Of course, you’ll never see #stillhaventearnedmyGED

Although I have been a teacher for, essentially, my entire life, I have only considered myself an academic researcher relatively recently. Specifically, for the past 4-ish years, I have been researching students who are trying to earn their GEDs. While I was working on my Ed.D. at Baylor University, I was teaching mathematics and language arts GED-preparation courses at the same time. I was able to tailor every class project to help me in my goal of understanding what holds GED-seeking students back from earning their GEDs.

I’m sharing this because I speak with students every day who tell me why they need to keep taking preparation courses, for example. However, their reasons are based on assumptions, which are often incorrect.

As you may or may not know, there is a lot of shame and secrecy around someone not having graduated from high school, unfortunately. As a researcher, that makes it a little tricky to find answers to my many questions.

For one class project I turned to the hashtags of Instagram hoping to gain a little insight. However, no one is ever going to post #stillhaventearnedmyGED.

I did check, of course, because I’m a nerd like that.

Instead, I searched for the celebratory posts:

I first congratulated then messaged 30 IGers to ask if they’d be willing to share what helped them complete all four sections.

I adapted this from a project from my “Social Foundations of Education” course.

I was fortunate enough to start many conversations from many kind people willing to chat with me for a while.

Tied for first: “I wanted to make ______________ proud.” The most common answers were “my mom,” “my grandma,” and “my kids.”

There’s something especially interesting about this being one of the most common responses reported by students after they have crossed the finish line. They reflected on their success and reported that they did it for someone else.

Remember, I am trying to help those students who seem to be unable to move forward with the tests. In contrast to the success stories I tracked down on Instagram, I have found that many students create a cycle of taking preparation classes. They never take any official section of the test. Those students rarely go on to take the test because they lose their motivation when their primary goal is to earn it to make someone else proud. On the other hand, after some coaching and once they realize and discover their internal motivation, they can often overcome the slump of taking repeated classes.

So, what is the point of this post?

If you’ve read this far, I’m guessing you either 1.) don’t have your GED yet and want it, 2.) you know and love someone who wants to earn the GED, or 3.) you just love me so much you want to support me and my quest to help the world. Or maybe you’re procrastinating from doing your work.

  1. If you don’t have your GED yet and you want some help–no matter your motivation–call me. Each person is different, but identifying your motivation is something we can discuss to help give you some clarity on why you want to get this credential once and for all. Email me. Message me. Whatever. It’s free…ish. Okay, it’s free, but the primary “cost” is that you show up.
  2. Do you know someone who has been “stuck” in the process of getting the GED accomplished? Please feel free to share my information. In my experience, it has to be the student’s idea for it to really stick, but pointing your person in the right direction can often help. Sometimes a pep talk from an objective coach can go a long way.
  3. Dear friend, thank you for the love. If you feel so inclined, subscribe to this blog, share this post, or buy your favorite teacher a gift from my small Etsy shop. Now, get back to work. 😉

xoxo, Dr. Andie

andrea.bacle@gmail.com or 508.768.5808

“I need my GED ASAP!”

When I first start working with a new GED-hopeful student, I always ask,

“What’s your timeline? When do you need this completed?”

Ninety-nine times out of one hundred, students tell me they need to earn it as quickly as they can,

or

“I have to have this done by the end of the year” or

“Can I finish it by the end of the month?” or

“AS SOON AS POSSIBLE!”

I can only think of one student who said she was taking her time, which made sense because she had been enrolled in GED-preparation courses for twenty years. She was taking classes because she liked the feeling of being a student, going to class, and practicing fun math problems.

Also, I don’t say this to belittle any student or make anyone feel bad because–um, hello? That’s the dream life. I totally get it.

I say it to help you think about your own journey and what it means to be “studying for the GED.”

Taking another preparation course is a lovely way to FEEL like you’re moving the needle towards achieving that goal, but if you never take the test, it doesn’t move you any closer to the goal.

It’s like saying you need to walk to the store to buy some milk, only you get on the treadmill instead of the sidewalk to start the trek.

Sooo, how do you get to the store, so to speak? I work with coaching students to help them understand why they are often so fearful of taking the test. If that’s you, and you keep thinking something along the lines of, “For some reason, I think I’ll try to take the test when I’m ready,” call me.

I promise I can help you get to the underlying fear of what is holding you back.

However, my favorite professor at HGSE who taught me how to help people get through that stuck feeling also taught me that sometimes people need a technical fix.

Here is the technical fix I want you to use: create a backward plan from your goal.

I want you to write down a list. Yes, like every mathematics teacher you’ve ever had has told you to “show your work,” I want you to do it here, too.

1. Set the goal date to start your study plan.

2. Set the goal date to take the first test.

3. Set the goal date to earn your GED.

And, this is the most important part:

4. Set your goal for what you will do after you have finally achieved the success of earning your high school equivalency diploma.

After you have that list completed,

(It can be in pencil. You are certainly allowed to make changes. If you’re feeling especially brave, try it in pen.),

I want you to go to the next step.

Nope. Stop. I see you trying to get to the goods before you’ve done the work. Stop what you’re doing. Go get something to write with and put pencil to paper, listing those four items. I’ll wait.

Okay, the next step is to get out your calendar and work backward. Look at item #4.

4. Your goal for what you will do after you have finally achieved the success of earning your high school equivalency diploma. For example, you will enroll in your local community college classes after Winter break in January. You’ll want to meet with an advisor on campus about taking the placement tests around December 1. You’ll need your GED certificate or proof of completion.

