June 15, 2015

Will the Blackhawks Bring Home the Cup?

It's a big night here in Chicago as the whole city gathers around televisions to watch their beloved Blackhawks strive to take home the Stanley Cup yet again.



And here I am blogging and watching the last episode of Orange is the New Black.



It's not that I don't want the Hawks to win. Of course I do. I'm #TeamChicago all the way. But my television access is limited to Netflix streaming through my brother's account, and I'm not into hockey enough to make the trek through this flash flooding to go watch the game elsewhere.


Also? An OITNB binge wins over pretty much everything.

I'm still hoping for a win, though. Because the way Chicago celebrates by decorating the whole city and throwing the best parades is awesome...


... and because Dunkin' Donuts gives us free coffee the day after a win. 


And I like free coffee. 

Go Hawks!

ETA: There are many fireworks going off in our neighborhood right now. Either people are REALLY excited for us for finishing Season 3 of OITNB or the Blackhawks are bringing home the Stanley Cup. Either way, I'm grateful for the free show!

June 12, 2015

HUGE NEWS!

Remember that one job I didn't get and how I asked for some interview advice where I had to teach a lesson at an interview elsewhere?

Well...


Ya'll! You're looking at the new 8th grade ELA teacher!

I am SOOOO relieved I can't even tell you. What a weight off my shoulders! I haven't had my own full-time classroom in this state since 2009-2010. I DESERVE THIS, damn it!

The only downside to this job is that it's SUPER far away, so we're talking about moving options now. We're not sure if it's best to break our lease early to avoid a 2 hour commute or suck it up until January. Either way, I'm sad to leave this house and location that I love and neighbors that I adore...

... BUT I HAVE A JOB!!!!!

Huge shout out to all those who gave me lesson advice. Specifically, thank you to Lisa who made me re-think my topic and Michelle for helping me pick the perfect poem to use for our guided practice!

Excuse me while I go do my happy dance again!

June 5, 2015

Interview Lesson Advice Needed

So... about that interview. My principal, whom I should remind you is one of my references, called me this morning to let me know they went with anther candidate.

No feedback given. In fact, the conversation lasted about 30 seconds because I was so caught off guard (did I mention that EVERYONE in my building assumed this job was mine?) that all I could say was, "Oh... okay!" And when I replay that "conversation" in my head, I'm almost certain I sounded far too nonchalant or even upbeat about it. The tone in my head certainly didn't reflect the brokenness in my heart or the tears that followed after I hung up the phone and jumped in the shower to sob. 

But I had to pull myself together because I had a phone screening at 12:30 today for a job teaching 8th grade ELA in the north suburbs, which is about an hour away. I know next to nothing about the school district, except that it serves underprivileged children (been there, done that). I honestly don't even recall applying to this particular school district, but they called, so I assume it happened. 

By 1:00, I had a new email in my inbox from the two people who interviewed me inviting me to a panel interview on Wednesday. So, now I'm telling myself that maybe this week's job didn't work out because I'm meant to be someplace else. Maybe there are kids who need me more in another school. Fine. Let's just hurry up and get me situated there!

So... as part of this interview, I have to teach a 10-15 minute lesson to a panel of teachers, and my mind is spinning eleventy billion miles per second. How to narrow it down? 

I was thinking of something focused on writing, since I know (because I asked in my screening) it's one of their big initiatives for next year. 

Mentor sentences?

Interactive Notebook lesson?

Yes, I've done this before. I even have a standard lesson I typically pull out for interviews, but I usually have more time. 10-15 minutes is so short (especially when we're starting from nothing).... 

HELP!

I know some of you have done this before? What did you teach?

Those who have sat on these panel interviews, what kind of lesson really impressed you?

ANY AND ALL ADVICE WELCOME!!

June 4, 2015

I'm a Better Blogger in Summer

ETA: THIS LATE POST IS NOT MY FAULT! As you can clearly see from the writing below, I had my post ready to go on Monday... you know... the FIRST of the month. And then I spent half the day stalking Farley's site for the currently post until I gave up and went about my day. I promise it's not my fault this time. I was just too early! (This girl can never win!)

It's June first, which means I get to send a special birthday shoutout to my grandma...

Happy birthday, Grams! I love you!!

... and link up with Farley for this month's Currently. Look at me, on time too! (ETA: SHUT UP!)



Listening - To robins chirping in the trees outside my window. They seem to be the only ones not bothered by the cold front that moved in and killed our weekend plans! This is not the summer start I was envisioning!

Loving - Hanging out with our new neighbors. Everyone in our little strip has been super friendly, and I just LOVE having friends nearby!

