Monday, December 13, 2010

The Child Life Video I Promised...

A Day in the Life of a Child Life Specialist at St. Jude's Children's Hospital

Child Life

It's been awhile since I've posted.  I have a few things I should probably start posting about...a response to an article that I've wanted to put up for awhile and I'm getting ready to start my own Etsy shop, so I've been thinking about posting about that.  Oh yeah, and we're trying to buy a house.

So for those of you who read my blog, thanks again and sorry that it's been so long. :)  I will update on my oh-so-exciting (not really, but I'm enjoying that) life soon.

But tonight, I am tired and I have to work tomorrow, so it will be a quick post.  Or at least I'm going to try.

Tomorrow, I am meeting with a Child Life Specialist to discuss the job position and the requirements for certification.  I am very excited and would greatly appreciate any prayers, kind thoughts that you would send my way.

Right now, I'm just trying to figure out my next calling in life.  Clearly, it isn't teaching.  And while I am enjoying being a hearing screener for now, it's definitely not a forever position for me.  I am grateful for the opportunity in this economy, but it's only part time, it doesn't pay very well and it just isn't what I envision doing for the rest of my life.  Which is fine.  It's certainly better than nothing and it's nice to have something significantly less taxing than my last job.  Plus I get to hang out with babies and meet new people every day.

I found out about Child Life from my friend, Ellen, who is a Med/Peds resident in Houston.  Basically that means that she's studying medicine to be able to practice on both adults and children.  The best part is that she can really provide that gap for people like my brother who have adult problems, but need the bedside manner and skills of a pediatrician.  (For those of you who may not know, my brother has Down Syndrome and Autism, if that provides any clarity.)  Ellen and I were talking about what I should do next and she suggested Child Life, so this is something that's sort of been rolling around in my head for about a year now.  Ellen also introduced me to my husband, so if I do decide to pursue this as a career, she will have had a pretty distinct impact on my life. :)

I mean, she will have had a pretty awesome impact either way, but it will be even more dramatic.  (Not trying to downplay you, Josh.)

So what is Child Life?  I'm going to try to link a video that gives a great explanation, but I'll also put the Child Life Council website.  Child life specialists help kids who are receiving medical treatment, often in the hospital.  They teach kids about the procedures they'll undergo, provide therapeutic and educational play, sibling support and distraction during medical procedures.  I love kids and I feel like this might be a way where I can actually feel like I can have an impact.  I can't make their ailments go away, but I might be able to provide some understanding and emotional support along the way.

It's not something that I'll be starting right away.  I have a lot to do to even be eligible to sit the certification exam.  I have to pick up about ten classes that relate to Child Life (basically psychology, child development, that sort of thing), since I didn't take anything remotely related in college.  I also have to complete an internship/fellowship and then sit the exam.  So, it's a ways off, but I feel like I might finally have some direction.

We'll see.  Maybe this is only a stop in the journey.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Our New Church has a lot of Messed-up People :)

God has really blessed Josh and I to be part of a church plant in Woodbridge/Dumfries, Virginia.  It's called Spirit and Life Church and its mission is to be a place where all people feel welcome, whether they're growing in their walk with the Lord, not sure what they believe, unbelievers or have previously been estranged from the church.  It wants to be the alternative to what many people commonly associate with the church (as in the institution, not the beliefs) today----more on that later.  This will *hopefully* be a truly quick post.

But I wanted to share this video that the church played last week...I think it shows what the church at large is and should be.

You may have heard the criticism that Christians are a bunch of hypocrites and that's probably true.  And that you might feel like you've screwed up too much to come to church or you won't be welcome or that God can't possibly love you.

You know what Christianity is?  It's the following of a loving God by a bunch of screwed-up, flawed and really not-so-great people.  God loves everyone and forgives all those who come to Him.  And there's not one thing we can do to earn His love....or lose it.  We're all messed up.  (I mean if you've met me, you know I can be kind of a jerk.)  We all like to save face and pretend that we're not, but we are.  I guess that's where we're a bunch of hypocrites.  So if you want to go to church with a bunch of people who are just as messed up as you are, but also just as forgiven, we'd love to have you.

Friday, September 10, 2010


Just a quickie that I had to share.  Plus a lighten up after my last post. :)

I have a new job.  Yay!  I do hearing screenings in a hospital.

On Wednesday, I was still training, so I was going with this other girl that works there and one of the babies kept spitting up during the test, so to prevent choking and calm him down, I wound up holding the baby, who spat up on me multiple times.  The girl that I work with kept saying that she was so sorry that it happened and poor me, etc.

