School has been overwhelming, successful, time consuming, difficult, eye opening, beneficial, and most importantly….life changing.
Friday was my last “official day” before Thanksgiving Break. The crazy part is that I have been looking forward for a break from school for so long, and then I was extremely busy with my classes that I thought I still had another week before break. That makes this break even better. During this next week I want to spend time with my family. I want to take my nieces and nephews out for one on one time with me. I want to watch the movie The Help with my mom and my sister. I have a brand new canvas sitting in my room mocking me…it has been doing this for about 2 months now…I am going to paint. I want to become “caught up” on all of my readings and other assignments. I want to sit in my house with a cup of tea with raspberry honey from Colorado and read a book. I want to go to a few hot yoga classes with my roommate. I want to sleep in. And then I want to get up early. I want to go through my closet and cleanse my stuff. I want to make big payments and get my financials in order even more than they are currently. I want to still go in to my 2nd grade class and teach on my “day off.”
It amazes me how quick this semester has gone by. Before classes started I was worried about getting up early and being prepped and ready to teach 4 mornings a week from 8am to 11am. And now I am complaining that I only have 3 weeks left in the class. I don’t want to say good bye to my students. I have become extremely comfortable with them. I listen to their stories, to their problems, to their goals, to anything they want to tell me. We read together, we write creative wonderful stories together, they see me…smile…and give me a hug. They are always sad when I leave on Wednesday’s because we won’t see each other until Friday. (I have a class on campus on Thursday) My cooperating teacher has become one of my friends. We text on the weekends and during the evenings. She has given me an awesome book to help me while writing lesson plans. She knows about my life. She is interested in my future. And she wants me to try and get a job in the school once I graduate. One of the students told me, “I think you should be our 3rd grade teacher here, so then we can see you again next year, and then we can be your first real students!” How adorable are 7 year olds? The days that I am tired or having a difficult time…I walk into the classroom and they are able to sense it. Those days they are sweet and caring, they ask me about my day, they want to sit right next to me and hold my hand when we are walking in the hall.
I know that my student loans are outrageous I realize this. I know that I could have applied for the education program when I was in my first 4 years of college, but would I have truly loved it then? Would I have worked as hard in my courses as I do now? Was I ready for that experience when I was only 20 years old? I don’t think I would have. I think I would have just passed my classes to be done with them. I don’t think I would have been comfortable up in front of 25 students teaching. I wouldn’t have felt like it was the right choice. But right now at this moment I know that it was.
Going back to school was the perfect push I needed to make my life better. Looking into the future is similar to dreaming for me, but instead of just imagining the “what it could be like” I am able to say, “I am going to have my own classroom. I am going to become an elementary teacher in this area. I am going to love my students. I am going to make this happen soon.”
I understand that it is going to be a lot of work. And at moments it will be very difficult, but after being in the classroom (even for just 3 hours 4 days a week) the good moments, no the wonderful moments out number those difficult times. I am ready for all those exciting moments ahead. I am ready to have an apple on my desk and my students at their desks.
Time to teach! 🙂
Nothing stays the same, but change. -my mom
I have been wondering a lot lately about the choices I have made in my past. We make choices everyday, all the time. Coffee or tea. What to have for lunch? Where to live? Do I go on a date with him? Do I go on another date with him? Do I marry him? Do I go right or left? What job should I do? Kids? What shoes to wear? What time to go to bed? Do I like my hair color? Choices. Everyday. All the time. Some of the more important ones for myself have included: My education. Where I want to live. Do I buy or rent? Friendships. My job. What about my insurance? Relationship. Financial issues. Parents.
