5 Drafts Later…Here are 3 of My Favorite Blogs

I’ve literally sat down 5 different times to write this post and every time something has gone wrong.  I feel like it’s a sign.  Of what? I have no idea.  But I am sick of re-writting this post.  Blogger…..you need to get your shit together.  And so does my MacBook.
Now I know it’s already July 16th but I found this fun link up party where you have to blog everyday in July!  

Allieology

Today we’re showcasing out 3 favorite blogs.  I’ve been doing this on and off for about 3 years and I’ve met some pretty awesome ladies.  A few (ok only 2, sorry I’m trying to make myself sound cooler than I actually am) I’ve actually become really good friends with.
First up we have Meg, from Everyday Meg,
Meg is one of my all time favorites!  She writes a mean outfit post, hilarious “anti-tutorials” and has even been showcased on Buzzfeed.  She lives in Houston, which is awesome because as of August 1 I will be living there as well.  Plus we both teach 8th grade, she is an English teacher and I will be teaching History.  I’ve had the pleasure of meeting Meg in person twice and we’ve stayed friends ever since!  She’s sweet, funny, and had amazing fashion sense! 🙂
Next is Jessica from Glisten Fit,
Jessica has one of the coolest blogger stories!  I first met her when she was at Lovely Little Things.  She wrote about all kinds of fun stuff.  But then she turned her little ole lifestyle blog into a full fledged business.  It’s an online personal training business called Glisten Fit.  She does personal training and even gives people fun free workout tips and healthy eating tips via the blog portion of her website and Instagram.  Not only that but she is one of the most genuine, caring, and southern girls you will ever meet!  While I lived in Florida I actually met Jessica a few times and even went to her wedding! It was gorgeous!  Jessica was one of the first bloggers that I actually connected with and I am so glad we’re friends!
Lastly we have a blogger that I just recently started reading/following.  And by recently I mean in the last 3 days.  It’s actually one of the hosts of the blog challenge.  
Juliette from The Other Juliette,
I may or may not have gone back through and read some of Juliette’s archived posts after I first stumbled across her blog.  If you’re reading this, sorry Juliette, I’m not a creeper I promise! 🙂  But she spells her name in a cool way, makes hilarious Mean Girls references, is from/lives in the same city as one of my best friends, and has embraced the single life/is okay with it.  Oh and she’s hilarious, I found myself LOLing several times as I was reading her stuff. I am excited to keep following and reading along with her blog! 
And here are a couple others that I really enjoy and read on a daily basis!
Lauren from Aspiring Kennedy 
Whitney from Writing on a Whim
Ashley form Kinder Kronicles
Lauren from Lauren Elizabeth
Leslie from A Blonde Ambition
Yay! I finally made it through the post without it getting deleted.  So I’m gonna say ta-ta for now so it doesn’t happen in the next 3 seconds! 
Happy Hump Day!

The Weekend that Went From Good to Not So Good

I fully intended to sit down after an amazing steak dinner that my Dad was going to cook us, and write a really great “here’s what I did on my weekend and it was just perfect” post on Sunday night but then as I was driving to Sonic with my best friend early on Sunday afternoon, I got some not so fantastic news.

My grandmother is in the hospital.

She had a stroke in December and was here for about 3 weeks but recovered nicely and was sent home.  She had a small stint in the hospital for something called vertigo (which I’m still not sure what that is) 2 weeks ago.  Apparently its like a very severe case of motion sickness….anyway she was sent home, started doing some type of therapy that really helped and then the night before last she fell.

It was the middle of the night and I guess she was going to the bathroom and didn’t use her walker and boom…….said fall resulted in a fractured back.  Needless to say she is in a lot of pain if she moves into a certain position.

So instead of eating steak, my parents and I jumped in the care and drove straight to Lubbock, Texas where she was airlifted.

I’m pleased to report though that she is doing great!  She had rough night last night, doctors were slightly worried about her breathing but she’s been fully alert all day today.  Little forgetful here and there but hey she’s like 75 and to be honest I can’t even remember major specifics of my week last week. So there ya go.

She’ll be back back surgery on either Wednesday or Thursday…so we’ll staying at least until then.  Saving grace is that the hospital has free WI-FI (thank you technology) so I will hopefully pop out some posts later this week.

