Writing milestone

For as long as I can remember I’ve loved writing.  Whether it was a list, short story or a research paper, if I could write I was golden.  I can’t even leave the house without some sort of paper and writing utensil.

On September 24th, I completed a major writing milestone, one that I’ve longed to do since I finished my first novella in 9th grade-I wrote a book.  Currently it clocks in at over 300 pages and over 80,000 words, which is pretty standard for a Science Fiction novel.  I told friends about (I kept it a secret save a few close friends) and I was overwhelmed at the amount of support I got from it, plus 6 dedicated beta readers!

Even during the writing/first draft process, I tried to edit at least two chapters a week that I’d already written.  Currently I’m finishing up my first edits with another 8 chapters to go.  My goal is to finish my first draft edits and get the first ten chapters through a second draft edit by Halloween.

I had one of my beta readers sample my first chapter over the weekend and they gave me some great feedback.  The most important thing was that the pacing was on point and there was only a minor edit I had to do to the overall structure.  Everything else involved small spelling/grammatical edits and I used different word choices (synonyms) in a few spots.  That’s one chapter ready for beta reading at least!

One of my friends has written several books and they’ve been giving me a lot of pointers on where to go next.  I’m pretty set on self-publishing at this point, so I’ve started researching into it more as I move through the editing process.  I have six beta readers waiting to read my story, which is motivating me to edit quickly.

Once my beta readers are done and have given me feedback, I’ll do another really good edit, then go into publishing from there.  It’s possible I could have a published book sometime in the first quarter of next year, that’d be amazing!  I’m really enjoying the process overall and if all works out well, I’d love to write another one!

 

Of course, my book does explain my absence (though work and life are contributing factors as well).  Hopefully now that I’m in the editing process, I will be writing more as a reinforcer to finishing a chapter or two.

 

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How I plan on staying sane this school year

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Tomorrow is the first day of school.  I have spent a lot of time over the last three weeks working on my classroom (we didn’t have to go in until two Fridays ago for training).  The room hadn’t been cleaned out in 6 years, so it was long overdue.  This has put me behind on other things, but a lot of work now means a smoother year in the long run!

Like most teachers the first 1-2 weeks of school, my stress level is high.  I’m going in for no more than 3 hours today, then just resting.  Day 1 plans are done and I’ll finish the rest tomorrow during planning.  Week 1 is a introduction week and we’ll start getting into material later this week, but mostly it’ll be assessment based.  Week 2 will be the official jump in week.

I have one planning period a day (45 minutes) with two extra 45 minute periods on Tuesday and Wednesday.  This is amazing!!!  I plan on getting into school an hour or so before students arrive (plus eat breakfast and fuel myself with coffee) to make things smoother.  Which leads me to the title of this post–how I plan on staying sane this school year.

 

  1. Remember what matters most and don’t sacrifice it

A job isn’t always going to be there.  Cutbacks happen, things change at work, anything could happen.  You know what will be there if you wind up losing your job?  Family.  Friends.  God.  Is that lesson plan really more important than spending time with those who matter most to you or focusing on your health and spirituality?  Nope.

 

 

2. Planning ahead

This is true in the classroom as well as in your personal life.  You should have back-up plans in your classroom because things happen and yes, you will need them.  Spending 5-10 minutes planning out your week and 5 minutes adjusting it each day will make your day run smoother and prevent tension headaches later!

In terms of personal life, plan ahead as much as you can be it making doctor appointments ahead of time, making freezer meals or packing your lunch the night before.  Little things can save you a lot of stress later.

 

3. Know yourself

Are you someone who gets stressed easily?  Are you an introvert or an extrovert?  What helps you relax?  This isn’t something you learn overnight, but comes with age and maturity.  When you know YOUR limits and when to stop, you are well on your way to a successful school year.

Example:  I’m an introvert so I need down time.  I go into work early and make sure I have time in the evenings or a full free day during the weekend to be ‘people free’ or ‘people light’ (I’m a social introvert).

 

4)  Use reinforcers and don’t forget yourself!

