Sunday, November 13, 2011

Just Feel Like Writing

It's been 4 months since I've written anything here.

Not because I didn't want to - but because I started using my other blog as a modge podge of everything going on in my life.

A lot of it has to do with the fact that my weight loss has been null and void for months and months and...well, you get the picture.

I started this blog because I wanted it to be a personal journal - separate and individual from my weight loss blog.  I wanted an outlet where I could come to when I just wanted to write...about anything that's on my mind.

I've done that every day on my other blog because I've been avoiding the fact that I'm not losing weight - but I feel that I have to write about something.  So, that blog has been filled with my daily goings on, family life, my job - and everything else that this blog is supposed to be for.

Then, this evening, I just got the urge to write.  I've already written a blog post for the other blog today - and I have another one that I will write there tomorrow.  So, I needed somewhere else where I could just pound the keyboard and release the urge.

If you've read this blog - but haven't been over at my other blog - then you don't know that I found a job.  I got hired by Headstart...and worked there for two weeks.  Then, exactly two days before the kids were supposed to come back from summer break, I got a call from an elementary school offering me a teaching assistant position.

The money at Headstart was better.  The job at Headstart was a lead teaching position.  I had my own class of kids, my own classroom.  But, it's not what I wanted.  I didn't hesitate at thinking about it - I took the $10,000 pay cut and took the assistant position.

At the end of the day, I went to school for four years to become a teacher.  Some would argue that Headstart was offering me that opportunity... but it wasn't.  From the very first day I ever stepped in to a college class, I had made the decision that I wanted to teach grades 1-4.  I'd take Kindergarten...if I had to... but my heart is not in working with toddlers.  It may sound harsh, but it's the truth.  I'm not cut out for supervising play all day, wiping behinds, and getting less than 30 minutes a day to teach a lesson.  I just can't do it.

The job that I have now gives me everything I want - except my own classroom and a nice teacher's salary.  I get to work with kids from 2nd - 5th grades.  I get to a way.  I get to help kids that are struggling, and help them achieve their goals.  I get the opportunity to prove to my principle that I have what it takes to be in a classroom with 25 kids - and be a damn good teacher.

I love my job.  I love the people I work with.  Most importantly, I am truly 100% in love with the kids at my school.  They come from all walks of life, all backgrounds....and every single one of them have a passion for learning.  They are caring, loving, supportive....they all watch out for each other...and the unity that I see every day can sometimes bring tears to my eyes.

This past summer was probably the most difficult time of my life.  Having so many doors slammed in my face left me broken, confused, angry.  I knew that I was put on this earth to do two, care for, and raise my own children, and love, care for, and teach other children.  It's in my blood, I just couldn't imagine my life doing anything else.

So, after four years of schooling and thinking that the time had come to the second purpose of my life - and come up empty handed?   Biggest blow to my system I've ever had.

But, like I always say, everything happens for a reason. 

After being at the elementary I'm in, now, for three months...I just know that this is where I'm supposed to be.  I plan on learning everything I can this being a teaching assistant I get front row seats at watching some of the best teachers I've ever seen at work.  I get to learn from them, receive guidance from them, and be a part of molding the minds of some fantastic students.

I hope that this year ends with the biggest bang I could ever receive:  A permanent teaching position... but I can't jump the gun.  I will be devastated if my teaching dreams are shattered once again next year - if I don't receive a position at this school.... but with the knowledge I'm gaining right now - I hope it will put me as a front runner at other schools... if that should have to happen.

I'm trying to not get my hopes up too much....I just don't think I can go through another summer like I did this year.  But it's hard.  I love everything about where I am now.  I feel the spark that I heard so much about in school.  That connection that teachers get when they know they're in the right school.  I feel it.  Each and every day.

I just have to hope and pray that this position is the foot in the door...the stepping stone to my future.  I can't realistically stay in this position for another year.  The pay just isn't enough to support my family - and we are sacrificing a lot this year just with the hope that it could lead to a full-time teaching job.  Hope isn't going to get my family through any more years.  This is it.  If something doesn't happen next year - it's back to the corporate world for me.

Just the thought of that makes me want to cry. 

I won't let it get to me, though.  I'm going to do everything in my power to make this year a phenomenal year.  Then maybe, just maybe I'll be able to see my dreams come true.


Wednesday, July 20, 2011

If I Will It...Will It Happen??

The job search saga continues....although this week has been pretty productive.

I had an interview at DHS on Monday.  It's for a job that has absolutely no relation to working with kids... but it's a job, and like I said before... I'm not passing anything up.

The interview went well.  The woman seemed to like me.  The problem is, it's going to be a couple of weeks before I hear anything.  And they don't expect anyone to start until August 22nd.

That afternoon, I received a call about a position working with preschool children - specializing in kids that have come from abusive homes.  I interviewed for that position yesterday morning.

Walking in, I really had mixed emotions about the position.  I was told that the position is not teaching, but working as an assistant to the lead teacher.  The classes are very small, and the children all come from various situations - all involving some form of abuse, either sexual, physical, or emotional.  My duties would include being the person that helps with behavioral management....more like a counselor type position than teaching. 

Walking out, I was excited - and realized it's a job I'd enjoy doing.

Now, it's just time to sit and wait...again.

The summer is coming to an end - and I've been told by many that teaching jobs start to open up this time of year.  I'm keeping my fingers crossed.  I'm sure that there's something out there for me.  I'm hoping if my will is strong enough - it will find me.


Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Holding It All In

I've been trying so remain calm, to not get emotional, to just take one day at a time.

It's been hard, and it gets harder every day.

Jobs have evaporated... they're all gone.  I'm hoping with everything inside that more jobs will start to come available, but I'm now worrying that principles won't interview anymore - and just take people that they've already interviewed for other positions.

Every time my phone rings, and it's a number I don't recognize, my heart skips a beat - my stomach churns... could this be the call I've been waiting for?  Is it an interview?  It's so hard living like this.

I've become obsessed with checking my email.  I think more to just get a response to an inquiry...will someone respond?

I come here, because it's the one place I can let out how I'm really feeling.

Daily I get asked the question "found anything yet?"  I put that smile on my face and respond with a cheery "not yet, but I'm not giving up hope".

That's true - yet I want to scream "NO! I haven't found anything yet.  I'm heartbroken.  I'm scared. Why can't I get a job?  Why won't someone give me a chance?"  I don't. Of course.  I can't.

Every morning, I still check every school website.  I check job posting pages for other jobs - education related.  I even make daily trips to Craigslist - cause maybe there will be something on there.  It's becoming a part of my normal routine... I just can't give up.

I hate feeling so much desperation.  I hate feeling so much resentment.

I see postings of friends who have found positions - and in steps that smile again...that smile that tells them I'm happy for them, why I'm screaming and crying on the inside.

I feel like a broken record.  I can't imagine that anyone is actually reading this - or enjoying it if they are. 

