Saturday, October 12, 2013

looking for a change...i guess?

I don't know what's come over me lately, but I'm not one to usually like big changes. However, I've been somewhat longing for a big change. It's scary to be honest. I think I'm just so fed up with some things. I don't feel satisfied. I mean, I appreciate what I do have, what I've learned, and for the opportunities I've come across. Even with all this though, I don't feel satisfied and complete. It's almost like I've been longing for this feeling of "being complete" for so long now. It's a void I can't seem to fill and I'm not exactly sure what or who would make this void go away or when that would even occur. I'm the type of person who gets attached to anything I care about, have good memories of/with, feel comfortable with and so it's hard for me to let go. I've always said, I want to stay in Gwinnett forever. Scratch that, I've been convinced I wanted to stay in Lawrenceville just because I felt comfortable and comfortable makes me at ease/feel safe. 
But something has changed with me lately...
I've had this thought of leaving Georgia. At first it was just a, "Maybe I'll go to a different state for a month in the summer" type of thought. Now, it's starting to become a, "Maybe I should just move to another state & go to college", like I've wanted to ever since I've graduated from West GA. When I would say that I wanted to stay in Gwinnett, I also stated the the only other place I'd probably move to is Florida. However, I was just looking up schools not only in Florida, but in Tennessee, North Carolina, and even California. 
Like a month ago, things would have been different. I am not exactly sure what's changed, but I'm starting to feel different.
Plus, my agent who was helping me look for homes to purchase in Gwinnett accepted another job, so it's almost more of a reason. I don't have to be held down by anything and if I have the opportunity to do something, I guess I should probably do it. I wouldn't want to regret it later on, but it's still scary. Most of what is scary to me though is just the money issue and being away from my sister if she goes to dental school in a different state away from me. 

There's times where I just want to escape it all honestly. College was when I was the happiest, learned the most, and grew the most. I feel like I'm at a plateau for some reason. I want to meet new people around my age, in the same boat as me, and in the same point in their lives. I just want to leave everything else behind and kind of start fresh. I don't feel connected to anyone anymore. I feel secluded. I feel left behind. I feel forgotten. I feel like I don't belong. I don't fit in. I feel lonely in all aspects, even if I'm constantly around people. I'm not trying to sound like an a-hole, but I'm honestly just at the point where I want to say "forget it", pack my stuff, & start a new journey/adventure somewhere else with different people and different situations. 
Maybe this is just a short phase I'm going through; I don't know, but I think there's A LOT of things that have pushed me to this point over the past 2 years. 
I guess I'm just keeping my options more open then they were before...I've literally spent the majority of my life trying to be as selfless as I can be and by making everyone else happy, that I feel like maybe it's time I find more happiness for myself. I don't want to change that part of me; I think we need more selfless people, but I've just run thin. I think maybe a big change could help me find that happiness for myself and fill that void I can't ignore...

I don't know...

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Work Hard, Play Hard!

Been a while since I've posted & figured I'd give an update on my life. 