I am at a time during my life where I can make big changes. I am graduating in May. Once I have my teaching certification I can move anywhere. Should I go across the country? Around the world? Do I stay local (where a lot of my family is centered). I don’t have a house payment holding me down. I don’t have children. I have the option to leave. I came into this town almost 8 years ago as a college freshmen. I thought I would complete my 4 years as a college student in a college town and then move. That track changed pretty quickly. My sister and her husband lived here. We are very close (even if there are times when we don’t talk as much as we would like, I love her and she is my best friend). Then my mom and pops moved here. I have lived with them on and off over the years, and I honestly imagine not living in the same town as them. They are my rock and my best friends. After I graduated I found a few jobs, and living with my ex-boyfriend at the time. I thought life was good, but I knew I was missing something. My career. I believe that your career does define you (along with many other traits). Then the time came, do I stay here…or do I move?
I decided to do the most logical thing, I sent in my application to go back to school. I was wishing and praying to be accepted in the Elementary Education program. I remember the day I found out I was accepted. Ironically, I was wearing the Hawk’s colors of black and gold…and I knew it was meant to be. I was going to become a teacher.
Now that I am almost done with my program the question is up again, do I stay or do I go? Some items have stayed the same, others have changed. Now my sister and her husband have a beautiful home filled with my amazing 5 year old niece, and crazy (but adorable) 2 year old niece and nephew who are twins. I have 4 other nephews that are hours away from me, and I miss them like crazy. How could I leave these 3 munchkins? Then there are my parents. They still live here also, but over the years I have become more close with them. Which I didn’t realize would be possible….but my mom and I talk to each other almost every day. And I call my pops for advice and to just chat all the time. I need to clarify that when I say pops, that means my step-dad. He came into my life as a blind date for my mom. My older sister and his daughter set them up on a date, and they have been together ever since. I was only 12 and he jumped in. What an awesome time to “gain” a daughter. Yes, he and I have had our bad moments in the past, but I adore this man and I never want to think about him not being my dad.
As for my career…I am of course working on my teaching certification but to pay the bills I have been working for the city for the past 2 and a half years. I work in a parking lot as a cashier. This job is wonderful. I am able to do my homework while I work, and I am offered benefits. This job has been a main reason that I have stayed here. I know that I would love to get a job locally once I graduate, but teachers don’t leave their jobs around here. The school that I am in for my classes is in a really good neighborhood and I love the community in the school. My CT told me that on day one, she could tell that I have the ability to connect with the students and I feel comfortable working with them. In a short amount of time and words this validated my choice of going back to school to become a teacher. How wonderful would it be if I was able to get a job in a school that I have already worked in for almost 6 months, and then be offered my own classroom!
Here I am in “my” 2nd grade classroom. I love these students, and they are teaching me how to become a wonderful teacher.
Making a difference…. Each day I get up, get ready, head out the door, and make my way across town to head into the classroom. I love how on the mornings that I am sleepy or cranky my students make me smile immediately and then I am in a great mood for hours after I tell them goodbye. Working with the students each day is amazing. I can see their progress. I have a rapport formed with them. I am able to create my own lesson plans and teach them. I love the fact that I am working towards my career that I can’t wait to do everyday.
So I have established myself here. I don’t own a house or a condo, I rent. I have my routines that I follow each week. I have my favorite spots to get coffee, and they know me. I have friendships that have formed since I have graduated. I feel as if I am a “townie”…not a visiting college student. One of the major questions that I feel like almost every person my age asks themselves is…”Is this all there is? Is this really going to be my life forever?” I am there. I am wondering this. I am happy currently. I love the way my has formed into what it is now. But is this really all there is? Do I want more? Or do I stay with what I know? If it is about comfort only, I stay. I graduate and find a job at a local school. I buy a house and continue to live in this town until…well for the years to come. If I move and leave, wow….I’m not sure if I am ready to even have those thoughts to come out into written words. I would guess by this feeling alone that I am ready to stay here. To be an official townie. This town, that was once seen as a college town to me would then become my official home. I think I am ready for this step. For this moment.
