October 20, 2014

Survived My First Day {Yay!}

Phew....OMG was this a whirlwind day! As many of you know I just started my new job as a preschool aide and it was an overall great experience! There’s definitely something to be said for private schools vs public and I’m seeing a few of those already. This particular school has an amazing group of teachers and the administration is as well. I mean, I’ve never been to a school where you can just tell that the staff climate, and the school as a whole, is positive and genuinely so.

Since I’m coming in once the year has already started, I am assisting in a 3 year old classroom and my lead teacher is awesome. Her and I got along instantly and it was a click. Her teaching style and expectations for the kids is right along with how I ran my classroom- and that’s important since it will help us teach collaboratively. I remember having an aide when I taught kindergarten and now I’m gaining that experience myself and aides are truly a gift to any teacher. So if you’re an aide or you have one...they’re amazing!! :)

I am part time (which puts me at about a 4-5hr work day) but my commute is about an hour (and I mean, who doesn’t enjoy a drive with NO TRAFFIC and along the coast of the Pacific?!). I’m definitely enjoying the no traffic aspect, but in order to make it worth it both with my time and simply the cost of gas for the trip each day to and from, I was interested in working extra hours at the school or tutoring. 

Luckily, as if my admin isn’t already cool enough, my director gave my contact info out to a family looking for extra help with their three kids after school. Today I got to meet them and not only are the kids darling but the parents are the sweetest ever and so flexible with my schedule and responsibilities at home. So, in the end it’s as if I am working full time but I get to spend more one-on-one time with each kid. 

Today was, indeed, a long one but I missed it. and the best part about this is that I get to continue to work with these amazing kids in the classroom and gain new experiences along the way. I wasn’t anticipating everything that has landed in my lap but I am truly grateful. I look forward to the craziness that comes along with this new job of mine but I am finally, once again, feeling fulfilled.

I hope everyone else had as good a Monday as I!!

October 16, 2014

Off to....Preschool?

Hello friends and happy hump day! It’s at least still Wednesday here in CA ;)

I wanted to take a moment and share some exciting news with you all. But before I do here’s a little backstory...ALERT: LONG POST AHEAD!!

Just a few days ago I was sitting with my husband in our living room roaming the interwebs for open teaching positions that were available...of course with no luck. I mean, who is hiring in October??? I’ll tell you...no one! After doing a few searches my anxiety level was beginning to increase and before I knew it I was in tears. Of course the hubs turns to me and wants to know what has me upset and it was this...

{let’s be frank...}
I am a young, eager, and educated young woman with three years in-classroom teaching experience and due to reasons beyond my control I had to turn down a great teaching position and move my entire life out to a state I’ve never lived in before that happened to be 3,000 miles away from home and in a different time zone. Knowing I would be turning down said teaching position I knew that getting my license transferred to CA would take some time and lots of paperwork and fees but I didn’t anticipate the many MANY speed bumps I would encounter along the way.

I don’t know if anyone has ever had to go through such a process but California has to be a state with more requirements than any other! I spent D-A-Y-S calling and emailing whomever I could find in order to answer my questions about credentialing with an out-of-state license. Finally I got the answers I needed but alas another set of speed bumps:

1. I needed to get a letter from LCPS stating I indeed worked full-time in the classroom for the three years I stated on the application form.
2. Need 2 satisfactory or higher performance evaluations from 2 separate teaching years that are signed and dated. Yeah, easy right? Wrong. My school district switched from hardcopies to online formatting last year and therefore there are NO signatures on the evals. 
Oh, and when I left my school district, I no longer had access to those evaluations.

Ugh...and the list goes on. You can imagine the frustration I was feeling at this point because in my mind this shouldn’t be that difficult. Nevermind all the CA based tests teachers need to pass (but that’s an entirely different post, haha)! I was feeling like this whole process was turning out to be a much bigger pain than I ever anticipated.