So I survived. I made it through my first year (well mid-year) of teaching 8th grade math. It's weird to think I went from being SO against teaching middle school to landing a job in 8th grade. CRAZY how things work out like that huh?! I'm not going to lie; it was very challenging at times especially given the circumstances. I came in mid-year, no experience with middle school (since I got an early childhood degree), AND my first year teaching.Oh and I must mention I had the lowest level of math in the whole 8th grade for general education. I am not kidding, there were days I had 3 meetings. I was always running somewhere! I had a lot of special education students that were in my co-taught classes, so I had to attend their IEP, RTI, SST, & 504 meetings. Wow I've learned more about that stuff than I probably ever could have in college. Oh and I did NOT know that the last week of school was so stressful for teachers, especially teachers who have to transition students to high school. So much paperwork, official records, running here & there, contacting parents, summer school, retention, CRCT scores, checklists, & the list goes on.
See what I mean when I say "very challenging"? So to make myself think more positively when things were tough, I would think that if I could survive this and do well, then I can definitely start off fresh in August and it'll be much easier. 
There were times I was up at 1 AM grading/lesson planning, drove home crying of frustration, felt defeated because I didn't know what to do, & had to ask 1 million questions to all my coworkers. Luckily I had an AMAZING support team. I couldn't have asked to work with a better group of people. My mentor teacher was the gifted teacher across the hall and I am so glad she was so willing to always help me. Unfortunately and fortunately she got a position at a high school. I say unfortunately because I'll really miss her. She was a great teacher to rely on and had such a positive, helpful, and caring attitude. Fortunately though, her leaving probably opened up a position for me because I was kind of in a limbo point for a bit. Contracts were being sent out, but I got the talk of "we want to keep you, but it's all about numbers". So I wasn't sure if I'd even have a job after July. Luckily I got a contract and I will be teaching 8th grade math again next school year. This time the level will be mixed kind of like a college prep high school course. So, I'm really excited because now I can have more time to think about how I want my classroom to be run and look, and not have to rush with lesson plans, and just start on a clean slate. I have a lot of confidence in myself when it comes to this because I know I'll work hard. My students this year seemed to like me for the most part, but behavior was typically bad. This was extremely frustrating to me because I just wanted to teach! However, I had some great students who worked really hard and appreciated me. I loved getting e-mails from parents saying "thank you for helping her do better in math" or students coming up to me saying, "those games help me understand math, we should do more". It made me so happy to know I made a small difference. My students were overall really funny though. I guess having a 23 year old teacher made them think I was "one of them" so they would always talk music, sports, pop culture, & life with me. It was pretty interesting I must say!
So the wonderful thing that I am extra thankful about is...SUMMER VACATION! I still get a regular paycheck as usual and basically 2 months off. It's a great feeling. I was going to work my old preschool job for summer camp if they had any positions just for extra money, but it turns out they don't have anything currently. This is fine with me, because it gives me time to relax, hang at the pool, hang with friends, go out, rest, think, plan stuff for the next school year, etc. For the past 5 months I've felt like everyday was on rush/hurry mode, so it's nice to step back from that and not have to be like, "ok, what's next?" every 10 minutes.
I've had a lot of great things occur at the end of 2012 and so far in 2013. It was like a series of FORTUNATE events! It's still unbelievable to me actually. I got a brand new car with my own money in February which I absolutely LOVE! I recently got pre-approved for a loan so I can hopefully buy a town home/small house this summer. Going to PCB, Florida in 1 week with some great and hilarious friends. I've done a lot of fun and new things. I've stuck to a workout plan and I've pushed myself more than I set out to do originally, but I see/feel results and it's very motivating.
Of course there's moments where I still over think things and feel down, but I'm usually okay once I snap out of those moments. I just have to realize that I can always rely on myself at the end of the day. People let you down, situations let you down, the world lets you down. However, if I know that at the end of the day I put forth my effort and got results to achieve what I wanted, then everything will be fine. I can look past all the other crap that sometimes fills my head and brings me down. I'm 23 and I feel pretty accomplished so far, but I'm not done of course. My ultimate goal is to be pretty much completely dependent upon myself, so I'm working hard to get to that place soon! :)

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Supportive Relationships

I was downstairs eating dinner and the T.V. was on so I heard about Valerie Harper (actress) who has terminal brain cancer in which doctors gave her a 3-month window to live. The segment talked about how her husband has handled it and how he's been so supportive since day one. The camera kept panning over to the husband watching her while she was being interviewed. The look in his eyes was something hard to describe and even see. I got teary-eyed because I could just see the love and admiration he had for his wife and to me, seeing that is so rare. It's hard for me to be a believer in lasting relationships because I feel like in most cases they fall apart because people screw it up. So seeing the expression he had spoke so many words about his genuine love for her. 

So this led me to some thoughts I've had before...

I sometimes think about things like, "what do I want in a relationship?" besides the obvious like honesty, trust, love, etc. Usually I get to thinking that one big thing I'd want is to have a mutually, super supportive relationship. I'm not talking about supportive like, "Yes, I support your idea" or "I support your goals/decisions/ambitions/etc." I'm talking about both the people in the relationship lift each other up, motivate each other, keep each other going, remind each other of the goal that is at the end of all the stress & hard work, and bring each other up when one is feeling down or losing hope. And it can't just be about talk, it  has to be shown. I just feel that in a relationship, you should be your significant other's biggest fan and supporter. It's almost like a team effort. One person has the assist, while the other person gets the shine for the shot and vice versa. You both help each other out. I think in order for it to work, it can't be a one-way street; it has to be mutual. I don't know, that's just me. I just know this is something I find admirable in couples and it's something I'd want in a relationship and something I'd hold up on my part of the relationship as well.