So that is mostly how I ended my weekend.  I started it with some babysitting, a friend of my mom’s little girl.  We watched Frozen, colored and went on a treasure hunt.   Incidentally, watching Frozen (and Disney movies in general) is WAY more fun with a 4 year old.  She sang all the songs and when it was time for “Let It Go” she even got up and danced just like Elsa!  It was ADORABLE!

Then a trip to the ball park on Friday night happened.  My brother scored us some pretty sweet tickets to El Paso’s brand new Triple A baseball teams home game.  They’re called the El Paso Chihuahuas (yeah I laughed my you know what off when I heard that was their mascot).  We sat right behind the opposing teams dugout on the first base line.  It was the perfect evening for a little bit of family bonding.

Saturday was spent  with my best friend for a good old fashion dinner, movie, and sleepover.  We did a dinner and movie package and saw Jersey Boys.  Now I really need to see it on Broadway because I’ve heard that if you’ve seen it on Broadway the movie sucks.  Since that is not the case for me, I throughly enjoyed the movie!

Pretty eventful, huh!  I’m very grateful that my Grandmother is doing so well, she gave us a little bit of a scare when we first heard that she had taken a fall. So prayers that she continues to get better are definitely needed! : )

Confessional Friday: A Day in the Life (via my IPhone)

As it’s been a full year since I’ve blogged, I’m pretty sure anyone who actually used to read anything I wrote….well doesn’t anymore.  So what better way to let all you lovelies out in blog world know that I’m back is by linking up with another blog!

Now just because I stopped blogging for a while doesn’t mean I stopped reading all my favorites.  And since I’m back in the swing of things, I’m going to link up with the lovely Leslie from A Blonde Ambition for her Confessional Friday.  This is a special edition of her Confessional Friday, she wants us to share a “day in the life” of…well….ourselves.  I’ve never done that myself so I figured it would be a PERFECT way to re-introduce myself to the blogging community!

So without further ado….here is “A DAY IN THE LIFE” (via my IPhone, because I don’t have a fancy shamancy camera!)

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7:00 am – My alarm goes off.  Now you’re probably wondering why in the world I set an alarm when I don’t have to get up in the morning.  I’m a teacher remember and its summer!  But I’m not a fan of sleeping late.  When I wake up past 9 am I feel like I’ve wasted most of my day.  Now I don’t jump outta bed at 7 am, I turn off the alarm and then check both Facebook and Instagram.  (this morning though I turned it off and made myself “sleep” till 8.)

8:00 am – I was up and grabbing some coffee and jumping right back in bed!  Then hopped on Blogger and hit the publish button to my post for the day:  “How to Find a Teaching Job and Not Lose Your Mind Doing It“,  it’s a riveting read! Lemme tell you!  And then I Instagramed about it.  And used the following photo.  I usually Instagram at least twice a day, if not more.  I have a problem.

9:00am-11:30 am–  This was a big mixture of things.  I showered and then took my time getting ready for the day all while doing the following:  watching The Real Housewives of New Jersey (hello new season starting in like a week!), watching Sadie (she’s my fur baby) be silly, playing Candy Crush (yes I still play) and doing my hair and makeup.

12:00-2:00 pm –  Thursdays are the day that my mom has someone come in and clean the house, so we have to make ourselves scarce for the afternoon.  My parents are both teachers as well so they are off for the summer just like I am.  They have a tradition where every Thursday they drive out to their favorite little Mexican food bar/cafe.  It’s called Chopes.  It is literally out in the middle of no where and my parents have been going their since…..well forever!  They love taking people from out of town to Chopes because they think its the best and a great way to experience the Southwest.

2:15-3:30 pm– Now the next hour and half or so of my day was not super exciting.  I wanted to get my hair highlighted because it was in need of some attention pretty bad.  After scouring the internet and Yelp for good reviews on the various salons in El Paso, I finally settled on one (after calling 2 that couldn’t squeeze me in that day).  Oh and I did this while sitting in the parking lot at Ulta. Weird I know.  But I had gone in to look around and maybe pick up the Benefit Coralista blush that I’ve been wanting for a few months now.  Didn’t end up buying it though.