To which I responded, no big deal, that's why we wear scrubs and I've had worse happen.  (Which I have, I've had projectile vomit and there were lots and lots of potty accidents my first year of teaching, which I have stepped in more than once.)  This was no big deal, but look on her face was pretty funny when I said that I've had worse.

But my mother, who keeps reminding me that not everyone appreciates the topic of lice at the dinner table, would be happy to note that I did not elaborate to this poor girl.

Big Sticks and the Church

I think that God must have a big stick with which He likes to smack me upside the head.  Not because He likes to beat people in the head with sticks, don't get me wrong.  Rather, it's because I am apparently extremely dense.

::Here we can likely insert my dad laughing and exclaiming, "He's just trying to teach you to open doors with your hand, not your head."  Dad's favorite expression.::

Well.  Thanks.

 I think that the story/expression "be careful what you wish for" ought to be changed.  Instead it should be, be careful what you pray for.

And here my smarter, more experienced friends laugh.

For example, I do not have a lot of patience.  Yes, it is a virtue.  No, it is not one that I naturally possess.  People and things aggravate me pretty clearly.  People who waste time in meetings asking questions that have already been answered.  The lady behind me in line who's kid just hit me with the cart for the third time.  The fan in the bathroom in our apartment that automatically comes on when you hit the lights.

This one confounds Josh.  Why do you hate the fan?  Because it's loud, I say.  In actuality, it's because I can't control it.  I like to be in control.  (Yes, that's one of the issues related to the stick.)  But why does the fan get to decide that it has to be on because the lights are?  Clearly I am a much more capable decision maker than the fan.  I digress...

But sometimes I don't turn the lights on just to spite that stupid fan.

So here we rewind to my first job as a retail associate at Ann Taylor Factory store.  Here is a place ripe with opportunities to practice patience.  People who are rude to sales associates.  The lady who comes in at the height of business on Saturday every week to return eighty items (this is not an exaggeration, this was a literal weekly occurrence).  What is my response?  "Dear God, please give me patience."


God has such a sense of humor, doesn't He?  His response?  Teach for America.  22 four-year-olds, alone, for eight hours a day.  Insane four-year-olds.  What a lesson.

And, yet, I am apparently a slow learner.

So here we are in 2010.  I finished teaching and Teach for America in May, got married and moved back to Virginia in June and am trying to decide what to do with my life.  I am blessed with the time, energy and supportive spouse to do it.  I should be happy.  And I am.  But I'm also fairly torn up from my school experiences.

It sounds silly, I know.  But I had a very hard time leaving them and their stories behind.  I think I experienced some culture shock, honestly.  All I can think about is the fact that I have abandoned these kids, that I feel and always felt powerless to help specific ones.  It's hard to explain how I felt and how I still feel.  What might explain it best is the worship song from Hillsong, "Hosanna," which makes me cry every time I hear it.

The chorus of the song goes like this,
"Heal my heart and make it clean,
Open up my eyes to the things unseen.
Show me how to love like You loved me.
Break my heart for what breaks Yours
Everything I am for Your Kingdom's cause.
As I walk from earth into eternity."

I love that song, but I don't need to sing that song.  God has already broken my heart.  The first time a child indicated to me that he was being abused and the system tied my hands.  The time I visited a student in the hospital because he almost died from injuries sustained after his mom's boyfriend had a fight with her and he hit her car with the kids inside in response.  When a child showed signs of sexual abuse and I reported it through the correct channels and nothing happened.

God bless Josh for putting up with me trying to repair myself.  I know it hasn't been easy and I love him for it.

So we have been looking for a church.  We finally found one, which I'm very excited about.  I'll discuss it in another post because this one, like all of my posts, is becoming very long.  But in the midst of looking for a church that shared our beliefs and had opportunities to serve God, we discovered some very disturbing things.

A.  Many churches are very insulated.  They minister to their members and that's about it.

Church should be a place where believers should be ministered to.  It should be a place where they can grow and develop spiritually.  This is not wrong.  But being only about your members is wrong.  Have they read their Bibles?  In Acts, Jesus specifically states, "You will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth." (Acts 1:8 NIV)  Be witnesses.  That's pretty explicit.

B.  Many churches are not involved in the local community.

We were really blessed in Houston to be members of an amazing church that was changing the local community.  (  We didn't think that it was so rare, though.  When we visited new churches, we always attended the new visitors meeting afterward and we always asked the same question, "What do you do to invest in and minister to your local community?  How do you bring in nonbelievers or new believers?"

Some churches were doing really cool things.  McClean Bible Church has an amazing ministry dedicated to people with disabilities, which is an often under-reached (especially in terms of ministry) population.

