Monday, May 28, 2007

Published - and Paid For It!

On June 15th, my first paid fiction publication will be out. You can purchase a copy here (if you want to) or just check out where I'm being published:

Postscript, June 21: The info for the new magazine is up, and you can find it here:

Feel free to buy a copy and show to your friends.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

The Joy of Standardized Testing

I signed up to take the Mass Tests for Educator Licensure. Once passed, coupled with my BA (either one of them) I will be eligible for a preliminary teacher's license, which will let me teach here in Mass. If I can find a job, though given the continual teacher shortage I think that shouldn't be too much of a problem. No guarantees that it will be in Boston, but we'll see what comes.

Yesterday was test day. I've been studying, more for the second test which is actually based on subject matter knowledge. The first test is a basic literacy test (which isn't quite what they call it but that's what it was). I picked up a study guide for both tests, though quickly realized that my time would be better spent studying just for the subject matter test. The study guide for the literacy test was designed to be an eight-week process, and after the first day I'd breezed through weeks 1-4 in an afternoon. Mostly it was the kind of vocabulary questions they asked on the SAT. Not the GRE, mind you, but the SAT.

The test yesterday turned out to be even easier than the study guide. There were some grammar questions that were a little tricky, but overall I wasn't worried. I finished in good time, and then got lunch. During the break I made the mistake of doing a little shopping, which was a mistake because going in and out of the bright sunshine into darkly lit stores (like the one for my watch battery) brought on a migraine. I had my meds with me, but this one was bad enough that it hit me through the meds. If I hadn't had them taking the test would have probably been impossible, but as it was I was fine. Other than a mild pain and some equally mild nausea.

Or that may have been from the second test. I am VERY glad I studied, but even so a number of the questions were either a: obscure enough that they were nearly impossible to study for or b: arguable enough that I really don't think they belonged in a multiple-choice format. But they were. Always for the questions two of them were clearly wrong, and for the most part that kept me from blindly guessing. I would have preferred a lot more "world" in the world history section (more questions on Asia would have been a big help) but as usual world history was mostly defined by what happened in Europe.

(And my position on that is: largely nothing happened. One empire after another, an endless - boring - succession of kings and the occasional queen, and the odd crusade and/or inquisition. That's it.)

Fortunately there were two essays, although that second essay was not only on Europe but Europe in the time frame I now very little about other than the Crusades: the early Middle Ages. Formerly known as the Dark Ages, for those of you not keeping up with historical naming trends. The only things I know about this time period are garnered from old Monty Python movies, which were oddly helpful enough.

I walked out of the first test feeling very confident, and out of the second one less so. To the best of my knowledge I just need to pass the test - and I'm not sure the scores are weighted or anything. I assume so, but the website didn't quite say. I have to wait a month for my scores anyway... which is a little nerve-wracking. This was the first standardized test I've taken since the GRE in 1999 so I was a little apprehensive anyway.

It was also the first time I'd been inside an American high school since... well, probably since shortly after graduation. Wandering through the halls I had a moment remembering just how little I actually liked high school - and wondering if finding a career there was the best move - but it was a little late at that point. Besides, the front of the classroom is far more rewarding and I do enjoy teaching. Though perhaps I should have considered primary education a little more strongly.