Microsoft may not think ‘Reinforcer’ is a word, but if you’re a Special Education Teacher, it should be a word you use daily in the classroom…and outside the classroom.  We give students reinforcers for doing well and you should do the same with yourself!  It requires some self-monitoring (and maybe taking data on yourself!) but you should use it too.

Don’t focus on just food items or drinking (for those who do), but focus on things that you like.    For me it could be a number of things from it’s spending time with the people I care about, having alone time, playing video games or window shopping (to name a few).

Remember your health-mind, body and spirit are important and shouldn’t be forgotten!  An unwell teacher isn’t a good teacher!

 

5) Remember, it’s ok to feel like you failed

Maybe that wasn’t such a good lesson.  Maybe your classroom management isn’t as good as you wish it was.  That’s ok.  Teaching is a dual learning experience and you will make mistakes.  Even veteran teachers make them.  If you’re a relatively new teacher, don’t be afraid to utilize your mentor teacher too!

 

6) Have fun

What should be the most reinforcing thing in the classroom?  YOU!!  Your students should want to be in the classroom because YOU are teaching them things and making it fun.  I have an unquenchable desire to learn myself and I want my students to share in that.  Sure, school isn’t going to be the most enjoyable thing for everyone, but there is something every child can enjoy and love about school.  If you have fun with it, your students will see that and remember the most contagious thing (aside from yawning!) is a smile.

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I have a very good feeling about this year!  I just need to get over the beginning of the year hump, the one that all teachers dread.  I have my ducks in a row in terms of the hours I’ll be working, a strong support system and a ton of materials and ideas.  Let’s get started!

You Look like a Gamer

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For as long as I can remember, my hobbies and interests have navigated towards what society would say are ‘nerdy’ or ‘geeky’.  Of course, being interested in hobbies that are ‘nerdy’ or ‘geeky’ has become the ‘in’ thing.  Everywhere you look someone is sporting a marvel shirt or talking about a popular video game.  The culture is viewed differently by those who 10-20 years ago would have judged its participants negatively.  How the tides have turned.

Two weeks ago a new Teaching Assistant at my school approached me and asked me if I was a gamer.  Which led into a conversation about Pokemon Go.  I’ve avidly been playing the Pokemon games since 1999.  It ended up being a conversation about what Pokemon Go was.  I dare say, a coworker and I went on a few excursions after the students left to track down nearby Pokemon.

Where am I going with this?  Simple.  My previous entries have revolved around thoughts and reflections.  Talking about my hobbies is a topic I haven’t hinted at (though my “About Me” page discusses it).  My interest in Marvel/comics, video games, board games, card games (looking at you Magic the Gathering), Doctor Who and others give me joy.  My ‘geeky’ hobbies give me joy, but they don’t define my life, that’s left up to friends, family, helping others etc.

….I mean my living room is decked out in movie posters, geeky decor and a shelf of video games.

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Reflecting back on my coworkers comment, I’ve had others who meet me and claim they get the same vibe.  At my school, multiple coworkers shared the same interest and it made me feel at home.  How many times did I use my classroom smart board to watch new movie trailers?  How many times did I have to force myself away from a conversation about video games?

When I lived in Charlottesville, the opposite was true.  Charlottesville has a different culture than Northern Virginia, if that makes sense.  I could dedicate a book comparing the two!  In Charlottesville I never found my niche.  I still talk to my best friend in Charlottesville and her husband several times a week and a few other friends on occasion.  Perhaps the reason I never found my niche (aside from being far from close friends and family!) was that I never found a group to fit into….only 5-6 people shared my interests.

In Northern Virginia, its different, not just in my workplace, but several college friends live here.  In college, we had multiple game nights a week and that’s still true.  Listening to Zelda music while we game?  Check.  Making references to shows that most people wouldn’t get?  Check.  Outside of work and friends, there are more places to enjoy things like board games, comics, video games etc. than Charlottesville could ever offer.

