Monday, November 9, 2015


I have been noticing it for awhile.
And maybe it's because I'm an adult, so I see more things, but I don't think so. I had a chat with my husband about it and he agrees. (He even repeated something I said, but when thinking about it on his own and not even realizing/remembering what I said.)
We are living in a reactive society. I think the more instantaneous things become, the more reactivity happens. I know the internet didn't create this problem, but it certainly extended it and amplified it. Social media, comment boxes on news websites or youtube, and things of the like are the biggest culprits. People see and they just respond. There is hardly any thinking in between, not to mention peoples' feelings seem to not matter on the internet, where you can say anything without a major consequence. (How do you think cyberbullying got to be so big and rampant?)
The following is an example of the scenarios I am talking about:
Person posts something controversial on Facebook or Twitter. (Or maybe it's not actually controversial, but they think it is, and they are possibly making a big deal out of it.)
Then it gets shared, both supports and rebuttals in every form get shared, and things are just generally blown out of proportion, feelings are hurt, people get mad at each other for either supporting said controversy or not supporting it, thus taking a while until the whole internet sweep is finished and things blow over. And sometimes things randomly pop up about it again. (Baited headlines do not help this situation one bit- neutral headlines do a little bit more, I think.)
Here is the issue: people need to stop and think about it. Yes, maybe something that was said or done is something you agree with, or maybe it's something you disagree with. I am blessed with the ability to look at almost any situation and see it from different sides/viewpoints. I know that this is an attribute that not everyone is born with, but I also know that it can be developed by deliberately asking questions about different viewpoints that may be involved. For example:
Why was this decision made by this party?
Why did this person say this?
Is there more to this issue than what I can see?
Is there someone I know who is an expert in this and can explain it better/help me see other possible sides to this?
Who is this life changing for? (By the way, if it truly isn't life changing for anyone, it's probably best to ignore and keep scrolling.)
What can the repercussions be?
When will this still matter?
Does this affect daily life? How much? Does it really matter in the end?

I am more than fairly certain that if these questions and/or similar ones were asked (there are many more that can be) by the majority of the people tinkering around on the internet, this world would be in a much better state and condition than the one we're currently in. You don't have to agree with or even like people to still be civil with them. But I think when more understanding is intentionally applied to situations, there is more love and support spread, less negativity is shared, and our thinking extends into higher planes.
Here is an illustration of Bloom's Taxonomy, which moves from bottom to top. The picture was taken from here.

 Higher order of thinking
Lower order of thinking

So, to end, I just ask you to apply more understanding to all situations, and apply a little more acceptance to people who don't think the same way you do. Spread a little bit of love around. The world needs it. And as my mom always says, "Stop making mountains out of molehills." 

Friday, November 6, 2015

Soul Searching...

I have been having some revelations of sorts these past two weeks. For the first time in a very long time, I have felt a lot more at peace with coming to these understandings and realizations about my career, which identifies me not only as who I am, but also my role in life.

I absolutely love teaching. It's so fun watching kids' lightbulbs turn on, master things, get excited, make friendships, and generally develop as human beings. While this is nowhere near a comprehensive list, most teachers will be nodding their heads in agreement. After all, these are just some of the few reasons why people become teachers and educators in the first place. They want to make a difference in the lives of children. Many feel that being a teacher is their "calling in life," and I'm one of them.

Unfortunately, being a teacher has taken a tumble for the worst in the past years, and I have watched it before my very eyes. Teachers in every state in the US are being asked, even required, to take on the most taxing tasks. Many good-hearted and well-meaning teachers take on even more than these to benefit the lives of the students, parents, the surrounding community, other teachers, and so forth. Honestly, I do not know of ONE teacher that does not go above and beyond all professional and contractual duties as outlined. Not one. Not even the "bad" ones. I've seen them go above and beyond, too. This is with time, money, brains, lack of sleep, continually trying to figuring out what to do with a student or several who may be suffering from one difficulty or many, talents, and the list goes on. While this is not always a bad thing, like I said previously, it's very taxing. But on top of all of this normal "call of duty," there are things required by school districts or legislatures that are harming teachers as they slop more on their plates, which is a very long list, and I don't care to or find necessary to discuss in great detail at this point. Just know that they get to be both cumbersome and burdensome.

If you compare the length of the 2nd and 3rd paragraphs, you will easily notice that the scales are already tipped out of the teachers' favors. It's becoming more and more this way, as well.

These feelings of frustration really resonate with teachers (at least me, and some others I know, as well) when they are stressed to the max. There are comics about teachers being overworked, and underpaid. And when these feelings resonate with you, you start questioning them. Especially when you hear all the seasoned teachers talk about the ridiculousness that's pouring through the cracks. (And venting to other teachers is a stress-reliever in itself, so LOTS of this talk goes on.)
How can you be a good teacher when so much energy is being sucked out of you by the demands of your job? (It's hard. Teachers lose it sometimes. Can't always blame them.)  When you feel vulnerable, you think about these vulnerabilities later.

