Interview

I am a fraud. I am a FRAUD. Iamafraudimafraud. The words race through my head as I sit, waiting, for my second job interview, my confidence disintegrated by the rejection from my first interview.

I am a fraud, that part of my brain chants over and over again—so many times that I believe it. I try to think of something else; I try to get that part of my brain to change its chant.

What if they figure out that I am a broken teacher? That I am not sure if I can fix myself? That there is a good chance that I’ve always been broken and I am only figuring it out now? The chant is gone, but the doubt still tumbles around in my head.

Fingers clench, clammy, twisting and turning. My breathing comes fast and shallow. It needs to slow. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7—stop! If I start counting, I won’t be able to stop. My fingers twitch, wanting to tap out the rhythm of the numbers. Stop!

I focus on the feeling of inhaling, lungs expanding. Exhaling, lungs compressing. Breathe in, 1, 2, 3, 4. Breathe out, 1, 2, 3, 4. I focus on the air instead of the numbers. My pulse slows down, calming some of my anxiety. Breathe 1, 2, 3, 4. My hands start to settle, moths instead of mosquitos.

“Come on in and let’s get started.”

With a final deep breath, I wipe my hands on my pants, put on my best “I’m awesome” smile—the one that hides my fear—and follow him into the conference room.

Taking the Leap

Whelp… I resigned from my job. I wrote this super-long post explaining the reasons why and, I have to admit, it was a wee bit ranty. No, that isn’t accurate. It was a whole lot ranty and a little bit bitchy. I decided not to post it because it wasn’t me. I am usually only a little bit ranty and pretty much never bitchy. I didn’t want to post something completely out of character. It did feel really good to get it out of  my system, but it definitely was not something that I should share.

So, in case you are interested, I resigned because my philosophy about education no longer meshed with the district’s philosophy. Trying to change my beliefs to mesh with theirs was making me physically ill and preventing me from being the teacher I know I can be.

This is something that’s been coming for at least three years. At the end of each of those years, I’ve thought about resigning. Every year, the part of my brain that hates change convinced me not to. Just give it one more year, it said. Things are going to be so much better next year, just you wait! 

This year was different. When I thought about leaving at the end of this year, that part of my brain was a cheering section chanting “Do it! Do it! Do it!” All of the parts of my brain reached a consensus: it was time to move on.

The scary(?) part is that I have no anxiety about my decision. None. That’s right; little Miss Freak-out is completely calm about it. Friends ask me what I’m planning to do, their faces crinkled with concern. When I tell them I have no idea where I am going to work next year, they look at me in disbelief. I should be having a panic attack– that is what I usually do– and they wonder what in the world is wrong with me. I can see the concern in their eyes. I’ve put in applications for teaching positions. I’ve had one screening interview and another one scheduled for next week. If teaching doesn’t work out, I’ll sub until I find a job. I have backup plans for my backup plans. I know I will go where I need to go.

For the first time I can remember, I am relying– without fear– on the Universe to take care of me.

Light Echoes From Red Supergiant Star V838 Monocerotis – October 2004
Source: Hubblesite.org

Smart Phone Free: Day One

Today is my first day without my smart phone.

I can’t believe it. I actually gave it up. It has been bothering me for years. I was so disconnected from everything because I had the whole of the interwebz at my fingertips. I would sit on the couch, playing games, and checking my social media statuses. Last time I had a phone upgrade, I was so tempted to get a simple phone, but I chickened out and got another smart phone.

This time I didn’t give in to my addiction.

My hubby graciously let me use his upgrade to get a more simple phone. He was completely content to use my smart phone instead of getting a new one. I think he was really happy to get me back.

So, here’s my phone.

Isn't it shiny?

Isn’t it shiny?

I know it isn’t much to look at right now, BUT there are many colorful cases that are so inexpensive, I could buy a different one for every day of the week and only spend a little more than the black, boring case I bought for my smart phone. Imma be stylin’!

Get this! It has T9 texting! Inorite?!?!? I remember when I could do that with my eyes closed. It is already coming back to me. One thing I still have to practice is answering it. I always hang up on the person who is calling. I’ll get it though.

