Saturday, June 29, 2019

Would You Want Your Child To Go Into Teaching?

Didn't I just post a picture of Sarah getting accepted into Syracuse?  Seems like yesterday!  Last month, she graduated and started working less than a week later at a PR Firm in NYC.  Already been living there a month!!  A very proud mama! (Leave it to Sarah to find a graduation dress that had oranges on it!  She's posing with Otto the Orange....one of the cutest mascots out there!)



She's pictured with her best friend.  Happy to say that he's already accepted an awesome teaching position!  A true asset to our profession!  Don't they look like babies when they got accepted? Proud of BOTH of them!  (Both had jobs before graduating, too!  Yahoo!)

I'm excited for her friend because he has such a passion for teaching and I know will be dedicated and truly make a difference in the lives of so many. 

My husband and I have been teaching for over 55 combined years.  We have loved it.  Most of it...

Yet, I am relieved neither of my own children have picked the profession.  Eek...Hard to believe I'm saying that.  Yes, there are many rewards but at the same time, so many obstacles/stresses and it seems like a constant uphill battle these days with less and less support.

New teachers in NJ are now set to retire at 65 and soon may be 67. 

SIXTY-SEVEN!

In my case, I'm not new but guess what?  Even though I have over 25 years and will be 55 in two years, I am not allowed to retire.

Say what?

When I started teaching, that was what I was told.  I believed it.  I took off for four years and returned back to teaching in 2011.  Our Governor back then - Chris Christie (not a friend of teachers!) changed some laws and suddenly, I am now Tier 5 and can no longer retire until I'm 65 if I want my full pension benefits that were supposed to be mine at 55.  (For the record, I never thought I'd retire at 55...I really love teaching.  But that was always an option.)

I has no idea that laws changed and when I tell fellow teachers, they say, "At least you're grandfathered in."  Nope.  Not true.

So, I will be teaching over 40 years by the time I'm allowed to retire?  Hmmm...can you imagine how top heavy the profession in NJ will be?  And the changes have been way more than that.  The 65 rule (soon to be 67) is just one of the terrible changes that affect me.)

My brother and I were talking last year about some mutual friends.  Many had cancer/health problems and he said, "Once you hit 55, so many more health issues creep up on you."

Yep.  True.  I just had cancer.  I need a knee replacement due to getting hit by a car when I was nine.  (I've had dozens and dozens of operations so the fact that it wasn't replaced earlier is amazing.) 

I just can't see how it's a win-win for the future generations to be taught by 67 year old teachers who will be teaching for 45 or 46 years by the time they retire?  What is the average burnout rate?  Pretty alarming.  Take a look at this Psychology Today article.  Forty-one percent of teachers leave the profession within five years?!?!  If you are a teacher, is it really surprising?

I'm not bashing older teachers...I am one!  But do we want a slew of almost 70 year old teachers teaching our young kids?  I don't think so. 

Getting older is hard!  I never thought I'd retire at 55 but I bet I would have now if I could due to my health issues.

To say I'm bitter the rules have changed is an understatement.

So, yes, teaching is rewarding but so are many other professions that pay much, much, better and have better benefits, and are way less stressful. 

What do you think?  Would you want your child to follow you into the profession?

Wednesday, June 26, 2019

Latest Binge-Worthy Shows

Happy Summer!  Today was my last day!  Time to relax and unwind!



When I was home for six weeks recovering, I had lots of time (too much?) to watch TV.  Here are some shows I discovered and LOVED!  Maybe you'll find a gem here for you, too!



This is my favorite of the bunch.  However, I don't love the trailer and it doesn't do the show justice. I seriously cannot express my love of this show enough.  My daughter discovered it and she is the target age...not me!  But I just love the strong female characters and I so love the fact that the head of Scarlet Magazine (JAN!!! From The Office!) is NICE and SUPPORTIVE...no boss from hell here!   A boss I'd want my own daughter to have. Lots of layers and depth to this show.  Three seasons (10 episodes each) have me waiting impatiently for a fourth. On ABC Family.  I watched on Freeform on my iPad.

From Freeform:  A glimpse into the outrageous lives of Jane, Kat and Sutton, who are working at the nation's top women's magazine, Scarlet, while navigating their careers, identities and individual voices. This next generation of unapologetically fierce working women is primed to take on the world and smash the patriarchy — one selfie at a time.




Everyone seems to have watched this!  On Lifetime but streamed on Netflix a few months later.  From Lifetime: Starring Penn Badgley, “YOU” is a 21st century love story that asks, “What would you do for love?” When a brilliant bookstore manager crosses paths with an aspiring writer, his answer becomes clear: anything. Using the internet and social media as his tools to gather the most intimate of details and get close to her, a charming and awkward crush quickly becomes obsession as he quietly and strategically removes every obstacle – and person – in his way. The series also stars Elizabeth Lail, Luca Padovan, Zach Cherry, and Shay Mitchell, with a special guest appearance by John Stamos.  Season 2 will only stream on Netflix.




From Netflix: Jen's husband recently died in a hit-and-run, and the sardonic widow is determined to solve the crime. Optimistic free spirit Judy has recently suffered a tragic loss of her own. The ladies meet at a support group and, despite their polar-opposite personalities, become unlikely friends. A dark comedy.





From Hulu: From Executive Producers Lorne Michaels and Elizabeth Banks comes Shrill, a comedy series starring Aidy Bryant (Saturday Night Live) as Annie, a fat young woman who wants to change her life — but not her body. Annie is trying to start her career while juggling bad boyfriends, a sick parent, and a perfectionist boss.