So far, my time in the "chokey" has been quite meager compared to many others, although this is not by choice. It's been almost a year since I've taught (aside from a few sub jobs this spring, which I found out is not my favorite- I guess I like control of the reigns), due to the fact that we've moved to two states in a matter of about 6 months. I did get licensed in both states, and even had interviews, but I didn't get the jobs.
Since I've had about 10 months to sit and reflect upon teaching, I have forged a long journey, without even knowing it, maybe even until now, and no doubt it will continue. As I sit back and reflect, I'm amazed at what changes have occurred.

I am fairly certain that all majors in college/university are fed a little bit or a lot of "propaganda" to encourage positive feelings and promote the benefit of society. All jobs are important to society, even  (and maybe especially) if we don't know they're going on. Apparently I am especially susceptible to said propaganda, given my feelings of guilt toward the thought if I ever leave teaching. (That's not a joke. The things we learn about ourselves.) Then there's the fact that I'm a "people pleaser," and the other fact that "teaching runs in the family." (That's a saying among many teachers, and it runs true on both sides.) So basically, if I ever seriously considered leaving the teaching field and going into something else, I'd have strong feelings of guilt, letting people down (including those who don't even know me, probably), knowing how poorly people think of me, and the fact that despite everything I tried to do to avoid it, now I'm a "statistic."  Oh, and I completely turned my back on my calling in life. (Now what am I going to be good at? I will never excel at anything. Did I let God down?) Plus there are all of these stories about professional_____-turned-teacher.

As you can see, I might need to work a little bit on the positive vs. negative self-talk and over-active imagination.  (At least I minored in psychology, so that I can be fully aware of these things.)

We are all statistics for about a mazillion things, so this is one hurdle that I only identify with because it feels personal. This, I think, I can get over. Eventually. Given the amount of time I've had away from teaching, I have explored these confused feelings a lot more than while I was teaching. (You might self-destruct as a teacher if you entertain these for too long- remember how much stress I said is involved? You'd be a ticking time bomb.) So, back to exploring these feelings and ideas about what would happen if I "left" teaching?  This time has been good for me to do some soul searching. I don't have kids yet, but when I do, being a full-time teacher will interfere with our family life at times. That's a given. And I REALLY don't want that to happen. There will be times when I have to do report cards or finish writing some type of report or another when my kids would rather go to the swimming pool as a family. Or I have to stay at school until 8:00 PM three days in a row and my kids don't get to see me before they go to bed. There are countless possibilities- just ask another teacher. That is my first concern. My second concern is how much it takes away from my quality of life (due to being overworked and high "stresshold") as a human being, social creature, and family-oriented woman. And I only fear it's going to get worse. Sometimes my mom, who is also an elementary teacher, declares "I'm too old for this." (Which, technically, she is, given the fact that her youngest child is 14.) My third is a fear of betraying myself and others if I do leave.

I often tell people that maybe they probably shouldn't go into teaching because it's pretty bad right now and it's only going to get worse. I also think that in order for it to be better, a lot of teachers are going to have to leave/not enter the teaching field. And do I REALLY want to be one of THOSE people? After all, I do absolutely love teaching. Just not all the other crap that comes with it.

Last week, I came to a conclusion that ultimately, whatever I do, the most important thing is supporting my family in the best way possible. That means taking care of myself, husband, and future children mentally, spiritually, emotionally, physically, and monetarily if necessary. If I do this, I will not be letting anyone down. No matter what I do, I will still be a valued daughter of God who is an asset to society. This was a breakthrough for me!!!! Although this was a breakthrough, I wasn't resolute in this feeling yet, and still kept going back and forth a little bit.

This week, someone I graduated with posted something on Facebook about a teacher with a PhD who decided to resign from teaching soon after her daughter was born. It was in these moments that everything aligned for her to see clearly (and I'm guessing she'll probably be homeschooling her daughter and subsequent children, if there are any- just a guess, though). As I read the article and resignation letter and commented on it, my own focus came a little clearer, backing up the feelings I initially had last week. Then another thing was posted relating to football. A comment with the posting made mention that loyalty in any profession doesn't pay. As I read that comment, the logic in the statement that the same for any profession is true hit me. And I scrolled past, but I went back to the article. I didn't have to read very far to get the full message I've been missing for so long in my own life. The article reports that Deion Sanders made two statements. 1-) "It's hard for me to fathom that I gotta be loyal to you, when you're not loyal to me." 2-) "I can't love nothin' that can't love me back."