Thinking - About the job interview I have on WEDNESDAY for a position next year in the school where I subbed (including the long-term) this past year. I want this job so badly, and it would be such a relief to not have to stress about applications and interviews for the rest of the summer! FINGERS CROSSED! ETA: The interview went well. I should hear back by Monday. Keep those fingers crossed for me! :)

Wanting - June 12 to get here already so I can watch the new season of Orange Is The New Black! Oh, go ahead and pretend that you don't also have the date blacked out on your calendar. Netflix will be overloaded for sure!

Needing - A haircut... except I just learned that my stylist left the salon where she's worked for 10+years. This wouldn't normally be an issue except that I have a hefty gift card to said salon sitting in my wallet, and now I don't know who to see! Cue anxiety!

Summer Lovin' - Sleeping in always tops my list of favorite things about summer, but my other favorite is that I have time to hang out with friends I rarely see. I have a lot of friends who are SAHM and can get together (or not) throughout the year. It's nice to finally be able to make plans WITH them, and not when they're rushed to get to the next weekend activity.

June 2, 2015

End of Year Reflections

My girl, Michelle at Big Time Literacy, is hosting a fun End of Year Reflections link-up, and I am super excited to join this party. For me, this is the end of NINE years in education, which I can hardly believe. I've worked in MANY schools and worn even more hats. I don't think I ever would have guessed I'd be where I am today, but it's been a mostly-fun ride. I've certainly learned a lot about teaching and even about myself as a person, and I'm hopeful and excited about what the future holds. Okay,that was getting sappy. On to my reflections...

Best Memories

I had a lot of great memories this year. Most of them include copious amounts of laughter with my students and coworkers. Others are as simple as being stalked the moment I walk into the building each morning by eager students hoping to hear that I would be subbing for one of their teachers. It's nice to be wanted! :) 

Some of my other favorite moments include:

1. When a 7th grader anxiously alerted me that the phone he was trying to use to call home was obviously broken because of the weird sound it was making... you know... the DIAL TONE! hahaha (Apparently, I didn't blog about this one, but I did mention it on FACEBOOK. Are you following me there? You should be because I post funny things there sometimes.)

2. When I taught my students to RESPECT THE MADGE!

3. When I forgot about THIS STUDENT I put in time-out for sassing me!

Missed Opportunities

I had one interview this winter for a long-term position that would have taken me through the end of the year. It was in a new district, further away, and it probably wasn't going to turn into a full-time position due to the teacher planning to return and there being only one middle school in the whole district (so not a lot of movement). When it came down to the final two, I lost the job to the other candidate. I'll never know why, which I think is the hardest part, but I do know that the principal was very happy with me.

I also wish I had put in more effort to secure additional tutoring jobs during the school year. Most of the time, I whine about having to go after I'm tired from a long day, but it's good money and rewarding in that I truly get to see how much I'm helping my student. Now that summer is here, tutoring will become a much bigger job for me because instead of helping with homework, I have to plan engaging activities for only one child. HELP!

Game Changers

This year, I accepted a job as a long-term sub for a world history teacher. Although I am highly qualified to teach social studies, I never saw myself teaching anything but ELA. I certainly am not as confident in my history knowledge, so I knew this was going to be a challenge. What I didn't expect, though, is that I would enjoy it so much! There really is something to be said for teaching a content area that doesn't rely so heavily on previous learning. And I have to admit, I enjoyed learning WITH my students!

Focus

This year, as is typical for a substitute teacher, much of my focus was in securing jobs for each day. It definitely helped that I started the year with a long-term position in my preferred school, but I still had to do quite a bit of networking to get my information in teacher's hands. I wanted to be their go-to person anytime they were out, which means they had to be able to contact me at all times (thank God for texting) and they had to be confident in their ability to trust me to get the job done well. 

I literally worked up to the very last day of school with very few days off. And often, especially on Fridays or on meeting days, teachers would be fighting to be the first to request me, so I'd say mission accomplished there!

Forgot

I'd definitely say that the place I've dropped the ball most this year was actually out of the classroom. I've gone though some major dry spells when it comes to blogging this year. This is partially due to the fact that I've been conscious about not sitting in front of a screen every evening and partially due to limited computer access while subbing... because I would totally have blogged during my planning periods had I been given a computer login!

I also wasn't as active on TPT as I intended. I know I have some great material to share, but I also don't have the skills to make everything all pretty. I cannot, for the life of me, figure out how to make my own clipart that doesn't look like it was put together from a toddler! haha Maybe this summer....

Reflections

Overall, I'd say this was a great year professionally. I was busy, I stepped out of my comfort zone and taught a new subject, I met and bonded with a whole new staff, and I became a school mom to 936 students who make my heart happy! Now, I'm just anxiously awaiting this INTERVIEW TOMORROW where I can hopefully be appointed an official member of my school for next year! KEEP THOSE FINGERS CROSSED!