Another thing that is awesome: I have battery life again. I used it all day and still had the five bars of the battery. It really does wonders to not be on facebook/twitter all day. I am more content now than I have been in a very long time. I don’t have the urges to check and see what is going on with the my social media.

I’ve had time to write. Rather, I’ve recaptured the time I spent avoiding life. Writing is work if you want to do it well. My smart phone gave me an excuse to not do it. Maybe excuse isn’t the correct word. The obsessive/perfectionist part of my brain seized on it as a way to protect me from failing at writing. Yay, mixed up brain chemicals!

The only issue that I have had so far is a feeling of confusion in the morning. I would wake up, sit on the couch, and check my social media. Sometimes I would play a game or surf the web. It was my morning ritual. Instead of having coffee, I used my smart phone. I am sure that it will pass as I create new rituals.

My heart is happy with my choice. I feel like a burden has been lifted and I can get back to being me again.

Save them All

“At least yours is nice. This one here’s nothing but trouble,” said the woman indicating a young girl sitting next to her. This girl couldn’t have been older than 10. The girl’s eyes flashed and her face hardened. Her lips tightened into a line and her body tensed.

I mumbled something about how hard it is to grow up and that kids mature over time, putting on my best parent/teacher conference face– the one that helps me get out of conferences where the parent starts yelling at their child. My daughter and I moved forward in the line; my eyes avoiding any contact with hers.

“This one has had everything handed to her. She doesn’t know how to work for anything.”

“Hmmm.” And because I can’t keep my mouth shut when I see a child being torn down instead of built up, I said, “They usually outgrow it. I teach high school and I see it all the time.”

“Oh, really,” the woman said and asked me what school I taught at. “You won’t want this one in your class.  She’s 11 and she never goes to school. We can’t get her to. She’s rude and hard to deal with.”

creative commons license: apdk

I want to save them all.

I could see the girl’s body language go back and forth. She cycled through anger, dejection, frustration, and despair. I wanted to gather her in my arms and tell her that she *is* good inside and that she could find it if someone helped her. Instead, I just held on to my daughter tightly. Stealing other people’s children is frowned upon, even if you don’t think they’re getting treated correctly.

I was rescued from further interaction with the unfortunate family by the person behind the counter asking me if I wanted rice or lo mein. We got our food (which was delicious, btw) and sat down to eat. I listened to my daughter ramble on about her day, making appropriate noises when necessary and enjoying her company.

I couldn’t get the little girl out of my head. One of the comments that the woman made– that they couldn’t get her to go to school — hit that part of me that hates it when parents don’t take responsibility for their children. I understand that it can be difficult. I really do. I’ve seen some really good parents struggling with their children. The difference is that they take responsibility.

I don’t understand how adults can’t get an 11 year old to school. It baffles me.

My mom was a single mom and we were latch-key kids. We went to school. There was no question about it. Even though she had to work hard to make sure that we had food to eat, raising us was always her first priority. If we got into trouble at school, she made sure that she was there. She built us up without making us arrogant. We knew how to behave appropriately. My mom was a responsible parent and she raised me to be a responsible adult.

I know I don’t know the whole story behind what is happening with this little girl and her family. I try really hard not to be judgmental (and fail sometimes), but I don’t think the answer lies in humiliating a child in a public place by talking badly about her.

When will people learn that shaming doesn’t help? It builds resentment and destroys trust.

Reason 12 That I Teach

I received this email today from one of my former students. I think it speaks for itself.

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Mrs.F,

I miss having your glorious class everyday. I miss seeing your smiling face. I miss the vikings birthday song. I miss doing all the homework. I miss reading books. I miss your laugh, you always made my day. I miss everything that contained to your first hour class last year; but most of all I miss you. I miss you being my teacher and I want you to teach Juniors next year!

I was wondering how you have been, since the last time I saw you.? Do you think that next year you will switch over to Juniors possibly?

Sincerely Your Most Favorite Student and Your Biggest Fan,

X

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’nuff said.

