#teacherstats

There is this thing floating around Facebook that I’ve seen several of my teacher friends post. Usually I don’t click on them or try them on my own, but this one was super cool because it was all about #teacherstats! Here is mine:

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It’s insane to me that I’ve been teaching for 7 years! And what’s even more insane is the amount of students I’ve taught. This is obviously just an estimate but for 6 years, I taught middle school (still technically do although 6th grade to me will always be elementary school) which means I taught a crazy amount of students. It’s a wonder how I was able to memorize all those names!

I didn’t always know I wanted to be a teacher. I’ve always loved school and I did well enough (A’s and B’s and graduated in the top 40 of my 500+ high school class– I know, I’m bragging). I can’t even say teaching was always in the back of my mind for a potential career because it never was. I knew I wanted to do something that helped others and somehow it ended by being teaching.

The first 6 years of my teaching career were tough. I taught middle school (already super tough) in a very low-income area of Phoenix. I had kids talking back constantly, kids who failed but were passed on to the next grade, kids who were (maybe) suspended for fighting/cursing at their teachers, kids who did drugs in the bathroom, and even a kid who threatened me and another teacher (a police report was filed; I still get notices and currently a warrant is out for his arrest). Really, to say it was tough was an understatement. And when you pair that with administration that looks the other way and provides no support to teachers, it’s a recipe for disaster. I get mad that I let myself stay in a miserable place for 6 years but it’s so easy to sign a contract (in March, mind you. The school year isn’t even over until May and you have to sign a contract for the NEXT school year months before) over the risk of not finding another job. The district also had the highest pay in Phoenix (even over swankier places likes Scottsdale) and there was no way I could take a pay cut to leave.

During this time, I researched other careers SO many times. But what else can I do with a Bachelors in Sociology and a Masters in Education? Nothing that required more school. And so I kept teaching, dreading each day and coming home absolutely exhausted.

Last March, I didn’t sign my contract. It was the best feeling in the world. I had no job lined up, no definite source of income coming to me in the future, but man, to submit my resignation letter was the best. I remember texting my mom a picture of my name on the school board minutes when the resignation was approved (and um, why does it need approval? Ridiculous) because I was that excited. The first few weeks of summer were stressful; I applied to dozens and dozens of jobs. And if I wasn’t applying, I was looking. Luckily I didn’t have to wait or look for too long. I only did one interview/demo lesson at another school before I accepted the job at my current school.

This past school year has (almost) erased all the poor memories of my previous teaching years. Despite the tough days that still do happen, I love my 6th graders. They exhaust me in a very different way than my previous students. This type of exhaust is a good one– they challenge me to be a better teacher and it’s sad that it took me 7 years to finally start being the teacher I wanted to be. And it definitely doesn’t hurt that my administration is the best. I now take pride in saying that I’m a teacher and don’t have to fake liking what I do. I still daydream about what it would be like to be a travel blogger or an interior designer, but I can happily say now that I chose the best career for me. And while I may not have a ton of money in my bank account or have the funds for all the places I want to travel, bags I want to buy, or shoes I wish I could have, I am fairly positive I have the best job in the world.

Spring Break Part 1

I am currently writing this in the middle of the Pacific Ocean!* More specifically, right off the waters of Ensenada, Mexico. I’m trying not to pay too much attention to the constant swaying (hard not to!) and I’ve only been on the boat for 48 hours but it seems like at least a week!

Spring break is this week and some co-workers and myself decided to start it off with a bang… we battled LA traffic to get to Long Beach on Friday (thankfully off a little earlier that day) and made it with just enough time to get on board our cruise. We endured the safely briefing (thank goodness for that we will find out later) and met up on the lido deck to watch the boat leave the port. That night was spent having dinner, singing karaoke (no, I did not get up on the stage but I was a great support system on the dance floor!), and dancing at the ship’s “club.” They played some really good music, some of which took me back to high school!

Saturday was our “at-sea” day. It rained in the morning but ended up being super nice the rest of the day, minus the wind. I am not a public pool type of gal so I didn’t bring my bathing suit. I don’t think many of us actually even went in because everything was so crowded. No way would I get in a hot tub full of 15 strangers. No, thank you! We did Harry Potter trivia, ate lunch, relaxed on the deck, and then spent a good portion of the afternoon in our rooms recovering from the night before. What can I say, I’m an old lady! Dinner was the “formal night” and we went to see the comedy show after. So funny! Most of us called it a night after that. We planned to dock the next morning in Ensenada and at first I wasn’t sure if I wanted to get off the boat. I hadn’t had any time just to myself or any time to read my book but decided hey, why not?

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We docked the next morning and had breakfast before we (thankfully) found others in our group. We all paid for the “social” internet plan that included Facebook and Instagram. Those didn’t work too well but it the $12 was worth it to be able to text via iMessage. It came in handy for days when we needed to find each other. We ended up finding a bus to drive us to La Bufadora, a giant blowhole about a 45 minute drive. There was also a market with a bunch of shops. I didn’t buy anything. It definitely reminded me of Zambia, with all the locals trying to sell you anything and everything (and give you the “best” deal). We tried to go to the beach but it was way too windy so settled for a restaurant across the street. A much better choice! Some of us wanted to hang out downtown but myself, Anna, and Naomi wanted to try our luck with Friends Trivia back on the boat. We made it just in time (Fitbit, you better have logged that as exercise!) and took home the trophy! I wasn’t too much help. I’ve seen every episode multiple times but have a horrible memory when it comes to names.

And here comes the terrifying part (noted above with the *). We hung out on the lido deck the rest of the afternoon and went back down to our rooms to charge our phones/get cleaned up. This is where I started this post but my writing was cut short because THE POWER WENT OUT! The generator went out and turned off all the power and the boat stopped moving. I was by myself in the room but thank goodness iMessage worked. It probably lasted for about an hour… the first part was us throwing stuff in our bags and getting our birth certificates/passports, making sure we had shoes on, etc. I told you that safety briefing came in handy. I knew it was something we were going to laugh about later but it was terrifying. Once everything was restored, we finished out the night with dinner.

I had a blast with my co-workers. I don’t think I’ll be a cruise enthusiast and it’ll take a lot of convincing to get me on another one (the power outage and the fact that I got sick from the swaying are to blame), but like I said, it was super fun being with my co-workers. At my past school, there were no relationships developed outside of work. We were colleagues and that was it so I am super thankful to work with a bunch of people that I enjoy spending time with and who get along so well.

Michael and I are off to San Francisco later this afternoon…. I will need a vacation from my vacation!