Others, we were shocked, were completely surprised by our question.  "The local community?  I mean, we tell people to invite their neighbors.  But we give a lot of money to ministries in Africa."  Really?  Inviting your neighbors is great.  That is a good practice.  But that's it?  God commissioned us to serve.  As James said, "faith, by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead." (James 2:17 NIV)  And I'm not saying that giving to Africa and supporting international missions is wrong.  I'm not saying that at all.  If God called you to work internationally, then you should definitely follow that calling.

But what I am saying is that God has a heart for the WORLD and that includes the United States.  He charges us to be good stewards of our money and part of that involves using it to further His work.  But He also charges us to be good stewards of our gifts and that includes our time and talents.  We are so quick to look outside our borders for places to give aid, that we so often forget the suffering and hurt in our own backyard.  It might be crippling poverty, or abuse or death of a loved one.  It might be a struggling marriage or an inability to adequately care for children.  It could be disability or mental illness or homelessness.  It could be depression or substance abuse or incarceration.  The  United States needs God just as much as Africa does.

Even Mother Teresa who was called to the slums of India addressed this, "Around the world, not only in the poor countries, but I found the poverty of the West so much more difficult to remove. When I pick up a person from the street, hungry, I give him a plate of rice, a piece of bread, I have satisfied. I have removed that hunger. But a person that is shut out, that feels unwanted, unloved, terrified, the person who has been thrown out from society — that poverty is so hurtable and so much, and I find that very difficult.”  She also addressed the spiritual poverty so prevalent in the United States.  If she could see it after witnessing so much in India, why can't we?

Clearly, God has given me a heart and a calling to the United States.

A couple of weeks ago, my mom and I attended the Women of Faith conference in Washington, D.C.  My parents gave it to me as a gift because they thought it might be "healing."  And it really was.  It was so great.  Many of the speakers were very amusing (I thought that I might pee on myself from laughing so hard at Anita Renfroe) and also insightful and I have just felt so much better since.  Prayer and laughter are often the best medicines, aren't they?

But here comes the moment of the big stick.

Throughout the conference, I was reflecting on what God called these women to, their journeys and the way that they could reach so many people for Him.  Which, naturally, resulted in me thinking on what He could be calling me to.  And I prayed that suicidal prayer, "God I want to live my life for You and I want to accomplish the work that you have laid out for me."


What does He do?  Gives me an unblinkingly clear vision on a Metro ride back from seeing the Smithsonian with Josh.  And not an easy little project.  A ridiculous one that will take a lot of money and space and time and volunteers that I don't even know where to begin.  One that I'm not prepared to share yet and that I'm nervous didn't come from God.  But it was so clear that I'm not sure that it could have come from anywhere else.


And in my head and my heart I worry that I can't do what He has shown me.  So what happens?  A little voice in my head keeps telling me to read about Rahab in the Bible.  (Actually this started long before the vision, so maybe it was in preparation.)

Really?  Read the Bible?  I don't do that often enough.  I grew up in a tradition where it wasn't especially encouraged and, though I've tried repeatedly, I haven't yet been able to lodge it as a habit.  So, I ignore it for a few solid weeks until I finally break down and it leads me to the Book of Joshua about whom I know nothing.  My study Bible indicates that I should read up on his life in Exodus and Numbers, so I do and this is a basic rundown of what I learn:

Joshua basically becomes one of Moses' right hand guys when the Israelites are wandering through the desert.

Can I take a time-out for just a second?  I so appreciate that the Israelites are God's chosen people.  They were obviously not chosen for merit.  I mean, God frees them from slavery in Egypt and then when there isn't food, God makes bread rain down from Heaven.  Literally bread falls from the sky and all they have to do is pick it up from the ground.  So then they complain that there isn't enough of a variety of food and that they were better off as slaves in Egypt.  When Moses goes up to Mount Sinai for a couple of weeks, they decide that God has abandoned them and make a calf out of gold and worship it thanking it for freeing them from slavery.  They, who have seen bread fall from the sky, make a freaking calf out of gold and worship it and complain about not being slaves anymore.  Thank you, God, for choosing the Israelites because if You can make something out of them, then You can make something out of me.

Back to Joshua.  When Moses dies, God chooses Joshua to replace him.  Although the written conversation in Joshua chapter 1 is pretty one-sided, it seems to indicate that Joshua is rather hesitant about the job because God tells him, "Do not let this Book of the Law depart from your mouth; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it.  Then you will be prosperous and successful.  Have I not commanded you?  Be strong and courageous.  Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go."  (Joshua 1:8-9)

Okay, fine.  I'm still not sure about this, but I definitely felt the stick on that one.

