Making the Right Decision

life is sum of all decisions determined by priorities

My previous post discussed the frustration of having to interview.  For the most part, I feel I interview well.  I may come on strong, but I think it’s because I am not shy.  I don’t hesitate to answer questions and I try to come off knowledgable.  Most of the time, I feel this is accurately conveyed.  Fortunately, it was today.

Today, I interviewed for a 5th grade position about an hour away.  I was hesitant about the location but figured interviewing couldn’t hurt.  Practice makes perfect and it’s important to be open-minded.  At the very least, maybe I would make new connections that could lead me to where I am meant to be.

While driving home from the interview, I received a phone call asking for permission to contact references.  Of course this was a good sign.  The principal did not hesitate to call all three references and got back to me within an hour or so.  As you have probably assumed while reading this, I was offered the job.  Despite my gut instinct, I asked for time to discuss this over with my husband and get back to her which she had no problem doing.

I rarely ask for opinions on Facebook.  However, I put it out there to get feedback on if an hour drive is a crazy commute.  I think it’s good to have different opinions and perspectives (in all areas of life) as it allows you to see things differently.  It pushes you to evaluate your priorities and has you question how best to represent yourself and your morals.

Driving an hour there and an hour back adds up quickly.  However, I would get to have my own classroom and do something I’m truly passionate about.  I’m eager to perform well and learn as much as I can – and I could do that here.  But the man, who would be my co-teacher, specifically said he is hoping to find someone who will be here and commit to this family of teachers.

The most popular response on Facebook suggested that I take the job, and if something better comes along to turn it down.  Although it is true this is just business and this happens a log, it makes me uncomfortable.  I don’t want to burn any bridges and I don’t want to screw anyone over.  I would hate to leave them scrambling at the last minute to fill the position.  At the same time, it’s a job – I could love it.  It would help bring in money so we can finally have the funds to adopt a child of our own.  Maybe it won’t be too bad if I find podcasts and music and use that time to decompress.  However, in the winters the roads are horrible…. and this mental debate goes on and on and on and on….

I think at the end of the day, when making a decision like this, you have to go with your gut instinct.  Despite needing the money, I think it would be unfair to take the job.  I can’t commit to being apart of the community long-term as I assume after a year or so that drive would eat at me.  I would much rather have a job close by and I think I need to have faith that it will all work out how it’s supposed to.

For me, it’s important I walk away feeling good about how I handled the situation.  Hopefully, the principal will appreciate my honesty and maybe even pass my name on to someone in my area.  I need to just trust that it happens for a reason, and the job I’m meant to be in will fall in my lap – even if the school year is inching closer and closer.  My priority is being with my family, holding up a good reputation, and finding a job that I want to be in for years to come.  Therefore, I think I have concluded this isn’t the best fit and I will need to respectfully decline the offer.

Silver lining: At least I’m in a position to turn down an offer.  At least I have an offer.  At least I had an interview and hopefully there are more to follow.

To Know Me is to Love Me

If you haven’t figured it out by now, I adore teaching.  It is truly something I am passionate and I feel lucky to have found it.  I was so excited last year because I found a school I fit in, a team I loved, a community I loved, and best of all… I wouldn’t have to go back to job hunting.

Early in our careers it seems like all we do is interview.  As a new teacher, it is normal to get bounced around from school to school.  Maybe you were a long-term sub, maybe they didn’t have the FTE to keep you, or maybe it just wasn’t the right fit for you.  Whatever the reason to be, that probationary period really sucks.  I hate that time of not being 100% sure if there is a job for me next year, if I will get renewed, if I’m doing all that I can be doing.

So naturally, that is where life has led me. Back to the interviewing stages.  The worst part of this process, now, is that today everything is done electronically.  Although it makes it more convenient, it’s hard to stand out from the 100s of applicants that are applying to the same job.  As my mother has always said, “To know me is to love me!”  And it’s true! I personally make the best impressions, at least professionally, is to meet me in person.

I remember my first interview right after student teaching.  I was asked about RTI (response to intervention) and didn’t know the acronym.  I was so nervous and right before the interview itself, my husband had accidentally taken my keys along with his to work.  So I was stranded.  Which left me knocking on my neighbors door in a panic asking awkwardly if I could borrow her car.  I left that interview knowing instantly… “Welp, didn’t get that job!”

It can be a frustrating experience – especially when you know personally how good you are.  You have been told from administrators, parents, students, and other colleagues.  I by no means am perfect.  I’m still very new and have no problem owning my mistakes.  I have a lot to learn.  But I want to learn.  I’m eager and willing to learn.  I’m passionate about teaching and want to grow as a teacher.  I want to be that teacher students look back over the years and think to themselves, “Man, that Mrs. B really made an impact on me.”

