Friday, June 19, 2015

Welcome Back


Welcome Back


The title is mostly what I am telling myself, as it has been too long since I last wrote in a blog…or last time I wrote any of my thoughts down. My blogs in the past related to my college experiences or just incessant whining about the trivial – all boiling down to a remedy of being more faithful in the journey.
Current checkpoint: Married for almost 9.5 years. We have two children (5 yr. old daughter and a 5 mo. old son) that teach us so much everyday in the realm of patience and behavior modeling. I have been teaching for two years as a middle school math teacher in a small school district that is almost too long of a commute most days, with a few too long of commute days peppered throughout. I have the intention to write a reflection post soon regarding this last year of teaching. It will be a quick digest form because it would have been more beneficial to write about those days in the moment – but time is precious.
Current long term goals: Work on my masters in some form of instructional design – this is long term because there are many factors that will determine when this can be achieved, such as the financing piece. I’m still paying for the undergraduate leg of my post-secondary journey.
Short terms goals that might be long term, but getting closer to short term….: House. We have a home, but we have been in this rental for almost five years and we have acquired more stuff, plus a kid, plus the stuff that comes with the second kid… and we are at the point where we need to find a bigger place to accommodate all the aforementioned stuff/humans. Then the cost effectiveness of renting a larger place at a higher rate than the potentially smaller monthly rate of a mortgage payment. It might not be less, but at least some of it is going towards the principal of a home ownership investment as opposed to paying the principal for someone else’s investment/hobby/addiction/who knows. I need to find out how long the long term could be.
Short term goals: gain Special Education certification. gain EC-6 certification, revive this blog, refinish some of our sad 10+ year old furniture because I need to sense that we have some changes coming our way in regards to our living situation.
The goals can seem daunting – but as I tell my students in regards to math struggles and what I have been told in regards to our financial situation…you can eat an elephant…one forkful at a time*
Adieu
*Disclaimer: no elephants will be (directly) harmed in satisfying target goals

Friday, August 9, 2013

now what...

So I officially left Apple yesterday. I don't think the whole reality of leaving such an organization has hit me yet. I did try to sign in to double check my timecard and it produced "user is inactive" message. I sometimes feel like I didn't make a real impact especially to my co-workers, but I felt my time there was validated from a difficult moment two days ago. I was at the end of presenting my last workshop, and the attendees were in the process of gathering their belongings and a couple of them were asking when my next workshop was because they really enjoyed my classes - and I had to break the truth to them. They were both upset but happy because they say I'll make a great teacher.

I have to have those words resonate in my mind more often, because now I am trying to wrap my mind around the reality of school will start in about two weeks, I will meet some of my students and parents in exactly two weeks. I don't have access to my classroom yet, and I have no materials to get a classroom ready. I want to do a flipped classroom, so I have to organize all of those resources and start making videos, for the purpose of finding out the best way to make the videos. But before all of that, I need to work on lessons/videos related to the flipped classroom and global web citizenship (I need to remember to bring that up with fellow teachers so we can all be on board with getting our students ready to start being safe on the internet).

How many anxiety attacks can one safely have in a day?

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Where does the time go?

Here I am typing on what seems like a Sunday night, even though it is a Monday morning, and I cannot help but wonder how I will ever get to bed at a decent time before the school year starts in about a month. It is about a 40-45 minute drive to my school, and it will be a longer commute on the days that I am sure to take little girl to daycare. It is funny to think that on days that I do not take her to daycare but rather pick her up after school, I will essentially drive around an entire lake.