I'm not saying I am full out hands down leaving the teaching profession here. I haven't made that decision yet. However, I am now open to the possibility of other career paths that may allow me to maintain my family (including myself) in a more healthy manner. And I'm in a good place where I have both options available. I'm currently looking for work and licensed to teach in my current state, but since I don't have a job, I can pretty much look in many areas. Also, I'm not even really considering homeschooling (I don't think that's necessary given that I don't have children, and other reasons, too). But I can still be me by doing other things. And for a while I've been pondering the idea of doing graduate work in School Psychology. (Again, working at a school, or having a higher workload, but more opportunities in other places as well, and higher pay. Plus, I think this is beneficial to my once again mentioned future children.) I am really happy with this realization that I can do whatever I want to do, even though I still went to university, graduated, and started my career.

There's probably more I can say, but I think here is a good place to leave it unless there are a thousand questions people ask me. Which does not usually happen since I'm not a famous blogger and probably most people won't read through this whole thing. So, I'll let you read other articles now (like the ones I mentioned, if you feel like it). And watch the video I'm including, because it's a good one, too.

Link to article about PhD teacher resigning. Make sure to read the actual facebook post. (I actually read it from a different site, but I feel that this source is less likely to be mangled with in the age of ever-changing online internetting stuff, ie get taken down or deleted for some reason.)
Link to "Loyalty Doesn't Pay." (The one about Football...)

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Toddler marriage

No, my marriage isn't in trouble. Nowhere near trouble.
I just want to be real for a minute.
I am starting to think that my marriage (maybe all marriages?) reflects the age of a person according to how long I've been married. Maybe it's just me, too. Since we hit our 3 year mark in June, my theory is that we are in the toddler/preschool years of marriage; here is a brief synopsis;
Year 1: Definitely not without its ups and downs, but blissful and cherished greatly for what its worth.
Year 2: Gaining autonomy. Feeling more okay to be separated while at work (independence), but still clingy at times. Do more things with friends.
Year 3: So challenging. (Everyone says three year olds can be worse than two year olds). I have become quite outspoken about things and want everything to fit the perfection envisioned in my mind. Which happens about 6% of the time. So lots of frustration and a husband who hears lots of words about how to do things better.
Year 4: Still working on this one. Seems more able to verbally communicate ideas even though the desire of telepathy (only for certain things) has not left.

Okay, but here is the real deal. Sometimes I feel like a horrible wife. [Pretty much] Everyday I make it a goal to not criticize Tommy today, or to only say positive things today to him. I am not kidding when I say that literally everyday- I fail. It hurts me after I do. Pangs of guilt... I feel like I tear him down everyday. Maybe I don't, maybe more often than not it's just suggestions of how to improve. (The teacher in me can be so take-overish sometimes.) But despite what drives me to do this, I really want to stop. I feel like Satan wins every day, not necessarily because I'm driven to do this, but because I am having the absolute worse time overcoming the natural tendency to do so (the natural man).
I am starting to question whether I have anger management issues sometimes (haha). No one should get angry over her husband saying he doesn't want to read a text conversation. And stay angry for 20 minutes. (However, I have a feeling I'm not alone in this petty anger issue.)
The thing that always gets me, though, is my sense of humor. I have the uncanny ability to laugh at any time if something funny happens. (This can be very horrible at times...) I also have the ability to crack jokes when I am mad or almost finished being mad. (Usually these are very dry jokes. I'm lucky I have a husband who has become very good at recognizing these for what they are, especially since this humor is not typically used in his primary culture.)

I think frequently about how I just want one day to be perfect. No disagreements and everyone is happy all day long. (I am hoping that this is more attainable than I make it sound.)

I love Tommy. Don't think for one second I don't. I just needed to be real for a bit. And now you all know how crazy I am. Hopefully this fact in life will not make you question our friendship. And by the way, I am really nice to Tommy, too.  I'm not always crazy. Maybe just once a day. But I'm still working on it, people. That's what each new day is for.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Texas and Life