Writing is just my release - it's how I keep myself in check...get my calmness back...and cool down.

I'm living my life each day.  I keep my positivity in check.  I'm enjoying my time with the kids.  My time off is giving me a lot of time to think..that's good and bad.

Having free time gives me time to worry, to look at each day as another day passing by without a job.  It also gives me time to clean my house, write, read, and take my kids out.  I love every minute.  I hate every minute.

Once again, another replay of the same ol' same ol' that has consumed this blog.

Everyone say a prayer.  Cross your fingers.  Send positive vibes.

Maybe, just maybe, the next post I share is a lot more positive....I'm praying that the next post can be one that shares the news of a new job - or at least an  interview.  Think of me - please?


Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Enjoying the Summer

I can't believe it's already July.  Where does the time go?

Well, no surprise - I didn't get the job at the Catholic school.  Didn't even get a turn-down phone call, email, or Dear John letter.  I emailed the principal to check on the job - he emailed me back telling me I'd get a definite answer the following Friday....I waited...nothing.

It's frustrating when stuff like that happens.  Just let me know - I'm a big girl... I can take bad news.

Oh well, it was no shock.  Not a big deal.

Job hunting since has pretty much been at a stand still.  I did interview, today, for a position at Head Start.  They have a few teaching positions open.  The interview went well - but it will be a couple of weeks before I hear anything.

Apart from that, I've just been enjoying my summer. 

Got my first experience with camping two weeks ago.  It was so hot - but so much fun.  I went with my parents to the lake, slept in a tent, fished, had food cooked on an open fire, and swam.... good times. 

For the 4th, I took Jelly and my brother out to a local festival.  It was a lot of fun.  That evening, we had a big BBQ dinner - and then went back to the festival to watch fireworks.

Today, I'm going back to my parent's house and going to the river with the kiddos.  I'm really starting to enjoy doing stuff like's fun, relaxing, and great times with the kids.

I've decided to live in the moment more...not worry too much about what's going to happen next week, next month, or months from now. I don't get the opportunity to spend so much time with my kids very often - so it's time to make these moments count.

I'm still positive that, when the time is right, I'll find the job I'm supposed to have.  Until then?  I'm enjoying my summer!!


Sunday, June 19, 2011

Do You Believe In Signs?

If I could pick one motto to describe my life, it would be "everything happens for a reason". 

I've used that motto a thousand times when talking about every aspect of my life - and the life of others.  I believe I've spoken about it here, on this blog, too. I mentioned in a recent post how I believe everything happens for a reason - and sometimes the reason isn't known at first... it takes time for things to come into light and reveal themselves.

Because of my belief in this motto - I often make rash decisions, don't let many opportunities slip by me, and often take chances....because I don't want to regret anything.  If it turns out that something isn't supposed to be - then I accept it and move on... but at least I can say I tried.

That's happened a lot this past week. 

I've mentioned my trying other avenues in finding a job - DHS, working for an early childcare center.

The childcare center thing?  Well, I spent two days writing up a very basic grant proposal - and never heard back from them after submitting it.   That was one of those "I tried, and obviously isn't meant to be" scenarios.

A couple of weeks ago, a friend of mine that I graduated with told me she had found a teaching position at a private Catholic School.  I was happy for her.  I was surprised, because she isn't Catholic - but happy that she'd found a job doing what she wants to do.

Friday morning, she gives me a call.  She was out with one of the teachers she's going to be working with, and found out that there was also a 3rd grade position open at her school.  They were talking about the kind of teacher the principle was looking for....and my name came up.  Her teacher friend told her to call me and have me contact the principle.

At first, I think - urm..well..I'm not Catholic.  Well - neither is she.  Then I think, well..urm..I'm not really that religious at all.  She tells me she's not either.  I then think...well, I could give it a shot... no harm in trying, right?

I call the school.  No answer.  Then a recorded message that says the school is closed for the summer and to leave a message.  I hung up. I tried to call my friend back.  No answer.  UGH!!  I take this as a sign.  Then, I think that's not fair - call back one more time and leave a message at the school. 

I call the school again to leave a message - and this time someone answers.  It's a woman that tells me she had just stopped by the school to gather a few things, and decided to answer the phone.  We get to talking - and she reveals that she is the assistant principle.  She tells me that she's not sure if the position has been filled, but she wanted me to send her my resume - and that she would personally call the principle to speak to him.  She told me that it had to be some kind of sign for her to be there to answer the phone.  I, at that moment, had to agree.

Not even ten minutes later, I get a call from the principle - asking if I can come in for an interview.  He sounded very nice - had a great sense of humor (didn't want to interview on Friday, because he "needed a nap" LOL).  He asked me if I'd be available Saturday morning because he "wanted to get this position filled as soon as possible - so he could enjoy his summer off".  I, of course, agreed.

The interview went very well - at first.  We had a great conversation about the school's curriculum, the beliefs of the school - including not necessarily hiring Catholic teachers in order to get the best education for the students - and the requirements of the job.  He told me about the benefits and gave me a tour of the school.  I have to admit, I was very excited...I really could see myself teaching in the school.

Then...I think I made a big mistake.  I told the principle that even though I wasn't Catholic, I thought it only fair to study Catholicism - so that I knew the foundation and beliefs of the church.  I'm not sure why, but his demeanor changed a little after my professing that I would dedicate some of my time learning about the Catholic faith.  He then explained that it wasn't a case of "knowing how to be a Catholic" that was important - but giving children a good education, while allowing them their religious freedoms in the classroom. 

He spoke of other Catholic schools that he'd taught in where there were Muslim students, Jewish students, Christian students, etc.  It was about community, fellowship, and instilling good religious morals into each of the children.  I had seemed to have missed the point. 

After hearing him speak, my heart sank.  It appeared I had somehow offended him.  It wasn't intentional, of course, and I understood what he was saying.  What I thought to be a good gesture on my part - ended up being, in my mind, the worst thing I could have said.

He told me at the end of the interview that he had to pray about what to do with the decision.  He escorted me out - while we chit chatted.  It was his last statement that resounded inside of me.  "Well, Joanna, wherever you end up just remember that it's impacting the children that's important."

That was it.  The nail in the coffin.  The famous words I have heard many a time in my journey of finding a teaching job.

Unlike previous let downs, I wasn't emotional or distraught.  Disappointed? Yes, a little. 

I am still a firm believer in everything happening for a reason - and signs.  I mistook the signs associated with this opportunity wrong, apparently - but I had to try.

Now, I'm back to living one day at a time - there are a few new openings that have appeared on the public school websites.  I applied - again - now, time to wait - again.


Thursday, June 16, 2011

Waiting for a Door to Open

Well, it's pretty official.  All of the jobs I've applied for in the public schools are gone - and I didn't get one of them.