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…I’m not even going to talk about my hometown which is cow central.  My friends and I were the geeky kids who hung out in the corner talking about Zelda and Pokemon.

While my geeky hobbies are important to be, they don’t define me.  I have plenty of outside interests, but I wouldn’t trade my nights of playing Magic the Gathering, going to a midnight showing for a Marvel movie, playing board games until the dead of night OR my memories of meeting celebrities who played my favorite characters for anything.  They’ve grown with me and without my love of ‘geeky’ things, I wouldn’t have met or befriended the people important to me (outside family).

Thanks geeky life for making my life great.  I wouldn’t trade my interests for most things and not for the memories and joy it has brought me.

 

 

 

Regret in a Photo

There was a safeway in my hometown (the only grocery store other than food lion) and since it was cheaper, that’s where we shopped mostly.  A classmates mom worked there and I was 7.  She made a comment about how she didn’t know what to get her son and I made a snide comment about him being a bully.  All I remember after my words was that my mom scolded me.

I remember regretting it from the comment I said it. It was the second moment that I can distinctly remember feeling regret.  The other time was when I ran to pet a job with my grandfather watching and he AND the owner of the dog scolded me.  As an adult, I give both the ‘things you do and say without thinking’ card, granting myself forgiveness.

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Mistakes are different than regrets.  Mistakes are the things we did not knowing better, but learn from.  Regrets are the things we didn’t do and wish we had or did knowing it was a mistake.

Regret is a strange thing.  It changes and evolves as you get older.  When you’re younger, you are more likely to do or say things that you wish you could take back. As an adult, I think of the things I didn’t do as my regrets.  Sure, there are still things I regret saying or doing, but they’re few and far between. Most mistakes we make are part of the learning experience or prove that we’re human.

Earlier today, I saw a picture that reminded me of something I still cringe at.  In my early 20s, I was not as articulate as I am now and public speaking was a weakness (now, not so much!)  I was the maid of honor in my best friends wedding and wrote a speech which wasn’t bad…but after hearing the best man speak, I realized errors I’d made in my own writing and I completely flubbed up my speech.

Now that I think about it, I did sit in the wrong spot at another friends wedding (and the rest of the wedding party followed suit).  For the record, the other two weddings I was in I didn’t goof up!

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There are things that I regret not doing that continue to haunt me.  Going back in time to change things is impossible–but that doesn’t mean one can’t learn from it.  Maybe parallel universe theory is true and there’s a pocket universe version in which you made a different choice.  Though, believing that could be a skewed coping mechanism.

I’ve always been a strong believer in what is meant to be will be, but lately I’ve been questioning it.  Do people have free choice or is everything we do already determined?

At the end of the day, even the best of people make mistakes and have regrets. How to internalize them is what counts.

5 Important Life Lessons I’ve learned as a Teacher

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Last May, I stepped into a Special Education classroom as a first year teacher.  As an undergraduate, I’d had very successful placements and worked part-time as a substitute teacher starting my junior year of college.  However, after a rather traumatic student teaching experience, I decided that a general classroom wasn’t for me.

Then, I started subbing in a Special Education classroom the year after I graduated college. I was in that awkward post college transition year and being in that classroom was one of the best things that could’ve happened to me.  Flash forward 3 years and I became a Special Education Teacher.

The opportunity presented itself and I rose against self doubt which had been placed in me during student teaching and subbing.  My first year hasn’t been easy, but its been a transformational year and one that has brought me opportunities to change lives.  To me, that makes all the hard days worth it.

As I reflect on my first year (as summer moves along towards an upcoming year), 5 big lessons come to mind.

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Lesson #1: Your life is more important than a job.  It will not always be there nor give you a hug when you need it.

Often I was told, after deciding to become a teacher, it would be a lot of work.  I was used to working, but I also knew the importance of a healthy life/work balance.  Student Teaching had stripped my life away and I vowed to never do it again.  Granted, some of the last year has been crazy and required weekends, but if I have to choose a day with family or finishing a lesson plan, the lesson plan can wait (isn’t that what sub plans are for??)