Say What? Secrets and Guilty Pleasures

We all have things that we enjoy but are afraid that our friends will find out that we like them. There are also “secrets” that we keep– you know, the things that nobody believes about you, no matter how hard you try to convince them otherwise?

I’ve been thinking about these things for a while. While stalking my twitter-people, I saw a conversation (sorry I don’t remember who. If you were involved, let me know and I’ll add you) about being ashamed that he/she loved Avril Lavigne. It was said in jest– at least, I am hoping it was– but it triggered a thought in mah noggin. What do I love/do that I don’t really want people to know about? Then it expanded to the expectations that people have of me that I simply cannot comply with.

Then I thought of this…

Every one of us has some Michael Bolton in us. I thought I would share some of my eccentricities and dirty little secrets with you.

Music (Caution: Swears and Inappropriate, Irreverent Songs)

I am completely obsessed with songs with the word “fuck” in them, especially if the word is repeated multiple times. In the chorus. Over and over again. Yes. That’s right. When a song comes on dropping the f-bomb, I turn it up and sing it loudly (unless my daughter is in the car; if she is, I just skip it and pout a little).

I know, I know… I am a teacher and I should be above all of that. Well, tough tushies. I was a real-live person before I became a teacher. Some of my favorites in no particular order whatsoever:

  1. Lily Allen, “Fuck You”
  2. Cee-lo Green, “Fuck You”
  3. Beastie Boys, “Hey Fuck You”
  4. The High Speed Scene, “FUCKN’ Spend Money
  5. Methods of Mayhem, “Proposition Fuck You”
  6. Phunk Junkeez, “Thick Like Mornin’ Dick
  7. The Murmurs, “You Suck”

People see me as a mild-mannered reporter… oh, wait, that’s Clark Kent.

Nobody expects me to love swearing. Everyone seems to think that I’m innocent and unaware. I’m not. I usually save that side of me for people I trust.

Electronics

I love new technology. Probably unnaturally so. The gadgets… oh, yes. The gadgets. When I see a new one, I pull a Homer Simpson and start drooling. I pride myself on being able to figure out how to work any electronic gadget. It may take me a while, but I get it eventually.

I can never, ever remember how to turn on the DVD player.

There are sooo many buttons and remotes and inputs. I’d rather keep the tv off than try to figure it all out. My hubby has shown me how multiple times but it just doesn’t stick. So, I wait for him to get home when I want to watch something. Thank goodness he’s patient.

Television

Ancient Aliens. Finding Bigfoot. UFO Files. Ancient Discoveries. Brad Meltzer’s Decoded. UFO Hunters. Nostradamus Effect. Life after People. Monster Quest.

These are a few of my favorite things. I call them “pulp documentaries.” Even if I don’t believe everything that is presented, I find them incredibly entertaining.

Also, Ancient Aliens has Giorgio Tsoukalicious (or as I like to call him: Gorgeous Gorgio).

rawr

RAWR

Your turn:

I’ve bared some of my secrets. How about you? Will you share some of yours with me? If you do, I will share more of mine.

DOOO EEET.

Warm Bodies Part 2

So, I feel really unobservant right now. I was doing some research on the Warm Bodies movie. On the IMDB website, there is this wonderful little bit of trivia.

The film is based loosely on “Romeo and Juliet”. “R” = “Romeo”; “Julia” = “Juliet; “Perry” = “Paris”; “M/Marcus” = “Mercutio”; “Nora” = Juliet’s “Nurse” (the character of Nora is also a nurse).

It makes complete and total sense. I can’t believe that I didn’t see it. I shall have to hang my English teacher hat up for the weekend. I am not worthy of it. Before I hang it up in shame, though, this novel might be a way to get my kids who are obsessed with zombies to like Romeo and Juliet more when I teach it in May. Hmmmm…. the wheels are turning already.

Warm Bodies by Isaac Marion

Warm BodiesWarm Bodies by Isaac Marion

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I toyed with the idea of reading this book since I saw the trailer for the movie. I knew that it would be an easy read and I didn’t want to spend the kajillion dollars (okay $10, but still!) to buy it– especially when I knew it would only offer a couple of hours of entertainment.