Don't panic - I'm OK.  Surprisingly, I'm more OK than I thought I'd be. 

My best friend got an interview at the last school I was waiting to hear from the other day.  I was so upset when she told me, I didn't even congratulate her...and I felt terrible.  I gave myself a little pep talk, told myself it wasn't the end of the world, and then called my BF and apologized profusely.

Now that the doors to the public schools seemed to have remained firmly locked, I've started to consider some different avenues.  I'm considering the possibility of working for DHS as a family service worker... I still get to work with kids, get good pay...something to think about.

Something else I'm working on right now is the possibility of working for a early childhood education center as a development manager.  The development manager is the person responsible for retaining all of the funds to run the place.  It includes grant writing, lobbying, public speaking.... right up my alley, right?

OK, so it's not teaching - but it's working with and for education.

So, I interviewed for the job on Tuesday.  It was a long interview - and very informative.  I got really excited about hearing what the job entails...and it's a lot of work.  A. LOT.  Basically, my responsibility would entail securing 1.5 to 2 million dollars in funds, and rallying the state's capitol to get early childhood education a spotlight.

As a follow up, I've been asked to write a mock grant proposal - so they can get an idea of my writing skills.  Well, immediately I got excited...then nervous.  I've never written a grant before.  I had no idea where to start. 

In my professional career, I've dealt with all kinds of business proposals and legal contracts - but writing a grant?  Nope. Never.

I could of gracefully bowed out and said "thanks, but no thanks".  I mean, why would they give a job to a person that has absolutely no experience in grant writing?  But something inside of me told me to give it a shot.  Yes, I'm shocker there.

I immediately headed for Barnes & Noble after my interview and picked up the one book that I hoped would be able to help me out:  Grant Writing for Dummies.

So, I don't have time to read the whole book - but it did help in giving me the basic tools on where to at least start.  With a few pages read and a few clicks of Internet research, I was on my way to the bare bones structure of a grant proposal. 

I've been working on it, now, since yesterday.  I have no clue if what I'm doing is even on the right track... I've learned that it's very hard to write a grant proposal for a company I really know nothing about to a company I invented about a project that I'd envision possibly being a benefit to both said companies.  It's a daunting task...yet, I still continue on.

I figure, I might as well give it a shot.  I have to admit, when I worked for the nation's biggest retailer - I loved the corporate world.  I was good at my job.  I was good at communicating with people - both in person and via written correspondence.  I was organized, yet always busy.  I like jobs that are demanding, challenging, and time consuming.  I don't know why, but I've always been happiest when I'm extremely busy.

I will admit, though, it is a lot of work just for an interview.  I mean, I've been researching and reading for hours...and only 3 pages in to the grant proposal.  It's going to be very upsetting to do all of this work just to get those magic words "We're Sorry".  Although, I realize that I'm the one that took on this daunting task - knowing full well I have absolutely no experience writing grants... so it will be my own fault if they decide to keep looking for someone else.

Alright, that's enough stalling... back to grant writing I go.


Sunday, June 12, 2011

Hello Adventure!!

I still feel great. 

Apart from my usual browsing the school websites each morning to see if any new openings are available - I really haven't given much thought to finding a job for the past few days.

I've found a new me.  No, that's not right.  I've found the old me.  The me that's happy, calm, cheerful.  That's who I am - always have been...for the most part.  It feels good.

Now that I'm back to my old self - I want to try some new things.  It's summer break - which means I'm free to do whatever I want..cost dependant.

For some reason, I've really wanted to go camping the past few weeks.  Maybe it's because it was brought up in a discussion with some girl friends.  I've never been camping.  Well, that's not completely true.  I went camping - once - when I was in high school.  I slept in the car, because I was too freaked out to sleep in a tent....Bugs!! Ewww!!

Now, I'm past that.  I want to experience the outdoors in a tent.  Wake up next to a lake or river.  Cook on an open fire.  Sit around a camp fire and talk, share stories, eat S'mores.  I want to hike, and fish, and do outdoorsy stuff like that.

I love going on vacation.  Don't get to very often - haven't had a vacation in a couple of years, now.  Money is always a problem.  Only having one income coming in kind of puts a damper on being able to travel.... but camping?  The costs involved are minimal - and it's still a vacation.

I want to do it alone, first.  Not because I don't want my kids to experience the "great outdoors" - but because I feel it's important for me to know a head of time what I should expect.  Going to a hotel in a new city is no problem.  Going to a camp site in the middle of nowhere?  Yeah, a little more daunting...especially for I want to have tried it first before dragging my kids along.

When I say alone - I don't mean alone, alone.  I mean with some friends.  Yes, I know that a bunch of 20-something people camping will be TOTALLY different to a family going camping... but it's a way for me to experience it, first.

Now, I just need a tent, a place to go, and people to go with me - and I'll be set!!


Thursday, June 9, 2011

It's a New Day...A New Beginning

I woke up this morning, feeling different.  Different to how I've woken up for the past several months.  I woke up free.... free from stress, free from

Did I find a job?? No.

After writing my post yesterday, I read it over and over.  It was like my mind was sending me a message, I just had to read it.

I really feel like my future is out of my hands now - and I need to embrace it.  I need to take charge of the here and now... not the could be's, the hope to be's...just what I can do at this very moment.

I will say out loud something I've been scared to admit.  I think I was on the verge of depression.  There was a part of me that was so sad, so lost, so frustrated...and it was taking over...consuming my mind, my body, and my life.

It was causing a negative impact on me... and I won't let that happen. 

Today, I'm taking a stand.  No more negativity.  No more worry.  No more stress.  I throw my future to the wind, and hope that someone finds it and gives me a chance.  Until that happens, I am going back to being me.  Fun. Happy. Cheerful.

Goodbye negativity.  Wish I could say it was nice to know you - but it wasn't... Good riddance!


Wednesday, June 8, 2011

It's Out of My Hands

I've made in person visits.

I've dropped off resumes.

I've sent emails.

I've made phone calls.

I've in some way reached out to every school in a 1 hour radius of me that has job openings - and now there's really nothing else I can do, but wait.

It's really hard to explain what I'm feeling right now.  It's not sadness.  It's not anger.  Not even frustration.  I guess, it's more on the line of uncertainty or doubt... a mixture of both, maybe?

Four years ago, I walked in to my first college class with one thing on my mind - in four years I'll be a teacher.  You don't think about anything else.  You think about doing your course work, passing tests, and studying -so that you can become the best teacher possible.  You certainly don't think about putting in all that work to realize that you might not get the job you want... or any teaching job for that matter.

Even as little as a year ago, there was no doubt in my mind that I would finish school and find a job - even though at that time, it was common knowledge about how hard it was to find a teaching job.

I've never been the kind of person to doubt myself.  I've always worked hard for what I wanted - and ended up getting it.  Is this some form of punishment for being so confident?  Probably not.  It's more the simple fact that it's very hard to get a teaching job.  Simple as that.