 

Lesson #2: Haters gonna hate

Most people can think of someone at work who seems to thrive on negativity or belittling other people.  I’m sorry to say, my school has more than a few individuals like that.  Truthfully, you have to look at the people doing it as people and remember it’s a reflection of them, not you.  As terrible as it seemed at the time, they really toughened me up and helped me to stand up for myself a little more.  So thanks haters for making me a better person!

 

Lesson #3:  Stepping outside your comfort zone

I talk to my students parents on a daily to weekly basis.  When I first had to start, it was hard partly because I’m introverted and suck at phone calls.  The other part, it was new and I wanted to do my best (hello anxiety).  Now, I can call a parent without feeling anxious, conduct big scale meetings and my articulation (which is quite good) has gotten even better.

This is just one example.  There are many ways you step outside of your comfort zone and grow as a teacher.  Regardless of whether you have a good or bad experience as a teacher, you will walk away a better person.

 

Lesson #4:  You will dramatically change someones life for the better

This year I had a student who we’ll call Axel.  I work in a private school that is an alternative/private school.  He was ready to go back, but some people fought me on it.  I didn’t back down and said he was ready.  Guess what, I was right!  He’s grown so much more than I could do given my resources and I often think of him.  I’m glad I became a teacher if only to see him succeed and go further than what others thought he could.  Of course, the same could be said for many of my students.  I love them all.

 

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I could add hundreds of lessons I’ve learned as a teacher, but those four stand out because they’re the lessons I didn’t expect to learn.  While I don’t plan on being a teacher long-term, the experiences I’ve had and students I’ve had will last me a lifetime.  Good or bad, I don’t regret a second of it.

 

Weekend Thoughts on lost skills

 

As early as Middle School, the push to determine what you want to do when you grow up becomes stronger. Already we are picking classes or electives based on our intention as Spanish, higher math classes, agriculture, art and other courses take on a new level of intensity.  In high school it becomes more pronounced as by electing to take AP classes as early as our sophomore year, we are preparing ourselves for college.  Admirably, the push isn’t as strong in the United States as it is in other countries.  In Japan, for instance, the push can begin as early as Preschool.

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I knew in middle school that I was going to go to college.  What for I wasn’t sure, but I knew that my education would continue for an indefinite amount of time.  Once high school started, I took courses that would transfer into college credits or prepare me for more advanced college courses.  Still, I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do, even once my senior year hit. Here’s a small sampling of careers I seriously considered;

  • Psychologist/counselor
  • Japanese Translator
  • Game designer
  • Web developer
  • Librarian
  • Teacher

If I were to go back and choose my career again (teacher), I would cross teaching off the list .  I’m an excellent teacher, based on my evaluations, student success and what have you, but it wasn’t the right choice.  Do I regret my experiences?  Of course not!  The lives I’ve changed and the changes I’ve had thanks to teaching I wouldn’t change.  Would I opt to change and see what another career could’ve been?  Absolutely.

Here I sit, in my late 20s, not in regret, but in renewed aspiration for something new.  I haven’t just been thinking, however.  Instead, I’ve been developing skills I have lost and gaining new ones.  It hasn’t been a passing fade as over the last three weeks I’ve focused myself to study outside of work and this is only the beginning.

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Japanese

One of the things I’ve been restudying is Japanese.  In high school I knew Hiragana, Katakana and some kanji like the back of my hand.  Almost ten years later, I still know quite a few, but some have been lost to me.  I’ve been really enjoying going back and restudying it for 10-30 minutes everyday and hope to enroll in a class sometime in the future (for credit and authenticity).  I’ve been doing tracing for writing, using an app and playing a game through Steam called “Hiragana Battle” which is quite good.