Maybe next time I should duck.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Best Job Application Question

As you know, I have been "funemployed" this summer.  Also known as unemployed.  I have enjoyed my time off tremendously.  It was a much needed and very restful break.

And now I am CrAzY. 

I don't do not being busy well.  I never have.  I get irritable and insane (sorry, Josh). 

So, I opened an account with USA Jobs (the hiring search engine and application service for the federal government) and filled out a few applications.  While answering questions for one, I stumbled across this little gem:

"Have you successfully dealt with a disruption to regular operations in a way that allowed for completion of the work or continuation of a noncritical service?"

And I laughed hysterically.  If I were to get an interview, I would have to have Josh practice with me repeatedly. 

Have I dealt with a disruption?   Where should I start?

Let's see.  I was teaching Pre-K and the class was assembled on the carpet.  We were singing some song or other about counting or the alphabet, when Sahara started projectile vomiting everywhere.  No friends, projectile vomit is not confined to The Exorcist.  It is a real, disgusting thing.  I think she hit the carpet, the tile, the bathroom floor and the toilet (the actual toilet, not in the toilet) six times before I was able to aim her in the toilet.  Then, once she was successfully dispatched to the nurse (with trash can in hand), we resumed the lesson while waiting for Mr. Bustamante (best custodian ever) to come clean up the room.

Oh bodily fluids. 

We had another day when Jeannette became suddenly and seriously ill.  She had been fine, then suddenly started vomitting on her desk.  I don't know if it surprised her or what, but there was no attempt to even reach the trash can or alert me to the onset of the situation.  But the desk is quickly vomit covered.  So, we get her headed in the direction of the nurse and I page the office to let them know that we need some clean-up action, which they assure me will happen soon.  Does anyone come?  No.  So we must vacate that part of the room and continue learning.  With the vomit congealing on the desk.  Yay.

Another time I sent a kid with a vomitty trash can to the nurse and the child went home, but the trash can was returned with vomit to my classroom.  Because I really wanted that.

Okay, I will leave the gross disruption stories for now.  Poor Josh was regaled with stories and information about lice the other night, but I think that I've probably grossed you out enough for this post.  Lesson, though?  Kids and their body fluids are gross.

Oh!  Who remembers Chucky Baby?  Remember that his mom called him, "Sexy?"  (Check the earlier posts, circa 2008, if you don't know what I'm talking about.)  Once, the kids had to create stick horses in honor of the rodeo.  A lot of my kids struggled to express themselves orally well and so we did "presentations" of our stick horses.  The presentation consisted of stating the horse's name and his or her favorite thing to do.  Most horses enjoyed eating McDonald's and playing at the McDonald's playground and there were a variety of names.  Then, little Miranda gets up and announces that her horse's name is "Sexy."  Which results in an all-out outburst from Jose aka Chucky Baby aka Sexy, who screams from the carpet, "NO!!!  HE'S NOT SEXY!  I'M SEXY!  I'M SEXY!"  What do I have to do?  Stop outburst, resume teaching, try not to laugh hysterically.

That child alone accounts for many disruptions.  At some point, he was banned from the carpet and acquired his own personal desk and chair behind the carpet.  This was accompanied by a square of masking tape in which he was required to stay during carpet time.  He could do anything he wanted in the square as long as he was quiet, participated and stayed in the square.  That is, until, we had to define "anything" to exclude putting his chair on top of the desk and sitting in it.

Hmmm...any other disruptions? 

Now my second year, I had this kid DJ who was beyond trying.  He is largely the reason that none of my future children will have any name that can be shortened into an initial plus a J.  It may even be that none of them can have a j in their name.  However, here's a positive and funny DJ story:

I'm teaching something third grade related.  It's a math lesson of some sort, nothing special really.  It's likely a multiplication review or something similarly drab.  But it's enthralling enough for DJ who stands up midlesson, raises his hand heavenward and yells, "Thank you, Jesus!  Teach it Ms. Stacy!  Yeah, Jesus!  Preach it, Ms. Stacy!"  Stifling (barely) laughter, the lesson continues.

Once I was reading a story, sitting in my rocking chair at the front of the room.  It's No David, so it's kind of an exciting story, especially when David escapes from the bathtub and goes running stark naked down the street (this is, of course, accompanied by four-year-old commentary, including, "I can see his little colita!").  But really, I'm not sure what warrants this reaction.  I'm wearing open-toed shoes (which I learn are not good for this particular job.  who knew?) and Aaron bends over mid-story and bites my toe.  Really?  What choice do I have but continue the lesson?  After, of course, the principal who happened to be observing, escorts Aaron from the room.  Whereupon he bites her.  This was Aaron's last day of Pre-K.

So many more stories.  But, for now, I am tired and will continue again in another post. 