Does it make me feel any better?  No.  But I'm not the only one in this situation.  There are so many people that haven't gotten jobs yet...some have...but not many. 

I've decided that I've done what I can do - for now.  There's no point in dwelling on it any more... if I'm meant to get a job, I'll get one.  If I don't - it won't be from a lack of trying. 

I'm not going to waste my summer away sitting in front of my computer or clutching my phone hoping that a call will come.  I'll keep checking the websites, I'll keep looking for new openings - but other than that, it's time to start letting go and enjoying my time off.

It's been four years since I've had some time off...away from work, or studying, or both.  My kids have missed me - and I've missed them.  It's time to spend some time with them, having some fun, letting go of some stress, and just enjoying the moments.

It's just out of my hands what happens next.


Friday, June 3, 2011

Maybe a Silver Lining?

It's no secret that my last few posts have been anything but happy or cheery.  They've been sitting on the verge of down right depressing.

It's very hard for me to write like that.  On my other blog, I do everything in my power to be cheerful, motivational, and confident.  Then, I come here - and the other half of my personality comes through.  There's a part of me that has doubts - about myself.  There's a part of me that hurts, feels pain....that is usually built up with no where to go.

In real life, not everything can be a bed of roses.  Everyone has problems, everyone has doubts...I just can't believe that there is a person out there that lives in a place of happiness and sunshine 24/7.  I usually live in happiness and sunshine about 95% of the time....I know you wouldn't think so from this blog, but it's true.  For the most part, I am a happy and cheerful person.

One thing I do continue to tell myself - despite the sadness that I sprawl across these pages - is that everything happens for a reason.  Sometimes it can take days, months, and even years for the reasons to show through....but they come...eventually.

The time in between is terrible - gut wrenching.  I live with a "WHY?" inside my heart every day...and then all of a sudden, out of nowhere, things come in to focus and I get that A-HA!!  The explanation as to why things happened the way they did - and why I wasn't supposed to get something, do something, or receive something.

Not getting too ahead of myself - but, I may have had a glimpse of that yesterday.

Not going in to too many details, I had a visitor from DHS yesterday afternoon.  Yes, while I'm sitting here drowning in my own self-pity, crying hysterically...there's a knock at the door.

To back track a little - my son, Butter, has behavioral problems.  That's putting it mildly - he has EXTREME anger and behavioral issues.  It's so bad that last school year, he was placed in a special school because public school could no longer tolerate his behavior.  Also, when Butter doesn't get his way - he starts getting violent, angry...or down right mean.  One day, a few months ago, he got angry at me because he'd called his sister a nasty name.  I got on to him about it - and he was grounded.

The next day, he went to school - infuriated because his grounding meant he wouldn't be able to attend the baseball game that he was supposed to go to - and told his counselor that he was beaten at home.  As a mandated reporter, myself, I know that even if I think the child is lying - I have to report it...and that's what the counselor did.

OK, so back to my story.  Of all days, the DHS investigator decides to show up on the day that I'm an emotional mess.  Not just that, but the house is an absolute DISASTER!!  There's toys everywhere - and Jelly has decided to make the living room look like a war zone...complete with empty juice boxes, Popsicle wrappers, and a bag of chips that she thought would be easier to eat if they were all dumped on the table.  UGH!!

I had meant to clean up after my little crying session - that I was doing, alone, in my office... but no, DHS guy had to show up in the middle of all of it.

So, I go out on the porch to greet him.  He introduces himself, looks at me and says "Are you OK?"  He can see I've been crying - awesome!!  I tell him the very condensed version of why I'm crying.  I also point out the fact that the house is a mess, and I just can't believe that he shows up that day - of all days.  He laughs, tells me not to worry - he has no intention of going in to the house...he wasn't there to "check things out".

He had come to tell me that he had interviewed and investigated Butter's allegations - and found absolutely no reason to pursue the investigation any further.  He tells me that everyone he's spoken to has told him how much of a handful Butter is - and how well I've done in being a mother, going to college, and raising two girls on top of that.  It was nice to hear some kind words....I know I'm a good mother, but it sure is nice to be reassured every now and then.

We get to chit chatting about my degree, looking for a job, etc.  He asks me if I've ever considered working for DHS as a family service worker.  At first I'm like - urm, no thank you...I know how much people dislike those people.  Then he says "you'll get a chance to work with troubled kids, help them, it's hard work - but so rewarding".  Then a light bulb goes off in my head.  Is this what I should be looking in to? Is this the reason I keep getting doors slammed in my face from schools?  Is my purpose really to be a family service worker and help kids??

It's been on my mind ever since.  I haven't given up the hope that I'm supposed to be a classroom teacher - that's where my heart and passion lie.  I, also, can't deny that a job like a family service worker wouldn't fit my personality or my passion either.  I'm not about to let a "possible reason" moment slip me by - so I went ahead and applied for the job online.

I'm not going to go gung-ho about pursuing it.  If it's meant to be, then I guess I'll get a phone call or an interview or something.  I have to throw it out there and let things take it's natural course.  Who knows what will happen.  Maybe, it's just another way of the universe telling me that there are always other options out there...if the right one isn't available now.

It's something to think about.


Thursday, June 2, 2011

Changing My Name to John

Well, I received yet another Dear John letter...not one, but two in one day.  One was for the job I interviewed for last week, the other was for a job I applied for - but didn't even get an interview.

As I'm writing this, tears are flowing from my eyes.  No matter how hard I tried to fight them, they won - they came.

It's crazy - because I had a feeling I wasn't going to get the job...I don't know why I'm so upset about it.

Maybe the tears come from disappointment....maybe it's fear....maybe it's both.  I've never wanted anything more in my life...for four years I worked every waking minute on fulfilling a dream I've had since I was 5.  Now that I am finally able to have the dream - it's quickly becoming a nightmare.

The fear comes from knowing that the past four years didn't come for free - no, I now face having $22,000 in student loans that I have to pay off... but how can I do that with no job?  I know I can find work somewhere else... it's just so frustrating to have spent 4 years working towards something that may not come any time soon.

I want to scream in pain.

I want to yell in frustration.

Instead, I come place of solitude.  The one place I can say exactly what I feel - but in silence.

It's funny.  As I sit here typing this, I'm working on a project for the school I interned for.  The school I spent almost an entire school year working for - for free.  The school that when job openings became available passed me by, found someone else...I wasn't good enough.  Despite that, I volunteered to help with this project - for free - on my own time.

Why?  Because that's just the kind of person I am. I love this field so much that I will volunteer my time to help.  Not because I think it might help in getting me a job, I know that's not going to happen - not there - no, I do it because I want to.

It's so hard to talk to anyone about how I'm feeling.  I put on a brave face - try to hide the disappointment.  Not because they don't care - because that's, also, who I am.  The people I do want to talk to are in the same situation I am in - so they don't want to hear about it...they know exactly how I'm feeling.