Besides, I am keeping myself busy these nights. It is so easy to stay awake and get things done as little girl is asleep and demanding less of my attention. If I am not at work (which can easily be to blame for these late night musings as I need a good two hours or so to decompress after a closing shift) I find myself getting ideas for classroom setup (ah! how do I ever plan on acquiring these things!) or losing myself in knitting patterns (I've been delayed temporarily until I can a good length circular needle set, husband picked up the only one he could find, and it was way to long to effectively knit a matching hat for the scarf I finished off for Lily yesterday). Tonight I typed out my letter of resignation for Plano, and I plan to stop by the school tomorrow, as the new principal should be in, to get a form signed and get my resignation letter and form sent off - and turn in my badge. I am trying to determine whether I ought to email a short note to the school, because many of them have been supportive of what I want to do and have expressed hope that I would come back next year. I would need to send that out before I lose access to my school email. Perhaps that is something I can burn evening hours on tomorrow.

18 more days to go at my technology job...then it gets real.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Page turning...

Despite my long absence from this blog, I am slightly relieved that I did not let it get to a whole year between posts. I am not going to make too many excuses, because priorities in one's life changes as does the paths and opportunities that one may have. Just a list of what has happened in my life since my last post.

1) I did not get any interviews last year for teaching jobs, so it is no surprise that
2) I did not find a teaching job last year.
3) I remained part time at my technology retail job although I tried, and was assured that I would become full-time
4) Never went full-time at my technology job, but right when I was losing hope about financial security...
5) I was called up one night in February to come and interview for a paraprofessional job at an elementary school as a Special Education Assistant that was being held the next morning
6) Rocked the interview and went full-time as a para for Plano ISD as well as worked part time at my other job
7) Got little sleep because of handling both jobs, but I loved the experience
8) Interviewed twice for teaching jobs in Plano ISD but did not come into fruition because of personnel changes/lack of teaching experience
9) As July 2013 came upon us, I went a little more aggressive in my teaching pursuits, emailing principals immediately after applying for jobs online
10) Was called in to interview at a 3A school, and had a great interview
11) Received a call that afternoon (earlier than what was expected) offering me a 6th grade Math teaching position

...and now the real work begins, and truly it appears now that my days are numbered at my technology job (which I honestly think boosted my chances of getting the teaching job, because they are very big on integrating technology into the classroom, and I actually may be implementing a flipped classroom).I'm actually going to a flipped classroom professional development next week, and I keep telling myself I need to get re-acquainted with paper and pencil so I can jot down everything that is going through my brain lately.

We are also in our driest months financially, with my husband still working part time at the church. He has been working hard on his own career change by studying as much as he can to pass the second of many exams (he passed the first one last May) to become an actuary. He has some leads, has had one phone interview that did not develop past that first interview and I am hoping he is keeping faith in himself.

Our daughter is doing well, I always wish I had more time and energy to spend on her - and she is becoming so independent, no longer a baby anymore as she can communicate with us and develop her own thoughts about things.

As I mentioned before, it seems that I have a growing list of things to accomplish before I can even begin to feel comfortable teaching - looking for materials and ideas to make my empty classroom a welcome and engaging environment where students want to learn.

I just wanted to give you an update as I hope to be more active on this site, although I always say that and I am starting up another blog where I can reflect on my life in education so that colleagues, students and parents have access to my thoughts and reflections.

I hope everyone is doing well!

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

blahness

Jobs applied for: 58
Interviews: 0
Offers: 0

Sorry that I have not been very active in blogging these last couple of weeks. The stats above pretty much sum up my life the last several weeks. The official first day of school in this area is in five days. I've already seen yellow school buses driving by my house, more news stories are gearing up for the first day of school. Each day makes me more miserable.

I had the last four days off from work: When I first noticed this in the schedule weeks ago, I was elated because it would give me a wide enough window to accept interviews and/or prepare a classroom. I did manage to wash a ton of dishes needing to be washed and I got a couple of errands done on Monday, even paying over $350 dollars for two textbooks to use for a couple of math classes I am taking this fall. You better believe I felt a little more depressed after unloading that amount of money.

Applications for the Clinical Teaching Experience are going to be accepted in two weeks. Depending on whether I am granted a CTE, we still have to figure out how next spring is going to look. My husband doesn't want me to work during this time so I can be completely devoted to the CTE, but my part time job is the only thing that is giving us health benefits. The CTE will cost about $3000 out of pocket...