Battles vs. The War

I've felt really overwhelmed and have had a lot on my mind today. For example, I just want to go back to college and then I'm thinking like "what's wrong with me?" I just got a new full time, salary job in January and already I think of my next step, but that's how I am. I've said it before, but I can never stop. I can't settle. When I get somewhere, my mindset is automatically like, "Ok, what's next?" It's not that things are crappy for me right now, because they aren't. Things have been pretty great for me this year because of my hard work and determination. I got a big girl job and got a new car all with my own money. All these big changes are coming at me since graduating college last April. With all this, I still get those moments of feeling bummed because I want more and I want it right now. I don't mean that I just want it all handed to me; I'll work hard for it, but I just want to figure it all out and do it NOW! Realizing it doesn't work that way gets frustrating, especially after days like today. 
Then I had an epiphany in the shower (where I usually have epiphanies). I thought about how there are many battles you have to face in life, some worse than others. You have to deal with those battles and fight in them, and you'll lose some, but what's important is winning the war. The battles helped strengthen you and prepare you for the big war. So yes, I may lose a lot of battles in life, but I am damn certain I am going to win the war. 

Therefore, I was reminded of why I shouldn't really be too worried because of a conversation I had with my dad. When I was graduating college and wasn't sure what path I was going to be on next, I told my dad that I know I'll be successful because of my determination/hard work/drive/focus/motivation, but I just want to be at that point now or know how to get to that ultimate happiness. And my dad said, "So, if you know that you'll be successful, then why are you worried?" So after feeling kind of down today, I reminded myself of that conversation I had almost a year ago with my dad. If I know I'll get far based on my personality traits, then I should just keep doing what I'm doing and have faith in myself. 
I will win the war. There's no other option in my book.

Friday, January 25, 2013

I survived AND I'm a workaholic maybe?!

So I officially completed my first week as an 8th grade teacher and I survived WITHOUT even crying! Plus, let's add on the fact that I came in mid-year! People always tell stories about crying their first week in August because it's so overwhelming, but I feel pretty good. I'm still very overwhelmed and mentally exhausted. I think my brain has reached capacity and is on information overload right now. I don't even know where to start...

I've gone in early (between 7:00-7:30AM) each day this week and I've stayed until between 5:00-5:45PM. I don't have to be there until 8:15AM & I can leave at 4:30PM, but I've realized I'm such a type-A person, that I need to have everything in order, organized, neat, & prepared. Which might be a big part as to why I'm so overwhelmed. I've had to learn a lot of info in a short period of time especially being a mid-year teacher. Even when I get home from work, I go into my sister's room (since she's not home, I've made it like my office when I get home), sit at the little table and plan lessons, grade papers, figure teacher stuff out, etc. I honestly don't stop planning or think about teaching until I go to bed. Maybe it's because it's still taking me time to get into the flow of things, but I am trying to plan really good lessons that will engage my students. My brain is literally MUSH right now, like even typing this I can't think straight--no joke. I wanted to come home today & work on finishing all my stuff so I could enjoy my weekend & be done with it, but I am no use right now-haha!
I was thinking, I need to work on being quicker with my planning and try to do it primarily AT SCHOOL, not home. I do get a planning period of one hour, but sometimes I have meetings or have to run errands. I just hope I can quickly get more into the groove of things, however I feel like I've done awesome considering the circumstances. So yea maybe I'm somewhat of a workaholic; it's because I'm too determined I guess. So I really need to work on controlling that.Then again, I was also thinking maybe it's a good thing because it's not like I have any other commitments besides my pets honestly. Although it's mentally exhausting, it keeps my mind busy which is something I definitely need. If my mind is too free, then I think way too much about things I don't really want on my mind. Anyway, that's a different story. I don't mind working really hard, it's how I've always been. I just want to feel less overwhelmed and mentally exhausted. I'm also starting to get sick, so that probably doesn't help.

