Getting Ready for Year 5 of Teaching…

4 years ago, I posted my last blog post with my excitement for being offered a position at my current junior high school. That seemed so long ago, but…2012-2013 / 2013-2014 / 2014-2015 / 2015-2016 … and now we’re approaching year 5…2016-2017. WOW! Time REALLY does fly! The students that I talked about in my blog…the 8th graders have graduated high school, and the 7th graders are getting ready to be seniors! Damn! Time flies.

My first set of 7th graders are going to be juniors this year. They’re growing up very quickly. I run into them from time to time (if they remember me) and it’s nice having conversations with them about life. Some of them are pretty wise. Some of them have a long ways to go! Lol!

But 2014-2015 was a difficult year, especially the ending of the year. I was pretty sick and had a lot of back pain. Then, over the summer of 2015, I discovered I have cancer. So I couldn’t start the 2015-2016 school year because of treatment. During that time, I was depressed — I really love my job and what I do. I’ve received cards, the school made a banner that said, “Get Well Soon, Ms. Barnes” and students signed it. I received a comforter with a bunch of students and coworkers sending love and messages. It was overwhelming, but it was great to know that people really cared about me.

So, as my health started to improve, I was cleared to return to work in February. I was a bit anxious because (1) I changed classrooms (2) It’s the middle of the year, a month into second semester and (3) The students I worked with had a sub for the longest time and adjusting behaviors were going to be a challenge. But, I took all challenges with ease and this 2015-2016 class was truly special to me. I had a lot of siblings of former students, so they knew of me already…one kid on my first day was so excited to the point of saying “OH MY GOD! YOU DO EXIST!” We all struggled together, but, we made it. They were supportive and they cheered me on throughout the day. At times, I was tired, and they were on point with what they needed to do (for the most part lol). But, unfortunately, they were sad to only have me for half of the year. I was a little sad, too. But, I was glad to have met them.

But, this year is going to be special for me, too. It’s year 5 of my teaching career (year 9 in the classroom). I get to return to work on time, thank God. I get to meet with my coworkers (old and new) and I am looking forward to meeting and working with my students. Of course, there will be challenges on the health side, such as radiation, surgery, etc. But, my coworkers are supportive enough to support me through it all. I am blessed and thankful for this journey.

I am glad that I have made this career choice. I wouldn’t change it for the world. Hopefully I have inspired a lot of students. And I will continue to inspire more on my journey. Ms. Barnes, the tenured veteran. Yikes!

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It’s all Coming Together…

Although it has been nice having some time off from work, I’m becoming stir crazy because I don’t know what the next step is. I’ve had interviews and what not, but at the same time, my preliminary credential was not valid still. As of last week, I am official! Meaning that I have a credential that authorizes me to teach introductory and general science, introductory life science, and introductory physical sciences in grades twelve and below.

Had an interview last week with a principal from my top choice in school districts and I can honestly say that was the first interview I’ve had all summer I can say that I’ve felt comfortable going to. There were some questions that made me laugh on the inside because my MT told me some examples of questions School Principals may ask in interviews and they popped up! But I was prepared and answered them with ease. As a result, I was offered a position! I’ll be teaching 7th Grade Life Science!

What a blessing and a relief! What was hard was going into this not knowing what the next step was. But since everything is clear now, I’m more comfortable saying goodbye and closing a chapter of my life to move forward. 

I am so thankful for the well wishes, prayers, words of encouragement, just everything. It was a long and tiring journey…but hard work pays off! My mother taught me to not go out like a punk and to keep pushing forward regardless of the circumstances, and that’s exactly what happened. Basically, the student teaching life has officially  come to a close as I received my Master of Arts Education degree and Single Subject Credential in Introductory Science. Thank you for reading thus far…I probably will change up the format of the blog to accompany my first year teaching…but that just depends on some things. Again, thank you for supporting me through my journey this far!! Let the good times roll baby!

It’s Official!

‎”Congratulations! Your degree has been officially conferred for the MAED/TED-S program.”

 

Hard work pays OFF! I am so excited to receive my Masters degree! I have worked so HARD to get to this point. In addition, my file was sent to my program’s credential analyst to start the process of recommending me for my credential. And guess what?!

I received an email saying that the recommendation file was received by the CTC and I will be applying for my credential next week! 

What does that mean?? Ms. Barnes will be coming to a junior high school near you to teach science! Holla at me now! I am so thankful and grateful of all of the blessings God has put in my life. I am so excited!! To all of my friends/family/colleagues/haters who supported the effort, thank you!! I appreciate the love! Stay tuned!

Post Grad-School Life has been Frustrating!

And when I say FRUSTRATING, I mean frustrating to the point where it has affected my sleep, my mood, just everything. If you know me well, I’m generally a happy person who is always smiling and laughing at random things while being motivating and positive. But this summer has affected that greatly. I had to finish my 100 hours, study and take this Constitution test, and continue working (and dealing with certain things)…AND looking for a teaching job for the upcoming fall. On top of that, I received a phone call saying that my program is “back logged” with paperwork and don’t have enough manpower to sort through it. So this summer has been a mess!

But, I’ve had conversations with friends and family about what’s been going on. And the common thing was to continue looking up high rather than to the ground because something promising is coming, and it’s coming soon. After reflecting on that and working on staying positive and hopeful that things will work out, I received confirmation that I passed the exam, and my 100 hours were approved! I will receive a letter from my program to indicate my status of completing coursework and student teaching today…AND I submitted an application for credential recommendation. 