Maybe next time I will start with lice instead of vomit. ;)  Just kidding.


Job Search Update

As of late, I have been applying for jobs.  Last week, I accepted a job performing hearing screenings at a hospital.  I'm very excited about it.  I think that it's exactly what I've been looking for, at least for now.

I don't know if I will stop my job search here; it's part time and it's definitely outside the spectrum of what I was considering.  However, my friend, Melanie, helped me get this job and she indicated that she thought there was room for growth in the job (how exciting!  I haven't had a job with room for growth!).  Additionally, I keep feeling a nudge toward the healthcare industry.  Repeatedly.  Sort of in the same way that Teach for America kept cropping up before and during the application process.  Scary. 

For example, my friend Ellen in Houston (who I really miss) once suggested that I check out something called Child Life.  Child Life professionals work in hospitals and help kids get through procedures by educating them and distracting them, as well as work with their parents and siblings and help keep things as light as possible for the kids.  It's still something that interests me, but I'd have to go back to school and I'm not ready to commit to that yet.  I'd love to go back to school.  I love learning and being in the classroom (as a student).  I don't even mind taking tests.  But returning to school is a commitment and it costs a lot of money.  I'd hate to take classes and get certified in something that I'm not really interested in before I know that this is the path to which I want to commit. 

The idea of nursing has also been knocking around my head for awhile.  But, again, going back to school.  Lots of school.  And nursing is hard in many of the same ways that teaching is hard.  We'll see.

So, in the meantime, I think that this will be a great fit.  Maybe this is part of the message that I've been waiting to receive.  I don't believe in coincidences, but I do believe in Plans for our lives.  So, maybe this is part of mine.  :)

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Job Seeking

So as you may or may not know, I have left teaching. 

Since I have moved back to Virginia, a number of people have asked what I'm going to do for work and so many people have asked where I'm going to look to teach.  And when I tell them I'm not, I have gotten a lot of horrified reactions from people.  "What?!  Why not?!  We need good teachers!"

They're right.  We do need good teachers.  Teachers are the backbone of society and I respect my friends and colleagues who have stayed in the profession.  Teachers are also underpaid, overworked and completely disrespected.  There were so many times that I would meet new people and the usual conversation would ensue.  "Where are you from?"  "What do you do?"  "Oh," slight change in expression, "You're a teacher."  Slight implication being, oh you couldn't do something else.  This is not to say that this was everyone's or even most people's reactions.  But it didn't happen infrequently. 

This is not why I left teaching.  It is not the worst thing in the world.  However, it is something that flashes through my mind when I get the not-so-atypical reaction of, "But we need good teachers!"

First of all, how do they even know that I was a good teacher?  Did I care?  Absolutely.  I poured my heart and soul into that job, to the point that I'm still trying to figure out who I am after this experience.  Did I work hard?  Definitely.  Nights, weekends, mornings.  Let me clear up the misconception about teachers working from 7 to 3.  Teachers get paid from 7 to 3.  They come in early, stay late and take lots and lots of work home.  Not to mention the time spent thinking about that one (or many) kid.  How do I reach him?  How do I get her to learn?  What's happening at his home tonight?  I did my best.  But my best does not necessarily make me a good teacher and I would argue that I wasn't the greatest teacher.  I tried and I always tried to be better, but I was certainly not the best and I'm not sure that my kids were any better off having known me. 

Second, if we need good teachers so bad, then why don't those people go do it instead of judging me?  I did it for three years.  I moved halfway across the country to do it.  So if I'm so horrible for leaving the profession, why are they better for never having done it? 

Sorry about the rant.  It's not the worst possible thing, but I'm frustrated by that reaction.  It sort of dismisses everything I've done for the past three years and the pieces of my soul that I gave to those kids. 

I absolutely believe that I was called to teach for a season.  I have never before received such a specific and profound calling.  I also believe that I was called for a short time.  Why?  I still haven't figured that out.  I do know that it was becoming abundantly clear that that time had come to an end.  I am burned out of teaching.  I no longer have the patience or energy to deal with the constant disruption, the behavior, disrespect from kids.  I don't feel like I was making enough of an impact on kids and I can't deal with failing every day anymore.  Now it's time to find out what I'm supposed to do next.

I think that's a large part of what's frustrating me as I write this more than anything.  I don't really know what I'm supposed to do next.  I don't know how to define myself.  I'm not a teacher.  I don't know how to respond when I meet new people and they ask what I do.  I'm unemployed?  I'm looking for a job?  I'm readjusting to my old life in some respects even though I'm not the same person? 