As far as the class goes, it appears that most of them like or LOVE me haha! They even state it. One kid even said, "You're too nice to be a teacher!" (There we go again with me being too nice...) I guess teachers are supposed to be mean all the time?!  Some of the students are really sweet to me and say really nice things. There are some that just melt my heart because of how quiet they are, how hard they try, and how engaged they are. They are the ones that make it worth it. I came in early today to do a review with any students who needed help before the math test they had today. The teacher across the hallway saw one of my students coming down the hall and asked him why he was at school so early and he told her, "My teacher is nice and is going to help me review for the math test." I was just like "AWWWW" when she told me. When I did my lesson plans and review games this week, a lot of the kids said things made sense the way I explained it and they felt more confident. However, the test results today were not what I wanted in general. That was the only moment I really felt like crying. It just sucks when I can't transfer my energy and motivation to other people. I feel like I try so hard for it to be contagious. I try to show my students that I care about them and their future. I show this by working HOURS on great lesson plans even though I'm sick and super tired. I come in early and stay late to help them and to plan. I am willing to try whatever I can to help them, even if I have 120 total students. So, it's just kind of saddening when I see a carefree attitude or the "I give/gave up"! I hope throughout the semester I can help with some of that. I just have a bleeding heart and feel like I can solve everything and help everyone. It's another part of the overwhelming feeling because I get let down when I realize that's not realistic. I can only do so much I guess.

Anyway, I work with some awesome people. EVERYONE I've met, whether they are a math teacher or not and even teachers from different grades have come up to me and asked if I needed help, materials, advice, or to vent that I could come to them. I'm glad to be around a supportive group of people. Makes me feel a little more at ease. I absolutely LOVE having my own classroom. It's still surreal when I use my key to unlock the door. Today my name banner got put up in front of my door and so now it looks real official! I also FINALLY got my important employee ID number & my county laptop. I was having to submit attendance manually everyday & had no way to log in to computers, so that was another challenge to face. I even had an IEP meeting & the students had an 8th grade writing test. Whew! Talk about overwhelming.
I honestly don't think people know how much a GOOD teacher has to do in a day. Like just follow one of us around 1 day & see how tired you'll be. I just want to sleep good, have fun, & relax for a bit.
BUT, I'm going to a Big Sister meeting for Big Brothers, Big Sisters of ATL tomorrow morning. After that though, I'm going to see my best friend forever (my sister) to stay with her for the night. I'm excited! I miss her and I love catching up with her. She's the one person I can truly count on & who understands me. I guess we'll have a 2  hour work sesh so she can do homework/study and I can plan with a normal functioning brain...I hope!

Anyway, I'm glad with how things are going and I think the good stuff will continue with my determination and by sticking to my goals list for the year!

Sunday, January 20, 2013

my dad: a self-made man

I have an interesting relationship with my dad. In so many ways we are totally different. We have different views on things, different personality traits, & different ways of responding to things. However, I've realized I also have a lot of traits I got from him. We aren't as close as we used to be, but we are a different type of close now. Now it's like when we talk, it's all grown-up business like him giving me advice about "big girl"stuff. Lately we've been talking about IRA investment accounts, insurance, careers, mortgages, relationships in general, etc. I wish we could be closer, but I don't know maybe it's just not the right time. Maybe (and hopefully) in the future as things settle down a little and us two girls grow up some more, we'll be closer again. But for now, I cherish these serious talks I have with my dad even if all that information is overwhelming. 
Tonight we had some family friends over and got to talking about those serious topics all together and then it ended up with just my dad and me discussing those serious topics. I guess I partially knew this, but sometimes just hearing more of what my dad handles without hardly ever seeming upset or stressed and knowing where he came from to where he is now, just shocks me. 
My dad lost both his parents by the time he was 18 years old. He graduated high school without his parents in Iran and that was it. He had even been kidnapped and placed at gunpoint until he gave the guys all his money. He can vividly tell you the story. Iran had a Revolution at the time, so he escaped on horse back. Went to Italy for a bit, and then ventured to America at the young age of 22. I'm 23 currently and to imagine going through all this ALONE, escaping in fear, and coming to some place where everything is unknown and English NOT being your first language is totally insane. He worked for basically nothing in New York. Had 3 jobs and was sometimes working 70 hours a week to support us. He told me tonight that when he bought the house we currently live in that he paid $40,000 in cash from what he had saved up. My jaw dropped because I was like "how is that even possible?" My dad is seriously smart especially when it comes to finances. My dad busted his ass and worked hard all his life on HIS OWN! He was telling me, you just have to be smart with your expenses. He currently has 26 bills he pays monthly, 26 bills! How do you even keep up with that? He has NEVER missed a payment and his credit score shows it. He said something like, "See, I paid that money, I bought 3 houses, I bought 4 cars, I paid 4 insurances, I put/am putting my 2 daughters through school (partially), and we still have gone on vacations pretty much every year." Let me remind you, that my dad had basically no guidance, barely any money, and no college degree when he came to America. Sometimes he says things like, "I wish I could make more money or do more," and I tell him ,"Dad, given your circumstances you should be really proud of yourself." There are people who are given everything and have so many opportunities and still aren't where he's at.
So although our relationship is kind of an odd one, I can say I truly respect my dad and look up to him in many ways.  Even with all that he may have going on, he still pushes forward and is always positive. I'm glad to have a dad who has worked hard, made it to where he is on his own, & continues to thrive for more and never settle. My talks with him about this stuff always encourages me to work for more and have those same traits.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Taking Risks & Making Changes...