My family are being supportive - but, to be honest, I'm kind of sick of it.  I'm tired of hearing "you'll find something" or "it's there loss"... NO IT'S NOT!! It's my loss...they found someone else..I'm the one left sitting here, alone.

They don't understand what I'm going through.  They don't know how much I want this...the pain that comes from the rejection.  To them, it's just a job.  To me - it's my life.  With every Dear John letter I receive, a little of me dies inside. 

I don't understand what I'm doing wrong.  What am I saying that makes them pass over me?  What do I have to do to show them that this is everything to me - more than I've ever wanted....the single most important thing I've ever set my mind on?

I just want the nightmare to end - and the dream to come true.


Monday, May 30, 2011

Sorting and Packing...and Hoping It's Temporary

Wow - it's been almost two weeks since I've updated...and I've had another interview in that time span.

Last Wednesday (the 25th) I had another interview.  It was for a third grade position - my dream grade.  The interview went really well.  The principal was super nice, the team was super was all upbeat and fun.  Who would of thought I'd use the word "fun" to describe an interview?  The whole time I felt confident - and impressed myself with some of the answers.

I wish I could say that I walked out of there with a feeling in my stomach that I had it in the bag.. but I didn't.  Yeah, the interview went well, but hearing the principal say "well, you understand we're interviewing a lot of we should be able to let you know something next week" deflated me instantly.

It's not uncommon for the principal - or any prospective boss - to make that statement at the end of an interview.  I've heard those words many times before... but I still had some inclining of how well I did, and kind of knew in the pit of my stomach that I had the job.  I didn't feel that way this time.  In fact, I felt exactly the same as I did when I walked out of the last interview.  I felt that the interview went great - but I just didn't think I had made the cut.

I won't know anything for sure until this week - hopefully.  The waiting is torturous.  It's like someone having a rope tied around my stomach - and it's not going to come loose until I have an answer.

Today, I'm sorting and packing away all of my teaching supplies.  It's bittersweet.  I don't want to pack everything up...I want to be moving it all into my own classroom.  Unfortunately, that may not happen for a while - so it's being packed up into storage...for now.

I feel like I'm on a rollercoaster with my emotions right now.  There are days when I'm feeling stomach isn't churning, my palms aren't sweaty, and I'm not freaking out.  Then there are the "other days".  I feel like I'm slowly being pulled up hill - knowing that there's a fast down hill coming.  I get nervous, I get scared....what if the hill just keeps going up?  Will I get a chance to sail down the other side full of excitement and joy?  I hope so.

This time last month, I was being told left and right not to panic.  I was told that May is a big month for interviewing - and I'd bound to start hearing from schools.  I heard from one.  Now, it's just two days until June.  The jobs are disappearing - people are getting interviews and jobs...I'm not.

I hate being such a Debbie Downer.  It's not me.  I tell myself that I'm going to be OK - I'll survive if I don't get a teaching job next year.  I was doing great before the interview...then those feelings start setting in again.  Hope is just in front of my fingertips, but no matter how far I reach - it's still just a little too far away for me to grab. 

I made the decision on Friday not to sub any more this school year.  It may not be the smartest move - but I had situations out of my control that caused the sudden decision.  Hopefully, the time off will give me some much needed time with the kids - and give me some time to get my mind cleared.  I'm already planning some fun activities to do over the next week...I'm excited about it.

Well, I should get back to cleaning and sorting.


Thursday, May 19, 2011

My Own Dear John Letter

Last week, I received the letter I didn't want.  The infamous "Dear John" letter, letting me know that I was not selected for the job I interviewed for.  Despite already knowing that I didn't get the job, it still hurt reading the words on the letter.  I have worked with these people for an entire school year - but the words on the page were formatted, disconnected....a real "cut and paste" job.
Yes, it hurt knowing that I wasn't selected to work in the school I love.  It hurt knowing that I wasn't good enough.  I hurt knowing that regardless of how much I've done to prove myself - it just wasn't enough.

So, after a little soul-searching...I've decided to write my own "Dear John" letter...

Dear Joanna,

I know you're disappointed about not getting the job you interviewed for.  Any kind of rejection is hard, you know that better than anyone.  You've had a lot of rejection in your life, yet you always managed to pull through.  You've always managed to take the bad and mold it to become something great.  Why on earth would you feel like this situation is any different?

OK, so you didn't get this job.  Maybe you don't get any job this year.  Does that mean you're going to quit looking?  Does that mean you're going to give up on everything you've worked so hard to do?  Of course not.  This is just a little speed bump.

You are the queen of declaring "Everything happens for a reason".  The reason is never known until it reveals itself.  You say that all of the time.  You have questioned aspects of your life for, well...
forever... yet you are always able to explain the reasons that you stood up to those situations - and have an answer for why you wouldn't change any of it.  Everything does happen for a reason.

You thought the hard part was over - graduating from college.  You're now beginning to realize that getting through college wasn't the hard part... using it to find your dream job - now that's the hard part.  I know it's frustrating driving from school to school hoping that you'll find that one principle that will give you a shot.  Getting doors closed in your face is a part of the territory.  There isn't enough jobs for everyone.  It's harsh reality - but a reality that you're facing. 

At the end of the day, you know you better than anyone.  You know how hard you've worked.  You know the trials and tribulations you've been though - and the triumphs and successes you've seen.  You are strong, smart, beautiful, and courageous.  You know that your time will come.  You just have to be patient - I know, something you've never really been great at doing.  Your time WILL come.

Keep believing.  Stay strong.  Never give up.


Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Another Interview - Another Job Gone

Yesterday, I interviewed at the school that I'm currently interning for.  I interviewed with the principle, assistant principal, and the 1st grade team.

Going in, I was nervous.  No, petrified.  I've decided it's SO much harder interviewing with people I know.

I tried to hold on to my nerves and do the best that I could.

I think I did.

Again, I answered all of the questions honestly and passionately.

It went by quickly.  Maybe a little too quickly?

I don't know.

At the end of the interview, the principle told me that they were interviewing a lot of people and that I should know something in a couple of weeks.

I was OK with that.

I was feeling OK today, that was until I found out that an intern was hired yesterday.  Not at my school, another school.  I'm not sure why the information jolted me so bad, but it did.  It made me even more nervous and even more scared for the weeks to come.

What if I don't get any more interviews?  There's only one position available at the school I'm in - and the principle is interviewing A LOT of people.

I've visited schools, I've dropped off resumes, I've emailed principles.  Haven't heard anything except a couple of "thanks, we'll keep you in mind" responses.

I keep being told not to worry, that it's early, that there's still lots of time left to get a call or an interview.  Then I hear that schools have filled positions.  Positions are slipping away.  I haven't heard from any of them. 

