Career, Job, Kids, Love of Teaching, school, Students, Teach, Teaching, Teaching and Learning, Teaching and Traveling

Spring as Told by a Teacher

Stages of Spring for a Teacher

Winter: Sure, the calendar says first day of spring.  We all know that in any northern state there is most likely still snow on the ground and even a possible snow day that week.  Sure, it’s all pretty in December and those in the south just want a “White Christmas.”  The rest of us would just like to see the sun for an 8 hour period of time…really, we’ll just take an hour.           winter
1st Spring: It’s getting warm.  It feels nice. You finally don’t need the parka in addition to your long sleeve shirt with a sweater.  The air feels sweeter. Crisper. Fresher.  Nothing would be better than sitting outside in your lighter weight jacket and soaking up some sun rays.                                                                                        happiness gif
Return of the Winter: Ha. Jokes on you.  After that nice 54 degree day where you were fooled into thinking it was spring, better luck next time Johnny.  Snow is knocking at the door.  Heck, you may even get another snow day.  First spring is just a cruel joke…just like that state test your kids are taking next week.       winter 2
Testing: Hell.  Enough said.  This month long period is nothing more than stress bundled with mind-numbing silence, high-stakes pressure, headaches, maybe even a side of an ulcer.                                   angry teacher
2nd Spring: Usually in the middle of testing season or right toward the end, the weather finally warms up, just like the teacher’s attitude.  The stress and pressure of testing begins to melt away and the weather can only make it better.  Warm breezes come through the window.  Happiness is floating through the building.  Outside recess returns.  This is usually the weather that finally indicates the end of the school year is quickly approaching.                                                      happiness gif 2
All the Fun Activities: Finally.  No more worries about standardized testing.  The pressure is finally gone.  Kids can be kids and have fun.  This is the time that we finally do some art projects, building projects, watch videos, sing songs, and additional recess time.  It’s not just exciting for kids.  Oh, it’s fun for the teachers!  We are happy to return to school and not worry about cramming in that last minute information before testing.  A test that basically determines our future as a teacher in some states.  Our job is fun again.              happy teacher
Bonkers: The second to last week before school is out for the summer is when I call it my “bonkers time.”  The kids are crazy. Listening has gone out the window.  It’s warm in the building.  Anyone who teaches from ages 11-14 knows that the kids go into spring fever of being in love with anything that stands upright, and the older teenagers are even worse.  The “I want to bang my head into my desk over and over again” is a daily thought.  This is when kids do those….strange things.  I’ve watched kids randomly take their feet out of their shoes to smell them.  “Don’t hump the wall!” comes out of your mouth more than once.  “How did the highlighter end up his nose?” type of questions.  The end of spring is insane. teacher gifs 4
Bittersweet Goodbyes: That last week of school is rough for a teacher (and technically still spring).  Sure the never ending amounts of paperwork, finalizing grades, sending home last minute papers, and cleaning out the room can be stressful.  Sometimes, I feel as busy at the end of the year as I do the beginning of the year.  However…that last day.  That last day is fun.  That last day is sad.  We may be lucky to see our kids next year in the building, but others will move on to another building or graduate, and we don’t see them anymore.  Some will send emails, even years down the road, but most move forward with their educational life.  Good.  That’s what we want!  Yet, it’s bittersweet.  Some years I cry when the kids leave.  Some years I cry with the kids in the classroom.  Sure, we have groups that we can’t wait to leave us, but most of the time we are sad to see them go.  We don’t know what their future holds, but we always hope for nothing but the absolute best.     goodbyes
Don’t worry teachers–you’re almost to the finish line!
Burned Out, Career, Job, Kids, Love of Teaching, school, Students, Teach, Teaching

Why Teachers Love Spring Break

I love spring break as a teacher.  In all honesty, I love it more now than when I was a student.  So why do teachers need a whole week off?  In two short months, I will be on a 2 1/2 month break (which really isn’t a break because a teacher’s work never ends), but why do we so desperately need a break?

