Teacher Appreciation Week

This week is teacher appreciation week. As a teacher myself, I quite enjoy this week! It is a nice time where people from all over let teachers know how special they really are.

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So, if you think of it, thank a special teacher (or two, or three) who have made an impact in your life or in the lives of your children,. Nothing means more or boosts our spirits better than hearing how we have helped others.

The teachers that impacted my life were the ones who were supportive of me, and yet challenging to me. They were kind, funny, sarcastic and authentic. I knew they cared.

And that is what I hope to bring to the live of my students every day…that they know at least one person cares about them.

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Sidenote – You may also consider buying them a Starbucks gift-card. Just sayin’. ๐Ÿ™‚

Blessings,

A day in the life

Virtual Teaching intro

When I transitioned to teaching virtually a month ago, many began to come up to me and ask me what it is that I “do.”

Presumptively, many might think I sit around at my house all day in my PJs (OK – I admit, I do often spend my days in my yoga pants) and do nothing.

But truth be told – I am working harder than I have in a long time. But surprisingly, I feel LESS stressed than when I was teaching in the public school environment. Perhaps it is all of the support I get from the top (my principal) down (my peers). Maybe it is that I get to speak into the lives of individuals every day and (finally) have the time to focus on the one-on-one relationship building teaching brings.

Work Schedule

This is my weekly schedule. Every hour is planned to keep me focused and productive!

Virtual teaching involves more phone calling and interaction, grading papers, facilitating and less of a focus on lesson planning and classroom management. I spend most of my day helping students and parents and calling to check on new students. I do teach “live” a few times a month, for students’ required live collaboration lessons they must attend.

What is the best part of working from home?

The flexibility. I love that I can work on a schedule that isn’t bound by needing a substitute. I am able to be there more for my daughter during the day and can support her better. If she is sick, I can be there and still work effectively. If I want to attend an event at her school, I don’t have to rush out to my classroom. If I desire, I can travel to my mom’s house and still work, while spending time with family.

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Where I do most of my work – at my new desk! Thanks honey for getting it for me!

Do I miss the live, face-to-face interaction? Do I get bored? Am I lonely?

Truthfully – I do miss it some. I mostly miss the students I had to leave behind. But I am getting much more interaction and support working virtually.I am able to work and interact more with my colleagues in the virtual world than I ever did while I taught in the public school system. We communicate/chat on a daily basis and we are required to team and support each other. This fosters a sense of community and support, which I often felt was lacking in my previous job(s).

In order to be successful while working from home, you must be willing to stay to a strict schedule for yourself, and be flexible in meeting the needs of your students. One way I help stay out of a “rut” is by attending group get-togethers. Many virtual teachers live in my area and we meet weekly at Panera to work together. In addition, there is another group that meets monthly to go out to lunch. It is a nice way to fellowship and meet new co-workers (and see old friends!).

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What is a day in your life like?? Do you love what you do? What do you wish you could change?

Praying for you all today – thankful for you, too. ๐Ÿ™‚

Blessings,

Dazed and Confused

I sit here alone in my bedroom and I am tired.

The past few weeks and months have been a whirlwind of busy and activity, of changes all around.

Yesterday was the last day of my current teaching position, as I embark in a new role as virtual school teacher, which begins next week.

And while so many are happy for me, I don’t necessarily feel the joy I perhaps should feel. Instead, I feel nervous, tired, overwhelmed.

I suppose I feel this way because I don’t handle change well and I have an unhealthy fear of the unknown.

Thoughts run through my head….

Will I be good at it? Will I have enough time for God? My family? ME TIME?

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I suppose the real question is – Did I make the right decision? Will I regret this later?

Because I gave up a good amount of security and safety in my former teaching job to take this new position. Andย  I am not much of a risk-taker. I suppose this is the root of my fears: Can I really trust God?

However….For this I am thankful. Regardless of what happens, God is in control. Even if I don’t feel it. He knows me and loves me. He has me in the palm of His hand.

This is all apart of His plan for me. I feel His peace in the midst of this chaos.

