Sunday, September 26, 2010

Sweatpant Saturdays/Sundays

I love love LOVE lazy weekends at home! I mean, anymore with how crazy work is, I tend to live for the weekends anyway. I need the weekends to recoup and actually remember that life can be totally enjoyable. So this weekend, H and I decided to spend Saturday laying around the apartment spending time together, watching our favorite show on DVD (to catch up on past episodes), and cooking an amazing dinner together. It was so relaxing and such a great bonding time for us--something that we've needed! Today, we slept in, made breakfast together, watched a little How I Met Your Mother (our fave show right now!), and we're spending the rest of the day going apple picking and then studying/doing lesson plans. It's really nice to just spend some quality time together and relax while doing things that we enjoy.

It's like the blessings just keep coming!

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Sometimes I forget...

Just how blessed I am. After what could have been an argument that ended pretty rough, H and I actually had a chance to talk things out and work on our communication. I honestly feel like this is the first time we've come out of an argument or situation like this and have truly been stronger because of it. I am so blessed to have this wonderful man in my life, and I thank God for that every day!

Friday, September 10, 2010

Getting the Hang of It

For the first time in 3 weeks, I actually feel like maybe I'm getting into a routine with work and starting to get the hang of things. It feels good, and I wish it could happen more often. I think it's because I'm prepping for classes more.

I had one goal this week (okay, two if you count "survive"): get next week planned out, copies made, and ready to go by Friday afternoon so I don't have to worry about anything this weekend--Mom, Dad, and Mindy are coming to visit and I don't want to have to worry about any of my school stuff while they're here. So I kicked major curriculum butt this week and accomplished my goal by Thursday afternoon. I'm not worried about next week, because everything is not only planned, but all of the copies are made and taken care of so I don't have to worry, especially if the copier goes down again (it was like a national disaster at school on Wednesday when it happened...). It feels great! Lets just hope that this keeps going!

The first year is always the hardest. Always. But I'm asking God every day for strength and patience, and relying on Him to get me through. I just hope next year doesn't feel as stressed or overwhelming as this year does.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010


Today was a very important day. It's not a birthday or an anniversary, or a national holiday. It was "To Write Love On Her Arms" Day. Never heard of it? Well take notice, because it's kind of a big deal.

To Write Love On Her Arms (TWLOHA) is a national organization who's vision says that: "To Write Love on Her Arms is a non-profit movement dedicated to presenting hope and finding help for people struggling with depression, addiction, self-injury and suicide. TWLOHA exists to encourage, inform, inspire and also to invest directly into treatment and recovery." (from TWLOHA) It's such an amazing organization, and it's one that I have supported every year for the past 3 by participating in TWLOHA day.

The purpose of TWLOHA day is to promote discussion about the organization and its cause by writing "love" on your arm:

The idea is that when people ask about it, you have the chance to talk about something that is such an important issue to girls in society today. So many girls are going through depression, self-mutilation, and addiction, and it's often considered such a taboo subject to talk about. But that's not going to help anyone get over it or stop feeling so alone in their problem.

I knew girls in high school who dealt with all three of these issues. I have girls in my family who have. And I currently have students who do. It's a huge issue that is taking away the innocence and happiness of so many beautiful young girls, and it's something that we as a culture need to face head-on. Please, take a chance to go to and check out this amazing cause.

And say a prayer for all the girls (and boys) who are out there dealing with so many of these issues. They deserve nothing less than knowing the beauty of God's love for them and how beautiful they are in His eyes.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Grown ups?

I'm starting to realize that it's happening... I'm growing up and maturing. ::gasp:: I know, I never thought it would happen. But today I caught myself changing the radio station because I was tired of listening to random rap guys sing about sex and drop God's name every 5 words. Okay, so maybe that's not growing up, that's just my desire to live a more Godly life. I also realized this past weekend that I was excited to come home after doing some shopping and update my budget--seriously? Who does that? It's weird, because every once in a while I realize that I'm not the little girl who still is just going through life and waiting for everything to work itself out. I'm actually stepping into (and even embracing!) adulthood. And you know what? I don't hate it.