I thought about this question yesterday after an insane day.  Insane week.  Insane month to be honest.  Let me put a few things in perspective:

My days consist of getting students prepped and ready for the high stakes state test.  Every day I want to pull my hair and eyes out while banging my head on the cement wall as my students stare at me with blank faces when I give a question released by the state. Let’s see…I come back from my very short (15 minute) lunch break this week to only find that during those short minutes without my kids, one child (let’s call him Billy) took another child’s head (let’s call him Bob) and banged it into the lunch table.  Oh, there’s more.  As he took Bob’s face toward the table, he oh so rightly aimed his nose straight into the straw of his milk carton.  Milk spilled. Blood everywhere.  I wish I was surprised, but after Billy stuffed a highlighter up Bob’s nose earlier in February, hey, shock is no longer in my vocabulary.  Furthermore, I have dealt with many threats in my district and those around me, including a school shooting only 25 minutes down the road.  The list continues.  So why do we need a spring break?

  1. First Real Break since Christmas
    • I will admit, this year has been full of snow days, but after months of testing prep, paperwork, lazy co-workers, insane parents, school shootings and threats, and so much more, teachers are ready for a few days to get away from the stress.                                                                                            happy
  2. Time to Vacation
    • Luckily, I have family on the southern east coast, which gives me time to get on that plane and leave.  I don’t want to just get away from work, I want to leave my state completely.  I finally get some sun, relaxation, and fun.   beach gif
  3. Break from Parents and Co-Workers
    • Sure, I work with some wonderful and amazing teachers.  Yes, I have fabulous parents that are supportive and don’t scream at me every time they see me.  Yet, I work with parents that think Joe Schmoe can do no wrong.  I work with a teacher that rarely pulls her weight.  By spring break–Bye Felecia.  leaving work
  4. Calm before the Storm
    • Oh, spring break….I love and loathe you.  Spring break brings a time of rest, relaxation, and my blood pressure goes down significantly.  My heartbeat is finally beating at a normal human level.  Yet, spring break signals one thing–state testing.  The bane of all teachers.  I understand why state testing is needed and necessary.  Sure.  Yet, those weeks are complete torture for my kiddos.  They stress out.  I see anxiety come out for 10 year olds.  They are told to be silent and sit still for hours.  It’s rough.  Spring break is fun, but it only signals what is to come.                                calm before storm
  5. Signals Summer
    • After spring break, and the dreaded testing season, it only means one thing–summer is on the horizon.  Spring is like a Red Bull for teachers to get us through the next 8-9 weeks.  A quick power up before the race to the finish line.  If anything, it gives us a good reminder that we can make it and finish our year successfully!                                               summer

 

All in all, have a wonderful spring break my friends!  Travel. Relax. Sleep. Try not to work the entire week off.  Visit family.  Have fun!  Finish your year strong!

xoxo

Your Wanderer

 

Kids, Love of Teaching, Mental Health, school, Students, Teach, Teaching

Teaching after a School Shooting

Today, I write with a heavy heart.

I am an educator in the U.S.  This week, we once again saw another mass shooting at a school.  My heart breaks.  My stomach churns.  I cried as I watched the videos.  Yet, our country turns against one another instead of coming together to find solutions to keep our kiddos safe.

Why?

A statistic was released this week that 18 school shootings have occurred since January 1, 2018.  Then different stories came out about each of these shootings.  Some shootings were due to suicides on school campuses but not in school hours.  Others were from bullets hitting a window.  A round of bullets being fired in a school parking lot.  The stories continued.  Here is the fact though: There have been multiple school shootings this year.  That is appalling.  For those screaming “There were only three, not eighteen!” Shame. On. You.  There was one, more than one.  It’s an issue. A large and scary issue.

As teachers, we go above and beyond to keep our kiddos safe.  We will, and do, put our lives on the lines to save your child.  We put our own families and children on the back burner so your kid is safe and learns in a welcoming and safe environment.

So why do I write this?  For many of my international readers, I always value your opinions.  Why?  Simple:

  • The UK has not had a school shooting since 1996.
  • Australia’s last school shooting was in 1996.
  • Germany, Finland, and Scotland have responded to attacks on schools with large policy changes.
  • Switzerland has high gun ownership, but school shootings do not exist.
  • In Germany, you must pass a rigorous psychological and medical exam if you are under 25 and trying to obtain a firearm.

