Friday, July 30, 2010

Getting over myself.

Thank you so much for all the encouragement! Between my blog readers (and stalkers) and real life friends and family, I had a lot of support yesterday as I whined my way through the day bemoaning my terrible chances of finding a classroom job this year.

Today though I'm back to feeling awesome. Thank goodness because no one likes (or hires) a complainer. I may be one in a thousand trying for the job, but that also means I was one of a thousand who had my hopes dashed to pieces yesterday when I opened my email to see how slim my chances really were. Right now I'm grateful to be able to continue pursuing a teaching career, even if that means sticking it out in the subpool for another year.

Now I'm ready for more traveling, more summer, and more family time. And I guess I have to stop procrastinating packing for our big move...

Thursday, July 29, 2010

0.5% chance of becoming a real bone fide teacher!

A half of a percent. That's the chance I have. Thousands of dollars, hundreds of thousands of tears, one hundred quarter units in twelve months from a top fifty education graduate school, one year of keeping my head above water in a sub pool/contract teaching, and now I have earned myself the chance to roll the dice on a HALF of a percent chance at a job.

Today I received an email from a district I applied to, stating that I was "one of over 1,000 applicants for five positions". Let's be generous and forget to read that little word "over" and estimate that there are 1,000 people vying for five positions. Straight up that's half a percent chance if we're looking at name drawings out of a hat.

If it were me, and thank goodness it's not, I wouldn't pick me. I'd pick someone with a couple of years experience but no tenure to transfer over. That would be the cheapest way to get a teacher with some experience. What can I say? I'm a numbers person. But today, just for once, I wish I wasn't. Because then I wouldn't realize how dire 5/1000 really is.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Surving the hunt

Like many of you, I'm in over my head with my job hunt this year. There are hardly any openings so I've had to expand my hunt to include after school positions, middle school positions, and private schools that may or may not line up with my personal religious beliefs. We're all fighting to stay positive, keep searching, send in apps as soon as the jobs get posted, and tweak and re-tweak those cover letters. I keep hearing about places getting hundreds of applications for a single opening and thinking that there is just no way a district is ever going to even consider calling me for an interview, not when there are teachers out there with years of experience who can pull the "I got laid off" card. The whole thing is just rather depressing, for me and for everyone else.  And I haven't even begun to talk about the kids, who are hurt the most by the layoffs.

In the middle of all this, Dr. Awesome and I are up to our neck in boxes, as we're not far from our big move. Trying to convince myself to move several boxes of teaching supplies for a "someday" that may never be is getting harder and harder.

Like any normal person, I did the only thing left to do. I hit up and spent so much money that my credit card company called regarding abnormal activity.

That's normal, right?

My new sandals arrived today. Writing essays doesn't seem so bad now that I'm wearing PJs and my new OluKai sandals. Now that's summer.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Everyone likes to be read to: a book review from my niece

Every summer my parents take my niece and nephew for a week or so, giving my brother and his wife a much needed reprieve from the summer doldrums and giving my mom and dad a chance to spend some uninterrupted time with their grandkids. Well, uninterrupted until I come and visit and crash the party!

After a day and a half of making cookies, reading books, playing piano, getting whooped on guitar hero, and video chatting with Dr. Awesome, I had to be on my way home so Grandma could take the kids on a road trip to Six Flags. I gave my mom an audio book of Tales of the Fourth Grade Nothing by Judy Blume to help make their drive go by with less episodes of iCarly playing on Grandpa's portable DVD player.

In the car rode my mom, her friend, and three kids ages 7, 10, and 12. No one had ever read Tales of the Fourth Grade Nothing before (how is that even possible?) and it turned out that the book was a huge hit! They listened to the whole book in the car and everyone enjoyed it. The thing is, people love being read to, especially when its a good story. It doesn't matter if the book is grade level or if you're a grown up listening to a kids book or a teenager listening to a young readers' book. People like to be read to, and they need to be read to.