Words that have gotten me through today "One needs trials to have triumphs". Would this count as multiple trials or one big hairy trial?

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Bad fishing

I state this because I have had no bites on the job search. I'm so excited about a potential classroom, but because I am generalist, I do not even know which direction I would go if I little time to prepare a room. I'm already excited about joining another professional organization that relates to teaching in the digital age. Given where I currently work and my background in executing technology based trainings, teaching and technology go hand in hand.

So far today I applied for three different teaching positions at two school districts. I just have to keep on keeping on.

Please send prayers and thoughts our way as my husband is having to deal with uncertainty on the job front. He interviewed to teach students at one of the high schools in our hometown ISD, and found out yesterday that he won that spot, gaining a good number of students to teach privately next year. He has been holding out for a full time spot at the church he has worked at for over a year with part time hours. The new boss says that he values my husbands work but he will not budge on making him full time, even though he is filling in for a full time position that was supposedly filled over a month ago. He wants to and would rather continue with this music ministry, but with an increase of students in his studio to support his family which has no benefits and holding out for a full time church position with the music ministry which does have benefits...there is a lot of uncertainty where God wants us to go. At this point, it seems best to go for the route that takes care of his family more. I do not know what to tell him - if I knew, then I wouldn't be raving and ranting on this blog and searching for more fulfillment in my life.

It becomes ever more clear that my days with my company are coming to a close. Perhaps I am tired of doing lots of different things, but no acknowledgement comes my way but acknowledgement goes out everywhere else to others. Next week I know that I am doing at least five workshops over three days because no one else is comfortable in doing them. Less obscure is my theory of limited development coming my way, as they are sending other people through a development program (again) who may not be in the best interest of doing said job. Only a handful of people know where I am on my journey, and I know they are heartbroken when I mention that I have not heard about anything. I know that I have not gotten through all I have over the last 18 months to stop at this...but what else can I do right now that I'm not already doing?

Thursday, August 2, 2012

...tiny disturbances...

I have only received three form rejection letters from schools. My only ray of hope is that I applied to more positions from these ISDs, but I have not received any calls. Of course, these are school districts of whose policy I understand. For example, there are three band director positions with one of these school districts. This particular school district I have a good pulse on because my in-laws work in this school district. I already know that these positions have been filled as of this past Saturday. So I'm slightly surprised when one gets posted today, even though the position was filled a few days prior. They post the jobs as a courtesy, but it is sad because they could be missing out on some excellent prospects (not saying that those that are filling the positions are less than excellent!), but there is always the chance.

It is now August. It is miserable outside and where did July go to? Some schools start their new teacher academy next Monday, with most schools having their basic first Staff Development in two weeks. I have a schedule at my current position through then.

Realistically, I need to start considering the options of the student teaching option for next spring. If I recall correctly, Region 10 starts interviewing people for those spots in September. I am trying to keep busy, and with all the coursework I am completing for Region 10, plus taking TWO math classes at Collin, this should not be hard to accomplish. I am taking math classes to try to defer my student loan payments some more, as well as take advantage of a state grant that I qualify for, which I need to be enrolled in six hours to qualify. One of them is online, and the other only happens on Monday nights (so this would not be a major burden for retail hours).

I have applications throughout the major ISDs in the area, except for Dallas (and anyone in the teaching field probably knows why) and Frisco (because you have to know the right people on the inside and I also have just not had time to complete it). Although I think I would prefer teaching in a small town, one never knows when the elementary school just one block away might need someone to teach there (very wishful thinking).

I am trying to maintain this blog at least once a week, which now means not allowing ten days to lapse between posts. As I am not planning lessons or classroom layouts, there is not much else for me to do besides keeping up with my Region 10 coursework.

In other news, Hulu Plus now works on AppleTV and this equals very dangerous addictions impending. I am already into the tens with episodes of Once Upon a Time in less than 48 hours. Think of me :)