Here are more facts:

  • Parents are waking up this morning with their child no longer alive in their bed.
  • Parents are planning their child’s funerals.
  • Bright minds and futures were extinguished this week quickly and violently.
  • The gunman legally bought his firearm, even after being flagged by the FBI for speaking about becoming a professional school shooter.
  • Our children need to be safe at school.

As a teacher, I find myself reading comments from individuals saying that teachers are “sitting ducks” and “too merciful” if a gunman entered the school.  Little do they know that teachers will fight to the death to keep their students safe.  I’ve watched, heard, and read individuals fight more about guns and firearms, instead of discuss the issue at hand and speak intelligently and respectfully about ways to protect our future.

Our kids come to school with problems–abuse, financial burdens, hungry, homeless, hurt, and broken.  They carry the worries of their parents and families.  Some do not know where their next meal will come.  These kiddos depend on our schools to keep them safe and away from harm.  School shootings should not be added to their worries.

Whatever your stance may be, let’s get one thing straight: We must protect our kids at all costs.  Instead of becoming divided on this issue, let’s strike a spark in our country to make a change and keep our children safe. 

We have parents, teachers, and students afraid to go to school, worried if it will happen to them, and planning what to do if the event happens.  Being prepared is a must.  However, what can we do as Americans to get this issue under control?  Other countries have, why can’t we? Let’s not forget this event and merely move forward.  Let’s spark change.

xoxo

Your Wanderer

Career, Job, Kids, Love of Teaching, school, Students, Teach, Teaching, Teaching and Learning, Teaching and Traveling

Top 10 Teacher Pet Peeves

Let me say. this first–I LOVE my profession.  Just like any profession, we have our own pet peeves that make us want to pull our hair out and bang our head against the brick wall.  So what are our top 10 pet peeves?

 

TOP 10 TEACHER PET PEEVES

  1. No Name on Paper–Please…please, just write your stinkin’ name at the top of the page.                                           name on paper
  2. Repeating Myself...for the hundredth time–When I spent 10 minutes explaining the direction, and a hand immediately raises and asks “what am I supposed to do?” my eyes slightly bulge and I have to count to ten in my head.              frustrated gifs
  3. Losing Planning Time–Yes, let’s take my 30 minute planning period that I am supposed to grade papers, create a differentiated lesson, answer emails and phone calls, create materials, and set up lesson preps and just get rid of it for something else that is a waste of time.                                 frustrated gifs 1
  4. Talking during the lesson–Maybe you’d know what to do if you stopped talking to your friend….                                       teacher gifs 1
  5. Long meetings–A short meeting?  What are those?  They do not exist.            meeting gifs
  6. Misbehaving during an Observation–We’ve all been there.           ill_kill_you_office
  7. Extra Credit Requests–Sure, extra credit is sometimes needed if a massive group of students don’t do well on a test (when in reality we should re-evaluate our teaching methods and re-teach the lesson), and sometimes one student does bomb a test.  I’m not talking about that.  We know that kid.  The one who never studies.  The one who has an excuse for every homework assignment or project.  No…no you may not get extra credit.                                            willy wonka
  8. Will This Be on the Test?–Yes.                            yes
  9. Seeing the Classroom as their Bedroom–I’ll never forget my second year of teaching.  I had a fabulous group of kiddos.  Yet, I will never forget a student who constantly lost his papers.  Finally, I asked him where he was placing them.  “I put them right here on the floor!  Someone must have stolen my papers!” No kiddo.  No.  That’s when I explained my room was not his bedroom.  It was an eye-opening and ground breaking moment for him.                                  why would you do that
  10. Do We Have To?–What do you think the answer will be? Yes.  Then Yes.             teacher gifs 4

 

But at the end of the day, we wouldn’t trade our job for anything else!

 

xoxo

You Wanderer

Anxiety, Anxious, Career, Food, Help Needed, High Functioning Anxiety, Job, Kids, Mental Health, Questions, Students, Teach, Teaching, Time Management

Anxiety Tips

In my last post, I explained some triggers for anxiety.  Dealing with anxiety myself, I was able to see some of the five biggest reasons for anxiety coming on and coming on strong.

As stated before, I have high functioning anxiety.  However, there are multiple types of anxiety that range from looking completely normal to outsiders to not being able to leave your house or enjoy social outings.  So how does one function or overcome anxiety?