3:30-6:00 ish pm–  Got my hair did!  Yes, it took about 2 hours!  Not only do I have very thick hair but I have a lot of it.  So it took forever to get partial highlights and a blow dry and style.  I just love getting my hair done though.  It is seriously one of the best parts of being a girl!

 Under the dryer!
After
Disclaimer: I was not driving when I took this..promise! I was sitting in the parking lot! 🙂

6:30-8:00 pm – Went with my mom to visit with a friend of ours.  She just got a new house and finished re-doing her backyard, so we went to have a glass of wine and chit chat.

8:00-8:30 pm – I started looking at family albums and found some great pictures to use for #tbt to help fuel my Instagram obsession.  The following was showcased this evening:

This is one of my best friends and future roommate, Jenny.  We’re in the 1st grade here! 
YEE-HA!

8:30-10:00 pm –  Dinner (Subway.  We’re big spenders around these parts and have very sophisticated palettes) and a movie (Bad Words) with my parents and brother.  This is sort of a family tradition with us.  When we’re all together we always have one night where we eat dinner and watch a movie as a family.  It’s actually one of my favorite traditions that we have in my family.

10:00 pm – falling asleep to Friends on Nick@Night (which does anyone else find it just plain weird that Friends is on Nick at Night, cuz I know I do) – Contacts off, glasses on, and in bed reading my new book (yes I read with the TV on) and finishing up this post! 🙂

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Now y’all are pretty lucky you caught me on such an eventful day.  Because not all days are filled with so many things.  Take yesterday for example, I didn’t leave the house at all (except to go and buy cat food and People magazine because it was the celeb bachelor edition and I wanted see which celebs I still have a chance with…..obviously) and spent most of my day watching Law and Order: SVU, snacking, jumping on and off my computer, and playing Candy Crush.  You pretty much would have seen pictures of food.

But that is pretty much a typical day in my life. Or well my life during summer vacation anyway.  I’ll have to do another one of these posts once school starts.  That will be even more entertaining!  Because you’ll get to see what a day in the life of a middle school teacher is like. 🙂

Hope y’all enjoyed spending a day in my life!  I def enjoyed documenting it and explaining why I was taking pictures of my lunch to my parents.

How to Find a Teaching Job and Not Lose Your Mind Doing It

Last summer, when I officially decided I wanted to start teaching because a.) I was tired of getting yelled on everyday by people on vacation and b.) I wanted to start making more money, I really had no idea what to do.

I had a resume that I had written in the fall of 2010 during my last semester of actually going to “teach me to be a teacher” college classes and thats about it.  I didn’t have cover letter or really any idea how to go about looking for a teaching job.  And to be honest I was SHOCKED when I got a call to come in and interview at ERHS.  I had jumped onto the OCPS website (which is the only school district in Orlando) and just started applying for open high school positions.  ERHS was the very last school I applied to and the ONLY one to call me for an interview.

Here’s a look at the resume that got me my first teaching job:

**I had no clue how to just post the picture of the document.  #bloggerchallenged

As you can see…….this resume literally tell you absolutely NOTHING about me. Thus, why I was slightly confused as to HOW I got the job.  Not that I’m complaining AT ALL…obviously.

Anywho, after a pretty stellar first year in the teaching field the decision to move back to Texas and teach to be closer to family was pretty easy to get on board with.  And since I had gotten a job in Florida so easily I figured getting in one in Texas would be piece of cake.

Oh how wrong I was.  9 schools districts, 30 schools, and about 60 emails later…..I finally got a job!

It was NOT as easy the second time around.  And ultimately I think the reason why it took so long was because I was applying for a job in one state while living in another. So in an effort to hopefully prepare someone else for the exhausting and frustrating task of applying for teaching jobs while you live out of state, I’ve compiled a list of 7 tips to help make the process a little easier.