I feel like God is truly blessing me. I have a real salary job, a wonderful relationship that is heading towards the big M, an apartment with H, and I'm finally paying my own bills without overdrawing my account or letting bills go to collections. I feel like life has fallen into place, and it's such a wonderful feeling!

And for those of you who are worried about me being all mature and adulty: don't. Pastor Aaron Peternel taught me a very important lesson when I was a freshman in high school. "Being an adult in age doesn't mean you can't be a kid at heart." I will always have a kid-like mentality in my heart, and nothing can ever take that away! :)


Sunday, September 5, 2010

Life Update

Okay, so while it sometimes feels like my life is solely consumed by teaching now, it's not. I've had a lot of other great things going on outside of work, and life is truly great right now!

I got into grad school! I will be starting my masters degree program in January at The University of Toledo. I'll have a Masters of Arts and Education in English and Education with a focus in English as a Second Language. Whew, that's a mouthful! Basically, it just means that I'll be licensed to teach students whose first language is not English. I had a great experience with it during my student teaching, and I want to follow that and see where it will take me. It's a great endorsement to have, and I want to explore the influence of incorporating all cultures into an educational environment on a student's academic and social success. I'm applying for the TEACH grant, which will pay for my tuition if I qualify, so fingers crossed for that! So I start in January and will just take one or two classes at a time for now.

Things with H are great, too. I was a little worried because of everything that had happened when Mike and I moved in together, but so far things have been wonderful! There are still times that we have to learn how to live together (ah, the great dishwasher debate...haha) but we seem to have a good balance of things. I feel awful about the fact that I'm gone all day and don't have the energy to clean or do dishes when I get home in the evening, which leaves a lot of it up to him to do, but I do as much as I can and he's very understanding of my work situation. We've found a nice church here in BG that we like, and we've been going to that (well, when we can) which has been great. God is really blessing our relationship, and I a so thankful for having hi in my life.

We had a talk yesterday at dinner about the whole Army thing and whether or not it's fair for me to be giving up so much to follow him as he moves around to follow his dream in the Army. He feels like it's not fair to me. I tried to explain (without crying, because Lord knows I always cry when we talk about this kind of stuff lol) that I can't imagine my life with anyone else and that I would follow him just about anywhere. Also, I can follow my dream of being a teacher just about anywhere we go for the Army; he can't follow his dream of being in the Army if he stays here in Ohio so that I can stay here to teach. I know it sounds crazy, and I'm sure there are feminists everywhere who are cringing at this idea, but I know that I can find a teaching job just about anywhere we go, so why wouldn't I follow him to an Army base so that we can have a future together? It's going to be a crazy ride, but at least I'm doing it with the most supportive and amazing guy God could have blessed me with.

The most awful thing that has happened in the past month? Our DVD player broke! :( Okay, okay--I guess that's not a big deal. But JP had just given us seasons 2, 3, and 4 of How I Met Your Mother to borrow, and now we can't even watch them! I keep pricing out DVD players, but the cheapest I can find them is like $30 and I just don't want to spend $30 on a DVD player right now. I think I'm just going to have to suck it up and buy it anyway, but geesh---couldn't there be a cheaper one somewhere out there? Lol!

So, as of right now life is wonderful. Adjusting to work is taking some time but I love the kids and my coworkers. I'm excited to start grad school. And things with H are pretty fabulous right now. God is truly blessing me!


Teaching Update--Week 2

As promised, here is a real post updating on my teaching life. I'll post another update later about my life aside from work.

The first two weeks of school are over, and it has been a rollercoaster ride for sure! There are days that I'm absolutely loving my job, the kids, my coworkers, and life in general. And then there are days when I question what I'm doing here and if I can actually make it through the next 9 months. This year will truly be me relying on God for strength, patience, and support every single day to actually get through it all.

*The Kids*
First of all, my students are wonderful. Some of them are pretty rough around the edges, and a few of them have told me stories about their lives that make my heart break for what they have been through, but all of them have so much potential to be amazing as long as they actually stay focused on having a positive future. My classes are smaller than I had anticipated, firstly because I'm a Title 1 teacher (so all of my students have to have already attempted to pass the class in the past and have failed) and secondly because attendance and enrollment are low right now. On average for my day school, I have about 10 kids on my roster per class and about 4 that show up (some classes only have 1 or 2 that are there on a regular basis). The only class that isn't like that is my 6th period class, which is almost full every day. During night school, I usually have between 5 and 10 students who show up per period, but that's pretty normal for nigh school.

