Tag Archives: School

A New Semester in Life

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I have never been so excited or more nervous for a new semester in my life. I think the last I wrote on the blog about my studies I was going to major in education and be a teacher. That has since changed. I worked at a school last year and dealt with a lot of different issues in that time. Not just personality conflicts (teachers can be catty, holy cowbells!) but also came to this stark realization that there is so much wrong with K-12 education and I’m not sure if I really want to fight that battle. I think I’ll leave that up to those better suited.

Unfortunately, due to the demands of everything put on the districts, schools, and teachers, in my experience I think that 90% of “teaching” is discipline and classroom management and only about 10% actual teaching. I think out of our 6 1/2 hour day we had maybe a 2 hour block dedicated solely to teaching the core subjects (not just busy work) with no “interruptions” like recess or specials but within that block there are so many interruptions like finding books, redirecting behaviors, finding page numbers, bathroom breaks, etc. I think it comes down to the minutes, really. It was really eye opening.

Then you have the teachers. They’re such a mixed bag. I had a pretty good teacher that I worked with where our philosophies were for the most part closely aligned and as far as intelligence she was definitely further up on that scale than some of the others. We had a lot of deep and meaningful discussions about the state of education. She was also a first year teacher with so much to learn as far as experience and trusting her instincts. Some teachers, however, I don’t know why they went into teaching. It’s like my aunt says, some people have a calling, some people use it as a step up to something else like administration or post-secondary teaching, and others don’t know what they want to do so they just go with what they think will be easiest. They are SO wrong and that is SO wrong to do to the children. They hate their jobs and it shows. Sadly, this is what I saw most often where I worked. That or burn-out which is another very common theme among teachers. The pressures put on teachers is so great that I can see why most teachers don’t make it past 3 years. Frankly, as we ALL know, they aren’t paid enough. I get it. You get jaded. For more than the amount you make as a teacher you can work in retail and have exponentially less pressure. Sure, a hell of a less meaningful job but a hell of a lot less stress and one you don’t take home with you that definitely doesn’t let you work over 40 hours! It never ends for teachers.

I could go on about this as I’m sure a million other people could, so I know I am not being revelatory by any means. Since I was working in an elementary school, a part of me hoped that this would be somewhat different if I got into my intended secondary school. However, after speaking at length with a professor whom I really liked last semester he burst my bubble and let me know that high schools are just the same: faculty is just as catty, intelligence about the same, the will to be there is the same, and behavior issues are increased tenfold. He told me that frankly he didn’t think I’d be happy teaching high school and he’d rather see me go for my Masters. He even gave me a thesis topic! So, that’s what I’m currently exploring. I changed my major from Secondary Education – English to just English and I’m looking into the concurrent Master degree programs that are offered at my university so I can try to knock out some graduate courses while completing my Bachelors.

This is what has me so excited and nervous both at the same time. I’m excited to be attending the university and taking some really cool upper division courses (I’m all done with lower) in subjects that really interest me (hello Darwin?!), but it’s also incredibly scary to jump from all 200 level courses to 400 level courses. I have always had really good relationships with my professors at the community college and been well liked and done very well and this is a whole new ball game for me. I am going to be 1 of 400 now and basically a nobody. Another huge and mostly unwanted change is that all 5 of the classes I am taking are online. I am making this sacrifice for my family because we really can’t afford more daycare for Finn than we already have to and I need to have a mostly open and flexible schedule for work as I have been applying for part-time jobs for the school year. With the Count working full-time and being our “primary breadwinner” now, my schedule isn’t prioritized. So I am sacrificing my beloved lectures and face-to-face with professors for my family. We’ll see how this works out for my schooling as I have never been a fan of online classes.

This party just keeps on going…

graduation

I’m sorry… I’m still beaming. It just won’t stop! Dan’s graduation is over but the impact it left upon us is infinite. One thing that the speaker said that really resonated with both of us was how much this accomplishment is a foundation – a seed for the future. He talked about how important first generation graduates are for future generations and while Dan isn’t a first generation graduate (his dad had his Bachelors degree), he is definitely a testimony of that seed. His dad got his degree later in life and that was one of his only wishes for his sons before he died: that they finish their college education. When he died over 10 years ago, that felt so out of reach with all of the hurdles that needed to be overcome first, but both of Brian’s sons did get their degrees. And when the speaker talked about the likelihood of future generations going on to college because of this degree, it was like he was talking about our family— I was seeing this in action. And now hopefully this will mean a better life for Finn and on and on and on. Anyways, that’s all for tonight, but I’m sure not ever. :)

Back to School

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I’m back in school. Finally. I’m so happy to be in school and I’m loving it. As I mentioned before, I’ve decided to finish my Bachelor’s degree. I’m going to be a teacher! Yay! I’m taking three education courses (and contemplating signing up for a fourth class) and they are a ton of work. I’m constantly having to check all three of my syllabi and be on the class web boards posting, commenting, and discussing topics with my classmates and it’s not even an online class! I have papers to write each week, service learning hours in a classroom to complete, presentations to work on, so basically, I’m really really busy and loving it.