Here we go:

1. Get all documents together beforehand- By documents I mean everything they’ll be asking you for on the online application.  
This includes: your teaching certificate(s), you’ll need the issue date and expiration date.  Education, the applications want to know your major, GPA, and number of  credit hours completed.  I ended up printing out my unofficial transcripts from college.  It made filling in that information a lot easier.  Work experience, most of the applications I filled out wanted to know my work experience from the last 5-10 years. (YES 10 YEARS!!)  I ended up typing up all the descriptions and dates and supervisors names from my previous jobs in a Word Document.  That way I just had to copy and paste the information into the applications.  Much easier.  References, I had four references that I would list on pretty much every application.  Nowadays most of them send an automatic reference email to the email address provided.  But again I typed up my references in word document so that again, I could just copy and paste the information.  The point is if you know you’re going to be applying for multiple school districts have all the information your going to need next to you!  This will help with time and your sanity as you navigate the application process.

2. Have a killer resume/cover letter –  One of the first things I did was revamp my resume and write a cover letter. This was at the urging of my roommate and fellow teacher, Megan.  She took one look at my orginial resume and suggested I spruce it up a bit.  Then she helped me write a cover letter that was easy to adjust based on the school district I applied for.  Here’s the new resume:


Way more impressive!  

3. Do your research – Once you know you want to move and know what city you want to move to, it’s time to do your research on the school districts themselves.  Figure out which would be a right fit for you.  Or you can do what I did and just started applying all over the place.  Thus the 9 districts.  Things to look for include: Location – is the district in a part of the city you want to live in, Demographics– of the schools themselves, Salary– districts pay grade vary different based on size and overall wealth of the district, and look into the schools within the districts themselves so you’re familiar with how many elementary, middle and high schools there are within the district.

4. Use your Network – This one is pretty simple, if you know anyone else who teaches in your desired city, reach out to them and let them know you’re looking.  One of my best friends is a teacher in the district I was most interested in and she worked her ass off to help me get a job there too.  She emailed me a list of all the middle/high school principals and emailed everyone she knew that I was looking.  I reached out to several other people I knew in the teaching field hoping it would give me an in.  Ultimately for me, I had two job offers on the table, one through someone I knew and the other based solely off my resume.  

5. Go to a Job Fair- If you’re able to attend a school districts job fair, I highly recommend you do.  I attended a job fair in the district I was the most interested in and while I didn’t leave with a job, I did leave with my resume in the hands of several schools.  Now, I’m sure you’re thinking oh then you got an interview or something with one of them.  Sadly no…..I did not.  But I attribute that to the fact that I still lived in Florida when I attended and I think most of the schools probably didn’t think I was serious about moving.  

6.  Give yourself time – You need to give yourself time to do two things.  One, give yourself time to fill out the applications.  It probably took me about 45 minutes to an hour to fill out each application.  It was very time consuming.  Additionally there were some applications that required you to answer extra questions about your teaching philosophy, why you became a teacher, etc.  I ended up typing those in a work document as well, just in case.  Second, give yourself time to email principals and department heads.  Every time I applied at a school, I emailed the principal and if I could find the department head I would email him/her as well.  Just to introduce myself and give them my resume and cover letter directly.  Now I’d love to be able to tell you, that they all responded.  But that didn’t happen.  I only heard back from about 6 or 7 of the people I actually emailed.  But luckily one of those responses, got me the job I got!  

7. Be Patient – I officially started this process in February and it did not end until July.  6 months of searching is what it took before I finally was offered a job.  You must be patient!  I got very very lucky my first time around.  And it was a big wake up call to realize that every single school I applied for didn’t automatically ask me to interview.  That may sounds a tad conceited and I don’t mean it to, it was just so easy the first time.  I did not expect to go through 6 months of job searching.  Also realize that while some schools post openings early, the majority of them will not actively start making calls until the end of May.  They’ll wait till the end of the school year to get super serious about filling their open positions.  But I don’t regret starting early.  I don’t regret it at all.

Well there you have it.  My 7 tips to finding a teaching job.  It was an exhausting experience.  Exhausting and scary and frustrating.  Especially once I officially told ERHS that I wasn’t coming back the next year.  Then it got even worse once the school year was officially over and I was officially jobless.  But once I got the word that I was officially being offered a position, it made those 6 months totally 100% worth it!

Hopefully these tips have been helpful! 🙂

Year in the Life of a High School History Teacher

Boy jumping right back in has been tougher than I thought it would be!  I opened my computer at around 8:30 yesterday morning with a cup of coffee and Father of the Bride on the TV (thank you TBS) and had a whole lotta nada came out of my fingers.  