So, back to me crying on the couch to my husband. 
I honestly felt that the mix between not getting the necessary paperwork (so therefore not being able to transfer my license) and a dead end to my online job searches, I felt as though the universe was against me. Now, sitting here now reflecting I’m sure I was just being overdramatic but at the time I felt defeated. Here I was just trying to get back on track after our move and it seemed impossible.

This is my passion and purpose in life! I’m paying for students loans for a degree I’m not using! Maybe this is the universe’s mean way of telling me I shouldn’t be teaching!? Ahh!

Then a little lightbulb went off. Private schools. I know very little about how they operate but I figured they had to have their own set of requirements, which could work with someone in my position; i.e. not having a teaching credential in CA. So, then I hit the ground running searching for private schools near me and began personally emailing my resume to headmasters and principals everywhere. I got a few returned emails explaining their vacancies were full for the year and that they’d keep my info on file for the future. Then the clouds parted and I received a call that would ultimately change my outlook on everything.
The call was from the headmaster at Calvary Christian School, which was about an hours drive from where I live (not so bad when you’re used to the horrific traffic of DC or Northern Virginia!). He also explained to me that he looked over my resume and was very impressed, however, he was fully staffed for the year. So, as my excitement grew it also quickly diminished when those two words came from his mouth: fully staffed. We spent a couple more minutes talking about the school and such and then went our separate ways. He also told me he’d keep my resume on file and contact me around March/April when they’d start thinking about staffing for the following year.

Although it wasn’t the call I was looking for, to me, it was a step in the right direction. At least I got a call!, I told myself. Then a few moments later I received a follow up email from him telling me how nice it was to speak with me. And then he did something that was so generous and something so small that actually impacted my whole day: he explained to me that he had cc’d the director of the preschool and that I should contact her for any openings; that sometimes it’s ‘getting your foot in the door’. I immediately contacted her and before I knew it we set up a time for me to come and meet her and visit the campus. All within 24 hours.

I wasn’t sure how to interpret such a meeting as I was so excited for the opportunity! Was it an interview or not? Should I presume it is and be prepared or what if I do and look like an a$$ because it was simply just a meet-and-greet? Ugh! So, I decided to prepare as if it were an interview: got my cute outfit ready and teaching portfolio all set with all my updated resumes and important documents. The drive wasn’t difficult at all and before I knew it I arrived and I just have to say that the campus is beautiful and only a couple blocks from the beach. Yeah.

About 45 minutes later we concluded my meeting and after all that, all the BS I endured and stress I put myself through, it made me realize that in a moment things can always get better with the right attitude and eagerness to push beyond the challenges. Its the most comfortable I’ve felt in a long time, the people and administration were amazing and sweet, the different programs offered were equally as great, and this would be the stepping stone I desperately needed. For so long I had been made to feel like I wasn’t adequate or that I could be doing something better and it was reassuring to be wanted and to be told how impressed someone is about your work and experience. It validated something in me that I knew was always there but hadn’t heard in my last teaching position.

So tonight I sit here having accepted a preschool assistant position to start and I couldn’t be more excited! Is it ultimately the position I wanted or even inquired about in the first place? No. But having met the admin and even the headmaster (that awesome guy who called me in the first place!) told me that more often than not many teachers go on to have their own classrooms or transition from preschool to the elementary school on campus. I am grateful for this opportunity and am open to learning and continuing to grow as an educator- no matter what age I teach. I see this as my ‘foot in the door’ and am excited at the possibility to once again have my own classroom! 


Long (long!) story short...it’s a reminder to me that no matter what challenges life throws at you and in those moments where things don’t go your way- have a moment to be upset and have a good cry but eventually pick yourself up and figure it out. There’s always more than one path to take and it’s such a rewarding feeling to know how quickly things change...often by the goodness in others.

I have a lot to be thankful for and that also includes my followers on this blog. I have an opportunity to share my thoughts, ideas, products, and adventures and I’m happy to have such an amazing community to share it with. So, thank you!