I definitely try not to hold on to the negative past events, but I realized that exactly 2 years ago today my heart was shattered, my mind was lost, I was so low that I didn't know how I was ever going to make it through nor did I really want to. Now fast forward to the events that occurred today... I started a HUGE new chapter in my life. I am officially an 8th grade math teacher with my very own classroom! So ironic right? It's still so very surprising to me that I have handled things with so much strength. I don't feel that extreme pain when I think back, I don't dwell on those dates anymore, I don't linger on those thoughts/feelings. Like I've said before, it will NEVER be okay and it'll always have some affect on my mindset. That's just how things work. However, that event did not break me as a person. It almost did, but I made it through. And now look; I'm on to bigger and better things. I worked hard and put forth a lot of dedication to get to where I am now. And I'm definitely not stopping anytime soon if ever! I've begun to realize that my hunger for more is almost scary at times, but it keeps me moving forward. 

Ever since last year I wanted to work on being a more fearless person. It takes a lot of convincing and believing in yourself, but I think I've gotten rid of the fear that held me back before. Yes, I get nervous about things. I still experience serious anxiety moments at times. However, it's not fear. I took the step by getting certified to teach math. I was stressing big time about failing the test, but I passed. I even questioned if was even worth taking the test. Obviously it was worth it because I landed a job about 2 months later. Then I got to interviews, which I was happy to even get a chance. Then the email saying I got the job. I was in such shock.  I took risks & am making changes. I accepted a position working with 8th graders without any middle school teaching experience, as a first year teacher, AND mid-year (let's not forget that Spring semester is the standardized testing season!). I was thinking, "Wow, I am crazy! Given all these challenges, I'm still up for it & ready to take it head on!" Yes, it's overwhelming. Yes, it's going to be stressful at first. Yes, I'm going to have my work cut out for me. Yes, I'm going to be a zombie some days. Yes, I'll probably feel confused or frustrated occasionally. However, instead of being afraid I thought, "Well, if THEY knew that I never even did student teaching in middle school, am a first year teacher, and that it's the middle of the year, AND they STILL want to hire me, then they must have a lot of faith in me to do well. Therefore, I should have faith in myself because I know my work ethic and determination." So, it's risky, but you can't go your whole life being afraid. Some risks you have to take as a challenge.

If you know me well, you know I absolutely love horoscopes and I think generally they hold true. Well around New Years I read my year overview horoscope (Scorpio-- and it mentioned how this was a time of death & rebirth for Scorpio. Basically getting rid of certain aspects of me or my life & then experiencing transformation. It seems like a lot of aspects are starting to change in my life (in a positive way). This career is a big one like I said before, but I feel it's just the beginning. It's going to snowball into more positive and big changes. I like where this is going so far...

Pressure makes Diamonds. (I still live by that and always will)

*P.S. I might include teacher updates while still keeping with the normal flow of my blog, just for family or friends who might be interested AND of course for me to look back at in the future. So, my teaching update for today goes as follows (might be kind of random updates): I didn't officially start teaching today. My official start date is January 22nd. Today I met the teacher that is leaving, met my students, met a bunch of staff, obtained a BOAT load of information (about grading, behavior, meetings, policies, teaching tips, who to go to for what, schedules, & so much more), & got acquainted with my classroom! :D I can't wait to spruce it up & add my own touch. The kids REALLY loved the present teacher, some were even crying to find out that he was leaving. So, it looks like I have big shoes to fill. It's all VERY overwhelming. I have a lot to soak in, but once I get in the routine of how things work I think it should smooth out. All the staff that I met seemed so supportive and offered to help me and guide me. I will be working 8:15-4:30. Oh and I really realized how tiny I am today. Not kidding 90% of them are taller than me. While walking in the hallway during transitions I kind of blend it with the crowd (haha), could be good & bad! I hope they'll like me and that I help them succeed because I am definitely going to dedicate a majority of my time & thoughts to this career/my students. Stay tuned for more! :)