What I’ve also been reintroduced to is being around all sorts of people. Of course I had that at the professional level at my past jobs, but this is a whole different level. I’m around kids again. I’m easily 10-12 years older than most of my classmates. I have a real life Brony in my class. If you don’t know what that is, go watch the documentary on Netflix. There’s a guy that sits at the table in one of my classes who always keeps two sheets of paper when the teacher passes out 4 to each table (one for each student), and then denies it when I tell him he has two. It’s so weird. There’s a really obnoxious, older, conservative, religious woman with 7 kids who sits next to me in one class who delves out her moral judgements any chance she gets. We have a Palestinian girl in one of our classes who is so quiet and doesn’t talk to anybody and I’m just waiting for the opportunity to strike up a conversation. I have an awesome partner in one class who is already a high school teacher and a professor at my very school. He and I can’t stop talking sometimes. These are our future educators. Which is cool, I love all the individuality. Some… not so much.

This religious woman who sits next to me, she really irks me. It’s not that she’s religious. I’ve heard many of my classmates bring up their religion and it was no big deal, but she especially irks me. She’s very outspoken and her views make me cringe. She misinterprets the teacher, topics we’re discussing, she derails us, and several times when she’s spoken I’ve felt like I was having an out of body experience when other people were nodding their heads in agreement with her. I swear I was seeing my body from above and watching the whole class and that’s when I thought, “Am I the smartest person in the room? Is this really happening?” That is until my sweet teacher nodded and then told her that that’s not at all what happened and shut her right up. And I was snapped back to reality. Thankfully.

It’s a difficult feeling to convey really without sounding totally egotistical, but I love intelligent conversation. I love having interesting debates. I love learning from other people who are smarter than me. I can listen to YouTube debates and presentations for hours (when I’m in the perfect mood). Listening to that woman made me cringe, not because I knew her views were different than my own, but because I know she’s close-minded. I know it’s really important to be able to have discussions with people with different views, but it’s also important that those people are sort of on your same level. I could never have any of that with her.

But then I had my light bulb moment. Listening to her was a stark reminder that I am in the right place. I could not imagine my son having a person like her as a teacher. The thought of it makes my skin crawl. And then I think I’ll do pretty okay at this teaching thing. Being a new mom has made me aware of the influence I have in the early emotional and educational development of my son. It is a rewarding experience to observe all of the tiny milestones he reaches on a daily and even hourly basis. Children really are the greatest resource that our society has. It has made me realize how critical it is for children to have highly qualified and emotionally supportive teachers and caregivers. That’s what I hope to be.

I think it’s also difficult being an older student. And I use that term lightly. But in college, I am an older student. And I’m not that old! In each one of my classes there are one to three people older than me. I find myself struggling to find people to relate with at school. When I am to respond to a discussion question online by one of my classmates, I roll my eyes trying to find one that is even close to being on the same maturity level, and thus intelligence. And I mean that with the utmost love because I respect these people for even going to school and bettering themselves. It’s just not the same. I’m hoping once I start my actual program at ASU next fall and I’m taking upper division classes, that might change. *fingers crossed* However, at the same time, my brain is definitely a bit rusty. It takes me longer to formulate a thoughtful answer or response in class so I’m not always the first person to shoot my hand up even though I’ve got things to say, whereas some people say whatever rolls off the tongue!

Until then, I’m plugging away at my studies, trying furiously to catch up to all these young whipper snappers and loving it. Meanwhile I’m wondering, when did this big switch go from MLA style to APA style? I feel like a fish out of water! Oh, and don’t get me started on the clothes — that really makes me feel old!

The Chemist

by Alberto Rios

Who sees his work in all things is never lost.
Whose life has been iron and vapors in fire,
The elements themselves
Gathered in their thousand meetings
Tasked with making the things of the world,
Who has given and in that giving collected
An equal and like reward, a life served well
Serving yet, finished with nothing
But what is left behind, ahead
Undone and alive with still-to-do,
Humming with wanting-to-do,
Who has made a chemistry of days,
One day joined to a next, seven to five,
Five to five, a quarter to five, 365¾
That great molecule of time
All the alchemy of a single moment
Necessary, again and again, a year of days,
A day of hours, an hour full of work
And humor too, a hat worn on the heart.
This is the science of a man,
The science of composition, structure,
Properties, reactions of matter,
And of what matters.