How do you know when you are ready to settle? Which I do not like using that word..settle…it seems like you are just letting things happen because it is the easy way out. When really, if you settle you could have thought out your choices and then make the best option for your life. Why is that considered settling? I would rather say decide, confirm, or establish. Yes, I believe I want to establish my life in the current town I am in.
until again, alc
Thank you for being silly with me. For texting and calling me all the time. For visiting me at work and standing outside in the cold just to be there to “entertain me”. To introducing me to some certain apps on my phone 😉 For playing Maroon 5 loud while we are driving around and singing along with me to. For being a wonderfully sweet man who I trust completely. I am so happy and thankful for you being in my life.
Over the past view years I have made new friends, lost some, and began to realize which ones will be with me for the rest of my life. I love when I meet someone new in a crazy situation, and after a short time I know that we are going to become best friends almost immediately. One of those friends is a man that I met more than a year ago.
The wonderful things about Dan:
- He is a true Iowan, with awesome Mid-West values and beliefs
- He will send me text at the perfect moment when I need to smile…how does he always know when to do this? 🙂
- He is kind and caring
- I know he will always be there for me, this includes helping me move in the future…going out for lunch…getting a drink…or calling me to chat
- We both love nature, and we have spent a lot of time outside enjoying it together
- He is teaching me about Iowa farming and cows, even better baby cows!
- He supports my decision for going back to school, and he always reminds me that I will become an amazing teacher. (This means so much to me when I have had a rough day in the classroom.)
Here is Dan and I at an Iowa football game earlier in the season. We bleed black and gold.
Learning how to farm the corn fields.
A perfect image for the end…
I have been having a rough past couple of days (almost a week now). A few days ago was the anniversary of my best friend’s passing. I sent Dan a text explaining my thoughts, and he called me right away. Then he continues to text me wonderful messages reminding me that each day will get better, and if I need anything to get a hold of him. This image of a road during a beautiful Iowa day one of the amazing texts I received from Dan. He took this when he was out one day, and he knows how much I adore nature. As soon as I opened the text of this image, along with the line “Just for you” I couldn’t stop smiling all day.
I know each person has a friend like Dan. Tell them thank you the next time you see them, or contact them soon and tell them how much you appreciate them. Everyone loves to hear it. Who cares if you feel silly telling them how much you adore them. Do it. Give specific examples, and continue this same process with all of your friends who touch your heart.
until again, alc
In the Midwest there is a lot of things we are very excited about that people from other parts of the country may not understand. Some of these items include:
- Farm animals
- Eating local produce, meat, diary, etc
- Actually knowing farmers who have live stock and crops
- The farm smells that bring comfort (pigs, ponds, or soy beans to name a few)
- Our Iowan mountains….that are really just rolling hills
- John Deere families vs Case families, which I am part of a Case family…. thanks to my Papa
- Swimming in ponds, creeks, and rock quarries
- The weather’s never ending ability to change throughout the day. You can go from turning on your air conditioning, to turning on the heat, to opening your windows, and back around again in the short period of one day…
A huge summer event that has become a favorite of mine is the Iowa State Fair. It is huge. It is fabulous. It is every year. And it is open to everyone that wants to buy a ticket. At the fair there isn’t just rides and games, but there is food. And all of this food is fried and on a stick. Those who are not from the Midwest may not understand how important it is to eat food that is dipped in batter, butter, and fried when you are on “vacation”. This year my summer vacation was going up to the fair for the day with my mom and my 5 year old niece. I had an amazing time with these two, and I can’t wait to head back next year with more of my family members.
Welcome to the fair!
Ribbon winning flowers
Her own bag of cotton candy (one of my favorites ever!)
Too many options to choice from….
Just blow drying a sheep for show. Hello Iowa.
Myself and a pig!
Rocking the full cowboy gear 🙂
Some of the rides
One of the many, many, many pieces of food that was consumed that day
She does love fried pickles!
One of my prizes!
I continue to think about moving away after I graduate in May, but really could I leave this state that has taken care of me for 21 years of my life? It is welcoming. It is cozy. My family is here. I know and love how the state runs. It is a good thing that I have time to figure it out still before any actions have to be taken.
What makes your state the best? How are you comforted by it?
Until again, alc