Sunday, November 30, 2008

Ahead of the game

As of Santa's arrival at the Macy's Thanksgiving Parade, it is the Christmas season. We haven't put our tree up yet, though we had intended to do so this weekend. We'll probably assemble it during the day tomorrow (yes, faux AND prelit) and decorate it when S gets home for school. I know many people finish Christmas shopping early and many finish the night before. I am usually shopping up till the week before Christmas for at least one or two things. This year, though, I'm done! Okay, I may pick up a few more little things to put in stockings, but the main presents are finished. I've even wrapped some of them. I also just addressed Christmas cards. Maybe ours will be the first to arrive at our friends' and families' homes. I do need a few updated address from my nomad friends who move so often. If you're one of them reading this, send me a message on facebook. I have picture cards this year! Fun! Snapfish made it so easy. I wasn't planning on doing them, but they sent me an email offer of 20 cards for 20 cents, so I did it. It ended up being about $7 with shipping. I need to do a big order of photos, though, because I haven't gotten any since Easter.

Here is our Thanksgiving tradition: taking a picture of the girls waving at Santa at the parade. This started when we didn't see Will's parents for Thanksgiving. I would take a pic of S and email it to them that morning. My FIL would print it out to have for the day. Here is this year's pic:

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

103 posts

I totally missed marking my 100th post. Oh well. I am absolutely in LOVE with Pandora. You have to check it out. I made a Beyonce station. I'm still personalizing it because it's putting a lot of the slower ballad-type R&B songs and I like more upbeat dance-type. That's the great thing about Pandora, the stations are made to your tastes. You can ban certain songs and artists. It's great!

Today was spent cleaning house. Not so much for the family who is visiting but for me because I haven't done much thorough cleaning during this student teaching semester. I'd usually straighten up the office and living room, help the girl's clean their rooms, then vacuum. I only did the bathrooms once top to bottom during the 14 weeks. I did keep up with the mirrors, sinks, and toilets, though. I'm not gross. I like having a clean slate for the holidays. I had some fun with magic sponges.

Will has been baking pies and preparing side dishes for tomorrow. I put the kids to bed and then watched some Beyonce videos and searched for the Justin Timberlake clip from SNL, but of course it's been removed. Inlaws are coming in this evening dropping off the grandparents at their hotel. They're bringing two dogs as well. Sister-in-law is coming tomorrow suppossedly with a new b/f. Should be a very interesting Thanksgiving. Kids are both sick. Had them in the doctor today so they're on antibiotics now. G just keeps getting eye infections from her colds, yuck. First year at preschool and she is always sick. Fortunately I'm staying healthier now that I'm eating better.

Happy Thanksgiving to everyone! I'm thankful to be in a nice, warm home with my family.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Moving on

I have let go the hope of getting the Anne Arundel elementary school position. The job is supposed to start Dec. 1 and it's just too close now. I've moved on. I put in another application. Don't freak out. Baltimore City. Yes, the INNER city. Chill. Okay, there are students at this (the one I've been studeng teaching in) little 'ole rural high school who ARE in gangs currently. Students are absent all the time because of court dates. A student was recently in the paper because he was arrested as being part of a gang and part of a group responsible for lots of theft and drive-by shootings. A student of mine, the one who allegedly threw the highlighter out the bus window at my windshield, was taken away in handcuffs a couple days after that incident for missing a court date. I feel very safe at the high school in which I student taught. However, I did stay on my toes and aware. High school students are big. The guys are much, much bigger than me. Generally, though, students were respectful.

Why Baltimore City? Well, for starters, we want to live there. I still have this dream of working where I live and having my children go to my school. I will only work in a Baltimore City elementary school. I'm not so naive to think that I could handle city high schoolers without maturing some first. They know I'm young and wouldn't have immediate respect because of it.So, wouldn't it be awesome to get a job in an elementary school in an area of the city that we'd want to live? So, that might not happen. And if it doesn't then it's back to our previous plan where our kids go to school where we live and do before/after school care and Will and I commute to our schools.

Will has his BCTR interview coming up. He will teach middle or high school if he's accepted, which I believe he will be because men are needed in the teaching capacity.

Right now I'm looking forward to the holidays and then plan on substitute teaching as much as possible while hopefully getting a position secured in Baltimore for next fall.

This weekend I'm living in the now as much as I can and planning for S's 6th birthday and Christmas. I'd like to get all the gifts done asap.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

I want this job

I really, really do. One week ago today I interviewed for an art position split between two elementary schools. I was called on a Sunday afternoon and told that the following Friday would be too late and I should come in earlier. I went up to MD Monday night and interviewed Tues. Then I went back Friday and met the art coordinator for the county. Usually, she interviews applicants before they see principles. We did it backwards. That was ok with me. I was interviewed by one of the school's vice principles, who was the one to call me. He was very nice, showed me around the school, said they still had more candidates to interview and I would hear from human resources because human resources has the final say. So, I emailed the vice principle today thanking him for the interview and assuring him I would be available to start on the date he had said and gave him the link to my online education portfolio. He emailed me back saying the principle was still continuing to do interviews and I would be hearing from human resources as soon as the two schools reached a decision.

So, I'm anxious and stressed. The stress of traveling to MD and the three interviews I had last week (one was just a prescreening for another county) have caused my acid reflux to flare up like I'm not even on Prevacid. I'm having to add prilosec in the morning and continue with prevacid at night. I just want to get this job so badly. I want to have the security. I want Will to be able to enter BCTR without having the worry of whether or not I will have a job. Because, if we don't both have jobs we can't move. If I don't work this next sememster, we won't have money to move in the summer even if we DO have jobs. So, if you pray, then pray for me regarding this job. Maybe it won't happen because it really wouldn't be the best scenario. I do think things work out for the best sometimes. But I am praying that I get this job and can just relax and focus on teaching and not the "what if."