Dan… one day.

NaBloPoMo November 2013

 

This is also post #6 of NaBloPoMo.

National Blog Posting Month is an annual event that takes place each November where bloggers commit to writing everyday in November.

The Road to Biochemisty

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One of the biggest moments to start the year off with was the beginning of Dan’s journey at the university. He’s in the Biochemistry program and he has about 3 semesters left. That is pretty exciting for this little family. Dan’s not totally sure what he wants to do with this degree yet – whether he wants to go on and pursue his original goal of pharmacy, continue on through graduate school and become a scientist [which is the most enticing right now], or stop at his B.S. and just see what his options are and where it takes him. But what he does know is that this milestone is a huge deal. One of the things that his dad always instilled him and his brother growing up was the importance of a college education and when their family was down on their luck and he lost his job, Dan’s mom actually was the sole provider for several years so that his dad could go back to school and earn his Bachelor’s degree. It helped him earn better jobs and then 10 years ago when he was dying of cancer he stressed again to Dan and his brother that he wanted them to go to college. Proudly, Dan’s brother graduated with his B.S. in Kinesiology last year. :)

Well, it’s been a really long road for Dan with his disability but he’s finally there. A near heart transplant and a long road to recovery, a wife, a son, a house, many stops and restarts on his path, and now he’s so close to a B.S. in Biochemistry! A degree that 10 years ago he NEVER would have thought he would be this close to getting. It just took all those experiences for him to discover that he had a passion for such a thing! His dad would have been so proud as is everyone else in his life, and now more than anybody else he is going to be making his son proud. He doesn’t know it now, in fact, all these long nights spent on the computer studying or at school, Finn won’t even remember, but Finn will be much better off and have a foot up in life because of it. So, everything will be worth it for so many reasons. And not only that, but his dad is SO smart and for that he is SO lucky. He will always have a built in help with math homework, science projects, and a really awesome adventure on “Take Your Child to Work Day”, too! :)

Our plans were always that once he was done with school I would finish my last 2 years and get my degree, so that will be happening either way, it’s just a matter of when. I know that I’m feeling more and more done with where I’m currently at. Or at least with my current role. I’m unappreciated and underutilized and it’s the hardest feeling to walk in with everyday. So I know that I’m personally ready for Dan’s school career to at least have some kind of intermission while he figures out his next move so that I can figure out mine!

A Change in Plans

If you’ve been following my blog you know I had been teetering back and forth for quite some time about whether or not to take any classes this semester.  I did not register and this would have been the 2nd week of classes.  Well, I had a mini meltdown (all in my head) about how disappointed I was in myself for not taking any classes.  It was pretty much pure laziness.  I still have 4 200 level classes that I need for my Bachelor’s and then all upper division courses after those.  I got my Associate’s already, but had so many classes that did not pertain to my degree.  So, I decided when I get to ASU (more to come) I would rather replace some of the classes I took (like Economics, Sociology, Communications, etc.) with classes that were pertinent to my degree.  So, Monday morning at work I had this “epiphany” (or mini meltdown as I previously called it) that I need to be taking these classes and I need to do anything to get in them that I can.  So, I frantically started contacting the instructors, the department heads, admissions, registration dept. and got all the answers that I wanted.  I just got home tonight from school where I had the department heads override me to get in the classes since it was past the “Drop/Add” period.  I am now officially registered for ENH241 and EDU222.  Then in October I am going to register for ENH222 online through Rio Salado.  I feel good!  I am so glad I am not going to sit around all semester doing nothing.  Man, I swear I could be a professional student for the rest of my life!  I never want to stop learning.  All of these classes I am extremely excited for.  And so thankful that all the the instructors and bureaucrats were so accomodating to me.  Yay!  I start my English Lit class tomorrow and then my Education class next Monday.  W00t!  Stay tuned for this continued adventure.

Update: The department chair of the English department decided not to approve my enrollment in the ENH class.  So, I’ll be registering for that at Rio Salado online as well.  Oh well.

Long Drives Home Produce Many Random Thoughts

So, usually if I can’t get ahold of anybody on my way home the wheels just turn and turn and turn in my head and I think of all these ideas of what I want to write about on my blog.  So, as soon as I walk in the door I have to almost ignore my husband and my pets so that I don’t forget what I was thinking!