I don’t need to know all the answers. As a friend so graciously posted on instagram yesterday:

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{Photo Credit: @spolleys on Instagram}

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I will continue to love the journey and trust God in the mean time. I have enough experience to know I can trust Him.

Are you struggling with something new? Changes? Waiting on the Lord? I pray you find comfort in God’s word the way I have recently.

Thank you all for continually supporting me and praying for me. I will keep you posted on my new journey! I begin training next week. Stop on by to see how it’s going!!!

Blessings,

The Bitter & The Sweet

WARNING: INCESSANTLY LONG POST AHEAD! YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED…. ๐Ÿ™‚

It is with a joyful but heavy heart that I write this post.

As is no secret to those who know me well, for some time I have desired to transition to virtual school education. Having been a public school secondary (middle & high school) teacher for almost 8 years now, the pressures and exhausting schedule had begun to wear on me and my family. I have several friends who work for our state virtual school, and really enjoy it. While they work year round and have to be available and different times of the day for student questions, they are able to have more flexible schedules to meet their families needs.

Back in December, I got a call from the virtual school asking to begin the interview process. I had applied for a position a LONG time ago and forgot about it. Taking it as some sort of sign, I decided to go with the flow just to see what happens. The first initial phone interview went well. Then I didn’t hear ANYTHING for over a month. I was surprised when almost 6 weeks later, they called and asked me to go ahead with the second phase of the interview process: an online orientation and an all-day group interview at their corporate offices in Orlando, FL.

Prom

{My husband and I chaperoning prom last year}

Excited and nervous, I went forward. I was extremely impressed with the company. They seem to value individual student learning, and genuinely care about their staff. They were completely forthright with their requirements and emphasized that transitioning to virtual education is a family decision (again, because you need to be available for random times of the day, unlike the traditional public school where you’re only there until 2:30 P.M.

At the end of the all day group interview, we were told that we would get an email letting us know if they wanted to continue the interview process with us or not. If they did, then you entered the hiring pool and were told you might have to wait months to hear anything. I got asked to continue on. Again, I was very excited and nervous because frankly, I was surprised to make it this far. And so I waited.

About 4 days later I got a call requesting I come BACK to Orlando, FL for a face-to-face, individual second interview. At this point the whole process began to seem EXTREMELY real. I began to have my few close friends and family who knew about this situation to pray. I felt strongly that if God wanted me in this position, that every detail would be worked out – including issues with our vacation at the end of the month, issues with having to leave immediately from work, etc.

The second interview went great. I got the opportunity to speak with one of the social studies leaders and a lead teacher for American History who was with us by phone. Both of them asked me questions and we had a good conversation about different experiences I have had with students. When the interview was over, I asked the social studies leader who was present a few questions about my details and concerns about getting hired so quickly. He eased my concerns by informing me that he was recommending me to be hired for a full-time position, and that he felt confident they could meet my scheduling needs.

WOW. What a wonderful, detail-oriented God we serve! Being a detail-oriented person by nature, it never ceases to amaze me how God is an on-time God, and concerned Himself with every small detail of a situation. It shows just how much He loves me and values even my seemingly trivial concerns.

All of that to say – I will soon be transitioning from a public school high school teacher to a virtual school high school teacher.

I am both excited and scared. Change is tough for me. But this is a challenge I am looking forward to.

Why am I making the move? For many reasons, but the main few are: more flexibility with work and a significant pay raise. This means I can increase how much money I put towards debt reduction and savings (for our eventual move to Phoenix to plant the church) without having to take on a second job. I can also be more readily available to my daughter as she transitions to VPK and Kindergarten in the coming years.

The hardest part about leaving my current school is leaving my students and my amazing co-workers. I love my students as if they were my own children, and I hate leaving them behind. I also have formed wonderful, supportive relationships with many of my co-workers, and I dread not getting to see those folks every day. I am thankful for the time I spent working with them and I know I will build great relationships with my new co-workers at FLVS.

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{Helping with graduation last year, posing here with some of my wonderful colleagues!}

Your prayers are appreciated for my family as we make this transition. Thank you to those of you who have been praying for us! We are so grateful.

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