of huge mistakes for me, mistakes that affected more than just myself, ones I regretted for years afterward. But, oh, how I grew!

I’ve heard it said, and you know it’s true: More people would learn from their mistakes, if they weren’t so busy denying them.

I’m not going to deny my mistakes here. Instead, I want to share them so perhaps you can learn from them too, but you’ll have to come back next Monday for my next big mistake. It actually had nothing to do with teaching.

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