Saturday, May 25, 2013

Yay Me!

I finally finished! I have officially graduated with my MSEd in Literacy. Ahhhh! 

This has been such a crazy year, and I can't believe I made it through. Handing in that last assignment was like taking a cinder block off my chest that had been squishing the breath out of me for a year. Maybe that's overdramatic, but it definitely felt great. Since the title of the post is "Yay Me!" can I just mention that with everything that went on this year, including trips to San Diego, Lexington, and Philadelphia, a 4 day conference in Boston, the stress of finding and accepting an overseas teaching position, a breakup, and the death of a beloved family member as well as my little dog, I still managed a 4.0 grade point average?

The upcoming (and past few) weeks are busy with packing, organizing, and planning. 

My tiny apartment, affectionately referred to as The Dollhouse, is empty after over 5 trips back and forth. How I fit that much stuff into such a little space is beyond me. At first I tried to be so organized, keeping a record of what was in each box (down to "Box 5, pencil case with 8 mechanical pencils"), but eventually packing became more of shoving everything that could fit into the nooks and crannies of my little Beetle. Now most of what I own is in the basement, on and around the pool table. I have lots of weeding through to do, as well as packing for Italy and for storage before the movers come on June 24th! It's sneaking up fast! As it turns out, even though my boxes will leave about 2 months before I do, they wont arrive until a month after me. So I'll need to plan out what I'll need for my home, myself, and my classroom for a month or so and try to squeeze it all into my on-air baggage.

The basement...
I'm behind on my paperwork, my basement and bedroom are in shambles, and I hardly know where to start with all of my planning, but there are a few bright spots that keep me excited rather than completely overwhelmed. I've been emailing one of my future coworkers, who has been just beyond helpful. She'll be another 4th grade teacher and gave me a great reading list for the summer, informing me that their methods of teaching are more important for me to learn than the content right now. At the school I'll be working at, they say that the social curriculum is given equal attention to academics, leading to a great community of learners. I just finished "Interactive Modeling," and am now reading "Teaching Children to Care," and "The First Six Weeks of School." We learned a little about the program these are based on (Responsive Classroom) in school and they sounded too good to be true, but now I'll be able to see them in action. I can't wait!

My beautiful new comforter from Urban Outfitters!
Getting ready has been pretty fun, but soooo expensive. I have most of what I need for my apartment already, but I did have to buy a new comforter (I'm obsessed with it!), lots of new teacher clothes (I love dressing like a professional, and I recently lost all of my "Senior 15, I Can Finally Go To Bars and Eat Pizza and Drink Beer Whenever I Want" weight, so clothes shopping has been fun and not depressing for once!),  and so many classroom supplies and books. I've spent a lot of time at the library's ongoing book sale, bouncing between the 2 Goodwill stores in town, and garage sales collecting as many books as I can but I feel like I'll never have enough. For my classroom, it's been fun gathering supplies, but I'm not really sure what I need. Since I'm behind on paperwork, I feel like I don't deserve to ask the woman in HR any questions! But I've been doing some crafting of new teacher tools, so I'm loving it anyway.

The other day, I received the most mind-blowing news. 

In one of her emails, the other 4th grade teacher casually dropped on me, "Oh, make sure you bring your outdoor gear for our weeklong trip with the kids to Switzerland. Your shipment should have arrived by then, but it would be a shame to replace perfectly good hiking boots!" WHAT?!?!!? When we went on field trips in 4th grade, it was to the zoo or the museum. Overnights were only for our Girl Scouts troop, and then, again, it was to the zoo or our trip to the Marriott (our leaders didn't love camping). A week in Switzerland? This is my life now apparently, and I am just in awe. It was said so casually, like "Yeah, this is normal."

I am going to take advantage of every single second of my trip. I'm usually so content lounging around with a book, or watching every seasons of Always Sunny or Buffy the Vampire Slayer in two days on Netflix, and I just can't do that this time. No more lounging or being a bum for me! I'm going to live up the next 3 year like they are the last 3 years of my life and take advantage of every opportunity that comes my way. I like thinking that this is something I worked my butt off for, and spent so much time going after, but I also got really lucky. I was so discouraged at that conference after being turned down so many times (did I mention I also had the flu and a 101 fever the entire time?), and had I not met a woman in conference lounge who told me that if a school she wanted was doing a presentation, whether they had a job or not she would be "front row, cheesing, asking as many questions as they had time for so they'd remember me," I wouldn't have run to the school presentation at all, even if I was 5 minutes late. Had the director of the school not heard of Alfred University, or admired "young people with ambition," he wouldn't have given me the few minutes he did to make an impression. And had his fourth grade teacher not emailed him that very day about leaving to raise her family, my email thanking him for his time would have been met with a "Nice meeting you!" rather than "Lets meet tomorrow for an interview." I am so lucky to have this chance.

The email that changed my life!!

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