Thursday, April 21, 2016

Resume Distribution

Alright.  I've sent my resume to a BUTTLOAD of positions in the past 2 weeks.  Basically spending all my free-time searching and filling out applications.

International Student Advisor
Strategic Communication Coordinator
Library Information Specialist
Library Clerk
Library Youth Information Specialist
Online Editorial Assistant
Youth Services Librarian
Piano Accompanist
Internal Communications Manager
Site Manager, Recruiting Programs
New Teacher Pipeline
Marketing Content Writer
Technical Writer
Freelance Writer

Wanna know how many replies/interview requests I've gotten?:
1.   Dog-walking/Pet-sitting.

And there is currently one middle school band opening in the area.  Am I dumb not to apply for it?  Am I allowing a sour situation to overcome my judgement?

Am I living in a fantasy land that I can be choosy about what kind of job and environment I work in?

*head exploding*

I'm going to turn to my phone's photo library for inspiration and morale-boost.  (Whenever I see something that resonates with me online, I save it for later!)

Random Throwback.   GUYS!  LOOK HOW LONG MY HAIR IS.

In other news, the house front is going swimmingly.  Inspections are scheduled for next week.  Home loan details are being solidified with no issues.  Yeay!

Saturday, April 16, 2016

New Moon in Aries

omgomgomgomg.... We are buying a house!!!!!!  Aaaahhhh!!!!  Finally!!!!!!  So we went to see it on Thursday night, and immediately knew we wanted to put down an offer.   Almost immediately got a counter-offer from the sellers.  OMG!  We countered back again, and they accepted!!

So, pending inspections and that everything goes smoothly, I am a homeowner!!!!!   Planning to move in Memorial Day Weekend.


Its in the middle of town, which we were trying to avoid, but the lot is so beautiful, large, and quiet, we immediately looked past that.  Its almost 1 acre.  ITS AMAZING.


This was so unexpected this week, in the middle of my career-crisis stress, which is at an all-time high.  I find the timing to be a work of divine intervention.  I'm not a church-going person, but I do believe that things beyond human comprehension go on in our lives and a higher force is in control.  And this house was meant to be.

FINALLY.  It makes sense that this is the one we were waiting for.  THE ONE!

Regarding career-crisis, nothing definite to report yet, but I'm following through with various options.    I am rapidly approaching the point when decisions need to be made.  For realz.

Its no longer a secret that I'm planning to leave NW at the end of this year.  (Especially since I just typed it for all the interwebs to see...)
I haven't submitted my resignation yet, but as long as there isn't a void of acceptable options at my disposal, and I find something, I will be. 
I've given my principal and fine arts boss a heads up.   

And I've decided, its just plain and simple.  I.  Need.  Less.  Stress.  In.  My.  Life.  

I was retelling my first day at NW to someone at happy hour yesterday.  How I stood in front of a classroom full of misguided youth that did not give a flying flip who I was or what I was doing there. I came to terms in that second that I was just going to keep on talking that day, and they were going to completely ignore me and carry on their shenanigans and that was just going to be what that day was going to be.  Do not fight it.

And at that time, I was INVIGORATED.  I was up for the challenge.  I was going to turn that classroom around.  My music classes were going to be a place of achievement, not screwing around.
And I did.  By golly, I seriously did.
But, I'm not as resilient as I once was.   It is time to go, and take care of ME.
Turning that program around provided a great deal of fulfillment for me.  But now my needs have changed.
I'm realizing I want to focus my efforts on making a difference at the micro, instead of macro, level.  That's where my natural strengths lie.   Behind the scenes.  Small groups.  One-on-one.

And I had an EXTREMELY life-affirming morning today.  I have spent the last 2 years in my classroom receiving almost exclusively negative feedback from my students.  And in particular, a certain class.  And I can tell there are more coming.  I lost my confidence as a music teacher, completely.
But today, I judged at an area school district's middle school solo/small ensemble festival.  And it was AWESOME.  I had FUN, teaching (judging/providing feedback) music, for the first time in months, maybe years.  The district's teachers and students and their parents gave me raving positive feedback. I am worthy!  I made an impact!!  I was valued!!!  I am good at this.

Not that I haven't made an impact or been valued at NW.  Because I absolutely have.  But not enough to balance the hardships out.  As a teacher in high-needs schools, its never enough.  There's never enough time.  There's never enough resources.  There's never enough interventions.  I reached this kid, but not that one.  The one hour I spend calling 10 parents regarding important academic or behavior issues, there are another 10 that I should've called as well.

I rediscovered this article, which I realized is the source of my Work Your Proper Duty Day Campaign.


If policy makers would really take a look at how teachers spend their time, they would realize our education system is broken.  Things have to change.  Take care of the teachers first, so that they can take care of the students.

