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.