But maybe that's part of what I'm supposed to be learning right now.  I like being defined by things that I do or accomplishments or memberships.  I think most people do.  But that's not how I'm supposed to define myself.  I need to learn to define myself as a child of God and learn to be satisfied in that.  Because at the end of the day, that's what lasts.  Everything else is transient, earthbound.  That will last forever and when you have that, everything else will fall into place.  Maybe not the way that you plan.  Teaching certainly didn't work out in the way that I planned, but I learned a lot and grew tremendously.  I don't need to plan because He has a better one.  Parts of it might be really hard or even feel really awful at times and I really don't understand the reason for it.  Anyone who tells you that they do probably don't know what they're talking about.   So I need to learn to be satisfied and trusting and not to let my heart wander.  The good thing is that He experienced that, too, and understands and is forgiving through that. 

Sorry for such a long, random-seeming post.  And I appreciate it if you read it.  I'm just trying to figure things out. :)

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Why would Sephora think this would appeal to me?

If this is supposed to make me buy this mascara product, I think that the art director might need to look in a different field.  Why would Sephora think this would appeal to me?  I like to think that I at least look halfway decent on most days.  Maybe this is a wake-up call to the otherwise.

Who here wants to look as frightening as this woman?  If so, this is the product for you.

On the other hand, this might have worked as an excellent classroom management tool...  "If you don't behave, Ms. Stacy will look like the Joker today." 

Friday, June 25, 2010

Oh, that isn't normal, is it?

I think I may experience some culture shock as I relocate to what pretty much amounts to suburbia.  I have mixed feelings about it, although I am so very happy to be heading back to Virginia.  Although I sort of knew this already, it became more apparent during our honeymoon.

So, I didn't know this, but apparently Sandals and Beaches are owned by the same company and there are distinctions between who they're marketed toward and even who can go there.  Beaches is more family-friendly and also, I think, semi-singles friendly.  Sandals is designed for couples.  This is not a place to go if you are not absolutely secure in being single.  Everybody there was either on their honeymoon or celebrating an anniversary.  While it was really fun, it was kind of weird at times. 

Anyway, we met a lot of really nice couples.  And every other person we met was a teacher!  So, of course, when you meet other teachers, you sort of share about how crazy the profession is- the kids, the parents, the administration, the legal elements (many of which are completely nonsensical, but that's neither here nor there), plus you also talk about the good parts.  Even I (and I am leaving the field running!) have good stories to share.  We met several people who teach in schools similar to mine, plus some who are in the heart of suburbia. 

Both types of schools have their quirks.  I had a kid in my class this year whose older brother had just joined a gang and got his little brother heavily involved in gang activity (yes, I taught third grade this year).  I could probably devote an entire blog to that one child.  I referred to him as the Prince of Darkness (he told me he was the devil once).  I had several CPS kids.  I had one who had been abandoned.  The list goes on. 

On the other hand, you have CrAzY parents in suburban schools.  I mean I had crazy parents, too, but this is a different kind of crazy.  I love parents who want to volunteer and be involved.  I had some awesome parents this year.  You get those in all kinds of schools.  Suburban schools tend to have greater numbers, however, of parents who don't really want to be involved in a volunteering or productive capacity, but would rather just go and cause trouble.  Their children do no wrong.  The teachers are all out to get their kids.  They just like to yell and scream and create tension for everyone involved.  (I grant that there are situations where parents are entitled to be upset, but I'm not addressing those.  I'm talking about the parents who create trouble where there isn't any.)

So, here I am discussing the differences between suburban and inner-city schools with a fifth grade teacher.  Let's preface this with I would never teach fifth grade.  That is the year when they became evil.  Even the nicest kids turn into monsters in the fifth grade.  So, this private school teacher and I are talking about ideal grades to teach.  She finds out I teach third grade and she is just gushing about what a great age it is and how wonderful second and third graders are.  Compared to fifth graders, absolutely true.  However, given her reaction to my next comment, I'm not sure that she could have handled my bunch.  (My proudest moment this year?  When another teacher, who can turn on the genuine ghetto fabulousness in a heartbeat, comes out of her room while I am chewing out a kid in the hall and says, "Oh, it's you.  I thought that was someone's black ghetto mama out here."  No joke.  Completely word for word.  I have arrived!) 

This woman is going on and on about how third graders want to please you and will generally work for you, etc.  Often true.  So, without thinking anything of it, I comment, "You're so right.  I love it when they get so angry and are just yelling, 'I hope you die!,' and then 15 minutes later, they're telling me how much they love me."

Awkward pause.

"Wait, your kids say that they hope you die?"

