Thursday, June 29, 2017

$4 Grab Bag Reveal

It's not the first time I've done one of these posts on Michael's Grab Bags. I placed a teaser on my Instagram account and obviously now I have to deliver.

I knew the grab bags were out, as this happens about 3-4 times each year and some of the bloggers I follow had been posting about them. Around June, they stuff all the "Class of 20xx" junk into a bag and label it with a grab bag amount (though usually it's $2! Hello inflated prices!). I've definitely been stuck with jumbo graduation ballpoint pens and other junk, but this time I set out to avoid that. There were 4 bags to choose from and two double sets of graduation frames.

Two bags were loaded with the "Class of 2017" junk, so those were out. The other two were similar. I knew they had comparable items. I narrowed it down to this one, now wondering if I should've gone with the other!
The whole enchilada.

I'm attempting to do most of my lesson planning through Google Calendar this year, but I still need a paper planner for the quick list info and to have something to grab quickly for meetings, if technology goes down, etc. I bought a cheapie planner at Target for $11 but was hoping this grab bag would give me a planner I could use for the simple notes. And I thought the 18-month (that I could see through the bag) would've done the job. I was hoping it was from January 2017-June 2018. I could've only been so lucky.

I wasn't. #wuhwuh
These, in fact, are the 2016-2017 versions, ending in December. Total bummer. With that said, I'm still thinking about using the large one and just changing the dates as we head into January. It might not be pretty, but I already own the darn thing and I will be saving paper and recycling! {Seriously though, where do all the leftover, already printed calendars go? Straight back to paper pulp?}
I mean, look at the cute heart and gold binding! It really is adorable. And the smaller one is also cute but has the same problem. I think I'll put that in my student VIP supplies as a "log" to sign in when you are VIP for the day. And again, we'll go to January (wrong year, but whatevs) to end the school year. Of course I had to check out all the other Happy Planners on Amazon and was jelly.
The rest of the loot was:

  • One Heidi Swapp "Cinch Insta Album Kit" and I'm not entirely sure what that is, but it's going for $10 at Walmart (and more at a ton of other retailers, says my Google search).
  • Two packs of 30 mini clothespins that I'll definitely use to hang student projects
  • One Heidi Swapp Foil Rub Kit that I'm sure I can use to decorate something...

Anyone else pick up a grab bag? I love these things. It's my kind of gamble. :)

Friday, June 9, 2017

Back in the Saddle

I'm currently sitting poolside (as the kids swim) getting started on reading for my NEW TEACHING ASSIGNMENT!

I posted here about how I really hoped to get back into teaching this year. I transferred my credential to Arizona, cleared my fingerprints and just started applying. I've had a credential in 4 states at this point. I was pretty picky about being in the same district as my kids for proximity and school schedule reasons. We're also not in dire need of more income (though it's always really nice!) and if I couldn't land a job in the district, I would just find myself subbing until it happened.

My flexibility has changed considerably since having kids and the thought of going full time with two small kids is already overwhelming. I didn't have much to worry about, turns out, because I landed 3 interviews within a week and ended up interviewing from our empty guest room, sitting on a couple pillows with my tripod and iPhone propped on a moving box. Our furniture was out of the house and the first two interviews were done via FaceTime. I would later cancel the third interview for a school that was likely the worst fit for a tech-savvy teacher like myself. I don't believe in top down, teacher directed learning. I most definitely would've been a phony in that environment. Plus, it meant a real commute of over 10 miles. #nothanks

Place where dreams are made.
As luck would have it, my first and second interviews were 20 minutes apart and I felt like I couldn't have done better at them. It proved to be true because I received a call 1.5 hours later offering me my first choice position, first choice grade level and first choice school in the entire district. It's a STEAM focused school, 2.2 miles away from the school my kids will attend and only 4 miles from our house. I didn't get the second job, which also baffles me because I was so prepared and felt that was probably the best interview of my life, even having read their PTA meeting minutes and quoting their programs. It's all water under the bridge because they weren't my first choice either and at the time of finding out I didn't pass their interview, I had already received and returned my contract for my first choice school.

Pinch me. (Okay, pinch me again because Arizona salary is 48th worst in the nation). Teaching is semi-public servant role and all fueled by the love of learning and student relationships. Despite a MA+22 and years of teaching experience, I'm getting paid worse than my first teaching assignment at age 23, but regardless.

I'm officially on payroll starting July 25th and kids start August 7th. Other than feeling utterly overwhelmed by the juggling of kids and working and basically being a first year teacher again, I'm over the moon. I'm also back to being a student myself, as I just signed up for a course focused on STEAM teaching to bump me up to the next pay scale and to get me back into the teaching mindset.

Poolside, right now, I'm starting with STEAM Makers, followed by at least 5 more books on using Google Classroom. I feel like I started teaching too early. Like, now schools have finally arrived to teaching the way I have always wanted to be part in designing. I have a lot to learn, but here's to getting started.

Updates on life: It's a warm one here, folks. We are totally loving having a pool in our backyard. We spent 3 nights moving things from the moving truck after the kids were in bed and that proved to be the smartest move. No more boxes are around and we're feeling mostly normal with internet and a full fridge of food, creating ways to avoid turning on the stove for dinner. Which means, we also bought our first gas grill and even had our toaster oven outside to avoid heating the house. Living the Sonoran Desert dream.