What does this all mean?? Once I get that letter and scan it, I will be hitting the ground running. So when my program puts me into GRAD status right away my application for my credential will be submitted. So a few more weeks that should happen.

Cross your fingers for me!!! 

My First Interview

I had my first face-to-face interview with a school principal (I will keep the school and other information private). I’ve been nervous as hell for about a week after we scheduled the interview. I was worried about what was I going to teach, what I was going to wear, what questions I had to ask, just EVERYTHING. So once I figured everything out, wrote out my lesson plan, had a worksheet for students to work on, the time was finally here. I get to the school about 45 minutes early (thanks public transportation!), and as I’m waiting there I am praying, trying to breathe, and receiving text messages from friends and family saying, “YOU got THIS!”  A teacher walks in, engages me in a conversation, and she ended up being the other teacher who interviewed me. My interview with the teacher and principal went well; although at times I felt like a frog was down my throat because there were times I felt like an adolescent boy with a random voice pitch change when talking I was that nervous!!!

Then it came time to teach my lesson to the students. At this point my anxiety went up ten times because I don’t know these kids and they damn sure don’t know who I am! But, I taught a lesson about density. To try and get their attention, I used candy bars and did calculations in which they had to calculate the mass (figure that out from a serving size) and the volume of the candy bar. The lesson went okay, there were definitely some things I would change such as

  • Making sure I have everything with me. I forgot the rulers in my bag (which wouldn’t be enough anyway) and I forgot to ask. Also, I was unsure as to whether or not they had calculators.
  • Making sure I have student volunteers when passing out materials.
  • Making sure I find ways to gage students in a conversation about the material rather than just having that awkward silence.

I was able to convey that when the principal asked me to quickly reflect on how things went. On the flip side, students were participating in the lesson, I had to use some classroom management skills, and I assessed their learning by asking questions and making sure my directions were clear.

So, all in all, I find out tomorrow whether or not I have the job. We shall see! I survived my first interview, and I am relieved that it is over!

The Worst Part …

… is the waiting part! Oh my goodness! I finally finished the last piece of my portfolio to submit. I receive a phone call on Monday stating that there’s a “backlog” of people working on analyzing paperwork. My specialist called me on a wrong one because I expressed my frustration, in a professional manner, of course! While I do understand the lack of manpower, at the same time, if they’re charging everyone at least $30 grand to complete their diploma, where is that money going? Lordy! Let me stop with my 2 cents. LOL. The hard part is waiting not only 4-6 weeks for my graduation application to process, I have to wait 2 weeks for my results on my Constitution test, and I have to quickly apply for my credential and hopefully that takes only 10 days. So theoretically I should have my credential by the time school starts…..I am claiming it in Jesus’ name! Lord knows I need a job soon. I guess this is an opportunity for me to apply to more districts because He has a special plan for me. I know it, I feel it. I just need to continue believing. Keep sending positive vibes my way ya’ll!

Words of Encouragement

I was talking to a teacher, now retired, who took me under her wing before I started student teaching. I was telling her what was new and I was telling her about all of the hoops I have to go through and the frustrations that went along with it. She said “Well, there are a lot more hoops you have to get through once you find a job. I’ve seen so many young people who had ambitions and goals to do something and they become unmotivated and they stop short. You, you’re determined, and I am proud of you. You will do great things regardless of where you land.”

God puts people in my life who remind me of the reasons why I was put on this path. Thank you for that.

The Hoops! The Hoops!

This is how I feel about working on my dual Masters and credential program:

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Real talk! There are so MANY hoops I have to jump through to even earn my PRELIMINARY credential! From the coursework to the TPAs (Don’t even get me started) to this US Constitution requirement, etc..it burns some people out even BEFORE applying to their credential and jobs. I’m not saying that I am burnt out, I am just tired and stressed. This has been a trying summer from looking for a job to completing all of my requirements while working at the same time, it’s just been affecting my sleep like no tomorrow. 2 lessons from this:

(a) Procrastination will get you EVERY single time, don’t do it! Lol!!!

(b) Make sure that what you’re doing is the right decision. I’m not saying I didn’t make the right decision, I KNOW I did, but it takes a lot of motivation to complete everything.

Peace out.

Memorable Moment: Observation Day & Demi Lovato

It was an observation day for me in which my Faculty Supervisor had to observe how I was progressing as a student teacher. It was the day before STAR testing and it was nothing much for him to observe because they were taking a practice test. Earlier in the morning, a maintenance worker from the District came in to take some stools to fix since they were dropping like FLIES. The door was open, he had a radio playing music while he was fixing the stools so students can sit on them safely…and this song pops on…

One girl starts singing while taking the test…which was expected. So I walked over there and asked her to quiet down. She said “But Miss Barnes this is my song right here! Can I lip sync it then?” I laughed and said “Sure.” After she started a few other girls started…even a boy was nodding his head. LOL!!

That sure was noted in my observation lmao. He asked me why I let them do that and I said “They were going to sing it anyway, I’d rather them sing it to themselves rather than sing it aloud to distract others.”

So every time this song comes on the radio, I laugh and think of this day. 🙂

Anxiety!!

So I’m taking the next step and started to look at teaching jobs. And this is anxiety provoking. I have so much to do such as finishing typing up some hours, take this Constitution class, etc. It’s just stressing me out to the point where I can’t sleep. But at the same time, I have to keep telling myself that hard work pays off, right? At least I hope so. 😦