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Tuesday, February 26, 2008

I need to stop obsessing and just send out applications...

In my continued filling out of job applications, I have two problems.

1. I'm seriously bad at answering the "what are three reasons you want to be a teacher?" question. And the fact that I have a hard time coming up with three concrete reasons doesn't seem like a very good sign for my future as a teacher.

2. I'm afraid that I'm going to sound too "liberal," "idealist," "hippy," "naive," "deluded," or whatever you want to call it, when responding to many of the questions, again such as "what are three reasons you want to be a teacher?"

Why do I want to be a teacher? Because I want to be an advocate for my students, because I want to show them that learning can be fun and useful and valuable to them, because I want to help them develop into educated global citizens.

Is that too sappy?

Saturday, February 23, 2008

A little bit of optimistic pessimism.

I just found a school that I have absolutely fallen in love with. Which is bad, because they'll only hire Highly Qualified X State teachers, and I don't even have my license from Y State yet, so... I can't apply for an X State license. But oh wow. It feels good to at least be excited about a teaching possibility, however improbably the reality of getting the job actually is.

I've been feeling kind of "meh" about teaching, as in I cannot imagine teaching full time for a year, or two, or 10. But this school, it has an extra something going for it, which I could see being able to hold my interest for a while.

Again, I'm not going to get the job, and that's okay. (Though, applying will be a first step in getting rejected.) But, it's just good to realize that I can still get excited about teaching and that I can imagine myself sticking this whole teaching thing out for at least a little while.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Grr. Arg.

I just got a wonderful letter from the State Board of Education. I expected it to contain my teaching license, finally.

But no, no it did not.

It contained a note and a blank fingerprint card. Apparently the FBI didn't like the fingerprints I sent them THREE MONTHS AGO and are requesting a new set.

This means I'm not going to get my teaching license until three months from now! And my temporary license is going to expire soon enough. And I can't apply for licenses for other states until I get the license from College State.

Which means I'm NEVER going to be able to get a job. (Which I know isn't technically true, but it's a whole lot easier to get a job when you HAVE A LICENSE. And have at least applied for the license for whatever state you are hoping to work in.)

And I can't figure out how to find a person to talk to at the State Board of Education to make sure I'm sending the new fingerprint card appropriately, and to beg for an expedited sending of the fingerprint card.

It's not fair!!!

I'm going to go sit in the corner and throw a temper tantrum now.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

NQGU and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad job applications

Everything I try to write in the short answer portion of my job applications ends up sounding horrible. EVERYTHING. Cover letters aren't even my problem. It's those questions, "What instructional strategies would you use in order to prepare lessons and instruction to meet the needs of all children in your classroom," that are driving me crazy.

I could easily write a 10+ page article on the topic, but I don't know how to sum it all up in one short paragraph.

I'm doing what I was doing before. I'm hoarding half filled out job applications. And as before, half filled out does just as much good as not-at-all filled out.

I'm going to go stare at more applications. Maybe some inspiration for writing clear, concise, and brilliant responses to really important questions will come to me. Maybe.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Example number two.

This is the second example of why I'm kind of a bad teacher-type-person.

I was going to buy the children pencils instead of boring valentines for Valentine's Day. Unfortunately, I work with too many kids, and I couldn't find any inexpensive decorative pencils, so I ended up not being able to do that. (The exact same pencils I found for $2/14pack in College State cost $5/14pack in Home State. Crazy.)

I should have just bought little valentine cards instead. I didn't.
Will they notice? Probably not.
Will I feel guilty? Yes.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

I need a geographical change.

Perhaps in contrast to the sentiment expressed in my last post, I actually am actively looking for and applying to teaching jobs.

I currently reside in the midwest (home of even more snow).

I am thinking about applying to teach in kind of randomly chosen school districts in the southwest (home of much less snow).