After reading a review by my friend Amy, I decided that I would read it. I took myself to the library and requested it. I waited. And waited. It arrived for me this morning; I picked it up at 9. It took me about two hours to read.

They were two of the best hours I’ve spent with a book in a long time. That really surprised me. I wasn’t really planning on liking it. In fact, I was completely prepared to hate its guts. I figured it would be just another zombie book in a long line of zombie books.

This one had heart. R, the narrator, is one of the most fully fleshed out (har-dee-har-har) zombies ever written. Because the book is written in first person, we are allowed inside of R’s head and follow his thoughts as he develops through the book. It is this character development that I love. Through his relationships with the Living and the Dead, R becomes whole again. I never thought I’d end up rooting for the zombies.

I am planning on purchasing this book. It is going to stand up to multiple readings. I am sure that there are nuances that I missed the first time around.

View all my reviews

2013: Resolve to be Successful

2013NYEbanner

Thank you, Danielle, for the lovely introduction to our “Resolve to be Successful” project. Your generosity in letting me adapt your words to fit my blog made my day. Any mistakes you find are mine. =)

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2012 was a rough year – a bitter presidential election that divided the nation; financial calamities as the housing and job markets continued their rollercoaster rides; continued war and unrest abroad, especially in the Middle East, Africa and China; senseless losses of beautiful lives to the twin tragedies of gun violence and mental illness; an angry and petulant Mother Nature, unleashing Hurricane Sandy and Typhoon Bopha; the Costa Concordia accident. There was so much negativity. We hope to leave negativity behind as we look to 2013 for a fresh start.

Much like Danielle (ProfMomEsq), I don’t do New Year resolutions. I already put too much pressure on myself to be perfect. Making resolutions that I won’t follow through on usually triggers a grand old downward spiral. Since I try my darndest to avoid those, I resolved a long time ago to make no more resolutions.

This year is different. Danielle ran across an idea on Facebook that was just too good. She shared it  and I decided that I’d do it too.  Then we thought, what if everybody joined us? The thought was so tickling that it brought us to the idea to not only do the project, but to blog the results. There is something about being held “accountable” (for lack of a better word) to someone else. Knowing that someone else is expecting me to find the positive will make it much easier.

The concept is simple. Keep a jar some place handy. When a good thing happens in your life, write it down on a strip of paper, and put the paper in the jar. At the end of the year, take out all the papers and read them to remind yourself of the wonderful year you had.

Danielle and I have our jars ready. Here’s her jar:

ProfMomEsq's Jar of Success

Here is mine:

Elizabeth's Awesome Jar of Success

By year’s end, our jars will be filled with scraps of paper describing moments from 2013 truly worth remembering. On December 31, 2013, we will open our jars, read the scraps of paper and post the contents on our respective blogs. Then, we’ll get to spend the rest of our day reading through all the blogs of those who join us.

Yes, that’s right! We want you to post, too! Resolve To Be Successful by clicking the button below. Follow the directions to join the blog hop, then get yourself a “Jar of Success.” Any old jar will do; you can decorate it or not, make it big or keep it small, fill it yourself or have family and friends join you; you can even go high-tech and keep your “jar” in your iThingy. Just make sure your “jar” is always handy so you don’t forget any of your moments of joy, love, happiness and – above all – success.

Feel free to snag either of the badges to post on your blog to show the blogosphere that you are joining us. Please write a post about what you are doing and try to get as many people involved in the project. The more people we have participating, the more positivity  we will be spreading across the world. Maybe if we all focus on the good things, 2013 will be one of the best years ever.

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If you link up with us, post your jar’s contents before midnight on December 31, 2013 and spend a blissful day celebrating all the wonderful milestones that paved our way to 2014. And – HEY! – if you link up, you already have something to put in your jar: you wrote your last blog post for 2013 way ahead of schedule.

We look forward to seeing you and sharing in your success! Happy New Year!