Am I scared?  Of course I am.  Everyone has faith in me.  Everyone keeps telling me that something will come up.  I'm not so sure.

I've never doubted myself before.  I've always been pretty confident that things will eventually fall in to place... but never when it's something I REALLY want. 

This isn't just about finding a job.  This is fulfilling my lifelong dream.  Am I lucky enough to have my dreams come true?  Is it about luck?  I think so.  I know I'm a great teacher - I've been told I'm a great teacher.... but unless I find a principle that's willing to take my word and the word of teachers I've worked with on it I really don't have any hope.

I keep being told that it's not the end of the world if I don't find something this year.  I can always sub next year.  Well, that may be true for a lot of people - but I have 3 kids to support.  I really can't financially sit by the phone every day and hope that a teacher calls in to work and that I can fill her shoes for that day. 

I'm rambling.  I know.

I can't help it.

I'm terrified. 

I just want a chance.  One chance.  A principle that will give me that chance.  I know that I will make him/her proud - glad that they took that chance on me.

Please keep me in your prayers, thoughts, cross your fingers, your toes, and anything else you can possible cross.  Please send me good vibes.  I need all that I can take right now.

The fear has taken over.


Saturday, April 2, 2011

Butterflies Are Gone - Interview Over

Well, I made it through my interview in one piece.

It was an interesting opportunity.

I was surrounded by people all anxiously waiting their turn to interview with the 45 principals performing the interviews.

When it was my time, the butterflies were in full force - but I was able to keep them at bay.

It's hard to say how well my interview went.  I answered each question honestly and passionately.  The principal wrote as I spoke.  There was only 25 minutes to tell her how much I loved teaching - and fit that in to giving her the answers to the questions she asked.  With that task in hand, I think I did pretty well.

Now, time will tell how I did.  Will I get a call for an interview?  Did I do well enough to be recommended to other principals in the district?  Who knows.  Well, I guess I'll know if I get that call.

So, now the waiting game starts. 

I'm not going to just sit and wait.  I'm going to get out there and meet more principals.  I'm going to visit some schools and introduce myself.  The only way to get discovered is by making the first that's exactly what I'll do.


Butterfly Kisses - Inside my Stomach

Today is a pretty big day for me.

In a couple of hours, I will be walking in for an interview. 

A 25 minute interview with one of the principals from the school district - have no idea which principal.

An interview that approximately 700 people are also attending today.

There are less than 100 positions open.

Not the best of odds.

Trying to find a teaching job in my area is the equivalent of selecting the winning raffle ticket at a charity event - where the prize is a brand new car.  There are literally thousands of teachers in the area trying to find jobs.  The fact that I'm graduating with 42 other people looking for jobs is no comparison to the amount of transfering teachers, unemployed teachers, Masters degree graduates, and other local college graduates that will be on the hunt for the same job this coming school year.

I remember being told a few months ago that in the school district I'm currently interning for, there are approximately 2500 applications on file looking for classroom teaching positions.  Two thousand five hundred applications!  Only one school district!

I've known since the first day of starting my college career that this day would come.  The day where I would start wondering "will I find a job?"  The day that everyone has warned me about, scared me about....there aren't enough positions in the area to accommodate the amount of teachers applying for them.

Am I scared?  Of course I am.

It's hard to face the reality that for four years I've spent thousands of hours attending classes, studying, observing teachers, teaching classes, writing lesson plans, attending professional development, listening to speakers, and getting to understand why I want to be a teacher so bad - and knowing that being able to do the job that I've trained so hard for isn't going to be as easy to obtain as I'd hoped.

It's coming to the realization that I have to step into that room, today, and stick out from 700 as qualified or more qualified applicants.

It doesn't matter how great of a teacher I am.  It doesn't matter what I've accomplished through my education career.  It doesn't matter how bad I want it.

All that matters is that the words I chose to let out of my mouth today - so that the person on the other side of the table thinks that I really am good enough to call back for another interview.

I have to bring that person into my mind and allow him/her to see me as a classroom teacher in their school.  I have to provide the picture of what I will do for my students each and every day.
I have to fill them with the excitement and desire that I have - and make them want to have me.

Not an easy task.

Seven hundred other people will be doing the exact same thing.

If I had a dollar for every time I have been told this past year "you were born to be a teacher" - I would be able to live comfortably for a year without having to worry about getting a job.

Those people were right.

I am born to be a teacher.  It races through my blood.  I am a teacher from the moment I wake up until the moment I go to sleep - and even in the time in between I have spent my dreams working in my classroom.

Like Whoopi Goldberg pointed out in Sister Act II: "If you wake up in the morning and all you think about is singing then you're supposed to be a singer, girl"

Well, I wake up in the morning, and all I think about is teaching - I'm meant to be a teacher!

I have never, in my entire life, wanted anything as much as I want to be a teacher.  It's who I am.  It's how I live.  Just ask my kids.  They've heard about it ever since they were born.  Ask my mom, as she had to tear me away from my stuffed animals as I played "schools" just to eat dinner.  Ask my fiance who pretends to care each and every day as I bombard him with the excitement and minute by minute replay of the amazing day I had in the classroom.  They will all tell you how important this is to me.

So, here I go.  It is time.  The butterflies have begun to wake up.  I feel their soft kisses on the inside of my stomach.  The pitter patter of their wings reminding me how important today is.

Stay with me, little butterflies. For you remind me how important today is.  Please refrain, however, from getting too excited in there - I need to be able to concentrate on making my dream come true.


Thursday, March 24, 2011

Spring Break, You Were So Worth the Wait

My first day of Spring Break was yesterday.  Yep, Wednesday....the middle of the week.  Thanks to all of the snow we got this year, the school decided to make up a few days over Spring Break.

Making up snow days on Spring Break didn't bother me.  The kiddos need to make up the time BEFORE the testing - not at the end of the school year when they are ready for summer break. 

I had only one thing planned for spring do absolutely nothing! 

Unfortunately, that's never a plan that I get to keep.  No, even on Spring Break there's always something that needs to be done.

Instead, I have settled on doing little things here and there. 

Yesterday, Hubby took me shopping while the dog was at the groomers.  Fun with a chore to check off the list.  When we got home, I cleaned house a little....Lord knows it needs it.  Then it was off to pick up Peanut  from school and take her to my mom's.

Peanut only gets two days of spring break.  So, while the rest of us were enjoying a day off yesterday - she was still in school.  Butter and Jelly have been at my mom's since Sunday.  Butter was out of school for the whole week, and Jelly's daycare closed for the week. 

Today, I decided to take things a little easier.  I finished up the cleaning I started yesterday and then happily planted my behind on the couch for the afternoon with Jelly.  Butter amused himself outside while Jelly and I got caught up on some Dora and Diego.

Yes, I even had the luxury of taking a nap!! 

Now, it's just about time for me to cook dinner. 