In December, Tommy graduated, and since he didn't get a job in Hawaii, we moved to stay with my parents so that he could apply to the more abundant job market of the mainland. Tommy eventually got an internship with TMobile which started in June. Since I'm his wife, I came with him, instead of staying with my parents. But because it's summer, I haven't been working, and I have no car (since we only have one), so I've been a bit bored. Plus, I'm a people person.
Texas is a very interesting place. Since we are close to Dallas, there aren't beaches or mountains, so I'm not really sure what to do here, even on the weekends when Tommy isn't working. One day, our first week here, I decided to take a walk. There is a mall pretty close to our hotel, so I've gone there a few times to spend time/give myself something to do. Anyway, I thought there was another mall close to where we are staying, so I decided to walk there. It wasn't a mall, it was just a shopping center, so I decided to keep on walking to explore, in hopes of reaching a mall (besides the one I already knew about). I ended up walking for three hours in the heat, which was probably somewhere around 7 miles, and getting slightly lost (not completely, but I didn't want to backtrack). That day, I was very grateful for the shade. And I did get very sunburned. My feet were also very tired.
We have been going to a ward at church with a Chinese Group, so most of the meetings are in Chinese, and they have interpreters for Sacrament Meeting. We meet at the same time as the ward, but in the Relief Society room. Anyone in the Dallas mission can come to this ward if they are attending the Chinese Group.
I applied for my Texas teaching license early because my Washington one took so long to get, but Texas was really fast. Our first Sunday we went to the ward that our boundaries are in, and I was able to find a ride from someone in that ward from an email group. It was really nice of her to take me, but I haven't seen her since, and I think she has moved to Utah by now, which is where her husband is from. Anyway, I applied to all of these districts and positions here, but I haven't even received one phone call, and school starts on Monday, so I don't think I will be having a full-time teaching job here. 
(Speaking of licenses, I'm rather excited because I found out I can apply to a lifetime teaching certificate in New Jersey. This is good news because it means that I can have a license that will never expire. I've been thinking about and wanting a lifetime certificate for a while, and yesterday I did a little bit of research and found out New Jersey offers them. I'm not kidding that I'm excited about this. It's helpful in case I ever want to take a break from teaching or we move out of the country at some point- I don't have to worry about keeping it up/maintaining one. This makes it much easier for applying for a teaching license in pretty much any other state since expiring licenses is bad news. They make a lot of trouble to get back- with my mom, she worked probably 8 years to get hers and get highly qualified status back, which is crazy. Which is painful to her because at the time, she didn't know WA had a lifetime certificate as well, so if she'd had that, she wouldn't have had all this other mess. I am learning from her mistakes and trying to avoid that mess!)
I have had two interviews in Washington, however. One I flew back for, and I would have been working on the same team as Sarah's first grade teacher. They didn't call me back, though, so someone else nailed that interview. Then, on Friday, I had another interview but I didn't really want to spend $500 just to interview again, so we did it over FaceTime. If I get that position, I should be hearing back probably today (or maybe tomorrow, but I think today). I knew for the other job that I wasn't going to get it- it wasn't pessimism, I just had the thought that it wasn't going to be for me, and that feeling was right. For this one, I know the interview went a little bit better (ironically, since it was over FaceTime), but I'm not really sure. Meanwhile, we're waiting to hear back about 2 job interviews for Tommy, as well as a position approval at TMobile. So we might end up staying here in Texas for a while, we could end up back in Washington with one of the jobs, or somewhere else for the other one. I'm just glad that things are falling into place because we have been praying for a full-time position for Tommy for a very very long time. As for me, I can work anywhere, and while I prefer not to sub, it is still a possibility for me. (Ironically, the TMobile headquarters are about 20 minutes away from where my parents live and we drove all the way to Texas for this.) It's been really hard the past year, but we've been okay and had a lot of help and support from others, especially my parents. On Sunday I read this article and it was really helpful and applicable to our job situation. So I made that our home evening lesson for Monday.
For my birthday, we got tickets to Six Flags. I guess I have always wanted to go, and I told Tommy, "How can you live in Texas and not go to Six Flags?!" It was pretty fun, although we ended up only going on one roller coaster because the lines for all of them were so long. We went on 8-10 rides, though, so that's pretty good for the day. We had fun, and after we got back to the hotel we went out to dinner to a real Texas bbq place. It was pretty good. We sat at the bar because there wasn't any seating anywhere else, and they didn't even card us! I was surprised, but also excited. (Not like we drink, anyway.)
Overall, Texas is rather boring and fairly hot (although it's mostly bearable), but the people here are really friendly- unless they are in their cars. People are really aggressive drivers here. It's kind of crazy. It's also crazy how all the main roads are about 6 lanes because they have 3 lanes going in each direction...with a median in the middle. So there are lots of places to U-Turn, which is fairly helpful.
My sister Sarah was in Texas with her friend for a month, staying with the friend's grandma. As fate would have it, we ended up in the same city. So it was fun because we got to do things with the girls a few times, spend time with people we know,  and explore Texas together a little bit. 
We are pretty close to the temple here, which is a good thing, (20-30 minute drive), and I must say it's prettier in person than looking at it from the pictures. It's one of the 3 with the slanty roof (Las Vegas and Boise are the other two). 
That's pretty much the scoop of our lives. The most exciting thing is watching job opportunities finally unfold for Tommy. I'm rooting for a specific one, but I won't say what it is. (And I haven't mentioned what the others are, anyway.) But it's exciting to know that we're finally going to be settled in a little while.