GRE Study Hell

Clip art licensed from the Clip Art Gallery on
Clip art licensed from the Clip Art Gallery on

When I took the SAT and nearly all of my teacher certification test I reviewed but didn’t study. It wasn’t something I did in those days. I tried for the certification exams, but couldn’t make myself do it. I was rewarded for my lack of preparation with passing scores.  I never had to retake any of them. Mind you I could have done so much better if I had studied.

Now, the GRE looms over me. And I am studying like my life depends on it.

Four days until I take the test.

A test that will determine whether I make my goal of beginning grad school this summer or if it is delayed.  A test determines my future just like the FCAT and PERT shape the future of my students.

Irony, I hear you laughing.

I am panicked and nervous. My future based on a test. I can take it again if I don’t score high enough for another $187.00. I won’t be able to afford that until the school year begins again.  So my entrance in to grad school would be delayed until the spring.

Goals are important. Measures of intelligence are important to society, the bar much be reached to go on to the next level. The cost associated with the bar is ridiclous. Society assumes that you have the money and if you have made mistakes and don’t well then try harder. You suck. It doesn’t matter why you don’t have the money all that matters is that you have it and can afford the next life step. I hate this. No matter how hard I work I can never cease to escape the power of the almighty dollar or my lack of financial aptitude.  The pressure that is place on an individual trying to reach for their dreams is immense; especially when reminders of their mistakes swing back around faster than a boomerang.

And it is all worth it. Worth the struggle and the frustration. Do I wish things were easier? Yes, but wishing in a moment doesn’t mean that I actually want the world to work that way.

Getting a masters since my Hogwarts' letter never came.
Getting a masters since my Hogwarts’ letter never came.

Sometimes the way the world works is the way it is suppose to work. Things don’t always need changing.

In the next year, I intend to start grad school and publish my first book.  I may be on plan XYZ by then, but I am not stopping until I succeed.

But reaching for it and failing isn’t permanent unless I give up.

The End is Nigh…

Or so I hope.

The weekend was not as productive as I had hoped. Sleep over took most of it. There was some editing and housework in between naps.

Bring my novella to a conclusion has proven far harder than I imagined and that is without the cold or the impending state testing.  My students have FCAT Writes on Tuesday. It is a nerve racking day for all involved.  All the work we have done all year will be judged in one hour. Scary isn’t it, given the number of factors involved that one day determines so much.

But, that is life. You work for months if not years on a project and then in a blink of an eye your work is judged by others who have no idea about the process or the struggle involved. All that matters is the end product.

When I finish Blood Child all that will matter is whether the story is a good one. The results of my work won’t be known for months after I am finished and Blood Child is published.  My students will get their results by May.  Good luck, kids. I know you will do your best. Just like your teacher.


Play Nice

It is late on a Friday night and I am living the dream; writing in my undies and enjoying an adult beverage.   Heaven right?

Okay, maybe not for you, but this fourth week of school has been pretty rough.  The kids are finally getting into their routines, relationships between teachers and students are being squared away and there is the temptation  to go easy on them.  A growing urge just to give into my own fatigue and let things slide.  I am not the only teacher who feels this way; especially this year.

Teachers have been under assault in this country for some time.  We are just one piece in the puzzle of why American students are not performing at the level that they need to be.

Schools are tasked with improving test scores and preparing students for the future, but we can’t do it alone.  Add to this the economy’s slow climb to recovery and a great deal of the nation’s teachers are at their wits end.  We are exhausted before the day even begins.

One of the principles that was drilled into me over and over again in teacher training courses is that the word isn’t fair, but schools are the one place were we should try and make things fair.  How is it fair that a high school teacher busting her or his arse  to teach students who arrive in the classroom years behind grade level should be punished because after six months of instruction they are not on grade level?  It isn’t.

Fair is the mythical condition where everyone gets what the need, not what they think they deserve, or an equal share of the pie.

The world isn’t fair and it isn’t going to suddenly transform into a utopia over night.  So the least, we as human beings can do, is play nice.

Seriously, play nice. Stop the b.s. and play nice.  A friend of mine was attacked the other day for being an e-book author.  Really, why? He is taking advantage of a growing trend in writing  to get his work out of the hard drive and into then hands of readers.

Yes, electronic books and e-readers have changed the book market, but you know what? People are still buying physical books. Independent authors finally have a forum where they can get their book out there and into the hands of readers. Not every book has a mass appeal.

Book publishing is a complex business and e-books allow authors to find what they really want~ readers.  I have personally love the majority of e-books that I read.  The price allows me to explore more books than I would be able to purchase in a book store, even a used one.

I love the authors I have read, but like me and teaching, they get the rougher end of the deal.  They are criticized at every turn.  Authors deserve more money for all of their hard work. They are one of the few professions who make less than a  teacher does an hour; when you look at the time it actually takes to write, edit and publish a book. Oh, yes, and promote it.

So play nice.  Independent authors would love to write full time, but most can’t afford to, even if they are extremely talented.  It isn’t fair especially when they give us so much in return.