 

Audio/video editting

In my freshman year of college, I started to study how to make videos.  I even did some decent beginner videos which are still on youtube.  Then…I transferred colleges and gave it up.  Recently I’ve been playing around with video editing and the audio program Audacity. Random trivia: I was involved in theater for 12 years and enjoy doing different voices (to the amusement of my students).  I know your voice is supposed to sound strange to you, but I definitely sound like a kid.  Thus my dreams of being a twitch streamer fade…

 

Writing/editing 

I’ve always wanted to be a writer and love to do any kind of writing.  Heck, I wrote my first mini novel in third grade!  However…its been something on the back burner for a long time since writing is a saturated market.  Despite this, I’ve been doing more writing as of late and working on my editing skills more.

 

Moving forward…

It’s only been 3 weeks since I started this journey of rediscovery and I’m excited to see where it goes.  In the future, I have a running list of what I want to work on next in addition to fine tuning the above.  Next up-I’d like to work on HTML5, data entry (which I do at work surprisingly) and brush up on my German.

 

Thoughts on minimalism

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I want to start with a bit of a backstory here and one I alluded to in my previous post.  After graduating college I spent a year doing part-time and freelance jobs and just surviving (financially).  I also graduated with considerable student loans, which I managed to defer for 1.5 years until I had been at a stable full-time job for 6 months.

It wasn’t a well paying job and I was in the expensive city of Charlottesville, VA.  I got by with a lot less and while I had family aid, going out to eat was definitely a treat as well as the rare once every few months book. I utilized things that were free or cheap, which made me a penny pincher (or more of one).

Fast forward to the fall of 2015.  My freelance writer job ended when the company I wrote for folded.  I had been selling a lot of things, which helped me to see more of what was important (which has stuck).  I was barley making ends meet, even with family support, when I got a job offer….a teaching job paying more than double what I was making, I leapt at the chance.

A year later, my student loans have crashed dramatically, I can freely donate to causes I’m passionate about, buy quality items (i.e. quality clothes), buy better food (I can afford shrimp??) and I feel comfortable money wise.

 

Personal philosophy

I believe that too much stuff clouds our insides.  Clutter is not only distracting, but it takes away from something being special.  You’re going to remember that one book you bought and the circumstances around it more than the pile of books you loaded up on.  I individualize things both with people, memories and stuff.  When I do buy things or go on trips or to events, it’s special.

A smaller space

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As I’ve gotten older, my ideal living space has decreased in size.  Granted I’m still going to opt for a 3 bedroom house (someday), I’ve been looking more into downgrading my rentals in the future.  Currently I have a 2 bedroom apartment to myself and while its great (especially those 3-4 times a year company comes over), I wonder if I really need that space.  Is it worth the extra $100-200 a month?  Maybe not.  It’s just me and my second bedroom functions as an away place when I’m tired of chilling in another part of my apartment…but mostly its an organized storage space.

With my lease coming up for renewal at the end of next month, I’ve been seriously considering downgrading to a 1 bedroom apartment, with the following considerations:

  1. If it saves me $100+ or more per month
  2. Job depending (offered a contract renewal which I’ll sign if another offer doesn’t come in the next two months)

If nothing else, my next apartment will probably be a 1 bedroom.  Can I downsize what I have?  Absolutely.  Realistically I enjoy space, but I could easily make with a smaller space and I enjoy the idea of a smaller space.  I plan on renting/nomading for at least another 3-4 years, unless a life change (marriage, family member illness) prompts me otherwise.  Speaking of downsizing…

 

Thoughts on stuff

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(My buys from Toomanygames in Greater Oaks, PA)

Every year I set an ‘anti-consumerism’ goal.  This goal is a set number of objects that I intend to recycle, sell or donate over the course of the year.  This year it’s 200, which I have almost met.  In previous years I had higher numbers, but that was when I was a poor post-college student who had to sell her rare video games to make a student loan payment.

Do I think I have too much stuff?  Of course.  Could I get rid of more?  Yes.  If I had to, I’d not be heartbroken about downsizing my stuff to the point where I only have enough to fit into my car.  I have things that are important to me for necessity and emotional reasons, but at the end of the day, its just stuff.  Yes, I’ll keep the things I don’t need, but want, because I don’t have to get rid of it.

