Tuesday, April 22, 2014

The harsh truth

Burpees suck. Call me Captain Obvious, but until recently I did not know the evil that is burpees.

A little over two weeks ago I began a fitness program focusing on eating "clean" and working out regularly. My ultimate goal in starting the plan was to get healthy with the just-barely-in-second-place goal of losing weight. I'm not talking vanity weight for bikini season either.

Normally the term "clean eating" rubs me the wrong way. After all, I'm not eating raw sewage... It's just pop tarts, and French fries, and McDonalds. Okay okay, that last one is cutting it close. The issue is, I stopped thinking of those things as an occasional treat and began thinking of them as staples in my "super busy life" diet. After all, I have a job now. I'm WAY too busy to grocery shop or to *gasp* cook dinner. I have stuff to do. Important stuff. Like sitting on the couch reading and panicking about my never-been-to-yoga pants not fitting anymore while chugging hazelnut coffee.

After three different doctors told me I needed to do something to reduce my stress level and two of them suggested losing weight, I decided doctors were jerks who liked making people feel bad about themselves.

Then, I was talking with a friend about her recent spike in positivity and fitness and she told me about the fitness program she started doing. It involved working out every day, planning out your meals to ensure you eat the recommended amounts of fruits and veggies while also maintaining correct portion sizes. It sounded like a lot of work. After all, I'm living my super busy grown up life now. I don't have time to be all responsible and healthy.

Then I remembered she has a toddler and a full time job and a marriage and still managed to do the program and kick it's butt. So, I decided to give it a shot.

A little over two weeks later and I am amazed at how different I feel. Eating fresh, whole foods on a regular basis has given me tons of energy, my skin has never looked better, and I feel stronger. There has been weight loss too, but I feel more balanced in general and that is a better felling than any weight loss on its own could bring. Case-in-point: I can do burpees now, and plank for a full minute. It has also forced me to manage my time better. I still make time for reading on the couch and hazelnut coffee, but now it's after fitting in all of the other necessary things in my life rather than instead of them.

This Sunday is the end of my initial "challenge" period, but I intend to continue with the workouts and the eating philosophy. Hopefully it will lead to even more positive change in the future.

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Happy Easter!

I hope everyone is enjoying the Easter holiday! I know we are loving the slightly lazy day home with the dogs. We were fortunate enough to get to spend some time with some dear friends yesterday including our Godson. It's such a blessing to see him and all of the wonderful people who were there for some of the most important events of my life.

As much fun as this weekend has been, part of me simply cannot believe that April is nearly over. Where did the time go? How can May be approaching so quickly? Is this what happens when you become an adult? Does time speed up when you aren't looking?

So far I have not had any job offers for next year, but I am remaining positive. I'm attending a job fair in two weeks and have participated in a phone interview for one of the local counties that went well. There are definitely some promising leads being pursued. And after all, if this is what I am supposed to be doing then God will provide, right? I'm positive that this is what I need to be doing so I'm positive that the right opportunity will present itself in time. Still praying in it though.

Lastly, I'm trying to figure out what to do for my sixth graders during our last PSR session. Our last class is on May 4th and I want to give them something little as a reminder of how much they have meant to me this year. They tested my patience and my knowledge of canon law, but they also made me laugh a lot and impressed me with the genuine curiosity and desire for truth. We have food allergies within the class and I want to do something more meaningful than food. Any ideas? I'll be browsing the local catholic shops, but any suggestions are welcome!

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Legos, broken bones, and the end of the school year

No, you aren't hallucinating. I am actually writing a blog post. It's been a little while.

I'm still loving my job teaching science. It isn't my ultimate goal, but it is definitely a great place to start right out of school. I'm being challenged by the busy schedule and necessity to memorize large amounts of science facts, not to mention being in a different school and a different grade level each day. It keeps me on my toes.

This week I a teaching a class on Lego robotics. Prior to this weekend I knew nothing about robotics and I hadn't played with Legos in over a year. A few hours spent fiddling with my equipment later and I successfully built and programed some awesome robots.

One of the best parts of this job is the constant need to learn new things. I am never bored.

As much as I love this job, I am looking for a permanent classroom teaching position for the fall. That was always the plan. There is a part of me that will not feel fulfilled until I have a class of my own an have the opportunity to get to see them develop as learners over the course of the school year.

It's my dream.

There are several vacancies in the school districts near me and I have been sending out my resume and applying to all I am qualified for. It's nerve wracking, but nowhere near as mush as the idea of not getting my own classroom.

Lastly, I will say that we had a bit of excitement in our house about a month and a half ago. We adopted another dog! His name is Ronan and he is an incredibly sweet (if not slightly clumsy) German Shepherd/Flat Coat Retriever mix. He has the unfortunate habit of eating the couch and our shoes, but he is learning the difference between food, furniture, and footwear.

Unfortunately, he play really rough and managed to help his brother, Finn, escape his leash about a month ago. We were terrified that Finn would get hit by a car while running around leash-less. Thankfully, a good Samaritan helped us corral him and bring him home. Both dogs were completely fine. I, on the other hand, managed to break my right index finger. hat made for some interesting times writing invoices and moving large boxes of supplies in and out of the schools/my car.

