I happy to say that I finished my student teaching with a grade of PASS! There are no letter grades, so pass is pretty awesome compared to fail or incomplete. :) I really enjoyed my time with my third graders. I was able to teach full-time and be the only teacher in the classroom for a month. It was challenging, rewarding, and so much fun! I must say, I believe I picked the right profession for me. In my patriarchal blessing I was promised that I would find a profession that would give me fulfillment and also give me the time for my family. I'm so happy the Lord has led me in the right direction.
After my student teaching was over, I spent the next month finishing my online class, applying for my Colorado Teaching License, and searching for jobs. I found a summer job pretty quickly and began working part time in the glorified position of Sales Associate at your neighborhood Walmart! I've been working there for almost 3 months now, and it isn't that bad, but it definitely confirmed my feeling that I am meant to be a teacher! While working at Walmart, I continued my job search for elementary teaching positions. I tried to ignore the hiring freeze, the lack of job openings and the budget cuts happening in our school district. I didn't get any calls for interviews, any response back from emails I'd sent, or schools I'd visited. I'll be honest, I was feeling very discouraged. Now is not a good time to be a new elementary teacher...
I still enjoyed my summer though! Jon and I had the chance to travel back to the motherland (Colorado) to attend 3 wonderful weddings! Two of my best friends in the world were married. Tabi on June 25th and Kimee on August 13th. Jon's sister Alli also was married on August 12th and 13th. (that weekend was a little bit crazy - driving back and forth from Denver on a time crunch...) It was such a joy to see all three couples sealed together in the temple. I think it was a huge reminder for both me and Jonathan of our covenants that we had made with each other and the Lord 3 years ago. Congratulations to Tabi and James, Alli and Chris, and Kimee and Aubrey! You all are such important people to me and Jonathan, and we are so happy that you have found happiness in each other. :) We love you.
We had to cut our last visit to Colorado short because I had two job interviews on Monday August 14th. I felt like both of the interviews went well, and I was super excited for both of them. I really wanted a job in education, and even though the district was not hiring for full-time teachers, I would be ecstatic to be a paraeducator and still be able to work with children. We got home on Monday morning at 2:30am, I had one interview at 9am, and one at 1:30pm, and the principal from Stanley Elementary School called me at 4:30pm that evening to offer me a job as a paraeducator! I accepted of course, and though I had to tell the other school I would not be able to work for them (very difficult to do by the way...) I felt a real connection with Stanley, the staff and the principal. I hope everything goes well with them.
School started August 16th, and I couldn't be there because I need to be processed by the district first. My processing date is tomorrow (8/25/11), and I start officially on Friday the 26th! I am very excited for this and even though I have mixed feelings about not being a teacher yet, I feel very good about this step. I've talked with many other teachers in this same boat, and I feel very lucky to have this opportunity. The position is temporary, meant to last only the school year, and it is hourly and non-benefited. I lose out on holiday pay and sick days, but I'll be doing what I love and gaining experience so that I can someday have my dream job!
I will also be continuing at Walmart for the time being. It is a decision that I've made for a number of reasons. My full-time job at Stanley is actually only 35 hours a week, so to add 10 to 15 hours a week at Walmart on top of that won't be too difficult to manage, and I can use all the extra money I can get right now. Jon lost his car in a crash in February, so we've had only one car this whole time, and we've really suffered from me not working from October 2010 to June 2011. I feel this is my time to make a contribution to our family and our dreams and goals. And hopefully we'll be buying another car here soon!
Jon and I also got to celebrate our 3rd anniversary this year. We had a blast going to see a couple awesome bands in concert a few weekends before, and then had a nice dinner out (dressed up!) and had a fun drive around town. We are still very happy and very much in love!
Sorry for the super-de-duper long post, but I just wanted to fill everyone in on what has been happening in our lives. We are missing Colorado, but learning to love Wichita and the changes it has brought to our lives!