But I’m pushing through and here with some insight into how I spent my last year.
As I mentioned in my post about last July being the month of change, I started a brand new job in Florida.  I left Disney (well sort of) and jumped into my teaching career.  
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SO without further ado, here is the year in the life of a high school history teacher:
Now this is by no means everything that went on this year.  Because as I’m sure most of you know A LOT happens within the course of a whole school year.  I taught both US and World History and had about 125 students spread between 6 classes. 
My school year officially started in August.  I had about 1 week to get everything ready for the students.  Now since this was my first official year teaching, I literally had NOTHING.  Lucky for me though, I had 3 fellow teachers who I leaned on and who let me lean on them pretty much the entire year.  I seriously have no idea what I would have done without Stacey, Kim and Todd.  
Kim and Todd have each been teaching for 20+ years so they had a wealth of knowledge.  Kim was kind enough to let me raid her closet for some posters and stuff and then I went out and purchased a few calendars and used the pictures of those calendars to post around the room.  
Advice to first year teachers:  BE ORGANIZED!!!  Starting from day 1.  They more organized you are the easier your life (in the classroom at least) will be.

Here’s a little peak into my classroom.  This was one of the first pictures.  As the year progressed more was added to the walls!
I’m a big advocate of getting as involved with the school you work for as you can.  This year I volunteered to be the Junior Varsity Cheerleading coach.   I was cheerleader myself all through middle and high school, so it was great to go back to after school practices, pep rallies, and of course those Friday night lights (only it was more Thursday night lights since JV played on Thursdays).  My cheerleaders were quite an interesting group.  While I loved each of them, they also really knew how to try my patience.  Maybe another day I’ll go into more details, but overall I’m really glad I coached.  It gave me more to do and added a little extra to my bank account every paycheck! 🙂

Here are my JV cheerleaders at their very first football game! 

Probably one of the best weeks at school was Homecoming week! Now I will say that Texas schools have a major one up on Florida schools when it comes to Homecoming.  But we all had a blast just the same.  As you can see from the picture below.  We had spirit week and each day was a different theme. What you see here is Super Hero day!  So along with 3 other teachers, I dressed up as a Ninja Turtle!  We had several spirit weeks throughout the school year but this was the only week that I got really into.

One thing my school was amazing at, was showing appreciation for its teachers!  For every holiday we were given a little something by our school SGA (Student Government Association).  I made sure to keep each of them as a little memento!

Probably one of the more nerve wrecking things from the year was teacher evaluation time.  Basically that means that my teaching skills, classroom management skills, etc was evaluated by my assessing administrator.  And guess who my assessing administrator happened to be?  MY PRINCIPAL!  Talk about pressure!  He came into my classroom about 4 times each semester and I was graded on how I did.  At the end of each observation I would get a little e-mail showing me my evaluation.

I have to give myself a little pat on the back because I did pretty good!!  By the end of the year I was evaluated as a Highly Effective teacher!  Not bad for my first year, huh!

Obviously my favorite part of teaching was my students!  I had such a diverse group of kids and by the end of the year I had a special place in my heart for each of them!  Well, most of them anyway, not the kid who told me to shut up.  Again, I’ll save that for a later post.  But seriously,  being with the kids everyday was so rewarding.  I think my favorite moments were the AH-HA moments.  The moments I knew I had taught them something and that they would never forget that something.

 Now don’t get me wrong, I had my frustrated beyond belief moments.  After yelling for the hundredth time at them for not doing their homework (which was often), for example.  But the pros definitely outweighed the cons! Especially when you get Valentine’s Day cards like this one!

Other favorite moments were the moments with my fellow teachers!  Teaching is definitely a profession where you connect and bond with your co-workers. Because we are all going through the exact same frustrations and triumphs.   Like I’ve already said, I cannot imagine getting through this year without what we fondly called out “Work Family”.  I can’t tell you how many times I went next door or across the hall to vent about a lesson, a student, another teacher, my roommates at home……just about anything!  I really hope that I connect with my fellow teachers at my next school as well as I did with the teachers at ERHS.

