Friday, April 18, 2014

What's the Plan?

A friend posted this picture on Facebook the other day. I laughed out loud when I saw it because I can completely identify. I have spent a good part of the last nine months in that same spot as the guy in the boat. I am down in the pit, stuck in the water, and I don't even seem to have a paddle with which to propel myself in any direction and it appears that if I did, I would just meet slippery slope on either side. How am I ever going to move myself forward or dig myself out???

I know I am supposed to trust God and his plan for my life. "11 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." Jeremiah 29:11 (NIV) I understand this with my head and with my heart, but being an extreme planner and a bit of a control freak, it is hard to just sit still with this and not want to go, go, go, and do, do, do. 

I recently heard Rick Warren (author of The Purpose Driven Life) on The View of all places saying that when we pray the Lord's Prayer we should really focus on the part that says, "Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven." God's will is always done in heaven, but rarely on earth. We humans always want to have our hands in the pie. 

I know I am supposed to be still and not to worry.... just rest in the Lord. Yet my ego seems to get in the way often. I am a doer, a planner, a move forward at all costs kind of person. I am rarely still and telling me not to worry is like telling the sun not to rise in the east. My life verse has always been Philippians 4:6-7
Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.(NIV) I know these things. I can do these things. I have been praying and petitioning for days now.

I am about to go to an interview as an instructional coach for a local school district for their virtual academy. I would be lying if I didn't say that I want this job so badly! I have been searching for a long time. Mostly since July when I the teaching assistant job I was doing online was eliminated. I loved teaching online. I just love being an educator. It is not that I am not thankful for my housecleaning business. It has sustained us for almost 12 years now. But I am so ready to get back into education full time again. I am teacher at heart. I was that nerdy kid that did my homework first thing every afternoon and wanted to play school with my friends instead of playing games or running around outside. 

In my typical thought patterns,  I always think what would Elizabeth Gilbert do in this situation. She would pray or actually meditate. I have not even begun to attempt meditation yet, but prayer is second nature. Ever since one of my old camp instructors reminded me years ago that God is always with us. We don't need to pray, "God be with us." We can pray, "Thank you God for always being near, or Help us to really feel your presence." Prayer for me is a constant inner dialog or conversation with God. I have been talking non-stop to God since Tuesday morning when I received the call for the interview. 

The other thing Liz Gilbert would do is to actually write out her prayer. In Chapter 14 Eat, Pray, Love, she wrote about writing out an actual prayer to God to help in the resolution of her divorce. She and her friend the "signed it" in their hearts. 

Here is my prayer: 

Dear God,

I know I don't have to tell you how much I really want this instructional coach position, but I am going to say it again anyway. With that being said, I must also say that I want your will to be done in my life. Whatever the outcome of this interview, I will continue to try to walk the path that you have for my life. But I do believe that I am perfectly suited for this job. I am a teacher's teacher. I want to continue to serve you, by serving others. This is a job where I can use all the previous experiences in my life to help others to learn and grow and be their best selves. I also believe that I will learn and grow in the process of  helping these teachers. I have the heart of a teacher and want to share that with others. If it is truly your will that I land this job, please give me the right words to say in there. Make my heart calm and really let me feel your presence. I know you will be right beside me. I thank you for all that I have gone through up to this point even though the last year or so has really been a struggle. I know it has all made me stronger. You only have my best interests in mind. Thank you for loving me and guiding me. 


I have signed this in my heart and I am sure my readers will too. I can think of all of those friends and family who have sent me texts, Facebook messages, calls and hugs. I am truly a blessed soul!

Off I go...

Saturday, March 22, 2014

A New Resume'

 I have been working to work. In 2013, I lost 2 of my 4 jobs and have been working hard ever since to find supplemental income. I had been housecleaning, working as a caregiver for my handicapped sister, teaching online as a teaching assistant for Ashford University, and helping to care for my niece and nephew.

In late June, Ashford eliminated the entire teaching assistant position. We were told during what would be our last class, and when that course was finished, we were just done working. It was a pretty hard blow as I had never experienced a position just going away before.

At about the same time, my sister who is the mother of my niece and nephew had received approval from her principal to go down to a half time position. I was so happy for her and her ability to spend extra time with her children and do what was best for her family, but it was a double whammy for me financially.

I had been looking since late December of 2012 at our local school district and went on a total of 5 interviews but only for teacher librarian positions and did not receive any offers of employment. I have tried to get the teacher librarian endorsement through the Colorado Department of Education, but it is a long story and basically they will not endorse me in that area at this time even though my master's degree in Instructional Technology almost exactly matches the degree program that is offered by the only "state approved" program at the University of Colorado, Denver, even though it says that it is "offered, but not yet approved." I will have to submit a program approval if I ever want it to be considered and that is a lot of work. I am not unwilling to do the work, but frustration set in and I had to step away from it for a while.

I was never called for interviews for Elementary or English/Language Arts positions even though I hold endorsements in both of those areas as well as School Librarian, which is not the same as Teacher Librarian in the particular school district in which I was applying. I applied for 71 jobs in the district between December and September. Then I had to take a break.

I have also been applying for many online and/or other on-ground jobs for teaching, instructional design, training, libraries, and curriculum development. I think sometimes, the places already have someone in mind or that there are 100 other applicants for every job, so I needed to do something different to make myself stand out. Most of the time, I never hear from anyone. I have received some "thanks for applying letters, but we went with someone else." I have had no interviews or even offers of interviews.

In early January, I did a Pinterest search to find resume' ideas. I pinned quite a few items. I even contacted someone on there who had professional resume services, but he wanted $1500.00 to do a resume' for me, very much out of my price range. So once again, I empowered myself! I found one that was done by a technology teacher and she had blogged about it, so I read her information, printed out a copy of her resume and went to work.

This is what I came up with!

(For this published version, I excluded my phone number and the names of my testimonials people. Those things do appear on the resume' I send for job applications.)

The one that I found on Pinterest was only one page, but if I wanted mine to be readable, I had to do 2 pages. My words only resume' is 4 pages, so this one is faster and gave a visual of what I am capable of doing rather than just words, words, words.

What I had been reading said that most people only spend about 10 seconds looking over each resume' the first time around. I wanted to have something that would stick in peoples' minds quickly and be remembered.

Here is the one I used as my example.

Just like Ms. Otto's, I used Microsoft Publisher to make my resume. I looked up all of the technology icons and logos online. I took pictures of my wordle and my license and certification. Even though, I have never met Anna Otto, I will be forever grateful for her inspiration. If you want to see the article that inspired me, you can click Techie Teacher to go to her website.

I have been especially busy in the past month applying for new jobs and using my new resume'. I have been moving along with Colorado Christian University and received an email the other day for one of the four positions for which I applied that said there had been a large response to the professor job and they were still reviewing materials and would let us know when interviews would be scheduled. They haven't forgotten us, me! I also received an offer from Connections Academy to do a digital interview, which I will do this weekend. I haven't ever done a digital interview. It isn't just a Skype session. I will use my webcam to record my answers and then many hiring managers will have access to it. I guess I will have to blog about that as well!

I know God has a plan for me and I just have to be willing to keep on moving forward and trusting He will take care of me. The waiting has been hard, but I will just keep swimming!