Friday, February 26, 2016

Going Around in Circles

Warning: This post is painfully detailed with school related thing. You'll probably be too bored to finish reading it. I'm only publishing it so that next year when I'm happily teaching and the kids are happily in school, I can look back and remember the ridiculous process it took to get us there. 

Instead of blogging, I have been drowning in online forms. So much needs to be completed to prepare for next school year. I swear, every item I think I can easily do requires multiple steps, many of which must be completed by other people or adhere to different timelines.

Here are a few of the tasks I am struggling to complete:

Register Jackson for kindergarten
Regardless of what school Jackson attends next year, I have to register him at his home school first, then potentially request a transfer to another school. This could be tricky if it's a magnet school with spots already filled, or across county lines. 
Just to register him at his home school I need:
  • enrollment form
  • birth certificate
  • proof of residency
  • immunization record
  • health assessment (completed by physician)
I'm also trying to get his 5 year well check scheduled, but we had to get insurance straightened out first because his card didn't list the correct Primary Care Physician. Again, the simplest things seem to be unnecessarily complicated!

Update resume and references
The resume is now complete, but it took a lot of effort. I actually updated my resume last year and saved it on my notebook. When I was struggling to finish my 100 page photo book a few weeks ago, I transferred all of my photos and documents onto the external hard drive to try and clear up disc space on my notebook. Unfortunately, this was the same hard drive that crashed and cannot be recovered. Ugh! So I started over. I probably forgot some things, but if I don't remember it enough to include on my resume, it probably didn't impact my teaching that much.

The other challenge with my resume was avoiding a three year gap. I considered going with a skills based resume rather than a chronological work experience resume. I decided to list my involvement with the church. Technically, I do everything the previous Director of Christian Education did, I just don't get paid for it.

I have yet to complete my references page. As far as the church experience, our former pastor left nine months ago. The interim pastor has only been here for six months. I decided to ask the Clerk of Session. Both of my principals at my previous two schools have retired since I stopped teaching, so it's been harder tracking down current contact information. Once again, nothing was easy about my resume or references.

Apply to local schools/ districts
So far I have completed and submitted ONE application--to a charter school. It was the 5 page application with 20 short essay questions. (The one that I completed, saved incorrectly, accidentally emailed a blank copy to the administration, then had to start completely over!)

I tried to apply to Cabarrus County Schools, but it seems that you have to apply to specific positions in order to complete an application. The only current openings are for the end of the current school year, so I don't want to apply to those. I keep checking, but I assume I need to wait until positions are posted for the 2016-2017 school year. I was hoping I could just have my application on file so I could begin emailing principals.

I'm in the process of reapplying for CMS, the school district where I previously taught before resigning. CMS applications are open, which mean I can complete an application without selecting a specific job. All of the information on file is from 2010, when I applied for the transfer fair. I have to upload copies of everything possibly related since then (Praxis scores, current teaching license, grad school transcripts, National Boards, etc). The challenge is that you can only complete one section at a time before moving to the next section. I keep thinking I've got everything I need, only to realize the next section has me back in the attic or filing cabinet searching for another required item.

Renew my teaching license
It just so happens that my teaching license expires in June this year. If I were currently teaching, my school system would automatically take care of the renewal forms. Since I am not, I had to create an online account and find out the requirements on my own. You used to be able to use your National Boards to automatically renew, but the new renewal requirements omit National Boards. I feel confident that I have over 8 CEU's, but I no longer have access to the professional development transcripts since I'm not teaching. According to the website, you can't renew until late April/early May. In the mean time, I can't seem to figure out how to confirm I have enough credits in the right areas (3 content, 3 literacy, 2 general). If I don't have enough credits (which I truly can't imagine is the case), I might be screwed. So far, I haven't made any progress in this task.

Enroll trio in full time childcare for 2016-2017 school year
This task has involved lots of emails, pros and cons lists, and maps.
A nanny was immediately ruled out. I don't like the idea of relying on one person (i.e. I don't want to be late or take a day off if she has car trouble, a sick kid, vacation, etc). There were too many logistics with a nanny that I refuse to consider (providing transportation with three car seats, benefits, taxes, paid leave, interviewing and finding a person I trust that does not lose her patience in high stress situations). Also, I would really like to enroll the trio in preschool but there is no way we could afford preschool and a nanny.

Here are some of the things we took into consideration, in order of importance:

  • Time--We needed a full day program. I looked at a lot of preschools with extended hours, but most all of them started at 9 a.m. 
  • Cost--I could not justify going back to work if childcare exceeded $2k a month. 
  • Location--This is tricky since we don't know where I'll be working yet. We tried to look at places closest to Jesse's school.
  • Educationally based--I really wanted something with a legit preschool program, not a random in-home daycare or babysitting service.

The trio would likely qualify for Head Start, but the locations were very inconvenient and none of the teachers are licensed. I priced some daycares, but they were way out of the budget, even with sibling discounts.

We are hoping to continue with our original plan to enroll the trio in the child development center for CCS employees. The price is right (or at least under $2k). All staff members are licensed birth-preK. The hours are from 6:30 a.m. to 5 pm. And the tuition includes lunch as well as a morning and afternoon snack. The only problem is the location. It is 30 minutes from the house, and 15 minutes further out from Jesse's school. This will add an extra hour of driving to his day. Granted, I spend an hour of driving every day I take Jackson to/from school. While the drive time is not ideal, everything else is a pro on our list. We are currently on the wait list and just waiting for enrollment period to open so we can secure three spots.

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After I complete the above tasks, I need to actually secure a job. Hopefully it will be a job I like and a school where Jackson can attend. If it is a K-5 school I'll complete transfer forms so he can hopefully attend the school. If it is not a K-5 school, we'll figure out before and/or after school care.

Have I mentioned how much I hate change? Unknowns? Things out of my control?

The kids have been a handful this week. We've all had colds. Tensions are high, tantrums are frequent, and I'm feeling overwhelmed to say the least. I can't wait until we have answers. I know I just need to breathe and rest assured that everything will work out as they should. I'm just so tired of spending more time thinking about the future than enjoying the present. 

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