Tag Archives: education

Do not let the fear of FAILING keep you from SUCCEEDING

As I hang up the phone from talking to the representatives of Kaplan University, I was pretty much taken back at the fact that just a week and a half earlier, I decided to get my masters and was registered and ready to start in just two days.  I decided to go for a masters in educational technology with emphasis on web design, the classes would be entirely online, but they were five credit courses that finished every six weeks. For those who don’t know, that’s a lot of work in a little bit of time.  The good news was, I’d be done in 14 months.

My timing could have been better, being that I decided all this just a few weeks before my school year started (i’m a teacher), but I figured it would be a year full of support from coworkers, and I wouldn’t be coaching in the fall either….well all that changed very quickly.

My team: a 2:65 ratio!
My team: a 2: to 65 ratio!

The week before school started, professional development was getting started, so I was checking emails and unpacking boxes in my new classroom when I noticed one of our coworkers sent out an email notification that they found a new job in a different district, but it was good for him and the family.  I didn’t think much of it, until two days later when I received multiple phone calls about becoming the schools new cross country coach, the job that became vacant at the loss of that employee.

I felt honored, but at the same time, I was starting a teaching year of two subjects I haven’t taught before, and just started my masters,

could I really succeed at all of them at the same time?

Quick answer… Yes, but it didn’t happen without stress induced medical symptoms.

Managing Cross Country Meets
Managing Cross Country Meets

In reflecting on how my life has been from this past September to November, I thought it would be appropriate to blog about how to handle the stress and time commitments of a very busy life, which I know for a fact, I’m not the only one enduring. Everyone has crazy times in their lives at some point, whether it is what I’m going through, or moving, or getting a house, married, child, new job, the list goes on forever!  I’m not trying to get sympathy or condolences, just attempting to give some tips and reassurance to those who are in a similar situation or want to pick up the pace of their lives.

So on top of teaching a teaching job from 6:30-2:30, coaching from 2:45-4, house/animal care-taking from 5-6, dinner making from 6-7, I had to dedicate the evening to something more relaxing.  I would constantly bring work home to do, but realistically…never got to it, and that’s OKAY.

The busier you are, the better you get at managing your time.

Created my own science curriculum and still made it fun and hands-on :)
Created my own science curriculum and still made it fun and hands-on 🙂

My prep time at work was jam packed with planning for the week ahead, my lunches consisted of either grading or responding to discussion posts for my masters classes, and I would call in the help of parents to come in and do my copying for me.  You learn to make-do, and that’s exactly what I did for those months of chaos.  The beginnings are always rough and exhausting because you haven’t learned to manage time. There was a time where I had to call a sub to go to urgent care at the end of the school day because I had to be ready to go to a cross country meet to coach after-school.  I was suffering symptoms of an ulcer, which, the main cause? Stress.  After changing some diet choices and reaching out to others to help lighten the load, the symptoms went away and I know now better ways to handle the coaching season.

Happy ending to the story?  I aced all my masters classes since I’ve started, my students have learned what they needed to

Enjoying time outside of work
Enjoying time outside of work

learn in the classroom, and cross country was the best coaching experience I’ve had so far and I can’t wait till next season. On top of all this, I’ve kept up with my fitness, enjoyed dinners and movies with my husband, and went on many adventures with my pup and friends.  Time management is the key to success, but it was definitely a learning experience to get to where I am today.

After truly dedicating myself to a break for the holidays, I face the second half of the year consisting of masters classes, teaching full time, soccer and cross country conditioning, followed by another very time committing season of coaching high school soccer (plus hosing a cross country race in the spring to fundraise). I know it’s going to be tough, but I’m ready and willing :).

Dedicating time for family and fun, GO GREEN ;)
Dedicating time for family and fun, GO GREEN 😉

The moral of the story, you live and learn, and sometimes life can be so crazy that you don’t know how to do it all, but you always get by.  If you want to further your education, do it! If you want to change careers, do it!

Don’t let intimidation of failure block the pathway of success; you’re stronger than you think!

The Realities of a Young Teacher (Plus…4 steps to Success!) Share with new teacher friends!

The harsh reality, at least for me…

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Literacy Lesson (3rd grade)

If you are thinking about being a teacher, either currently in college, or about to go to college, my number one piece of advice is…don’t? Someone needs to let younger generations know of the reality, so here it is… long story short, it is extremely difficult to independently live if you are a new teacher. I was 100% positive that teaching was the career for me, and I love it, but I’m also extremely grateful that I’m married because I would otherwise be 27 and still living with my parents. The payroll system is corrupt and the likelihood of the system changing anytime soon is extremely slim. If teaching is your true ambition, then awesome, but plan on either marrying soon, living with your parents, or living with roommates. As a graduate of the year 2009 from the nation’s TOP teaching school (GO GREEN). Here’s my story, as well as some critical advice to those younger generations.

If I didn’t scare you off yet, or maybe you’re just starting out in the teaching world, here are four simple steps to success from my personal experience.  Please comment below with your teaching experiences!

Step one: Take chances.