I'm out of my splint now at least and able to use the finger again. Woot! Woot!

Here's hoping I have good news to share in the next few weeks and I remember this little blog more often.

Monday, January 6, 2014

New Beginnings and Bill Nye Impersonations

It's been almost a month and my brain still has not fully registered the fact that I am done with school. Not only that, but I will be starting my job as a science enrichment teacher soon.

Like, tomorrow.

This afternoon I went into the office and got my employee handbook, my curriculum binder, and my lab coats. I met a bunch of the others I'll be working with and generally got a quick and dirty run down of what to expect this week.

I've got my calendar for the week and a boat load of excitement over the lessons I will be teaching.

Unfortunately, we have been dealing with crazy weather lately and all the schools will be closed tomorrow due to record low temperatures. That means no science teaching for me. It also means no snow day for this lady... I will be at the office doing some video training so I'll be prepared to teach all by myself early next week.

Woot woot!

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Stick a fork in me - I'm done

Notice how the ticker on the left is now on zero all the way across? That's because I freaking graduated!

My brain still hasn't wrapped itself around that particular reality yet, and I feel like it won't truly hit me until I start my job in January. Even while I was walking across the stage at graduation on Monday, wearing the cap and gown, shaking the dean's hand, and listening to them call out my name, I was still in a disbelieving fog.

I know I did the work. I know I attended each class and internship day. Still, I have been working toward this goal for so long (since 2005!) that the idea of being done is entirely too big for my brain to be able to unpack right now.

My grandparents and all of my immediate family were able to come to the ceremony hosted my the College of Education on Monday, which was awesome. This was a personal goal and an accomplishment I worked toward for myself, but knowing that the people I love were able to share in my achievement made the day so much more special.

We celebrated in many ways. Sunday we had a very small, low-key graduation party with just family at my parents' house. Then, on Monday I met up with some friends from my cohort before the ceremony at a bar near campus to hang out and revel in our achievement. Even though I don't drink, it was fun to see everyone and experience the collective excitement together before our big moment. After the ceremony the family went out to dinner together and I had some amazing cheesecake to celebrate a job well done..

Now that the celebratory dust has settled and I'm just hanging out at my house while Steve is at work, my mind spends a good deal of time thinking about my grandma Nora (the person who inspired me to become a teacher) and what she might say to me if she were here to see me graduate in person. I imagine she would be proud. Not just because I accomplished a goal I set for myself, but because I didn't give up on that goal even after so much changed in my life and it would have been easier to give up than to push through.

I'm so excited to begin teaching in January and to finally be able to say I am living the life I have imagined. Now that I have realized this one, I get to move confidently in the direction of a new dream. :)

Monday, November 25, 2013

I actually got a job

Thanksgiving break is upon us and very soon after the break ends it will be the end of the semester. It's a bit bittersweet since I've grown so attached to these children over the course of this fall semester. I'm going to miss them. It is sweet though to know that I am so close to achieving a huge personal goal. I have been working toward this particular goal for several years (since 2005) and I had to overcome a lot of personal demons along the way. There will be much rejoicing when everything is officially over.

One issue has made this semester particularly stressful. Of course I wanted to finish this journey strong and not slack off, but I was terrified that I would not find a job. We definitely do not have the finances to support another period of unemployment for me.

I said a lot of prayers this semester asking for help finding a job. As if in direct response, last week I received an invitation for an interview and by Friday I was the proud recipient of a job offer.

This job seems like it will be a great opportunity for me. I will be teaching hands-on science enrichment classes to students from Kindergarten to 5th grade. I will be working in schools all over Fulton and Gwinnett. This means I will get the opportunity to see a variety of schools, meet a large sampling of teachers and administrators, and teach in a wide variety of school settings.

It may not seem like a big deal to some, but seeing these different schools, and these teachers and administrators getting to see me teach, will likely help me a great deal when I am looking for a full time teaching job in the fall. It will be an excellent way to maintain my classroom management skills and build up my hands-on learning ideas.

I'm so grateful for this job and everything it means for Steve and I this spring. Not only is it a financial relief, it's a huge weight off both of our shoulders and is already lessening Steve's anxiety.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

job hunting is awkward

Hey I'm graduating in December, and this is crazy..... but here's my resume... so, hire me.... maybe.

Not gonna lie, that's kind of how I feel when I send out my resume these days. Each job posting I see for teaching gets me all giddy and excited about the possibility of actually being hired and having a grown-up job. Not only that, but to have a grown-up job in the field I love. That's not something everyone gets a chance to do.

It's also more than slightly nerve wracking since I know nothing is guaranteed. It is job hunting after all.

I never thought about all the various options available to me in education until I began my job search in earnest in the last week or so. Of course I want to teach, but there are various grade levels, there are public and private organizations, groups that specialize in specific content, groups that focus on specific learning disabilities....  the list goes on and on.

Not all of these places have job openings, but those that do are looking for passionate people with the degree to back them up.

I just happen to be one of those passionate, degree-backed people. Here's hoping for the best!