I feel there are some minimalists that take things to the extreme.  It’s a gray area for me to explain why because ‘I can live without it, but I don’t have to so I’ll keep it.’  I’m a fan of physical media (i.e. DVDs) and I have a massive book collection.  For most of my books/movies/games, I do go back and play, watch or read them every few years.  I just only keep what I want.

I go through all of my belongings every 3-4 months.  It might mean taking a small load of unwanted books to the local bookstore or selling a game I beat and know I won’t play again (if I love a video games, I will keep it, same way with a movie).  I usually make that decision when I finish a book, movie or video game, but I check my collections regardless every couple of months.

A ‘luxury’ my current job and pay has allowed me is buying quality items.  My wardrobe has become filled with quality clothing that will last me many years and washings that are staple items (I avoid fast fashion for ethical and financial reasons).  In the past I loaded up on cheap camp’s, but those days are gone.  This rule extends to other things like linens and organizational supplies, with some organizational skills and forward thinking thrown in.

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Going forward

Thinking ahead to next years goals (hey, I’m a planner) I will be making a goal of NOT buying more than X number of clothes, books, games what have you.  In addition, I want to set another ‘get rid of X number of things’ in an amount greater than my intake.  It shouldn’t be hard and it’ll help move me towards a more ideal minimalist life, especially if the goal I am setting becomes reality.

 

 

 

There must be more

 

In May 2015, I was offered a full-time teaching contract.  Up to that point I’d been a teaching assistant or substitute teacher. It was during my student teaching experience that I realized teaching a general education classroom of 30 kids was not my calling.  I got into Special Education the year after graduating and have been in it since.

Becoming a Special Education teacher meant a lot of things.  It also meant having a decent paycheck that allowed me the opportunity to eat out without worry, buy nice clothes, buy a macbook (finally!)  Up until that point, I’d been living paycheck to paycheck for the most part (I did have a decent emergency fund, however.)  Most importantly, I’m closer to family and live just down the road from my two best friends!  I do love the area I live in too, even though some people detest Northern Virginia.  If I get tired of the area, I can drive 1-2 hours to a close friends place and stay for a bit.

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Despite this, there is a nagging feeling that has only grown over the last 2 months.  As an introvert, the extroverted nature of being a teacher has left me feeling worn thin.  Yet as an INFJ, I need social interaction and I’m a humanitarian.  I need to help others like a person needs water.  I became a teacher because I love learning and want to instill that in my students.  I also went in knowing I’d have the role of being a counselor–which I do at work and enriches me.  Yet, the feeling that there’s something else I’m supposed to do has only intensified.

Some may call it ‘grass is greener’ syndrome, but I believe a person can have multiple callings in life.  I’m at the age/point in my life where I have a good idea of what I’m good at or not good at, so narrowing the list of things I could do next is plausible.  Teaching requires a lot of skills, all of which easily translate into other careers.  Teaching has a high burn out rate and you can find former teachers in virtually every career.

I’m not sure where I’ll be in another year career wise, but I have a feeling in my gut that changes are coming my way, for the better.  Despite all the changes that loom on the horizon, I’m excited for them.  My mentor said something once that has stuck with me.  I mentioned wanting to move to another town after college and she said “go further”.  She didn’t want me to settle because she saw potential in me and I want to not only live up to those expectations, but mentor others in the same way.

Here’s to forward steps!

 

 

 

A mindful, bumpy week

“NONONONONONONOO!” my mind screamed right before the inevitable ‘bump’.  I pulled my car into my parking spot and prayed the guy who had just hit me was nice.  The events of what just happened played over in my mind.  I’d backed up, stopped and was getting ready to turn, when a guy backed into me without looking.  The damage done to my car was a decent scratch and the damage to his van, a loose bumper.

Some may consider this past week of work (a novel of vents), losing one of my closest friends of 20 years and a car accident a pretty awful week.  Yet, when I got to work, the stress, overwhelming me, made me laugh.  A younger me would have felt defeated, but instead I laughed it off and began to see little things as a sign, a ‘bump’ if you will.