A kinder, gentler reality show!  To be honest, this is the only thing my hair salon/nail place has playing so I watch it when I'm there and really enjoy it.  I have watched a few on Netflix and it is strangely calming for me.  I think I've been watching the oldest episodes.  I just love the way it's shot and the spirit of the show.

Would love some recommendations if you have them!

Happy watching and an even HAPPIER SUMMER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Tuesday, June 25, 2019

My Puppy Pal Likes (Quick Review Game!)

Here's an easy game I play often at Morning Meeting.  It's a typical review game but my goodness...ever since I added a puppy or another stuffed animal friend, the kids love it!




How to play My Puppy Pal Likes...

1. I hold a stuffed animal puppy and say, "My puppy pal like words that have a short vowel in them." or "My puppy pal likes odd numbers."  You get the idea!  Any subject/area of review works.

2. I then give an example to model for them.  "My puppy pal likes the number 7."

3. If answer correct (odd numbers here), the class gives a bark.  (NOTE: Because it's supposed to be quick, ONE bark that you practice together is best.)  If answer given was an even number such as 202, no one would bark and child tries again.

4. Then I pass the puppy pal to the next person and we continue until everyone has a turn.

Easy and fun, right?  An easy game but really gives you helpful information.  Answers that are 1, 3, 5, 7, 9 are as telling as those who come up with 1003, 28,287, etc.

To change it up, we play with various stuffed animals...usually one bought at Kohls.

Grab the certificates if you feel it would help generate conversation at home.  For this game, everyone would get one...no winners here!

ENJOY!



Sunday, June 23, 2019

Four Corners Game

This is a favorite of my First Graders.  Have you played with your students?  If you've never heard of it, here it is in a nutshell.




1. One person is the counter.  Can be teacher.
2. Point out all four corners in classroom. 
3. As you cover eyes/put head down, count to 10 as kids go to one of the corners,
4. After counting to 10, counter says, "Corner, ___"
5. Those kids in that corner are out and you start again until one student left.
(When down to last two-four, I tell them that they all must be in a different corner.)

It's that simple.  The kids really go wild over it and they ask to play it often.  A fun Morning Meeting Activity, great ice-breaker, fun brain break.

Grab the certificate above if you'd like.  Just another way to generate discussion at home!

Updated POP Post to include certificate if you'd like it.


Enjoy!

Friday, June 21, 2019

Sparkle, Sparkle, Poof! (Spelling Game)

Am I the only one that JUST learned this game?  One of my Firsties taught it to me two weeks ago.  How did I miss this game?  What a fantastic way to reinforce spelling/sight words. Although late to the game, we've been having fun playing it to review our sight words before summer break.



The version I was taught:

1. Have kids stand in a circle.
2. I shout out one of our sight words.
3. The first person says first letter, second person says second letter, etc.
4. When word is spelled, the next player says SPARKLE.
5. The person after them says SPARKLE too.
6. The next player says POOF and is out.  They sit down.
7. Repeat with new word until only one child left.

Isn't that easy?  Fun?  But you probably already knew that! Feel free to grab the certificate by clicking picture above.  I like to send these home just so parents can have another talking point with kids.  Especially those kiddos who don't share any details about their day.

Have a good day!

DAY
D
A
Y
Sparkle
Sparkle
Poof!

Sunday, June 16, 2019

PSA: See Something? Say Something!

In my case, it isn't the NY Subway commercial I'm talking about...Nope.  This has to do with the big C.  Cancer.  After not having my period for two years, one night, it magically reappeared for a few days.  It was exactly one month after my mom passed away and my first split second thought was to blame it on the stress I had been dealing with for six months. 



Since it was the most stressful time in my life, it made sense.  But I also Googled three seconds later and read that it was the Number 1 sign of Uterine Cancer.  However, in the next sentence, it did say that 90% of cases turned out to be non-cancerous.  I was hoping I was in the 90%.  Nope.

I had surgery (Full hysterectomy) on April 9th and a week later, I found out that I was cancer-free!  No chemo or radiation needed.  Going into the surgery I did know that there are TWO types of Uterine cancer and I did have the "better" one.  Coming out of surgery, I also knew that my sentinel node was clear. So I was expecting good news with fingers crossed. 

Anyway, two things:

1. I am shocked how many people I've shared this story with that have bled from time to time long after periods have stopped and didn't get it checked out.  Don't be that person.  Go.  Chances are, it's a polyp.  I'm glad I made an immediate appointment.  My oncologist said that Uterine cancer gives signs/warnings unlike Ovarian.  My ONLY sign was the above and two weeks later spotting one night.

2. If in the NJ area and you find yourself in a similar situation, let me know and I'll help you out in any way I can starting with sharing my Drs. name who trained at Sloan. She was an oncologist/surgeon which is n't that common and her staff was top-notch! Within 45 minutes, I had to appointments books for consultations and I already knew I'd be going with her.  (When I called, I was crying and in such shock, I couldn't speak.  The receptionist kept saying: "Take your time,  I have all day.  We got this.  This is why people come to us.  Breathe."  It took me EIGHT minutes to get out my name and phone number.  Seriously.  Know someone having a hysterectomy? Give them this GREAT SITE: Hystersisters.  Seriously.  Who knew?

After six weeks recovering at home, I went back to school and my Firsties on May 23.  I feel good.  Tired.  Very tired but it is the end of the year.

Here's wishing YOU good health and remember: If you see something, say something and get thee to a doctor! STAT!