Saturday, November 15, 2008

I am exhausted

Three teaching interviews in one week. Two trips to MD from NC. One party. Good week, but I'm very tired.

About a recent comment on an old post

This post about failing Praxis II the first time has a new comment. I just wanted to state my opinion on the Praxis. I understand some people are not good test takers for various reasons. However, I do feel that we need a way to measure teachers' competency. The Praxis I is the first line of defense against people who are not knowledgeable enough to be teachers. At my university, there are two ways for students to enter the education program. One is to pass Praxis I. The other way is to receive a bachelor's degree. Students actually get their degree to get around having to take the Praxis. That is ridiculous. Praxis I is easier than the SAT!
Then there's Praxis II. In NC right now it is not required that secondary teachers and special subject teachers take Praxis II. It is required for elementary school teachers to take Praxis II. Yes, I failed it the first time, but only slightly. It wasn't because I'm not knowledgeable. I just didn't know what was required in the essay portion. The second time I did wonderfully because I knew what was expected. A class could prepare a student for the test as well as trying the test one time. You may even pass the first time! In my opinion teachers should have to take Praxis II to be fully licensed. Truthfully, I don't want someone teaching my child who could not pass Praxis I, much less Praxis II dealing with their subject content!
As for all those struggling, I'm sorry for your trouble. I hope you will try again and simply study. I didn't know many of the artists listed in the history section, but I knew enough. Don't feel discouraged having to take it twice. Understand that you will be teaching and you are to be as knowledgeable as you can. Of course you can study and prepare for lessons, as teachers should, but you should also have studied quite a bit through college. If your college didn't prepare you to take Praxis II, but is giving you a degree, you have been done a disservice. What I mean by "not preparing you" is you don't have the content knowledge from college classes to pass the Praxis II without a lot of additional studying and memorizing.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

One week after applying

I sent in my applications to 3 MD counties this past Monday. Now I have two interviews ahead of me this week. So FAST! The first interview is Tuesday with an elementary school in Anne Arundel county. The position is split between two elementary schools and they wanted me to come up as soon as possible because they want to fill the position quickly. I'm not even sure when it would start. Maybe for the next semester? I haven't even had the pre-screening interview yet and the Vice principle called today, Sunday! The second interview IS a pre-screening interview for Balt. Co. schools, so it's at the board of ed. with human resources personnel. Howard Co. still hasn't contacted me. Now I'm going through all the what-ifs and how we'd make this work. Yes, Liane, Mom and Dad know because Mom said the girls and I could stay there. We'd come back to NC after the school year ended to pack up the house and wait until closer to the next school year to rent a place in MD. See, I'd be able to save up enough for two months rent, but not enough to rent and pay bills, cover day care and afford to eat on just one salary. So, we'd have to start renting right before we start a new school year so we could pay subsequent rent with subsequent pay checks.
Tonight I'm getting all my materials ready for the interview because I'll be traveling right after student teaching tomorrow. I also need to get mostly packed tonight. Eck. It has begun! It's exciting, but stressful.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

What I did today...

Filled out teaching applications for the Baltimore area. 3 counties, specifically. Only one had an online application. The other two I had to print. Then I had to write cover letters to let them know that I'm student teaching and to tell them about my online education portfolio. I also had to make copies, in triplicate, (what a fun word to use) of my praxis scores (totally awesome) and my transcripts (unofficial) AND my student teaching evaluations from my cooperating teacher and university supervisor (also awesome). On top of that I have to get some other reference forms to the aforementioned people and one other college professor.

See, I've applied to SIX counties in NENC. However, there are NO openings at this awkward time of graduation in December, at least not for art. Will always said it's too bad you'll be boxed in to just teaching art, but I really do NOT want to teach elementary school regular classes. On top of there not being any known open positions, there are three other women graduating with me whom I am competing against. If you've kept up, you'll remember I already went to an interview where one of them was also interviewing. There is reportedly one teacher who was asked to come back after he retired a few years ago and is looking to retire again, maybe after this year. One of my fellow student teachers has a daughter in his class right now and is a local gal, so really if anyone should get the job it's her. Though I'd interview if it were to open up for next semester. She could just have it after me! I don't think that'll likely happen.

So, I'm applying for the MD schools. Ideally I'd start in the fall. Will is applying for BCTR to start training this summer and then teach in the fall. I need to also get a job by the fall. Right now, though, I'm thinking the big "what if." What if I get hired for next semester. First of all, that would be awesome because I want to work. We need money to move permanently. How would we do it? We'd stagger a move of sorts. I'd go up and get everything arranged for the kids: S to a new school (best scenario is it's the elementary school where I teach) and G to a full day day care near where I teach. Then the girls and I would move in with my parents for a little while (a month maybe) until we can save the money for renting a house. The downside is Will has to stay here during the week to finish his last semester. The good side is he could also substitute teach on the days he doesn't have class so we can save even more money to move our belongings up to the new house. And that's where the staggered move starts because we'd really only take the necessities for the semester and then get everything else later. It's only 4 months of Will in school here...not too bad.

I'm extremely anxious about getting a job. I want to have one so badly that I'll probably not enjoy my break for the holidays as much as I would if I had a job lined up already. Because, it's not a break if I don't. It's just me being done with school.