Honestly, I don’t know if I can say you completely “beat” it, but you are able to cope with it.  One of my longest friends has dealt with anxiety for years, but it worsened when she was hit hard with depression as well.  She felt helpless and didn’t know where to turn.  As I spoke with her this week, she followed some of the same tips I did when my anxiety seemed out of control.  After a month, she was able to have a positive conversation and see the importance of mental health.  Is this a cure all post? Absolutely not.  However, I wanted to provide some tips for those who may not know where to turn, what do do, or how to get their mental health under control.

Included are 5 tips to help you cope with anxiety.

  1. Breathing Techniques–While in counseling and even seeing medical doctors, I found that breathing techniques became a way to give me a moment of peace.  Sure, it didn’t cure the anxiety, but it gave me a moment of help when things were hectic.  The saying “just breath” makes every single person with anxiety want to hit you over the head with a frying pan.  Learning how to breathe is a different story.  Counting to ten did NOTHING for me.  Alright, 1,2,3….this does nothing. For some it helps, but I found focusing on my breathing was what I needed.  Deep breaths in through the nose and out through the mouth.  The breathing was quick and short when I started.  I had to learn how to take in deep breaths and zone out everything else.  Only my breathing.  I also found that sticking my head between my knees while breathing truly helped.  It calmed down my heart rate, lessened any dizziness, and I could focus on just my needs.  Instead of focusing on my anxiety, I would purposefully turn my thoughts to something positive.  It wasn’t easy at first.  Plain and simple.  It takes time folks.  You have to retrain your brain how to think and even your body on how to respond.     breathing gif
  2. Therapy/Counseling-Going to talk to someone about your problems at a large financial rate seems silly and pointless to many individuals.  Why should I tell someone else about my problems?  They can’t help me.  Talking about it won’t do a thing, I need actions.  Well, for some individuals, this is a life saving action. Therapy and counseling has changed over the years as well.  Sure, you can talk to someone one-on-one or even in a group setting.  However, mobile apps, texting, video chats, email, and online chats can be a form of help as well.  If you’re unconfortable meeting with someone (especially those with social anxiety) try a form of email, phone call, or even texting at first.  Let me stress this though–mental health apps are not an alternative for professional therapy, but it can help with day-to-day issues and stress.  Going to therapy was a big step for me.  An embarrassing step to be completely honest.  It took almost 6 months before I saw results.  One session does not fix years of anxiety and stress.  Yet, I saw results. Going and seeing a professional was a life changing experience for my mental health.  I no longer saw it as a weakness, but strength because I was reaching out and asking for help.  My therapist gave me techniques and tips for managing my anxiety (many that I’m sharing with you), and gave me “homework” to do at home to help with my specific issues.  If you’re sick or have a physical problem, we go to a doctor.  If you’re having problems with your mental health, go see a mental health doctor.  There is no shame.                                                     therapy gif 1
  3. Media Hiatus-Why does taking a social media break help those with anxiety? Well, recent studies have found that social media has changed peoples lives…and not for the good.  More people have reported feeling worried and/or uncomfortable when media outlets are not accessible.  People panic without their phones, Facebook, Twitter, etc. The fear of “missing out” on something increases, and, believe it or not, social media is more addictive than cigarettes. Social media prevents individuals from even sleeping!  Those with anxiety are more prone to compare their lives to everyone around them and despair when it is not living up to this fictional picture.  Yes, I say fictional.  Marriage is not always perfect.  Your house, not perfect.  Your life, not perfect.  However, through the lens of social media and picture filters, everyone else looks perfect.  As stated in my previous post as well, this makes a perfectionist’s anxiety go through the roof.  Take a break from social media!  When my anxiety was at it’s highest, I shutdown my Facebook for 40 days.  Woah!  Tough, but as each day went by, it became easier and easier.  I didn’t care about someone liking my post or photos.  My relationship with my husband (at that time fiancé) became closer, and my anxiety slowly lessened as I couldn’t compare my life with those around me or worry about how many likes I may receive.  Although it causes anxiety for some at the beginning, it’s almost a time of rehab and getting a true reality check.   Read more here.                               social media 1 gif
  4. Body–Part of anxiety includes multiple aspects of taking care of your body! So what should you do/try?
    • Exercise–Not only does exercise help you become healthier and stronger, but it also releases endorphins, which triggers positive feelings into the body.
    • Eating Healthy–Eating better helps clear up your skin, keep your mind sharp, and give you energy for the day.  Don’t skip meals, and keep healthy snacks for energy boosts throughout the day.  With anxiety, comes indulging in junk food or “comfort” food, not eating, or eating too much.  Find a food that is healthy and you like.  This is probably one of the hardest aspects of life to change, but it can help you balance and control the anxiety.
    • Sleep–Aim towards 8 hours of sleep each night.  Oh no.  Definitely difficult with anxiety as I stated in my previous post.  So what should you do/try?  Limit screen time before bed and even turn it off completely. Do NOT check social media in the middle of the night.  Again, turn it off.  Have your phone set for only your alarm and emergency calls.  Try a few things before bed like reading, listening to music (I prefer classical or instrumentals), yoga, and breathing techniques.  Set a routine.  We do this to our children, why not yourself?  Set a bedtime and stick to it.  Again, it will be difficult in the beginning, but over the weeks you will see results.
    • Limit caffeine and alcohol–these two can trigger or aggravate anxiety.  Drink more water instead!                                                                                       exercise gif
  5. Medicine–This is always a touchy topic.  Why?  Some people think that medicine shouldn’t be used to treat mental health.  Others don’t want to depend on medicine for the rest of their lives.  Some are simply embarrassed at the idea.  My experience with anxiety medicine–it took the edge off, but I needed the other four tips from above too.  A small pill (with a low dose) did not fix me over night.  The side effects of the medicine did not settle well with my body, and I had to adjust my dosage and type of medicine to combat that issue as well.  For some individuals, medicine helps and gets them to a place where they can fully manage the anxiety.  Others don’t need it.  I am NOT a medical professional.  Speak with your doctor first on this issue.  They will know how to help you in the best way!