In the middle of my career crisis, I'm thinking in the back of my head, I could leave but maybe under the right circumstances I will go back to teaching in the public school classroom.  But at the same time, I'm thinking to myself:  No.  I'm a breast cancer survivor, gosh darn it.  I've been put through the ringer already.  I don't need to keep doing this to myself.  Public school teaching is not a reasonably allocated career field for any human being.  There's not a teacher on this planet that isn't cutting corners to make it home so they can have a good night's sleep.  Why can't we be given the conditions in order to actually do our job, and serve our families the way they need to be served!!??!!  Some communities are more resilient than others, and because they do ok, everybody chooses to ignore the problem.

So, what's my plan now?
I've submitted applications for an editorial assistant job, and a communications coordinator job.  Getting ready to submit for some other things too.  Completely not education-related.
I'm considering a piano accompanist hourly position as well.  I would love to continue contributing to the classroom, and NOT BE IN CHARGE.  However, the issue is the extreme pay cut/lack of summer pay.  So I'm brainstorming ways to make up the difference.  Part-time flexible things, such as working for a pet-sitting/dog-walking company.  Or go back to teaching private music lessons.  It JUST SO HAPPENS, the house we are now buying as a PERFECT set-up for a home music studio.  I mean, hello.  If that's not a sign, I don't know what is.

Again - No solid plans or decisions to report, at this time.  But changes are happening.

I actually came across this article about the new moon phase that happened on April 7th.


(also a sign.  April 7th is the day I had a 24 hour emotional breakdown and decided, THIS IS IT.)  Not to go all crunchy granola on you by talking about zodiac signs and voodoo.  The timing of all these coincidences and signs is uncanny.)

So.  Acceptance.  Gratitude.  And Healing.  Hoping to find a career solution that will contribute to long-term healing.
Its time to move on.  I hope my path becomes clear SOON!

Saturday, April 2, 2016


This week I survived:
  1.  April Fool's Day.
  2.  First round of schedule alterations due to State Testing, with more to come.  (Because teacher bathroom schedules are very important and should not be trifled with!)

My Survival Kit:

Also, random, this lady is super-awesome and I'm proud to be her employee.

I was recognized this week as "STAR Teacher of the year" for my school building, of which I feel I don't deserve.  But I had the pleasure of attending a banquet with all the other STAR Teachers, their principals, and Central Office Staff, including KCKPS Superintendent Cynthia Lane (pictured above).

I'm a tad bit in love with her.  She makes me cry every year at convocation with her passion and commitment to Kansas City youth.  And I'm a little STAR-struck to be in a picture with her.  haha... (see what I did there.)

I also feel a tremendous amount of guilt that the same year I'm being recognized for exemplary teaching, I am exploring options and considering leaving the classroom altogether.

I had a heart-to-heart frank speech with one of my classes this week.
Talking points included:
   -I am a music teacher second.  I am an encourager of youth first.
   -You have observed me go from zero to b***h in less than two seconds, as a result of foolish behavior in this classroom.  That is not ok.  I am not proud of that.  But that is a result of frustrations overcoming my judgement.  It frustrates me when students think its fun to disrupt a class.
   -I want you to live your best life
   -The instrument in your hands could be your ticket to college, if you choose to apply yourself.
   -Being in band prepares you for life.  You learn how to work as a team, to be self-disciplined, to appreciate an art form that shapes you into good well-rounded people.
   -I love and care for each and everyone of you and for different reasons.  If I send a student out of the room, its not because I don't like them.  Its because they are preventing everyone else in the room from living their best life.
   -I'm teaching in this room today because I believe I can make a difference in your lives.  In other areas of Kansas City, parents pay for them to attend college.  Most of us don't have that luxury.  Your skills in band can assist you in a variety of different goals for your life, and not even related to music.
    -I could be working somewhere else, but I'm not.  I choose to be here.  I don't want to be teaching anyone else's kids, but you.  Because I believe in you.
    -I am here to help you learn how to teach yourself.  Because you are going to move on in life, and I won't be with you anymore.  But hopefully I have helped you gain some of the skills needed to live your best life.
I spoke to a silent room to that group of students the first time all year.  (especially after I said the word b***h.  Collective gasp.)

And I felt guilty.

If I'm saying I wouldn't rather be teaching anywhere but right here, yet in my free-time I'm exploring other positions, does that make me a liar?  For the record, I'm not searching for teaching jobs in any other building.  I'm searching position alterations and occupation changes altogether.  But Northwest is the only classroom teacher position I'm interested in.  Maaaaaybe I could be enticed by a job opening in the school district in the city where I live, but I really have no interest in lateral movement.  If I'm going to change to a new job, I want it to be an advancement in my career somehow, in line with my natural goals, strengths, and passions.  Moving to another classroom will only provide me temporary relief from my current frustrations.  Because every classroom/building has its thing.  I would only be trading in one set of variables in for another.

I came across a very powerful video, and this IS the world I live in right now.  I feel a great deal of loyalty and commitment to the cause, but sometimes I wonder, is it just too hard?

And one final thought-provoking message to share: