Friday, April 17, 2015

Exciting Opportunities Abound

Beginning in August, I will be using my MBA to teach college-level Economics classes to juniors and seniors in high school. I will also be using my education degree to teach English to some unsuspecting tenth graders.

This week, I received an email saying I had been chosen for a very special professional development opportunity. My Alma Mater, The University of Louisiana at Lafayette, hosts a teaching institute every year, where ten teachers are selected to work with author Ernest Gaines and curriculum specialists to plan lessons for high school english classes that center around Gaines's novels. Gaines has many awards to his name, including recipient of the MacArthur Foundation's Genius Grant and a Guggenheim Foundation Fellowship. His novels are central to Louisiana culture, but are award winning and critically acclaimed. (Plus, almost every film/TV adaptation of his novels have won Emmys. NBD.)

I get the opportunity to work closely with this author and other English teachers from the area to develop a curriculum that incorporates these novels into student lives. I'm so excited! It also means that between now and June 8th, I need to read four novels by Ernest Gaines.

Then (because I'm crazy) I signed up for a 10-week course through Coursera, which is an organization that partners with many top-notch universities to provide free access to classes on a variety of subjects. I'll be taking a 10-week course on Greek and Roman mythology through the University of Pennsylvania. We will be reading some of the epics, like the Odyssey, Oedipus the King, and Metamorphoses. That course starts at the end of April and runs until July.

For those of you keeping count, that's a whole lot of reading for academic/professional purposes, and not a whole lot of fun reading. (I'll be having fun... I just don't know if you want me reviewing the Iliad on this blog!)

Jeromy made fun of me last night, saying that somehow, I always manage to land myself back in college, no matter how hard I try to graduate.

What can I say? I love being a student.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

What a Slump.

Some of you may have noticed (at least the 15 people that still visit this blog might have noticed) that I've been in a slump. Not a life slump, per se, but a reading and blogging slump. I haven't read a book since our book club book back in March, even though I have 10 checked out from the library, 5 borrowed from other teachers, and a $25 Barnes and Noble gift card burning a hole in my pocket.

Why do we get in slumps?

Honestly, it happens to me for a variety of reasons. My house is dirty. There are new things on Netflix. Life is busy. I have a million other things I SHOULD be doing.

But last week, I had the whole week off, and still didn't pick up one book. (I did, however, eat a lot of birthday cake and jelly beans.) I'm dying to get out of this slump, but when I look at the books on my shelf (books I was previously dying to read), nothing catches my attention.

I've been in a reading slump in that I haven't read anything since March, but I also haven't really found a book I've loved in a few months. I started my year off so strong with I'll Give You the Sun and the All Souls' Trilogy, but alas, I've hit an roadblock.

What am I going to do about it?

I have a few options.

  1. Read a best seller. At least I have concrete proof that The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins is good. Or at least not bad. Plus, it's our book club book this month, so I kinda have to read it before April 27th.
  2. Reread a favorite. Both my mother and cousin are rereading the Harry Potter series, and I'm quite jealous. It's always so hard to reread books as a blogger, because I want to be reading books that I can review, but hell, I need to get out of this book funk and Harry never steers me wrong.
  3. Latch onto a series. Normally, if the first book in a series is awesome, I'm dying to get my hands on the next few. The few last series that I attempted have been busts, but I'm going to get down to researching to find a new series I might love.
So give me some recommendations, folks. I need some good love stories, some suspense, some nitty gritty characters that I can fall in love with. Do you have any suggestions?

Friday, April 10, 2015

Happy Birthday to Me!

It's so nice when my birthday falls in the middle of Spring Break. As an April birthday, there's always a good chance I'll be off of school and work for my day. Luckily, this week, my birthday falls on Friday, and I get to spend the weekend at my future sister-in-law's bachelorette party!

I've spent the whole week catching up on errands, spring cleaning, and oh, beginning to plan my wedding. We have been engaged for 10 months now (holy cow.), but we are finally ready to begin planning, and I must say, it has already caused me stress and annoyance. I'll save that rant for another day.

Luckily, my wonderful fiancé gave me my present early, and it is 108 classes at a new yoga place that opened in town! (108 classes.. that's commitment.) He figured I would need a way to relieve the wedding planning stress.

He calls me a birthday diva, partially because I am. I'm such a sucker for fresh starts, and there's something so symbolic about birthdays. Cross off another year of being on this earth, and starting a new year fresh with possibilities. I love to look back and see where I've been and how far I've come in the last year, as well as look forward to all of the new possibilities that the new year will bring.

Being 25

Twenty-five was a tumultuous year for me, to say the least. I started the year moving Jeromy back home and getting engaged in the same week. It was wonderful and happy and amazing. I passed the hardest class of the MBA program with a B (should have been an A, I swear). I left my Graduate Assistant position to search for my Career. I had an amazing vacation in Colorado with my favorite boy, and I realized I love hiking and ballooning and being in not-so-humid weather.

But then I started my last semester of the MBA program and spent three months unemployed. It was the hardest three months of my life. It was the first time since eighth grade that I wasn't making any money of my own, and I really struggled coming to terms with relying on Jeromy and my family, as well as trying to find a job that was the right fit for me.

Thankfully, in October, I got a text message from a sorority sister that eventually led to me making the decision to go back to teaching. That text message, and the subsequent visit to the school, made me realize that teaching has been in my heart since I was a child, and all I needed was the right environment to bring me back to that love.

After the visit to that school, I began substitute teaching to make it until August when I could start teaching at my school full time. I found a long-term substitute position at a school with teacher friends, and I spent 3 (long) months there. The day after I realized that the long-term position was ending, I received an email from an administrator at my school offering me a full time position (with benefits!) that would carry me through to teaching full time in August.

It's amazing and funny and miraculous the way the world works sometimes. Just when I would give up hope or really start worrying, something would happen that would remind me that the universe has bigger plans for me than I had for myself.

Turning 26

I finally feel stable. I feel like I'm on the right path.. my feet are walking the path I hope to be walking for a while. I know (of course I know) life has a way of throwing us off track right when we get comfortable, but for now, I feel like I have a plan, and that, for the first time, having a plan doesn't scare me.

Twenty-six will be a year of rejuvenation. Building up my savings while cutting my debt. Saving (and spending) for our wedding. Hopefully house hunting. Definitely finding a balance through my 108 yoga classes. Spending lots more time cooking and playing with my pets and soaking up the summer and learning everything I can to thrive in my career.

I've gushed a lot, but honestly, I have never been more excited, more ready, more thrilled to be getting older and growing more secure. 26 will be a good year, folks.