I just went through my first interview experience while living in Michigan now.  I loved the  team.  The superintendent acted very befuddled when I entered the office asking me, “Are you sure you’re in the right place? Who told you to come here? What position?” Which left my heart beating and me in a panic knowing my interview was in 8 minutes.  He then cut himself off, ” — hahah I’m just kidding! They’ll be right with you!”

The community is small.  I like that.  The people were nice.  The superintendent was involved and made connections.  Unfortunately, I did not get the position.  But that is not to say I didn’t make connections I could use in the future.  They gave me a lot of positive feedback and it just came down to best fit.

My husband reminds me that it all happens for a reason.  I believe that.  I have to believe that.  But it still doesn’t make it any less disappointing or frustrating.  Time will tell.  It always does.  And I know I will look back and be like, “Isn’t it funny how things worked out?”  Now that I’m settled and I at least got one interview under my belt, it’s easier for me to stay positive.  Hopefully that perfect job is just around the corner.  Until then, I’ll keep chugging along! 🙂

Something All Men Should Know

Dear Gentlemen,

Most of you guys who have been around at least one woman, know that the last thing you should ask her is, “Is it that time of month?” or “Are you PMSing?”  This should be a well-known fact.  You know that the second those words come out of your mouth, you are about to experience a fiery wrath from a woman that you never thought was possible.  Despite that notorious understanding, there are some you who still have the audacity to do so.  You don’t even necessarily mean to say it in a douchebag way, but are sincerely trying to understand that moodiness that has consumed your once lovely sister, girlfriend, daughter, mother or wife.  So I felt I should clue you in on some things.

I will preface this letter that even the best of you can still screw this up.  I am blessed to have a very patient husband.  He is rational beyond belief (almost to an annoying point) and understands, to the best of his ability, what this monthly gift encompasses.  But, even him too, still seems to not completely comprehend the rules that stand when TOM is in town (aka: time of month).

Have you ever seen the show Charmed or watched any sort of exorcism movie?  You all know the clip of where a demon has possessed someone’s body and although they have taken over the body, that precious person is still in there somewhere fighting for life.  After fighting with this demon, you get a glimpse of the person you love for just a moment and see that she is still indeed alive and you just have to have hope and faith this demon will leave.  This is what PMS is like.

Despite our best efforts, our emotions get the best of us.  We cannot help it.  We have no control.  I’m sorry that when you asked if I was ready, that I responded in a tone that implied you were the dumbest person alive.  I want to apologize for literally having to sit down and just cry because I was hungry.  I apologize that despite you trying to just ignore the obvious mood swings, that I still got upset because you were not sympathetic enough.

But gentlemen, please, if you take one thing away from this.  Please, for the love of God, please do not ever tell me to, “Calm down.”  NEVER in the history of any language, have those two words ever achieved what you meant for them to do.  In fact, you were just better off hoping I would self-destruct due to the fact that I was hungry and uncomfortable.  But calm down? Are you kidding me?  Do not ever tell any hormonal woman, ever, to just calm down.

I know that we are not easy.  Half the time you have to do the opposite of what we say, understand that we don’t mean whatever we said when we were tired or hungry, and that for anywhere from 1-6 days a month we could be your worst nightmare.  I am fortunate enough to have little moments where I do “come back”  and can recognize that I am being completely ridiculous and irrational.  However, please understand that in the heat of the moment I have no control.  And as I have told a friend of mine, in the heat of the moment when I am infuriated, I’ve already committed.  My brain might be screaming at me that I’m being foolish, but I’ve already committed to acting like a woman in the middle of war and you just need to hang in for the ride.

The last thing that I would like to persuade you to resist is cracking stupid jokes.  After thoroughly being warned that we are not thinking clearly and are committed to burning down the city when we are enraged, please do not make some stupid sarcastic, smart-ass joke thinking it will go over well.  I am already not feeling great.  I’m hormonal.  I’m frustrated for stupid reasons.  And now you think it’s a good time to make a joke where the chance of the joke going over well is about equal to the chance of you winning the lottery.  Not good.

Like I said before, it’s not easy.  I cant recognize that hormones can get the best of us.  But please remind yourself it’s just a storm.  It’s not like this forever and you just have to be patient. Please recognize that now, more than ever, not only do we need your patience but we need that respect, that kindness, and your loving actions.  If you notice I’m particularly testy, bring me chocolate and a nice glass of wine.  Distract me.  I will apologize on the behalf of all women who act crazy when TOM comes into town.  TOM is a dick.  We don’t do it on purpose and it’s not fun for us either.  I would much rather be a go-with-the-flow gal and enjoy the evening.