 

Will all of these steps heal your anxiety? Probably not.  Can they help? Yes.  Give them a try and see the results.  Worse case scenario, it doesn’t work.  On the other hand, it may just help you and your mental health.

xoxo

Your Wanderer

Continue reading “Anxiety Tips”

Anxiety, Anxious, Career, Graduate Degree, Graduate School, Help Needed, High Functioning Anxiety, Job, Kids, Mental Health, Teach, Teaching, Time Management, Travel Italy

Living with High Functioning Anxiety

Let’s talk about anxiety.  High functioning anxiety.

Why?

  • Women are more likely to experience anxiety.
  • People from North America and Western Europe are more likely to be affected by anxiety.
  • Anxiety affects 18.1% of adults in the U.S.
  • Estimates of 30% of people don’t seek help
  • Around 10% of those with anxiety…seek effective help.

As a teacher and traveler, I find myself battling with anxiety.  No.  I’m not talking about stress and I smack a label on it with anxiety.  I don’t go around telling every individual that I struggle with anxiety.  Sure, I talk about awareness with friends and family, but I don’t use my anxiety as an excuse at work or even at home.

There are so many types of anxiety disorders too: general anxiety, panic disorder, social anxiety, etc.

I have High Functioning Anxiety.  So what’s it like?  Truly like? What are triggers?

