Monday, March 25, 2013

Virtual Coffee Date

Recently Lisa and a few other bloggers have written a "virtual coffee date" post and I have been meaning to write one for awhile now. No better time then the present, no?

Photo courtesy of Lisa's condo in Minneapolis when I stayed with her in August 2011!

If you and I were having coffee together ...
  • I'd tell you that I am feeling extremely anxious these days. Anxious about getting a teaching job. Anxious about student loans. Anxious about relationships. Anxious about completing my portfolio Anxious about time. Just, anxious. Pray I'm not on meds by August, ok? 
  • I'd tell you that despite being extremely busy juggling student teaching, completing as many teaching applications as I possibly can, taking advantage of every possible meet and greet with district representatives, working on my portfolio and working part time at the agency, I am still making sure to keep up with my favorite past time - reading. Last night I started the 21st book of 2013 and tonight my friends and I will meet at Dos Rios for our third Books 'n Bars meeting of the year. I am always available with a recommendation for a good book!
  • I'd tell you that I started student teaching today at a new placement and I would tell you how excited I am to be teaching at a school that seems to be everybody's favorite school.
  • I'd tell you that having your classmates turn into competition for teaching jobs is a very weird feeling and I do not like it. There is one friend in particular that is ... particularly catty. I am not sure if she realizes that it comes across that way, but I am not willing to participate. Gives me the sads. 
  • I'd tell you that despite the stiff competition, there are still some very nice people out there. On Saturday when I was in Cedar Falls for the UNI Teacher Fair a girl that interviewed for the same position I did a few weeks ago remembered seeing me and stopped to say hi. We chatted each time we ran into each other at the fair and it was nice to make a new friend. :)
  • I'd tell you that speaking of new friends, I met Kristin from Single Mama Life and it was so nice to meet her! I will never forget how she reached out to me and sent the nicest email after I posted about not getting the job I interviewed for. 
  • I'd tell you that despite being very busy, I miss blogging very much.
  • I'd tell you that I recently registered for Dam to Dam, the race that sparked my interest in long distance running last year and the race that I am hoping will ignite that spark again this year... now, if only it would stop snowing so I could comfortably run outside...
  • I'd ask you, speaking of snow... when is it going to stop? And, I would hope that you give me an answer I like. Or offer me a beach vacation to somewhere tropical!
If we had coffee today, what would you tell me? 

Thursday, March 21, 2013

My wild and crazy Spring Break...

Good morning!

Well, I am on Spring Break and it is quickly flying by. I wish I could say it's been wild and crazy and I've been relaxing on a beach somehwere... but... that is not the case. At all.  Even so, I cannot believe it is already Thursday and it is almost over. I had big plans for blogging and running and both got pushed to the bottom of the list each day.

Instead, this week I worked a ton at the agency and worked on my electronic portfolio. The agency is driving me a tad crazy. Organization is not a strength with a lot of human services employees and this place is no different. I also feel that I find many of the people in the industry burnt out and spread way too thin. Sometimes they make the job harder instead of easier. Since I am on call staff I work for many different people, but I report to one person. These days I am so thankful for the person I report to because she is always very consistent in her moods and how she treats her staff. If it wasn't for her, I do not think I would have lasted as long.

Moving on...

Do you have a portfolio for work? For teaching, we have electronic portfolios, but honestly, I do not think that very many administrators have the time to really look through it. Right now I am in the process of printing off all of the documents and artifacts and putting it all into a traditional portfolio format. This weekend I am attending a large teacher recruitment fair about three hours north of Des Moines and I although my portfolio is not finished I want to have something to show, so I'm printing everything off. It is kind of a big job, but hopefully it will be worth it.

I feel like once I get out of a good habit, I have the hardest time getting back into it. I have slacked majorly with running and blogging and I just cannot get back into it! Yesterday I registered for the Dam to Dam 20K, so hopefully that light a fire under me. I have two months to train and I better get on it!

What have you been up? If you had Spring Break what would you do with your time?

Friday, March 15, 2013

Book Club Friday + and an overdue update!


Yesterday was my last day at my first student teaching placement and I cannot believe it is already over. The class surprised me with a TON of goodies and a surprise party! My teacher put together the cutest baskets of goodies, the kids wrote notes and everyone had snacks and went around and said something nice to me. I was fighting tears the entire time... as soon as the kids left and I had to say goodbye to my teacher, I cried. I admit it. Twice now I have cried in my cooperating teacher's room (she probably wants to change her final assessment of me to, "cries too much!").

It was sweet though, and as one of my Instagram friends said, I will never forget this. Luckily, in today's age, keeping in touch is simple with Facebook and Twitter and I know my teacher and I will keep in touch. I could not have been blessed with a better teacher! She was wonderful and so easy to work with. Having all the kids shout out what grades I should teach permanently was also such a rewarding feeling, because they were all grades where I would see THEM again! They were such a great bunch and I loved working with them.

But, after the past 7 weeks of trying to be on my toes for 8 hours and constantly ready to impress, I am exhausted. Luckily, I have a fun spring tradition ahead of me for this weekend!

Today I am headed up to Minneapolis for the Jodi Picoult book signing and my friend Lisa's going away party. This is the fourth year in a row that I have gone north for the the JP signing and to meet up with my other close friend, Lesli! It has definitely turned into more than just a "book signing" that I am going to Minneapolis for and more of a tradition where I get to see my good friends to the north and have a great relaxing weekend.

In the past I have come back from this weekend refreshed and rejuvenated and I am expecting nothing less than that from this weekend! I know I have a grueling spring ahead of me of job searching, so making sure to get in some mental health is extremely important.

Speaking of the grueling job search, I have had two mock interviews with two local superintendents (or reps/assistants for the interim superintendent if the district did not currently have one) and they have gone TERRIFIC! I do not want to jinx myself, but I have to say, they both made me feel so good about my accomplishments in the past two years and that could not have come at a better moment! I was still feeling down about the opportunity I did not get with the first interview and a "good" interview experience was exactly what I needed!

Next weekend there is a big teacher job fair a few hours north of me that I will be attending and I am hoping to meet more officials there. I really feel good about this and am confident I will have a job in the fall if I can keep up this momentum!

Completely switching gears here, but it IS Friday and I have not participated in Book Club Friday in aaaages, so why not today?? ;)

I just finished a book I cannot get off my mind. It is a book that most teachers or people in education will know... It is called Educating Esme by Esme Raji Codell. This book had me in tears, had me laughing and had me completely enamored with Esme. This book is her diary of her first year teaching fifth grade in a very urban Chicago school.

She was gutsy, confident and completely in charge of a class that could have easily steamrolled her. Instead, she earned their respect and they respected her back (most of the time). A skill I have learned many times while subbing in rooms with kids just like hers. Respect is huge with this demographic.

We need more teachers like Esme that will work in the urban schools. This book inspired me and quickly reminded me of where I want to be. There are kids in need at every school, but our urban schools across the country are in trouble. As a student that attended all urban schools from K-12, schools that were not considered "at risk" when I was there and were traditionally good schools for years and years (one for over 100 years!), this hits home majorly for me. To hear current teachers say they "won't teach at this or that school" breaks my heart. I know it's hard. I completely get it. But... those kids need more people like Esme.

Getting off soapbox now.

Read it. You will love it.

So, tell me what you have been up to. I have been trying to keep up, but these days that is not always happening. What is going on in your neck of the woods??

Sidebar about the line "neck of the woods": Figurative language will forever remind me of the class I just left because we did a unit on figurative language and it was hilaaaaaarious!

Today I am linking up with Heather for Book Club Friday. If you're a reader, you should play along!