Well… today I forgot.  Penny distracted me with her pathetic cuteness and Dan did with his mention of Buffalo Wild Wings for dinner!  So, I am just going to fill this post with lots of random thoughts that came to me.  I realize that my last 3 posts have been very redundant because they’ve been nothing but birthday announcements.  So, I decided to break up the monotony.  I will have more posts possibly tonight or tomorrow on our Colorado trip and Penny’s medical emergency update so stay tuned for those!

First of all, I have been thinking a lot about school this semester.  Originally I had planned not to take any classes after getting my Associate’s degree and just applying to ASU for the Spring.  However, the more I’ve thought about this I don’t think I can go a semester without taking a class.  So, I am thinking about taking the American Lit class I am missing (which I spoke of here) and my 3rd French class.  I don’t know if I can just sit by idly all semester.  I was looking forward to doing more reading, writing, crafting, and baking (and still am!) but I don’t think I know what to do with myself if I am not taking any classes.  After all, I’ve pretty much never stopped going to school!  I will have to make up my ultimate decision by Monday since school starts then.

Secondly, we started our amazing new schedules at work this week.  I now work Monday through Thursday 7:00-5:30pm and I love it.  It’s taking a little getting use to working 10 hour shifts, but overall the 3 day weekend makes it all worthwhile.  Today is my Friday and I couldn’t be happier!  I also just got another raise (from last month’s raise) thanks to my fabulous and wonderful boss who really went to bat for me these past few months.  My company has really done right by me and I am a happy employee.  (<3 GoDaddy!)

Speaking of my company, I applied for a new position today.  And it’s one that I am really excited about.  From the beginning I have been very selective of positions I have wanted and applied for.  I’m not interested in just going anywhere just because.  I have a specific goal in mind and so any moves I have made have been strictly at the heart of my final goal.  There’s 3 departments which I felt would potentially get me there; Legal, Human Resources, and Communications.  I applied for a legal position last year and didn’t get it because I had only worked for one other department within the company and it almost devastated me.  It was the perfect positions.  But I moved on.  I went to Quality Management in January because I felt that they had a lot to offer in regards to learning the ins and outs of the company.  And it did.  And I have.  I’ve actually enjoyed my job for the last 8 months (despite the super far move to downtown Phoenix which I am over now that we are on 4-10’s!).  So, upon returning from my weeklong vacation to Colorado I saw this position in Communications.  I went home last night and told Dan I wanted it, he said go for it, and so I decided to apply.  I had wanted this position a few months back in Communications that I missed out on due to my procrastination and I’ve kicked myself ever since.  So, I decided I am going to work on my resume this weekend and go for it!  Really got thrown for a loop; got to work this morning and checked the posting— it closes at 5:00pm tonight!  So, I am scrambling at work to piece together a cover letter and resume and got it done and applied.  I just could not let this opportunity pass me by again.  Now, whether I even get an interview is a whole different story, but I atleast applied.  That’s half the battle, right?  The position involves a lot of writing and is something that I feel is just calling me.  We shall see.  I am not going to get my hopes up like I did with the legal position.  But secretly, I am already hopeful!  I have to be confident.  It’s the only way I can get things in life.  Just exuberate confidence!

Dan and I will be heading to Jayne’s house tomorrow for her make up birthday dinner.  She requested Chicken Marsala.  Something I couldn’t have picked better myself!  (Dan makes the best.)  I am finishing her gift up tonight and then doing a little something something else tomorrow if I have time.  I love birthdays, they’re so special.  I love doing things for other people.  And I’m really excited with my new interest in homemade gifts.

Oh and finally, traffic has been pretty awful lately.  I decided to be brave today and took the 10/60 home instead of the 202/101.  I got home 15 minutes earlier.  It rocked.  I will try this again on Monday to make sure it wasn’t just a fluke.  Stay tuned.

Must get to perusing through my portfolio to see which of my writings I want to post on here.  I included this site with my cover letter.  Hopefully that wasn’t a mistake!  And Penny just brought me my toothbrush which is now shredded.  Time to GO!

FYI: Why So Many Posts?

Well, for those that don’t know… writing is my passion.  I love love love writing.  That’s why you will probably never get an email from me that is less than, oh… a page?!?!  So anyways, with my class being over and me not taking any classes this semester, I decided I didn’t just want to sit idly and let *work* be my entire life.  I decided I was going to do 2 things that I love and 1 thing that I want to love for the semester.