It started on Tuesday.  I had a heartfelt conversation with a dear friend and I finally admitted the words I’d been struggling to vocalize–“I’m burned out.”

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I have been in the Special Education field for over 4 years now.  Last March I got a job in Northern Virginia, wanting to be closer to family and due to poor staff treatment and burnout.  A year and 3 months later, that feeling is here again, for some of the same reasons, with new reasons in the mix.  We’re year round, so there’s no real break (minus the two weeks off we have for summer).

“You know what, it’s good you admitted that, that’s the first, most important step,” she responded.  She recently left a teaching job due to burnout and has fond a school and environment she loves and is growing in.  I can’t say that changing schools is going to fix this problem and seems to follow me.  I’m tired of the poor work/life balance, not having any downtime (I’m an introvert, albeit a social one), no breaks etc.  Every job has its pitfalls, but the pitfalls are affecting my health.

If you do a google search for ‘teacher burnout’ or ‘teacher career change’, you’ll stumble across a slew of search results and websites containing research and tens of thousands of personal stories from teachers burned out in their profession.  The ‘bumps’ of the past week and conversations with family and friends have made me feel God is trying to say something and that I shouldn’t keep covering up the truth.

Don’t get me wrong (and not to brag), but I’m a great teacher.  My students and other teachers love me, my evaluations have always been 4-5 in every area (out of 5).  I went into teaching to change lives, to be that person for my students, to teach, but with the way education is changing, there’s more and more demands.  I want my life back.

This has left me with a lot of decisions to make before signing my contract for next year (2 months).  I’m living in an expensive area that I’m growing weary of, but the less expensive areas are 30-40 minutes out and its a painful drive. If I broke my lease later in the year after I decide what direction to go, it’ll cost me around half my salary for the month, if not my whole salary.

If only I could live up to my name of ‘Wandering Rin’ and ‘wander’ for a bit ala “Eat Pray Love” style!

farm

Weekend Explorations

Longtime Virginia residents can attest to the yo-yo-ing weather during seasonal changes.  This spring is a prime example as we’ve had snow twice since spring started.  Yesterday morning there was snow at one point and during last week there was a day where the ground was dusted with snow.  Not uncommon during those days is it for the weather to jump to the 60s or even 70s by afternoon.  Looks like the groundhog this year was wrong about an early spring!

Given the gloomy weather yesterday, my mom and I cancelled our plans to explore downtown Winchester (Virginia).  When browsing things to do this weekend, I found out Megabytes Eatery had a special Saturday opening.  Generally they’re only opened between 7am-3pm on weekdays, so I jumped at the chance to check them out.  I ordered cheese quesadillas with veggies and checked it out while waiting for my food. I’m a vegetarian and found plenty of options or options easy to modify to suit my dietary needs.

food

As a gamer, I fell in love with the place.  I’m more of a retro gamer and loved seeing the video games set up with some solid SNES & NES games to choose from.  Computer parts as decor were a very nice touch as well as video game themed candies and toys.  The atmosphere was great and the servers were very friendly and welcoming.  The only downside is I really would’ve preferred to go with someone (note all my friends were working or out of town that would be interested).  Next time, as I definitely plan on heading back!

megabytes.jpg(credit Nicholas H. on yelp.com)

The rest of this weekend I spent working on things around the house and relaxing.  It’s amazing how a good bit of time spent at home, catching up on stuff can rejuvenate you!  I did try a new recipe for Onigirazu.  Mine had some modifications (no bacon) and I didn’t cut them in half, but they turned out well (and tasted delicious).  In case you want to try it, I used this recipe.

onigirazu

 

Hopefully it’s warmer next weekend as I’ll be doing my first 5K of the year in Charlottesville.   I’ve participated in Run for Autism 5K  for the last 3 years.  I’m looking forward to seeing some familiar faces and catching up with friends as well as supporting a wonderful cause/school.

 

Did you go anywhere new this weekend?  Anyone else have any 5Ks they’re attending this month?