  1. Restlessness–The brain does NOT shut off.  This is a common symptom for people with anxiety, and women.  Why women?  Well, studies show that a woman’s brain chemistry is different and hormone fluctuations are also linked to anxiety.  Women are more prone to stress, react differently to their life events, and think deeply about stressors.  Bingo.  A person with high functioning anxiety can look calm as a cucumber on the surface, but inside their brain is going a million miles a minute.
  2. Time–I have found that people with anxiety focus on time.  They need to be on time.  They watch that clock. “I’m late!” is a common phrase…even though they arrive 15 minutes early to everything.  Time can be an anxiety trigger.  Being with a group of people that are running late? Anxiety triggered.  Someone else running late which affects a meeting or schedule? Anxiety triggered.          i'm late
  3. Personality Type–Although anxiety hits all types of personalities, I do find it interesting that type A individuals are more likely to be affected by stress-related illnesses.  Type A people are twice as likely to develop coronary heart disease.  Type A is achievement oriented, high-strung, intense, high individual expectations, and put high demands on themselves.  Can you see this as a recipe for trouble?  However, many personality types have traits and potentials for anxiety.  Read more here: https://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/anxiety-schmanxiety/2014/10/anxiety-and-personality-type/
  4. Sleep–Those with anxiety struggle with sleep.  Shocker? No.  Yet, you may hear that these people sleep waaaay more than the average person.  Here’s the thing–it’s not solid sleep.  It’s sleep that is riddled with dreams, waking up, and even panic attacks.  That doesn’t sound like a restful sleep to me.  So remember that your anxious friend may not be sleeping through the night and is realistically getting less sleep than you due to constantly waking up or laying in bed without actually falling asleep.                                                                                                                                                              can't sleep
  5. Silent–High functioning anxiety can be hard to detect.  Why? We look just fine and dandy on the outside.  Inside is where we are having an inner monologue that is freaking out.  I have quite a few close friends, a large family, a husband, and positive relationships with my co-workers.  Who can tell when my anxiety hits? My father and sometimes my husband.  It’s not many people. My heart races.  I zone out.  I’m caught in my own thoughts.  I need to be alone.  I feel fatigued, even dizzy.  My brain races. Chest tightens. These anxiety attacks last a few minutes to over an hour.  They feel never ending.  Yet, these symptoms are silent to those around me.  This is the hardest type of anxiety to detect.
  6. Perfectionist–Ah, perfectionism.  Maybe it’s my inner teacher, but this need and want has never left.  Those who struggle with perfectionism find themselves with anxiety at times.  Why?  That stack of papers over there needs to graded or at least filed properly.  Files are color coded.  Everything is labeled with the help of a label maker and in alphabetical order.  There is a specific place for everything. Unrealistic perfectionism can increase anxiety and, interestingly, they enhance one another.  Perfectionism leads to ideas of not being good enough or fearing mistakes. All or nothing thinking increases the anxiety, and most perfectionists see things as absolutes. Perfectionism is a major trigger (and even part of) anxiety. https://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/anxiety-schmanxiety/2014/05/the-link-between-perfectionism-and-anxiety/.                    perfect

So what do I do?  I plan to write another blog soon to give some tips on how to handle anxiety.  No, I’m not a psychiatrist or doctor, but I do struggle with anxiety.  Guess what? I also received help by a trained professional.  Getting help was one of the hardest and best things I ever did for my mental health.  Did the anxiety disappear? Absolutely not!  Was I able to handle it better? Yes.

Remember my teacher and traveling friends–take care of YOU.  Your mental health is just as important as your physical health.

“The thing about an anxiety disorder is that you know it is stupid. You know with all your heart that it wasn’t a big deal and that it should roll off of you. But that is where the disorder kicks in. Suddenly the small things is very big and it keeps growing in your head, flooding your chest, and trying to escape from under your skin. You know with all of your heart that you’re being ridiculous and you hate every minute of it.”

xoxo

Your Wander

Continue reading “Living with High Functioning Anxiety”

Career, Graduate Degree, Graduate School, Job, Kids, Love of Teaching, school, Students, Teach, Teaching, Teaching and Learning, Teaching and Traveling, Time Management, Traveling

Teacher and also a Student

Last year at this time, I found myself neck deep in work–completing the Ohio residency program, planning a large wedding, and finishing my masters program…all while also working full time.  As I reminisce this chapter of my life, I truly wonder now how I survived.  I had to take every day one step at a time.  I could get ahead in planning with teaching, but my nights were filled with making phone calls to the wedding coordinator and writing paper after paper for graduate school.

Here I am.  A teacher. A student. All at the same time.

So how does one work full time, attend graduate school with max hours allowed, and have a life on top of that?  What are the best and worst things about graduate school?  Are there ways to make it easier?

Let me break down the five most basic questions everyone in this position (or pondering this torture) will encounter at some point.  These are things I wish people would have helped me when I earned my degree in Curriculum and Instruction.