Sincerely,

A woman who sincerely hates TOM

The Truth About Marriage

When speaking with my pastor a week before my wedding, we were discussing the idea of “the one.”  He told me he didn’t believe in being meant for one person.  He believed that marriage was about being with a person whom you love that you choose to work on things with each and every day.  “There will always be someone who is taller, richer or funnier.  There will be people we find attractive.  However, marriage is about loving that one person you choose and working through things with each other day in and day out.”

This is something that has stuck with me more than any other piece of marriage advice (however, “happy wife, happy life” is a close second).  I think this philosophy takes off the pressure and the fear of marrying the wrong person.  How many times have you heard, “How do you know he’s the one?”  That’s a scary thought, right?  It’s scary to think that you are only meant for one person out of the nearly 7.5 billion people on this earth.  Not to mention that puts an immense amount of pressure on the relationship itself.

We live in an age, today, where people are constantly looking for the new and improved.  Aziz Ansari, in his book Modern Romance, described how while he was on his way to a date, he was on Tinder swiping just to see if there was anyone who peeked his interest more than the person he was about to meet.  I’ve heard friends talk about how they met a guy and had this great chemistry and he was so funny and immediately wrote their fairytale story before even embarking on their first date.

We read into too many things. We get nervous that the person we chose to spend the rest of or life with may not have been the right choice.  I have had those doubts.  I got married at the age of 21.  Those doubts got amplified when things in our marriage were going awry (fertility issues, a career that moved us away from family, sacrifices that had to be made, etc).  It’s those doubts that I think are the most harmful to a relationship.  Once you allow yourself to doubt things, it’s like a domino effect.

This last year was a struggle for our marriage.  My husband was offered a job in Arizona, the last place I ever wanted to live.  When I was under the impression we were being uprooted to a place far from my family where I didn’t want to be, the doubts I had grew exponentially.  I then confessed my doubts to my husband and that did not help matters.  My doubts made him feel more insecure and therefore he withdrew a little and it was just hard.  We were both sensitive to the tiniest things.

However, that’s the thing.  Marriage is not always easy.   Marriage requires sacrifice – you both take turns with who has to sacrifice what.  But you do it for a greater cause.  And, you don’t keep track of who gave what up.  It is what it is.  A lot of people think that after you say, “I do” that all of your life problems will be solved.  A lot of people don’t talk about the struggles they have had or the sacrifices they have had to make.  They don’t share their struggles on Facebook and therefore you’re more likely to feel alone – like you’re marriage is bad or you’re the only person going through this.  That feeling in itself doesn’t make things any easier.

I think what I have learned most from this last year is that it’s important to be honest and communicate your feelings, fears, needs, hopes, etc to your partner – no matter how hard it is.  It’s important to have those hard conversations and recognize what you need and want.  Ownership is also a must.  You need to own up to what your faults are in the relationship and support each other.  You need to be willing to give your partner what they need.  Sometimes it’s simple things.  For example, I’m guilty of not complimenting my husband as much as I should.  I’ve never been good about giving compliments – but after the ups and downs we have had, it’s important that he hears them.  I would be just as insecure or frustrated if I didn’t hear those positive words from him.  It needs to go both ways.

I think it’s easy to write things off.  It’s easier to quit than work through things.  It’s easier to say, “It wasn’t meant to be” than to take responsibility for your faults in the marriage, correct them, work through issues, communicate, stumble, rebuild, stumble, communicate, breathe, and work through things little by little.  In fact, that sounds like a lot more work, but it’s worth it.

After talking through things and recognizing what we have endured, how far we have come, and what we love about each other, it makes us feel so much more worthy of the relationship we have.  When you are both willing to put in the effort and put the other person before you, you are going to succeed.  Because marriage is about the person you choose to be with and work through things with day in and day out.  There will always be people you are compatible with, whom you find attractive, funny, or smart.  But you chose your spouse for a reason – and you need to remember those reasons.

Lastly, humor is a huge element.  Without humor I truly think my husband and I would have been lost.  You need to be able to find things to laugh about and break the tension. Even if it’s just temporary. Trying to make one another laugh is always a fun thing and humor releases endorphins causing that “feel-good” emotion.  It’s healthy.  Fortunately for me, my husband’s sense of humor is one of the things I find most attractive about him.  He is good at finding the light in dark situations and when going through ups and downs, that humor is badly needed.

So if you find yourself reading this, and you or someone you know is going through rough times, just know it’s not a forever thing.  It doesn’t have to be a forever thing.  It does take work, communication, ownership, patience, and humor.  But it’s worth it.   Despite my doubts, we’re in a place where we are stronger than ever.  We have family and friends to thank.  We recognize what one another needs to feel secure and empowered and we recognize that we are in this for the long haul – forever and always.

 

 

 

 “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.  It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.”  

1 Corinthians 13:4-8