3. Goal date to earn your GED. For example, you’ll want to have that finished a week before your meeting, which is around Thanksgiving, so you’ll need to back it up to around mid-November for your fourth and final test. Let’s say it takes you, on average, two attempts per section, and you want to take each section with two weeks in between. October will be dedicated to subject #3, September for #2, and August for #1. See how I am moving the dates in reverse to plan for each step?

2. Goal date to take the first test. For example, you might want one month after your study start date. If we follow this plan, you’ll want to take the first section of the real test on the first of August.

1. Goal date to start your study plan. Let’s say you want to study for eight weeks before you take the first test, you’ll want to start studying on the first of June.

So, six to seven months is a very rough, average plan to prepare for and take the test. Of course, there are exceptions, and I have a handful of students complete it very quickly. On the flip side, most of my students take longer than that–NOT BECAUSE THEY CAN’T DO IT, THOUGH. They take longer because they don’t have a solid plan, or they let themselves get sidetracked and let other things in life come first.

I would love to help you come up with a timeline that works for your life and goals. Email or call me, and we can do a quick Zoom meeting to talk about it.

I hope this helps you come up with a realistic plan to finally earn your GED. If you’ve read this far, I know you’re ready. I’m here to help. Also, this feels like such a serious post with no humor. I guess that’s because I’m serious about helping people achieve this goal once and for all. I’ve met so many women that have had this guilt/shame/chore hanging over their heads for the majority of their lives. But, just to lighten the mood, I’ll end with my favorite math joke in case you doubt my love for nerdy math life. Ready?

Parallel lines have so much in common. It’s too bad they’ll never meet.

xo, Dr. Andie

andrea.bacle@gmail.com or 508.768.5808

“Am I too old to get the GED?”

I have been coaching women for several years. Specifically, I have primarily worked with mothers who finally have the time for themselves now that their youngest kids are in school full time. But, they are worried that they have waited too long. One woman told me she Googled, “Am I too old to get my GED?” when she was first thinking about going back to school.

One of my amazing students just completed the final test section to become a GED graduate this week. I told her, “20 years is fantastic; it’s better than 21 years!”

I have studied and researched students who have been trying to earn their GEDs for years, often for decades. If you think you might be too old today, I’ve got some bad news for you, my dear. You are going to be just a little bit older tomorrow. Ten years from now? Yep, you’ll be ten years older.

Don’t let another decade go by. Let’s get your GED now.

Let’s do it together. I am here to help you. Don’t wait because the other bad news is that I am also going to be older tomorrow!

I understand some of the underlying fears that hold people back. One of the fears is thinking that we are too old to do something new. Our culture often collectively assumes that the GED is for a younger population. When I tell people that I teach GED-seeking adults, they almost always assume that my students are 18-ish years old. In fact, my students typically range between 30 and 60 years old. If you’re older than 60, please call so I can increase that age range!

If you have recently thought, “I should try to get my GED,” you are ready now. Don’t wait.

Call, text, or email today if you’d like my help to make a plan. If you don’t want to contact me, there are so many resources available to you. Call your local community college or Google “free GED classes near me” or “free GED classes online.”

You’ve already taken the first step. KEEP GOING. I don’t even know you, and I’m proud of you already.

xo, Dr. Andie

andrea.bacle@gmail.com or 508.768.5808

beyond content

Hey, hey! If there is one thing I have learned about helping students with the GED, the best way I can help is moving beyond math skills. So many of my students have benefitted from GED coaching, where we talk about self-confidence and the fear of taking the test of what holds someone back from moving forward.

If you would like to schedule a free one-on-one coaching session with me, give me a call or email.

In the meantime, when you have 20 minutes, watch the following TED Talk about using the power of breathing to reduce your anxiety.

xo,

Andrea

508.768.5808 or andrea.bacle@gmail.com

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4Lb5L-VEm34

If you are looking for additional resources about breathing techniques for anxiety, check out this book: Breathwork.

This post may contain affiliate links. Any purchase you make from these links will go towards helping GED-seeking students achieve their goals. Thank you.

How do I get my GED?

Hi, friends! Have you registered for your account at GED.com yet? It’s quick and easy and necessary. When you are ready to take an official practice test or an official section of the test, you have to sign up for it through the website.

While there are many out there, this is a link to my favorite GED preparation book: LINK HERE.

How do I get my GED?

Call or email if you have questions. Best of luck–you’ve got this!

Andrea

508.768.5808 or andrea.bacle@andreabacle

This post may contain affiliate links. Any purchase you make from these links will go towards helping GED-seeking students achieve their goals. Thank you.

sleep research

Hey, friends. I have been doing a lot of research about the connection between sleep and learning. (Check out Dr. Walker’s book if you want to dig in for yourself.) We probably all know that we should sleep more for a variety of health benefits. I have recently learned about the significant research that explains the connection to learning new material and sleep.

Bottom line: In order to retain new material, your brain needs adequate sleep after learning to sift through the information and commit it to memory.

I know many of us are chronically sleep-deprived. HOWEVER, while you are in test preparation mode, please make sleep a priority. Make a plan to come to class well rested and a plan to have a good night’s sleep after learning new material. You will thank yourself on test day!

This post may contain affiliate links. Any purchase you make from these links will go towards helping GED-seeking students achieve their goals. Thank you.

secrets to GED success

  1. Get an accountability partner or small group
    •  check in with your partner once a week at the same time
    •  check in whenever one of you misses class
      • Ask: What did I miss? What is the homework? What should I study before next class?
  2. Come to class. If or when you miss class, contact me to let me know what’s going on and what you should work on to make up for the missed time.
  3. Practice the skills you learned in class outside of class.
    •  look for examples of real-world math
    •  watch Khan Academy videos covering the subject we discussed in class
  4. Use the GED book to take practice tests and practice test problems. At a minimum, work out two GED practice test problems EVERY DAY.