Plus, you get funny notes like this one.  From one World History teacher to another.

Now, I can’t write about my first year of teaching without talking about some of the…..shall we say more interesting moments with some of the students.  Now I’m using the word “interesting” but really I mean dumb.  Because lets be honest, high school kids can be down right dumb sometimes.  And here are some perfect examples.

This is a picture from my best work friend/work sister’s, Biology class.  The assignment was to LABEL and COLOR the parts of the flower.  And this students didn’t exactly understand the directions.  When I saw this…I DIED and obviously immediately posted it to Instagram.  You may have to click on the picture to see the exact words, but once you do….you too will die laughing.

Next we have one of the most classic and infuriating things that has been happening in school since school was invented!  I assigned a research paper to my US History students.  They had 2 whole months to complete it.  Along comes the day that rough drafts are due and one students turns in a very thick set of papers.  The paper was supposed to be 3-5 pages and this kids turns in 8 PAGES!! Yeah…red flag numero uno.  Then as I start to read the first few lines red flag numero dos pops up because the word “tinkering” is used in the first line.  No high school student would EVER use the word tinkering…..ever!  SO I did what any normal teacher would do and that is type the whole first line into Google.  Lo and behold, the kids WHOLE ENTIRE paper pops up on a site on the internet.

Heads up…..teachers are NOT stupid!!! If you blatantly plagiarize, you WILL get caught! And you WILL get a zero and I WILL make you feel like you’re the size of an ant.

I had 2 other students plagiarize on this assignment.  I was NOT happy and they felt the wrath of Ms. Norris! Let me tell you.

Overall, I had a pretty fantastic first year at ERHS.  I wouldn’t have wanted my first year to have gone any other way.  I laughed a lot, I cried a lot, I called home A LOT (both my parents are teachers and their advice was asked for at least, I vented to my roommates and fellow teachers a lot, and I loved every single minute of it.

Here is my “Work Family”.  The group of teachers I really bonded with throughout the year.  
I will never forget the people and all they taught me my first year.  That includes my fellow teachers and especially my students.  
Teaching isn’t for everyone.  It’s hard work, long hours, and can be exhausting.  But I wouldn’t have it any other way. Having survived my first year has made me realize that I made the right decision to leave Disney and start teaching.  
Bring it on Year 2!  Lets see if you can top Year 1! 

Longest Blogging Hiatus in the History of Blogging Hiatus’

Hello?  Is anyone there? Testing….testing…..can anyone in blog world hear/read me?

Oh good! I still know how this thing works!  I was afraid I’d completely forgotten.

Y’all it has been a FULL YEAR since I’ve written anything.  A FULL YEAR! Almost to the day.

I’m actually really ashamed of myself for being such a terrible blogger after having blogged fairly consistently for 2-ish years. Shame on me for ignoring my little space of the internet for so long.

Alas, this past year has been an unbelievable mix of excitement and exhaustion.  But every time I sat down to post a picture, share a recipe, show off a cute outfit, describe all my classes and the times my students drove me absolutely crazy or made me glow with pride….I just couldn’t do it.  And to be honest I’m not even really sure why.

SO…….I’ve decided to move on and start fresh.

I may time travel in the near future and share some pictures/moments from my first year of teaching high school.  But lucky for me, I’m still living up to my blog name.  I can still chronicle all the “Places I Will Go”.  Why?  Well because I still have places I am going.  I made a huge decision about 2 months into the school year.  I decided to move back to Texas. (insert shocked face here!)  It’s not something I ever really thought was going to happen.  I figured Florida would be it for me.

TIME OUT (if you just pictured Zach Morris then you get an A++!)  I will get into the hows and whys to that major decision soon.

Yes, I am back in the Long Star State and starting a brand new chapter in the book called “Me”.  I have a new job (still teaching!) and will be living in a brand new city.

While it has been a solid year since I’ve shared pieces of my life on my little piece of the internet. I’m happy to say I’m BACK and ready to jump right back into this as if I didn’t just take the longest blogging hiatus in the history of blogging hiatus’!

OH! And just in case you’ve forgotten what I look like…..(Yes, its a selfie!)

Till Monday! 🙂