Two days after their big amusement park trip I talked to my niece on the phone, expecting to hear about water rides and long lines. Instead, she told me all about the book and how everyone loved it. I thought I would share what I could remember of our conversation.

Auntie Awesome guess what?
We listened to all three CDs! That's the whole story!
Wow cool, did you like it?
Yes we all did everyone laughed. Even my brother liked it. And well it was kind of weird because the whole thing was said by a girl so even the boy voices sounded like a girl.
Well that's because it's a girl reading a book, so she has to read all of the voices. 
Yeah I thought it was so funny...
What was one part you liked?
Well I liked all of it, but Auntie Awesome, did you know there were gross parts? Like when Fudge poops the turtle?

There you have it. It's funny but it's gross when Fudge poops a turtle.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Wrap it up, it's a mummy

We usually need to clap, pour rainsticks, and trick our youngsters into singing a song with hand motions so that they'll can it and put their eyes on the board. Getting and keeping kids' attentions is a struggle we battle with on a daily basis. Having the right hook for a lesson can make a huge difference, especially when they are adolescent and angry at the world.

When I was in London recently, I had the chance to visit the British Museum. While there, I snagged some pictures that are certain to nab the attention of even the most uninterested preteens. I'm not sure yet how to relate it to any and all curriculum, but teaching ancient civilizations never sounded so good!

Tell me these shots aren't freaky awesome enough to make even you want to drop your multiple subjects credential and teach history!

Guess who this is? Well yes, it's a mummy, but guess WHO it is? It's Cleo-frickin-patra! That's right, she's just laying right there on a shelf all royal-like. It's Cleopatra, queen and pharaoh of Egypt! Not exactly a royal or peaceful resting place, but she's certainly getting some publicity here.

Okay I'm not really sure who this guy/gal is but that is indeed a mummy. The next time you have a toilet paper roll mummy wrap contest, consider this as your guide. I can't imagine that being a relaxing way to rest in peace, but to each culture their own. 

Who doesn't like bones? Skulls? Entrails? Yuck. Hooked yet, aloof and disinterested middle school boy who cares about nothing?


Well haven't you always want to unwrap a mummy? Common... you know you're curious to see how well that ancient preservation really worked!

 What? You think it's cool? A 3,000 year old dead body preserved with ancient technology? You don't want to learn about it, do you? Oh, you're interested in a closer look? Ok, but don't cry to me if you get nightmares!


Now that's history. And I bet you're ready to learn. Check out the British Museum website here and I hope someday you get the chance to travel and be inspired (or at least really wigged out!)

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Telling it like it is: job application essays

I'm still in the UK, still enjoying a whirlwind of sightseeing with Dr. Awesome, and still squeezing in job hunting during the long boring days while he's at work and my legs are too tired and sore to carry me through even more walking tours. I am, however, getting a little burned out from these essay questions on job applications. I thought I would share some of my brutally honest answers.

1. If you are bilingual, please state the languages you speak and proficiencies.
I speak several languages. I speak parent, principal, administrator, and coworker. In addition, I speak several forms of child, including hungry, sleepy, frustrated, and whiny. All fluent. I also am moderately proficient at teenager, urban foo, and valley girl.

2. Why do you want to work for ___School?
You're one of three accepting applications right now. 

3. As an educator, how do you use assessments to inform your teaching?
I use every lesson to prepare the kids for the state test. Then I get my state test scores back, fear for my job and salary, can't make a difference because my kids that took the test are already in a new grade, and try again with a metaphorical whip on my back and new kids. 

4. How as collaboration impacted your performance?
Mrs. Next Door tells me how I do everything wrong. Mr. Next Door tells me how Mrs. Next Door is getting divorced. Ms. Down the Hall helps me with my weekly block plan and I help her with math and science prep. All four of us tell the principal we are a united grade level team. 

5. Please describe the management system in your classroom and give an example. 
I take away recess. Example: Kid is a terd. I take away recess. Kid is less of of terd.