Write: I love to write.  When I was young for some reason I wanted any life but the one I had so I would write stories, novels even, about different people, families, lives and I loved it.  People who read my stories also liked them and all my life since then every English teacher I ever had continuously instilled that confidence into my writing abilities.  So, I loved writing, stories, letters, and now I love writing blogs.  It’s a great way to put my thoughts and energy into something constructive even if I’m the only one who actually reads my site.  It is also helping me rediscover my writing abilities.  I haven’t taken an actual English class in over a year, the last one I took was American Lit.  So, I want to brush up on my writing.  Plus, it keeps my brain from turning to mush while I’m not in school.  So, you’ll be seeing this site being updated pretty often from here on out, or atleast that’s my plan!

Read: I love to read.  I use to be able to pretty much down atleast 2 books per week.  (I admittedly read each Harry Potter book that came out in a day.)  Well, the last few years I haven’t gotten hardly any reading done other than for school.  I read the Harry Potter books when they came out, 3 of the 4 Twilight novels (*gags*), and a few little best seller novels in between that I would pick up at Target while shopping.  So, I want to start reading more again.  And I have a few books in mind but am always open to other suggestions!  Got any?  Please though, no self help religious books.  I’m not that desperate.

Craft:  I want to start crafting.  Something I have never been into, mainly because I was constantly around crafts my entire life.  My mom is an amazingly crafty person and was and still is always working on some project.  I don’t know why I never took an interest as a kid.  Well, I want to start.  I have a few ideas already.  I’m making a great present for my mother-in-law’s birthday in 2 weeks!  I can’t wait to have it all put together.  Anyways, and once P90X is over I would like to try my hand at baking.  I found this GREAT website (bakerella.blogspot.com) that has totally and completely inspired me!  There are so many recipes I want to try.  But I’ve decided only 1 every 2 weeks so I don’t ruin my new nicely chiseled “figure”.  Plus, I think 2 weeks is enough time in between to have the last bakery item all gobbled up!

So, that explains the abundance of blogs!

*Pat Selves On Back*

Well, we did it!  We both got A’s in our summer class!  *Celebrates*

Also, potentially good news at work; they are possibly moving our shifts to 4 10 hour shifts per week.  Either Monday through Thursday or Tuesday through Friday.  Yay!  My driving concerns have partially been answered.  Of course, they like to dangle carrots a lot so this could all just be a here today gone tomorrow sort of thing!  But I really hope it’s not.  It’s also their effort to be “green” and help the environment by having us drive all the way out to downtown Phoenix as little as possible.

All Over the Place

Just some random thoughts:

This is our first weekend the entire summer with nothing to do and it feels amazing.  We are of course going to Grandma Jo’s to help her do some grocery shopping, etc.  We have felt so bad that we haven’t been able to spend hardly any time with her this summer.  And, she doesn’t quite understand always… but we do our best and it’s all that we can do.  So, tomorrow it is off to Cost Co’s and Albert’s Son’s to wade through all the old farts in that retirement haven.

I counted and I take FOUR freeways to get to work everyday.  Crazy.  I’m so tired of the drive.  I hope we move in the next year… it is wearing on me.  I wish the lightrail didn’t add 3 hours to my day or I’d still be taking it.  But it got pretty old leaving my house at 6:15am every day and not getting home til 6:15pm.  Then having to go to school at 7pm.

Dan and I are both anxiously waiting for our teachers to post our grades.  Why can’t they ever post them on time?  Suppose to be up by 9pm tonight.  It’s 30 minutes after.  Ugh.

We just finished our workout together.  I like when we get to do our workouts together.  Especially Kenpo X.  So much fun and we get really into it.  We just kick some major ass.  Cardio X and Kenpo X are my favorite workouts.  So fast and intense.  I’m looking forward to doing Turbo Jams after P90X in September because it’s a whole lot of that kind of stuff.  So, I’m down 10 pounds now.

It’s open enrollment at my work and so they were having this “Biometric Testing” at work.  They pricked my finger to draw blood and then tested my cholesterols.  It surprisingly HURT!  My bad cholesterol was low and so was my good.  So, I need to keep exercising, losing weight, eating high fiber foods, oils (fish, olive oil, canola oil, peanut butter, etc.) to get my good cholesterol higher.  They also took my body fat % and BMI and I was happy that my body fat was close to what Dan and I measure with out calipers.  So, I know we’re accurate.  The machine they used probably wasn’t accurate because those electronic things never are.  But it was still a good gauge so I know that me and Dan are on the right track and weren’t completely off.

I’m looking forward to the Senate resuming from their August break to see what is going on with this damn healthcare stuff.  Still waiting for all the “change”.  And that’s not a slight at Obama, for the record I proudly voted for him and still believe him.  I’m just a little frustrated with not a whole lot happening.  But I still support him.  But I’m also not afraid to say that I am a little disappointed right now.

Hmm… enough random thoughts from me.