To become a licensed Spanish teacher in the state of Michigan (and to student teach in Spanish and graduate from my university with a degree in Spanish-secondary education) one must first pass an exam called the Oral Proficiency Interview with a minimum grade of “Advanced-Low.” To this end, I took this exam by computer back in December. I felt that the interview went well and relaxed.
However, a few days later, I found out that the recording had failed; it had simply cut out halfway through the interview. I had to retake the exam on only a few hours notice. I was shaken. But I did it.
This time, I did not feel that the exam went well. In fact, after taking the exam, I went to the bathroom and wept. I knew that my dream had died…or at least had been deferred. Within 30 hours, my fears had been confirmed. I had gotten “Intermediate-High” on my exam. In other words, I had not done well enough to continue on to student teaching.
When the Modern Languages Administrator called me to tell me this, she told me that perhaps this was an opportunity to do something new and unplanned. Well, I was five classes from an English degree, so I registered for those five classes and I’m taking them right now.
But I decided (after much internal debate) that I was going to take the OPI again. I had to wait at least 90 days from December 16 when I last took it. Btu I was going to do it again. As one of my friends tells me frequently, “You’ve already passed it once. The recording just didn’t go through. Therefore, if you take it again you will pass it because you can do it.”
The OPI has essentially become a dragon in my life. I need to slay it more for personal reasons than for professional reasons. I need to know that I can pass this. So, a few weeks ago, I received permission from the Spanish department to retake the OPI. This time, we’re doing it by phone because I don’t trust the computer anymore.
I submitted my application and payment. Those were accepted. Then I chewed on my fingers for a couple of days while I waited to get my test date. Friday afternoon, I got the email: Thursday, April 7, 2011 at 2:30 PM. That is Go-Time.
So I’ve been asking different people to pray for me. And I have been asking various Saints (St. Teresa of Jesus, St. Catherine of Alexandria, St. Michael, St. George, St. John of the Cross, St. Philomena, and the Virgin of the Pillar, just to name a few) for their intercession in this matter.
Then, this morning, I went to Mass in one of my favorite churches on earth. As I knelt before Mass praying for success on my OPI, I looked up at the Crucifix. It’s Lent, a time when we think more about the Passion than we do the rest of the year. Looking at the Crucifix in the sanctuary at CTK, I am always reminded of the agony and suffering that Christ endured during those three hours on the Cross.
And as I looked at that Cross, I remembered something. The Incarnation is the greatest miracle in human history. God became man, lived a humble, lowly life, spent three years traveling around preaching to people who didn’t want to hear what he had to say, and then suffered and died to save a race of ungrateful humans from their sins. God became Man and died…and then he rose from the dead to become “the firstborn of the dead.” All of that was to save us. That was the greatest miracle.
And a thought occurred to me, if I believe in miracles (which I do), why don’t I ask for one?
I know that I can (and will) get an Advanced-Low. That is what I, Cecilia, a human being can do. But what can Cecilia+Christ do?
I felt God telling me that since I believe in miracles, I should pray for advanced-medium.
Okay, God, let’s do it.