After dinner, more couch sitting is planned.  Going to watch some TV, maybe a movie, and do some more of that relaxing stuff.

Tomorrow, I have some organizing and cleaning to do in my office.  It's time to pack away all of the senior project stuff and focus solely on job finding stuff.  Basically, that means cleaning the entire office so that I can focus on ANYTHING.  Yeah, it's a mess.

Tomorrow night is what I'm looking forward to.  Finally a night out!! Haven't had one in a very long time.  I like to get out every once in a while with my closest gal pal.  It will be nice to let loose, sing a little karaoke, and just have a fun time.

OK, time to go cook dinner. 


Saturday, March 19, 2011

Speed Interviewing

You've all heard about speed dating, right?

You know - where you sit in a room filled with tables.  There's a person sitting at each of those tables.  You have about 10 minutes at each share, you discuss, then you hear a buzzer telling you it's time to move to the next table.  At the end, you decide if you found any possible love matches - and decide to exchange numbers.

Well, imagine that scenario - but instead of love interests being on the other side of those tables..there are potential job offers.

That's exactly the scene I encountered yesterday. Speed interviewing.

There were six principles from six different schools stationed at six different tables.  There were six candidates interviewing at a time.  You sit down, introduce yourself, and the ten minutes begins.  Ten minutes to explain why you think you'd be a good fit in their school, and answer the questions they have.

It was a little...well...urm....SCARY!!  Yeah, that's a good word.  Terrifying?  Yeah, maybe that too. 

I will say this now.  Ten minutes is a very short amount of time.  VERY SHORT.  Just when you get into a great conversation, things are going really well, you're enjoying the time....BEEEEEPPPP...time's up, move on and start over.

Despite how nerve wracking it was - it really was a great experience.

I had a wonderful opportunity to talk to five principles I've never met before - and the principle I've been with since August.

Each principle had different questions, so I was constantly thinking on my feet - trying to extract the best answer from my brain....but overall, I think it went pretty well.

I like to think of myself as a person that performs well under pressure.  That was, of course, until the pressure is the fate of my future career...even that was a little too much pressure for my liking.  Despite my nerves kicking in and my hands dripping with sweat - I think I did pretty well.

There were a couple of questions that got me rambling - and I don't like to ramble.  There were a few questions that got me really excited - and the excitement transferred to the principle.  There were a question or two that froze me on the spot - the questions I just didn't expect and sent shock waves of panic through my body...because those questions weren't on my practice sheet.  But I managed to compose myself and answer to the best of my ability.

Before I knew it, the hour was over.  I had completed six mini interviews and I left feeling pretty good about the whole thing.

It was definitely a learning experience.

Now, I'm ready for the "real deals".  Let's just hope I can get one or two.

*Fingers crossed*


Thursday, March 17, 2011

Adios Senior Project, Hello Trying to Find a Job

What a roller coaster ride the past few days have been.

Forty five interns came together to present their senior projects - the bulk of their senior year - to peers, teachers, and principals.

On Tuesday, I was lucky.  I got to sit back and relax while half of my classmates presented their senior projects.  Wednesday - it was my turn.

The presentation, overall, went very well.  I was nervous, I stumbled a little - but I got through it...and for that, I'm extremely happy.

I'm also happy that it's over.  The senior project started in August of last year - and was daunting, to say the least.  It took hours and hours of planning, hours and hours of teaching, and hours and hours of reflection to get it to the point of completion.  And now, it's over......that part is, anyway.

Now, it's on to yet another daunting task - trying to find a job as a teacher. 

The area in which I live is in no short supply of teachers.  There are literally hundreds of teachers trying to find teaching jobs each school year - and now I am going to be one of them. 

I've always been pretty confident about finding a job when I needed one - but this is so different.  This isn't about finding a job to pay the bills - this is about finding a job doing what I've always wanted to do and want to continue doing for the rest of my life.  This is my career, what I've worked so hard for the past four's a lot to worry about.

There are so many schools in the area - but trying to get the opportunity to at least interview is the challenge.  I've had the great opportunity of working in one school this year....I did a practicum in a school for my junior year.... but that's about it.  That's the extent of my school connections.  I don't know any other principles, I haven't built up a network of "teacher friends" that can put in a good word for me....except for the school I'm currently in. 

Getting a job in my internship school would be AMAZING.  I have had such a great experience being there - I love all of the teachers, the administration is awesome, and the entire school as a whole is great.  Yeah, I'm biased - I've been there for a year.  I've built relationships not only with the staff - but with the students, too. 

That doesn't mean I don't want a job anywhere else - there are several amazing schools in my's getting an interview that's the challenge.

Maybe I do get an interview or two....will I be good enough?  Will I be able to convince them to choose me over the other applicants?  Is my passion to find a teaching job any deeper than the other people applying for the same jobs?

The whole thing is very emotional for me.  I have wanted to be a teacher since I was 5.  Now I'm weeks away from receiving the piece of paper that can make that dream come true.  It's so close I can taste it - yet still so far away.  The biggest challenge is yet to come.  There has been no preparing for the days and weeks to come....stepping out and trying to find "the" position.

Hopefully, I will.


Sunday, March 13, 2011

Motivation, Motivation, Where For Art Thou Motivation?

Back in August of last year, I started work on the biggest project of my college career...the Unit.

What is the Unit? You ask.

Well, it's the creation, teaching, and reflecting of a two week curriculum unit.

Doesn't sound too bad, does it?


Last semester, I created the unit.  I planned.  I wrote.  I revised.  I wrote more.  I planned some more.  I revised some more.  I wrote more.  Until the day came to turn in the final plan - all 79 pages of it.

I did really well on that portion - scoring 199 points out of a possible 200.  I was happy - my hard work had paid off.

Then, in February, it was time to teach the unit to my class.

It went well.  The kids had a good time.  They learned a lot.  They did very well.

Now, for the past 4 weeks I have been working on the next leg of this monstrous project....the reflections.

Oh, that word REFLECTION. 

It used to be a word that meant deep thinking, looking back at what I had done, thinking of changes I would make in the future....a connection to my teaching and my future growth as a teacher.

Now, the word REFLECTION sends chills down my spine.  Being that I've spent the past 4 weeks doing nothing but reflecting....reflecting...and yes, even more reflecting.

I finally finished all the reflecting this week and turned that portion of my project in - all 55 pages of it.

Now, the very last leg of the journey is here.  Presenting my creation, implementation, and reflections of the Unit to my peers, clinical instructors, and principal.

Public speaking is my forte.  I love it.  I think I'm pretty good at it.  That is until I found out that I have just 12 minutes to explain six months of work.  Twelve minutes??? REALLY??  That's it.  Twelve minutes to share, explain, inform, and highlight the ups and downs of the process.

I'm nervous. 

I love making presentations - I'm good at that, too.  Trying to present all my work in PowerPoint slides?  A lot tougher.