"I mean, yeah, sometimes.  My favorite this year was when this kid, Myresha, told me that she was going to tell her mama to beat me up.  And I told her that we could call her mama right then.  And I bet that if she came up to the school I wouldn't be the one getting beat.  That kid backed down right away, 'I am so sorry, ma'am, I will never say that again, ma'am.'"

Astonished staring.  Here's where I clue in.

"Oh.  Your kids don't do that, do they?"

I completely forgot that wasn't normal.  Oops.

Monday, June 21, 2010

What to do if You're a Moron

Clearly I am sometimes an idiot.

Well, maybe occasionally more than sometimes.

Josh and I went to St. Lucia for our honeymoon.  By the way, St. Lucia is AH-maz-ing!  I will definitely have to post more about it and our adventures.  It is beautiful.  The people are incredibly nice.

Josh is very into photography.  And I think he's pretty good at it, too.  Granted, I do not have a trained eye in this field, but he did his brother's engagement photos and I think they were great.  So, naturally, he has an awesome camera.  Some of the photographers at the resort offered to trade cameras with him, haha.  Thus, we took a lot of pictures, especially when we were out doing things like zip lining, we took my not-as-nice little digital camera with us.  Not complaining- I love the camera, but it's no professional deal.

I took a bajillion pictures.

Now comes the I'm a moron part.

It's the last day of vacation.  Many, many pictures later.  I'm looking at the menu on my camera.

And you've guessed it- I have reformatted my camera.  All pictures GONE.  Deleted.  The end.

Well, crap.  Where's my dunce cap?

But apparently enough other people have done this that there is a market for data retrieval software.  Hallelujah!  All I have to do is pop my memory card into my computer and run the software and it's like magic- I get my pictures back!

So, if you are also sometimes a moron and find yourself in this predicament, I highly recommend the EASEUS Data Recovery software.  Although, I do hope that you are smarter than I am.

And now I look back at this and more recent posts and realize that I am an incredibly boring person.  Especially now that I no longer have crazy teaching stories.  So, thanks for sticking with me. ;)

More pictures to be posted soon, but I wanted to preview one of my favorites.  This was Josh's favorite guy. We kept seeing him everywhere at the resort.  He inspired Josh to make me swear never to let him do this.  Little does he know that I have so many more ways to embarrass him.  Hahahaha

Thank you, Annie, for the new blog title.

So I have decided to take Mrs. Annie Wrigley's suggestion and go with an ambiguous new blog title and I actually liked her specific suggestion so much that decided that I would go with that.

I have approached the sunset of one career and am hoping that I will not be unemployed forever and will be approaching the dawn of a new (and hopefully better fitting) one. 

Thank you to others for your suggestions.  They were fun and I appreciated the input. 

Again, thanks to those of you who read.  Hopefully these posts will be a little more interesting (although hopefully not too interesting) soon.

Also look for a post on our trip to St. Lucia soon!

Friday, June 4, 2010

New Blog Name?

So... this is my first post past the end of my teaching career....


That final week was the longest in recent memory.  I never knew that 5 days could be so long.  This was due, in large part, to the fact that both the kids and I were so long past done.  It's really hard to keep kids motivated post-test when the entire system has been set up to worship a standardized test.  But I really don't want to get into my thoughts and opinions about the current state of public education at this time. 

Perhaps over the summer when I have copious free time.  :)  I have a fabulous fiance who fully supports my need to have a little bit of a breather post teaching.  Because, as I have outlined in previous entries, my hat is off to career teachers.  Way to go!  However, I am not a career teacher, neither was I designed to be one.  As such, I am completely burned out.  I am looking forward to a time when I have normal emotions and feelings.  Things still frustrate me, make me angry, but not in the way that they probably should.  After that first year, I could not take on kids' hurts in the same way anymore.  Did I still feel their injustice and hate their situtation?  Sure.  But if I were to survive, I absolutely could not internalize it in the same way.  Part of me shut off.  It had to.

In other events...

Today I applied for my first job past teaching.  Again, I am looking to take a little time off (I still get paid for a bit- I could disperse my paycheck through 12 months instead of 10, so I'm still receiving money I already earned).  It was hard and took me forever.  I have been trying to complete the application for about a week now without success.  But today, I finally finished it.  KSA's with little direction, other than "write one or two paragraphs about each position that you are applying for and why you would be an asset" is difficult.  But it did feel good to use some of my big girl language and not dumb it down for 8 to 10-year-olds for once. :)

Additionally, I have decided that I need to change the name of my blog.  First of all, I haven't taught Pre-K for two years and now I don't even teach, so the name isn't really so appropriate anymore.  (btw, those of you who read this when it downloads into facebook, I actually write this on Google Blogger-the link's under my links on my info page).  I solicited some ideas on my facebook status:

First, "Post-K stories of insanity." A good one.  And true.  My life is still insane after pre-K, just a different type of insane.

