Tuesday, January 31, 2012

What motivates you?

Tonight on the way home I was listening to NPR and there was a story about workplace motivation and such. The gist of it was that though there are companies like Google who serve gourmet meals, and another place that eludes me right now that has Nerf fights, the perks of work are nice, but don't really satisfy or motivate workers. What motivates employees, apparently, is progress.

(Image from here via Pinterest)

That got me thinking that if this is indeed true then education must be way up there on someone's list of super-cool-jobs-people-want-to-have. Bear with me here... Ignoring the low salaries, the mounds of papers to grade, the incessant scrutiny and dissatisfaction of the public and the constant funding cuts/class size increases, etc. that make the job complain-worthy, the career itself does actually lend itself to very visible progress and success. Each and every day I see students who have the aha moment or understand a concept they didn't get before. On a daily basis (or at least weekly...) I get to see that what I am doing makes a difference. I can't begin to explain to you how motivating and satisfying that is.

That line of thought got me thinking about personal motivation. For the past 12 years I have devoted my life to being a teacher. I have always been the sucker with "yes" written on her forehead. "Amy, want to advise the newspaper, and yearbook and teach multiple preps?" "Uh, duh. YES!" "Ms. W., will you write me a letter of recommendation today since I've procrastinated on my college applications and I need it mailed today?" "Sure thing." "We're having an open house/ parents night/ freshman orientation/ whatever time consuming event you can think of. Can you be present?" "Of course."

Never have I minded. It matters to the kids. Therefore, it matters to me. My personal motivation was tied up within my professional motivation and I was quite content.

(Image from here via Pinterest)

Now, all a sudden that personal motivation I got from devoting my life to my career is in flux. Now that I am expecting a child, I can't see myself doing what I've done for the past 12 years. I can't see myself staying after school until I'm not needed there any more. My motivation now comes from family.

It is a true paradigm shift and I'm just now wrapping my head around it. I know that I love my job, but there is more out there for me in the near future. I suppose my perspective on what is important will continue to shift as I get older. For now, I am going to trust my (pregnant) gut and follow what motivates me.

What motivates you, dear readers?

Monday, January 30, 2012

I Believe I'm Published

Last year I wrote a little essay for a collection my school system was compiling. The prompt was: What do you believe in? It is based on the NPR series This I Believe. I tried to be creative. Really I did. But after many starts and stops and [Ctrl] [A]s followed by [delete]s,  I finally wrote about what I really believe in. Words.

I know, I know, cliche much? I'm an English teacher. I blog. Of course I believe in words. Nothing else I could come up with really felt like a to-the-core-down-in-my-soul belief. Though, ice cream was a close second...

I got my copy of the book today. My essay is on page 38. A very large picture of me is on page 39. Not everyone got two pages. I'm not sure why I did... I look like I'm not breathing.

But there I am. Ain't no denying it, I'm that girl who wrote that essay that was published. In a book. With a bar code and an ISBN number. For real, people!

While it isn't the "write a book" that is high up on my bucket list, it is a start. And frankly, it feels nice to know that those words I believe in so strongly mattered to someone.

There were over 400 essays submitted. I was one of 58 to be chosen. To me, it is a small step in the right direction.

So there you have it. They'll give anyone a byline and a bar code these days...

What's big on your bucket list? Are you going to just tackle it or take baby steps like me?

Sunday, January 15, 2012

The Best Thing Ever

I'm sure you, my loyal readers, have noticed my long stretches of absence. Annoying, right? I'm truly sorry. I promise I have a really good excuse...

I'm going to be a mom!!!!!!

(Image from Pinterest)

The first trimester kind of kicked me in the pants. I'd never been so tired in all of my days! I've always been a fan of a nap here and there, but during those weeks I'd literally come home from work, sit on the couch for a few minutes to rest and wake up four hours later just in time to go to bed. It was like my body had been taken over. No, it wasn't like that, that's precisely what had happened.

I had a sneaking suspicion I was pregnant about a week before I was supposed to start my period. I didn't want to get too excited just to be let down, so I waited a few days before I took a pregnancy test. It was positive! I wanted to do back flips and tell the world, but beau was out of town and wouldn't be back for about two weeks. I didn't want to tell him over email, so I held that little secret in and waited for daddy to come home.

Beau's birthday is in October and he was gone for it. I decided I was going to break the news to him while he was opening his birthday presents. It seemed like a really great present at the time. I didn't consider the fact that he didn't have pregnancy on his mind constantly. As soon as we started trying I was always conscious of where I was in my cycle and any changes from the norm.

So, to break the news I found the cutest onesie on Amazon and without really reading the description I ordered it with the other birthday gift I was purchasing. (This is why the onesie is purple. It looked gray in the photo.)

I still hadn't received the packages from Amazon by the day beau got home. I was pretty hormonal and the foiled plans really upset me. I was near tears.

But wait, was that a package on the doorstep as we pulled up to the house? Indeed it was. But it was too big to be a onesie. It was just the other gift. (Mind you, this was a gift I knew he'd be super excited about, but it wasn't the one I was super excited about. And that's what mattered.)

As we walked in I handed him the box and said "Happy Birthday" in the most festive tone possible. It probably sounded like Eeyore wishing Pooh a happy birthday. As beau opened the box I saw a flash of purple, ripped the box out of his hands, ran into the other room and yelled back to him that I had to do something. He was not amused. He told me under no circumstances was I to wrap his gift. I ignored him, but compromised by grabbing the gift bag that was on top of the box of gift bags. It was a Santa bag. Instead of tissue paper I stuffed the bag with the bubble packing from the box and was back out in maybe a minute. (Clearly I ooze class.) At this point beau was pretty convinced that I had gone crazy while he was out.

Maybe I had. Just a little bit.

His you're-gonna-be-a-daddy gift was this.

Cute, huh?

His reaction was absolute, utter confusion. I could see the thoughts as they sped through his brain. What came out verbally was, "This will never fit me." He thought about it a bit more and then it all clicked. "Are you sure?"

I showed him a picture of the test. (Since it would have been gross to have saved it...) I was sure. Tat and the pretty constant nausea had me 100% convinced.

Beau's going to be a dad!

His next reaction about 20 minutes later was that we were going to have to come up with $500,000 in the next eight months since kids are expensive to raise. Clearly he'd regained all sense of rational thought...

By the way, if this kiddo is a boy he's going to rock the purple onesie like a champ!!

Here's a picture of the peanut at the 12 week appointment.

I think the little one looks like he/she is giving us a thumbs-up.

So, dear readers, any advice for a first time mom?

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Trial post from iPad

Hello my friends! Sorry it has been so long since my last post. It has been very busy here. I'll get into the details of that in a non-trial post.

I'm simply attempting to post a multi-paragraph post to see if Google and Apple have learned to play nice. Needless to say, I have my doubts. Today I tried yo swiftly and effortlessly move contacts from my Verizon Droid phone to my AT&T iPhone. It didn't work. I'm moving them all over by hand. I've never wished I had fewer friends before...

Check out the romantic presentation of my iPhone gift from beau. He's just adorable sometimes... Why yes, that us a decorative red onion on the left. (btw, I do kind of wonder if the love message was for me or if I had stumbled upon his shrine to the cult of Apple.)

It turns out I can't size photos or determine placement through the app. Otherwise, it seems to be ok!

Does technology irk you like it does me?