  1. How do I pick a graduate school and major that fits me?  Ask yourself:
    • Do I even want/need to go to school?  Yes. Read on.  No. Read one of my other posts. 😉
    • What am I good at?  What aspect of my undergraduate degree do I want to expand
    • What do I want to improve?
    • Online or Campus?  Let me recommend online as long as you can work basic computer programs.  Best. Decision. Ever.  I loved working in my PJ’s at home on my own time.
    • What can I afford?  In the good ol’ U.S. of A. we sadly have to pay most of our schooling bill.  It’s a sacrifice, but that’s the road to success.  When picking a graduate school, I looked at schools that had my major, provided online options, and would not dig me deeper in a debt ditch or contemplate paying student loans or eating.  student loans
    • Find what works for you.  Figure out what you want.  If you’re spending this money and time for another degree, it needs to meet your needs and wants.
  2. What is the workload like? 
    • Depends on your degree and work ethic.  Generally…it’s a lot. Plain and simple.
    • Can you type quickly or know shortcuts to search for key words to insert in a paper?   Can you use Google?  Sounds silly, but you’d be surprised.  Everything depends on your skills, work ethic, and time management.  For example, reading the entire text book in three days may not be likely (especially if you value your life).  However, I recommend using an online textbook.  Why? Ctrl + F baby.  Looking for a specific word or need information for a research paper. Ctrl + F.  It allows you to find what you need quickly and cut down on some time searching through hundreds of pages.  That’s graduate school.  Yes, you learn, but you have to find ways to eliminate times of waste as well.
    • Word smarter not harder. graduate-meme
  3. Is it possible for those with a family? 
    • Is It possible?   Absolutely.  Single mothers do it.  Parents do it.  Older individuals do it.  Young people with zero money in their pocket do it.
    • Sure, you’ll be busy.  You’ll need to set a specific amount of time each night (or day) to work on school work.  You may need your spouse to take care of the kids for an hour each night.  Maybe it ends up being video game time for the kiddos for that hour or two.  You’ll be exhausted, don’t misunderstand me, but it is possible.                     family and school
  4. What should I expect that no one will tell me upfront?
    • In my situation, the thing NO ONE told me about was the amount of group projects.  Oh….I LOATHE group projects!  hate hate hate                                       As I stated before, I earned my degree in Curriculum and Instruction which involved educators from around the country.  It shocked me how many teachers were lazy.  I felt like I was dealing with my students.  I found myself begging individuals to do some of the group work (as the workload was enormous since it was supposed to be split), and teachers would either not respond at all, put the work load on other individuals, or do 1/4 of the work, while I was left with the other 3/4.  What a pain in the behind. group project Furthermore, I found that professors–you know, the people who are teachers to the teachers, were giving those who did nothing the same grade as those who did all the work.  Sure, I told my professors what happened.  Yes, I explained the situations in the group evaluations.   Didn’t matter.  I only had ONE professor that graded us fairly.  You know…the way we are supposed to grade our own students.  So what’s the point of this rant?  There are things you will absolutely encounter and no one mentions–people are incompetent.  It doesn’t matter which department, which professor or peer…it happens.  The financial aid office “loses” your payment or scholarship aid.  The professor punches in the grades wrong and confuses your 96% for a 69%.  The dean stops reading your emails when you explain you’re not paying the university to edit and fix their technology issues on a daily basis.  Not like any of that has happened to me…                                      rolls eyes                                                          Hang in there folks, the end is worth it.  I promise.
  5. Is it worth it?
    • In the end (and for those of us who have to pay), yes.  Within my first 15 graduate credits, I received a pay bump.  By the end of my masters degree, I was given a more significant pay bump.  Although it may not seem huge right now, in a few years I will be making close to 10k more than those with an undergraduate degree.  Additionally, I will be making more every year as I get closer to that time where the pay gap is larger.  What about more than just the price?  Let’s talk about the fact that I did actually learn things essential to my career.  It helped me become a better teacher.  I learned new methods, technological tools, strategies, research, etc.  I came out of it more educated about my field.  Even with my frustrating time pursuing my graduate degree, I am so happy to have my degree.

Is this time stressful? Yes.

Is this time of stress, tears, frustration, dedication, and sacrifice worth it? Yes.

Learn more.  Better yourself.

“The roots of education are bitter, but the fruit is sweet.”~ Aristotle

xoxo

Your Wanderer