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Teaching about the holidays in Japan

If there are opportunities to get up and move right after college, DO IT. The chances of opportunities like this later in life is unlikely. Before you settle down, plant your roots, and start your official career, get out and teach in another country. I was chosen to participate in the JET (Japanese Exchange and Teaching) Programme and was sent off to teach in rural Japan right after my internship. That experience could be a blog in itself, and even though it was difficult, it made me mentally stronger and open minded…and I’m appreciative of that. There are many different opportunities to go around the world, especially if you’re a teacher, I challenge you to take a day and investigate the options!

Step 2: Take what you can get, but try to stay focused on a purpose.

To graduate and find a job right away as a teacher is not impossible, but it’s unlikely. The reality is, you may be subbing for years before actually landing a job, but don’t sub in a school for too long. If you have been there a year and opportunities to hire you have been passed by administration, GET OUT OF THERE. Subbing after getting back from Japan allowed me to get experience in all different kinds of subject areas and grades which made me realize what I eventually wanted my end goal to be… A middle school science

teacher. The problem? I wasn’t science certified… The difficult job market allowed for me to look into additional certifications. It was busy, but I earned my science endorsement in just one semester and

Leopard Geckos in Class
Leopard Geckos in Class (5th Grade)

was then marketable with the endorsements of science, English, and geography. All three endorsements led to long-term and permanent positions. Point being…furthering your education to doable, and totally worth it.

Step 3: Be a PAIN in the @$$. 

The jobs will not come to you, some professions have recruiting companies that do the research and come to you with a job and a salary, but teaching is a whole new world. To get a job, you need to find a district you are interested in, and mail out your resumes with cover letters that are specific for their school. Do not address them “to who it may concern”. Once you’ve mailed out to all the districts, check every other day for job openings between the months of April

Student teaching Students
Student teaching Students (6th Grade)

and September. If you see a job opening, apply online, but then take the time to drive to the school AND central office and give them your resume in person, introduce yourself, make yourself known. Taking the time to do this is exhausting, but trust me, it got me a job and it will for you as well.

Step 4: Experience is Experience, so make the best of it!

In 5 consecutive years, I haven’t taught the same thing twice… My teaching career in 5 seconds goes like this.

3rd grade internship > English in Japan > long-term science sub > 5th grade charter school teacher > (got hired in the public schools) 6th grade Science, Sixth grade social studies, 8th grade academic intervention (yes, all in one year) > 7th grade science and social studies (currently teaching) > next year? something different… but hopefully full-time science.

It sucks to constantly put your heart and soul into creating, just to have it not be able to be used the next year, but everything I have done in the past has led to better opportunities and teaching

7th Grade Scientists
7th Grade Scientists

strategies.  Even though these jobs seem to have little in common, they have all built on each other, and will eventually lead to even greater opportunities.  It is difficult to be patient, I’ve definitely felt the frustration this year, but I make the best with what I’m given and have as much fun as I can.

Teachers please do this…

As a middle school teacher now, I make it a point to show CNN student news and every single opportunity to show the kids a new

Mt. Kaimon, Japan
Mt. Kaimon, Japan

kind of profession, I pause the news and address it.   Lack of exposure to all the diverse and engaging careers out there in the world was something that was extremely lacking when I was in school, probably the reason why we have had such a surplus in jobs like teaching, because it is what everyone knows and are familiar with.  These ten quick minutes once or twice throughout the week gets the wheels turning in the minds of our future generations.  It is so important to keep them open-minded, because we are preparing them for jobs that haven’t even been created yet!

Oh, and don’t forget to actually enjoy yourself in the free-time between the educational experiences 😉

View from my moped off the side of a mountain, Japan
View from my moped off the side of a mountain during a mini random road-trip, Japan

Ambition: The Initial Launch

Ambition: an earnest desire for some type of achievement or distinction, as power, honor, fame, or wealth, and the willingness to strive for its attainment. (dictionary.com)

Ambition: a strong drive for success. (Siri)

Ambition:a strong desire to do or to achieve something, typically requiring determination and hard work. (Oxford dictionary)

There are different ways to interpret ambition, but I define it as energy to make “it” happen. Just like our unique differences fulfill our personalities, “it” varies amongst us as well. “It” could be a new job you’ve wanted, or, you realized your not happy with the one you have and you want to leave. “It” could be a new skill that you want to master, a place you’ve never been, a marathon you’ve never ran. “It” could be ANYTHING.

So when I thought about what kind of blog I wanted to write, I couldn’t help but think, I should encourage ambition. I am invested in not one, but many diverse interests, hobbies, and skill sets that I feel could reach anyone at some point.

“Isn’t a blog more successful when it is focuses on one particular topic?” I was asked.

My answer is… maybe, BUT, if people read my blog and feel inspired to either try something new, or just needed that little push of confidence to be ambitious, then It’s successful.

To be honest, it is hard to predict what direction this blog will go exactly… I want to integrate various amounts of information in different ways. From inspirational pictures, interviews with friends, integrate the reader responses and questions, gear and place reviews for adventure, and more. I am also a teacher, so a goal of mine is to have a page dedicated for teachers to get ambitious about lesson ideas, prioritizing,  and building relationships. I’d also like students to get inspired to try new things or have the guts to do something they’ve always wanted to do!

As you could probably see now my dilemma of being “specific” enough for the blogging world…but time will tell. Ambition is something everyone has, whether they know it or not. This blog is meant to strike a spark to lite the dormant fire that could burn in every single one of us!