Saturday, May 25, 2013

Two Week Notice

Dan and I have been talking a lot lately about our future and what the next couple of years will look like for us. When do we want kids? Soon. When do we want to start looking for a house? Soon. Where do we want that house to be? Depends on where we are working. Are we happy where we are currently working? No. Well, I'm happy. Dan, not so much.

Dan has been working at the same place for 5 years now. He took a little hiatus for a couple weeks to test out his firefighting skills, but when that fell through, his boss graciously hired him back on. Since then, the practice was bought out by a local, big name hospital and things have gone down hill. Before, he had the opportunity to advance within the practice. Now, because he doesn't have a college degree, the hospital won't even look twice at his resume and consider him for a supervisory or managerial position. So, basically, he's reached the proverbial glass ceiling.  At 25 years old being told that you can't advance any further, you have no chance of a pay increase (with the exception of cost of living raises, which still aren't guaranteed), and you aren't as important to this organization as you were before you left to pursue your dream.....well, it sucks.

So Dan has been looking for jobs closer to home. Right now he drives two hours to get to work and two hours back. No fun when you hate your job. But he's had no luck in finding anything closer - he's only had one interview. The only light we're seeing at the end of the tunnel is the fact that he's volunteering with a local EMS company and they're willing to help him sharpen his skills. Considering its been at least 3 years since Dan originally got his EMT licensing, his skills are a little rusty.

It's because of this light at the end of the tunnel, that we've decided to take a big leap.... After talking it over (and over and over) and crunching numbers (over and over), we've decided to become a one-income household. Dan officially put in his two week notice on Thursday, so now I can freely talk about our plans and post them online without the fear of his job somehow finding out.

Every new hire at the EMS company goes through a six week new hire course. Being a volunteer, Dan isn't required to go through the entire six weeks at once - there would be no way since the company won't pay volunteers to do that. But, he's encouraged to work his way through the course as he can. But, if Dan can get the entire six week course done, he's as qualified as a new hire and could potentially get hired on the minute they have a new position open. He's gotten the first week of the course completed, and was trying to figure out how to do the rest over the weekends. Turns out they're starting a new course the first week of June.

So, Dan came up with the crazy idea to quit his full time job and basically work for the EMS company for free and get this course done. I'm trying to look at it like my teaching internship - you're going to put in a lot of time to a company, busting your butt to learn the ins and outs of the profession, and you're going to do it all at no cost to them. To say I was hesitant is an understatement. Having only one income to rely on is scary. Having to do so over the summer when I'm not getting steady paychecks is even scarier. But, Dan has faith that it'll all work out, and I have to have faith in his decision.

To say I'm not worried would be a lie. But I will say that I'm proud of Dan for taking such a big leap and putting in all the hard work that he has to achieve his goal. Fingers crossed that by the end of the summer I'll be writing another update post saying that all this hard work has paid off and Dan is officially a full-time EMT.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Testing Encouragement

Yesterday my AP students took their national exam. The poor things had to wake up crazy early (compared to their "normal") and be at school 2 hours before the rest of their peers. I made sure that they all had something to eat before their test - donut holes, bananas, granola bars. Nothing special, but at least I knew they all has something in their stomachs. Along with the small breakfast snacks, I bought each of them water so they'd have it during their test.

I also wanted to do something cute and encouraging, like the elementary teachers do. Hey, us high school teachers can get crafty and creative too! Granted, I needed the help of Pinterest to come up with something. Originally I thought I would do this, or even this, but decided that it would cost too much to buy enough candy for every kid. Then, I saw that blow pops were pretty cheap. Then this pin popped in my head. Another quick search on Pinterest once I got home, and I came across this water bottle label template.

This is the finished product:

Dan helped with the assembly line process - I taped the strips on the bottles and he added the lollipops. Cruz even got in on the action...

What I failed to think about was how I was going to take 20+ bottles of water downstairs, load them in my car, and take them into the cafeteria the next morning. It's not like I could put them all back in the packaging. Then Dan came up with the idea to load them all into one of our laundry baskets. Cruz thought that was a grand idea...

The kids thought the bottles were fun. Well, the kids who were at least semi-awake when they showed up. The rest of them seem to appreciate it after they were done with the test...around lunch time. They seem cautiously optimistic about their results. But we won't know how well or poor they did until July. Every year I think the worse... and every year I've been surprised. But I'm really not too positive this year. So, fingers crossed my kids did better than last year's group....

Thursday, May 9, 2013


Yep. This is what I overhear my students saying to one another after I pass out review packets. But you know what? This far into the school year, it doesn't bother me. It probably should. But it doesn't.

20 more days until the students are gone, including weekends. 13 more school days. Then only 2 more days until I'm officially on summer break. But who's counting, right?

My US History students have completed their state-mandated End-of-Course exams. I'm not too optimistic about the results. But who knows when those scores will come in... Its the first year it was administered, so the state has to set scale scores and all that fun stuff. So what does that mean? Well, it means I'm done teaching. Well, done teaching history anyway. It was all covered before the EOC. So now we're doing some lessons on personal finance. It keeps us busy. Plus, its important that students know this stuff before they graduate. Hey, here's an idea! Rather than testing students on math and reading, let's make sure they know the difference between a debit card and credit card before they graduate... Isn't that scary??? I swear I'm asked a question about their differences every year.

My AP students are testing next Wednesday. At this point its all review, review, review. And at this point, its all on them. I've given them the information they need and the tools to help them retain the information. Now its up to them. I'm even starting to think about AP next year... flyers and teacher recommendation forms were sent out to all of the sophomores to get the recruitment process started. 273 stapled packets later....

My formal evaluation has been over for a few weeks now. Already had my post conference with my assistant principal. Now all that's left is to wait for test scores to come in and plug them into some crazy formula that no one can interpret and apply that to my overall evaluation score.

Oh yeah, and my grades are caught up! That never happens! Seriously, the "turn in" bins on my desk are empty. Its such a relief to come to school everyday and not have a pile of papers waiting to be graded. Normally at this point in the year I'm scrambling to get grades caught up so that the students know if they passed or not. I don't know how I did it, but I'm caught up. **knock on wood**

So yeah. I'm breathing a sigh of relief. Everything is falling into place. Sure, there's still a whole lot of craziness left - senior clearance slips, more testing, schedule cards, 9th grade orientation. But, you know the best part about all of that? The light at the end of the tunnel. And every day that light becomes brighter and brighter. And that makes it all bearable.


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