On the one hand, that can make planning for group projects and things hard because I never know how many kids to expect, and if it's a class that is usually only 2 or 3 students, then I can't do group projects at all. It's also hard because students who are only there a few days a week always want me to help the catch up on missing work. After spending Friday as a professional development day and talking with the head of my department, I think I've got a plan worked out for the latter issue. On the other hand, having small classes is great; I can spend more time really working one-on-one with students and giving the the focus that they need to really comprehend the material.

I've got students who I'm already building a great rapport with, and some students who are still trying to push the boundaries and see how far they can take it/how much they can get away with. Some of these kids really have no concept of basic ideas and principals behind the material that we're covering, and I'm having a hard time with that because I have to figure out new ways to approach and present material so they can grasp it. But they're generally good kids who just need someone who truly cares about being with them and who isn't going to just write the off or give up on them. I hope I can be that.

*The Coworkers*
My coworkers are phenomenal. It's a great group of people who are all around my age, who have the same sense of humor that I have, and who make working 11 1/2 hours a day somewhat bearable. Even after only a month of being with these people, I would already consider a few of them to be friends outside of the workplace. It's also nice that the head of my department has taken me in to be a kind of mentor to me in more ways than one: not only is she giving me so many useful resources and helping me figure out ways to balance day school and night school, she's also acting as my mentor to get me through the residence program so that I can apply for my 5-year license at the end of this year. It's great to be working with these people, not just because they are fun but because they are feeling as frustrated about some particular things within the school as I am.

*The Frustrations*
Okay, at this point there are a few things that I could put into this category. But we'll try to keep it short.

First of all, when I was offered the position I was painted a much different picture than what's actually going on. I was told that since I was teaching night school I could come in around 7:45am instead of 7:15am and that night school would be over around 5:30pm. In reality, I'm expected to be there at 7:15am and I don't get out of night school until 6:30pm. So I'm doing 11 1/2 hours of work each day. That's a lot more than I was anticipating, and it's an extremely long and exhausting day. By the time I get home at 7pm, I basically have no energy left to do anything--clean, do laundry, cook dinner, even grade papers and prepare for the next day of teaching. If it wasn't for the fact that I need the extra money for loans, I probably would have quit teaching night school and just moved back to day school only. But since I owe the banks the equivalent of a large luxury car in loan repayments, I continue to teach night school too.

I also feel like the motive behind some of the people who work there is totally off. I know I'm there 70% because I love teaching, 20% because I want to be in an inner-city school, and 10% because I need the money. My number one motivation for being there is because I truly have a heart for working in this particular setting with this demographic of students. However, this isn't the case with some people, which is heartbreaking--this is the kind of situation where you need to truly have a heart for these kids if you are going to be there, otherwise all you are doing is hurting the kids and their potential to grow. It's so aggravating when you know you're there because you genuinely care about these kids and other people are there solely to get data for a report or for the money; it's doing nothing but an injustice to these kids and their future. I guess that just means I need to step up my own game and really focus on making sure my heart is in the right place with this job to make up for where others aren't.

Overall, while I've got my frustrations and the days are so long that I can barely get anything done during the week, this is going to be a good first year of teaching. I need to figure out how to balance my work life and my social life right now, and I need to make sure that I'm organized and focused to help me get through the week. And most importantly, I need to remember that God put me here for a reason, and I need to see what He has in store for me and trust His plan.

As Mrs. Rose Brown (my favorite English teacher in high school, and the true inspiration for what I want to be as a teacher) told me: "remember your passion"


Pretty New Look

Obviously I've had some fun this weekend playing around with the look of things around here. I wanted something that better represented my personal style, and after a lot of looking I found this layout.

I also learned how to create a signature at the bottom of my posts. So now it's time to test it out. I'll post an actual update on life later this afternoon. :)