This is probably the easiest part of the project, thus far - but I'm having such a hard time buckling down and focusing.  I could probably get it done in an hour or two....if I did buckle down...but how can I put this?  I'm on the verge of being BURNT OUT!

I love teaching.  I love being in the schools.  I love being a college student and learning how to be a great teacher.  The Unit?  Urm..well...yeah, totally over it.

It's the biggest factor of my entire senior year.  I pass the unit or I fail my senior year.  You would think that with this much pressure I'd be devoting every spare minute making sure that I do the best I can do.  But it's hard.  Not the work...just making myself do it.

My mind is focused on one thing right now - getting a job.

I'm only 8 weeks away from graduating - and I want to be able to find a job.  The time that I'm spending on this unit, in my opinion, should be focused on developing my portfolio....locking down interviews...getting out and meeting principals.  Yet, no, I am in my office working on a presentation that will seal my destiny or my fate of my college career.

Oh well, can't spend any more time complaining - Must. Find. Motivation.  And get this presentation finished.


Thursday, March 10, 2011

ABC's of ME

I saw this on a few other blogs - and thought it would be kind of fun to do here.  That way, you can get to know me a little better.  Here goes...

A. Age: 29
B. Bed size: California King
C. Chore you dislike: Dishes, laundry, and dusting
D. Dogs:  One, my silky terrier princess Asia
E. Essential start to your day: Coffee and blog
F. Favorite color: Pink and purple in general - black and red in clothing
G. Gold or silver: Silver
H. Height: 5'6"
I.   Instruments you play(ed): Clarinet grades 7-11
J.  Job title:  Student teacher
K. Kids: Three - affectionately named in my blogging world Peanut (10 year old daughter), Butter (9 year old son), and Jelly (3 year old daughter)
L.  Live: Decatur, Arkansas
M. Mom’s name: Vickie
N.  Nicknames: Jo-Jo - been called that by my family for as long as I can remember
O. Overnight hospital stays: Each time I had my kids
P.  Pet peeves: Liars and people that are nice to me to my face and then talk crap about me behind my back
Q. Quote from a movie: "Reh he he heally"
R. Righty or lefty: Lefty
S. Siblings:  5 younger: 3 brothers and 2 sisters
T. Time you wake up: 4am on weekdays and around 7am on weekends
U. Underwear: bikinis or boi shorts
V. Vegetables you don’t like: spinach (cooked) and brussel sprouts
W.What makes you run late: Kids, blogging, Facebook
X. X-rays you’ve had: Several - mostly for my knees
Y. Yummy food you make: Indian food
Z. Zoo animal favorites: Lions and tigers and bears....oh my!!

Now, aren't you so glad that you know all that stuff about me now??

You're welcome!!

Patience? Where Are You?

On Monday, February 28th, I started my last internship placement in Kindergarten.

I have completed 9 weeks in 1st grade, 18 weeks in 2nd grade...and now the last leg of my journey finishes me off in the sweet clutches of a kindergarten classroom.

I will be honest - cause that's how I roll...

For 27 weeks I have feared the day I would step into a K classroom.

I know what you're thinking....why on earth would I fear walking in to a classroom filled with the most adorable, cute, sweet faces of twenty-two 5 year olds?

Well, because the classroom is filled with the most adorable, cute, sweet faces of twenty-two 5 year olds.

One thing I have discovered about myself during my three years of performing classroom observations, practicums, and my internship placements is that I'm a....urm...well....pretty strict teacher.

Try not to imagine that teacher from when you were a child - ruler in hand, ready to swipe knuckles with an incorrect response.  Not that kind of strict.

I like order - to a point - but I also like to have fun.

I like to give students choices.  Help them understand why getting an education is important.  Find out how I can connect their learning to the real-world...give it meaning.  Challenge them to not just be "good enough" but be the best they can be...and achieve things they never thought possible.

I really discovered this in my 2nd grade placement.  I had to get tough on occasions - but the end results made it worth it.

So, I know what you're thinking....why would any of that affect me in a kindergarten classroom?

I will tell you why....because I don't WANT to get tough with 5 year olds.

They are 5.  Their whole world revolves around themselves...that's all they's normal.

Now that I'm almost two weeks in to this placement - I'm getting worried.

The "I need order" part of me is kicking in to overdrive.

I want them to sit still on the carpet.  I want them to not copy their partner's work.  I want them to try hard.  I want them to not tattle.  I want them to not be mean to their classmates.  I want them all to get along - respect each other.  I want them to really think about the questions that are being asked, instead of sitting there and waiting for others to respond.

Then I realize - they are five!!

Am I expecting too much?  Yes, I think so.  How do I break myself from this?  I don't know.

Thank goodness I got the mentor that I did.

She's so supportive - and I feel like I can talk to her about my problems.  She has great advice - can I follow it?  That will be the challenge.

I need to work on my patience.  I need to remind myself over and over and over...they are five!! 

I should be having fun with them - guiding them to think things through - helping them however I can - giving them Independence to make mistakes......I must swallow my "strict" mentality for the next 7 weeks and learn to loosen up.

It won't be easy - I know that - but I have to try.  These kids don't need someone coming in to their classroom making new rules and ordering them around.  They have a wonderful teacher that has already instilled the rules they need to follow - and she does an amazing job of controlling them...that's not my job.  It's my job to come in and learn about kindergarten. 

So, I think it's time I start searching for my patience.  Start following the same rules I instilled into the second graders.... count to 10, think about the choice being made, think positive.  This is the first year of their schooling - I don't want it to be's supposed to be fun.

Time for me to put my Tooty Ta skirt on - start singing, dancing, and acting a little silly. I can do it...I can do it....I CAN DO IT!!


Starting Over

Don't be alarmed.

I'm starting this blog over - completely.

I decided about a week ago - that my original goal for this blog just didn't sit right for me.

Just this morning, I wrote a post on my weight loss blog about a dream I had.  After writing it and publishing it, I realized that I shouldn't of really put that post on my weight loss blog...but where else would I put it?

Then it hit me - THIS is what I should be writing about here.

So, now, this blog is going to be my journal.  My personal journal.

It will be the place I share stories about my school work, my classroom life, my kids, my family....all that stuff.

I seriously considered relocating this morning's blog post on my other blog and putting it here - but I don't want to start on a downer...sometimes my posts here will be sad or emotional - but I don't want to start off that way.

Life is good, right now.

It's time to separate my weight loss efforts from my life efforts.  They are connected, of course, but that blog is for posting how my life is affecting my weight.

This blog is for how my life is affecting my life.

I love to write.  I love to share my life.  There's so much going on right now that my head is a maze of thoughts and feelings and emotions....and there's no where for it to go.

Enter - Traveling My Mind.

Take a journey with me - discovering what goes on in this quirky head of mine.  How I process the events in my life, how I absorb my surroundings, how I interpret life.