"Tales of the Newlywed." Also a good one.  Reflective of what my life is changing into.  One week from today, I will be getting married.  Which is so SCARY.  And exciting.  Then I'm moving back to Virginia, which is terribly exciting, as well.  So (hopefully) lots of tales (hopefully goood ones). 

"Everyday Stories of Insanity."  True.  I was insane prior to this job.  And now I'm definitely more insane. ;)

"How to Stop Attracting Crazy People."  Good one.  I have attracted many a crazy person in my day.  Now is not the time to recount them....haha.  But I have appeared to have attracted a reasonably normal one. :)

"Pre-K stories: Cause of Current Insanity."  So true.  So true.  I will not elaborate further, there is no need. Just read earlier posts.

What do you think?  One of these?  Different suggestion?

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Lessons Learned- Things NOT to do when I have a Kid (way, way in the future, btw)

If I have learned nothing else, I have seen some pretty interesting examples of parenting while teaching, both good and not so good.

Today's example:

While I am relatively (I hope!) certain that anyone who reads this considers this a "duh" lesson, it is worthwhile to mention because there are clearly those who think this is a good choice.

Clearly, MADD and other organizations have warned us of the perils of drinking and driving.  Generally, I considered that most people did this at night or on the weekends.  Apparently not.

I guess some consider 3:15 on a Tuesday afternoon right before you pick up your kid from school an awesome time to get hammered.  Or at least start.  Because if you're not quite buzzing enough, you can continue drinking while driving and picking up your kid and after you've hit another parent in the parking lot. Because taking a big swig of your drink when you get out of the car to inspect the damage really helps your case.

Lesson: Getting wasted to pick up your kid from school results in a car accident and the school calling the police.  Who knew?

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

New Directions- Resuming the old Blog

While preparing to wrap up my third and final year of teaching in the next 8 days, I came across my blog from my first year again. Although I thought that I would never forget some of those events, time has a way of numbing some of the memories.

On the other hand, time and mind-preserving psychology also has a way of erasing particularly bad memories. I have found (even months after that first year) that I am missing large blocks of memories. Pretty much everything minus major events following the first 20 minutes of the first day through most of December of that year.

I am very appreciative of those of you who read my blog that year. It really helped to know that others cared enough to read and I can honestly tell you that that is part of what got me through that year. I was in a really bad place emotionally and psychologically. However, we sometimes experience less than pleasant things so that we can appreciate the more positive experiences. (How cliche, I know.) And things are much better now.

I don't really know why I have randomly resumed today. I'm sure if I continue, it will take on new flavor as I re-emerge into a realm of slightly less crazy things. I hope you continue with me on this new journey.

Leaving teaching is bittersweet. The kids are currently making it very, very sweet. ;) Oh! I moved to third grade last year, if you didn't know. They are a different kind of crazy than Pre-K, but they are still insane. I have to admit, though, I like them much better. While I always felt that I was called to do this, I also always believed it to be a temporary calling. And now I think that God is making it abundantly clear that that calling is coming to a rapid end. At the end of the day, a person who is becoming burned out cannot possibly be remotely effective. Feeling this way, it is better to serve the kids by leaving than by clinging to this field. I feel guilty that I feel so burned out. There are people who have been in this field for 5, 10, 15, even 30 years. I respect them more than you can know. It is a back-breaking, soul-crushing, tiring job. I admire them for their persistence and perseverance. Who am I, after 3 measly years, to be burned out? I feel completely ridiculous. However, I also know that this is not my permanent calling. Maybe it is theirs. The scary part is trusting God to show me what it is that I should do next.

I know what it feels like to receive a very specific calling. Yet, I don't think that God always communicates to us in this manner. How do we, then, determine what it is that He is guiding us to do? Prayer, obviously. But how do we hear His voice in the many ways that He might choose to speak? How do we ensure that it is His voice and not merely our desires speaking? I don't have the answers. But I am excited (and scared out of my mind) to learn more as I move on to the next stages in my life.

My blog posts might not be as exciting as they used to be (I am very excited about that prospect), but I hope that you join me on my new journey in finding my next path in life.

"When they came to the border of Mysia, they tried to enter Bithynia, but the Spirit of Jesus would not allow them to. So they passed by Mysia and went down to Troas. During the night Paul had a vision of a man of Macedonia standing and begging him, 'Come over to Macedonia and help us.' After Paul had seen the vision, we got ready at once to leave for Macedonia, concluding that God had called us to preach the gospel to them." Acts 16:7-10

What an example of obedience to God's will.