Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Friday, March 4, 2011

Leave Date Moved

I found out a few weeks ago that my leave date (currently set at mid-October 2011) had been bumped up to September, which is not do-able for me, given my brother's wedding is 9/16/2011 and I am in it. So, I'm back in limbo. I finally was able to turn in all my medical paperwork last Saturday, which was a huge relief. The only obstacle now is selling my house. Which is quite an undertaking. I'm almost hoping they bump me to a Jan/Feb leave date, since that would give me a full year at the new job, plus with Trish and Luke's engagement, that would ensure that I could be here for the wedding. Ahh!! I'm starting to get overwhelmed with all of the stuff that goes into selling a house.

Monday, December 13, 2010


I found out while I was in Aruba that I've been nominated for Peace Corps service. The program is a teacher training program, which means that I'll be showing other teachers how to teach English. This is a very exciting and also daunting thought for me to digest right now, as I feel like I'm still struggling to write good lessons for my own students! I've also been nominated to serve in sub-Saharan Africa!!! I'll admit, at first, I was a bit dismayed by this news, only because I had really set my heart on going to Eastern Europe. However, I also think Africa is a literal once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and I'm certainly not going to let it pass me up. But, it also comes with a lot of challenges that are unique and that I don't think I would've faced in Europe, for example, will there be clean drinking water? Will I have to walk 4 miles to a well to get clean water? What about the threat of contracting AIDS? What about my poor, poor Irish skin in the hot African sun? These are all fears that, while unvoiced on my part, my nagging family has acutely picked up on and vocalized in the form of many jokes and incredulous tones of voice. I realized today that I literally have 10 months until departure. Well, approximately. But still! So much to squeeze in before then. I don't feel ready at all to make sure a HUGE life change, and yet, I definitely feel as though this is the next step in my journey. So, I'd better get crackin'!

Monday, October 18, 2010

Peace Corps Update/Educational Musings

As far as the PC goes, I found out a while ago that since I bumped my leave date out to October of 2011 (to accommodate for T3 and Lauren's big day on 10/8/11) that the programs I'm eligible for don't open until December. So I am effectively on hold until then. Which is good because I have a TON of stuff to do in the meanwhile.

This weekend, I saw a film called Waiting for Superman about the education system in America. It was eye-opening, frightening, appalling, sad, and inspiring all at the same time. The most appalling part to me was how much power the teachers' unions have and how they are unwilling to use that power to do the most good--to benefit the students. That and the holding tank in New York, where some teachers that are awaiting disciplinary action are held for UP TO THREE YEARS--while receiving full salary and benefits!--represents (to me) the absolute greediest and laziest extremes of American society. The sad part is that for kids (like the kids featured in the film) who are intelligent but stuck in shitty schools--the options are limited. And the few spots that are open to them for the possibility of a better education and a better life are drawn by lottery. It is the only fair option in a desperately unfair situation, but still--it breaks your heart for every kid that loses the lottery--which seemed to be about 90% of them. The other sad part is that I feel like I don't know what I could possibly do to make that situation better. How can you fight some huge bureaucratic institution, like the NEA? How can people who are proud to call themselves teachers not be brave enough to put themselves on the chopping block and accept Michelle Rhee's offer of the choice between a slight pay raise (no matter what) or a big pay raise (6 figure salaries for teachers), based on performance reviews. Raises in most other professions are performance-based. Why not for teachers??? It makes no sense.

Regardless, today, I went and visited New City School, in the Central West End. They are a private school that has been around since 1969, and that has been incorporating Multiple Intelligence (MI) theory into their curriculum since 1988. They have a FANTASTIC new library that incorporates all of the 8 intelligences. Their staff is amazing. Everything about the school wowed me and now I'm thinking--how can I incorporate MI into my own lessons? Obviously it's harder with adult learners--you can't just tell them to go play in the sandbox and call it kinesthetic learning!--and the hardest part, I've discovered, is not having your own classroom where you can keep all the cool stuff. But, I'm determined to look into it more and try to find some sneaky ways to do it anyway.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Peace Corps Interview

Well, I had my interview today (via phone) with the Chicago recruiter. I think it went fairly well. She said that because I put down that I am not available until next September, that those programs don't 'open' until 9/15/2010. So, I have to wait until about 9/21 to hear anything back. But, that's okay. I think I'll be placed in either Eastern Europe or Asia, which isn't ideal for me, but I'm willing to do it for the experience. I'm excited that my application is progressing. The next step is for my recruiter to nominate me, which would give me an idea of what program I'd be participating in, what approximate month I'd be leaving, and what general region I'd be going to. Once I hit this step, I have to complete the mammoth health questionnaire. Wish me luck as I continue to perservere.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Good News

Well, I just found out that I have an interview scheduled for August 23rd. My regional recruiter is going to call me on the phone and probably ask me all sorts of probing, personal questions, like what my motivation is for joining the PC. I'd better start preparing.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

This is just a test

Hello! I'm trying to start a blog for my newest endeavor--the Peace Corps! This will detail all of the trials and tribulations during the application process and through my (hopeful) departure/placement in a PC country. I wanted to start it extra early because I'm not very tech-savvy, and I know it will take me a while to figure out the logistics of blogging (don't laugh!).
Right now, I'm at stage 2 of the application process, which means I'm still filling out a bunch of paperwork. I've been handed off from my local (St. Louis) recruiter to a regional (Chicago) one, who has told me she will be setting up an interview soon. Keep your fingers crossed that they think I'm Peace Corps material!