I have a question for people who have at some point in their lives acquired teaching jobs -
Is it a bad idea to blindly apply to school districts? Or rather, apply to school districts based only upon what I can find out about the district and the town using a combination of the district website, wikipedia, and ZIPskinny? Will I end up in a really bad situation if that is what I do, or is that how people usually find jobs?

(At the same time, I'm applying to teaching jobs in bilingual schools throughout Latin America, which is a post-in-progress, at the moment. Needless to say, these out-of-the-country schools are my "reach schools," in college application speak.)

Untitled due to lack of creativity or motivation.

Lately I've been thinking I'd make a horrible teacher (for various reasons). The following is one example of my heartlessness.

Scene: a 3rd grade boy, Teddy and girl, Madison are bickering at the computer.

Teddy: Ms. GrownUp, Madison keeps telling me the answers and I don't want her to.
Me: Madison, let Teddy figure out the answers on his own.

One minute passes.

Teddy (whining): Ms. GrownUp, Madison is still telling me the answers, she won't stop.
Me: Well, then tell her to stop telling you the answers, you can deal with this on your own.
Teddy: But I did, and she won't stop.
Me: You can work this out on your own.

I walk away.

Three minutes pass.

Teddy: Ms. GrownUp, Madison called me a sissy girly girl.
Me: Just ignore her. It's time to clean up anyway.

Boy walks away.

Two minutes pass.

Students (en masse): Mrs. Teacher, Teddy is crying.

Classroom teacher looks over at Teddy who is in fact crying (
not unlike a sissy girly girl). The students all stop what they're doing and watch. None of them make fun of Teddy for crying (as I just did in my parentheses which shows my true level of maturity).

Classroom teacher takes Teddy and Madison out of the room to talk to them. I laugh silently on the inside at the fact that I thought 3rd graders were above crying, though apparently that was a misconception. I hate myself a little bit for finding this so humorous.

End scene.

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Dwelling on my future.

The glut of snow days we've been having in the Midwest these last few weeks has been giving me way too much free time to dwell on my future. I don't like this.

No more snow days, please.

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Teacher Clothes Redux

For the 90% of people who come here searching for teacher clothes (and really, I don't understand why google thinks you all want to come here when you type in the search term "teacher clothes") I have three words for you, Ann Taylor Loft. Teachers get a discount, and they have the only stylish petites section I've ever seen. And if you wait until they have a sale on already reduced items, and you use your teacher discount on top of that, you can actually afford the clothing. Suffice it to say, about 75% (and growing) of my teaching wardrobe comes from The Loft, 15% comes from Limited, and the remaining 10 percent...well...actually, after my last Loft shopping spree, the remaining 10% probably come from Ann Taylor Loft, too. (I go through a fairly limited rotation of clothing, so I don't have an extreme abundance of Ann Taylor Loft clothing, but that which I do own, I wear very often.)

And that's the last I'll say about that. Happy dressing.

Linguistic Loans

Wonderful, wonderful conversation serving as an example of the influence of the English on Spanish use in US society.

I had the following conversation at the end of the day with a 2nd grade male who speaks English quite fluently, but does get pulled out of the classroom for English Language Development. His home language is Spanish.

Boy: Do you know a word in Spanish?
Me: I know lots of words in Spanish!
Boy: Can you tell me one?
Me: Yeah, well, which word?
Boy: Do you know "apple"?
Me: Yes, manzana.
Boy: Right. Umm... how do you say "folder"?
Me: Carpeta, right?
Boy: No...carpeta is carpet.
Me: Hmm, mmm, okay. Yes. I think it can also mean folder.
Boy: No. No, folder is...um...umm...
Me: There are different ways to say it, but I'm pretty sure carpeta is one way to say folder.
Boy: No, because carpeta is carpet. Folder is... ....
Me: ...
Boy: Oh! Foldér.
Me: Okay.

Carpeta is a commonly used English loan for "carpet", though it also means "folder" which makes it all a little confusing. As far as I know, foldér doesn't mean anything in Spanish, aside from being an English loan taken from "folder." Overall, it was a really fascinating conversation.