Archive for August, 2012

August 6, 2012

The Misfit Piece

At our Teach For America summit today, we had to bring in a 5-7 minute story about ourselves.  There weren’t a lot of guidelines beyond that, so I wanted to share what I came up with.  It’s pretty personal and discusses how I struggled a bit before finally getting into teaching.

My Story

Have you ever made a really big puzzle before?  Not those kid ones that have a two-digit quantity of pieces, but those huge ones that you work on slowly for weeks?  Well, I have made a bunch of those.  I was raised on puzzles as a kid, and my family almost always had one out in the dining room for all of us to pop in and work on for a bit.  It was a good bonding experience, but that’s not the story I want to tell today.

I brought up these challenging puzzles because of that misfit piece.  There comes a time when you get really frustrated with a the puzzle you’re working on, and even one fitted piece would make you feel as though you’ve made significant progress.  You come across the piece you think you’re looking for, and it really looks like it should fit where you had planned.  But then you notice that the edges aren’t quite matched up.  You realize you can either leave the piece there, and hope that maybe it is the right piece in the end, or you can accept defeat, take it out, and find its true home.

Well, until October of 2010, I was that misfit piece.  I was determined to keep trying different places to see where my perfect fit was, but I constantly found myself stuck where I didn’t quite match up with my peers.  This started in college, when before freshman year started, I gave up on my dream of teaching and opted for a better financial future by majoring in economics instead.  Sure I enjoyed my econ classes and did really well on my exams and projects, but was my heart in it?  No.

After a summer job at a hotel, I realized that maybe I should veer into business instead.  I really enjoyed working with people, and felt that a Masters in Economics might trap me behind a desk, while a Masters in Business would keep me interacting with all different kinds of people.  I applied to a private college with a great reputation for its business school, was granted a sizeable scholarship, and found a way to commute from home to save for the remaining tuition.  Everything was lining up, and I was ready to finally feel like I was in the right place.

Unfortunately, figuring out logistics doesn’t mean you’ve figured out your life path.  In my two year MBA program, I completed three internships, one full-time summer HR job, and three graduate assistantships.  At three of these positions, I was told by a manager that while I was doing fantastic work, I needed to change my personality to fit better with the company.  Yes, I cried over this.  It’s hard enough to change your work ethic, but your personality?  I was basically told that “we like your work- we just don’t like you.”  That was tough.

I also faced a lot of challenges fitting in with my peers.  The team I was put on for the first year was very frustrating to work with because it took us so long to decide on how to complete projects, and often times, I ended up doing more than my fair share of the workload.  My second year was even harder because we had to choose our own teams.  I had one class where I was almost certain I was going to drop it to make room for a consulting project instead, and a girl still refused to allow me on her team.  All I could think of was “is this seriously still happening when I’m 22 years old?”  I can understand if someone didn’t want to work with a slacker, but I was hard-working, dependable, and rarely got lower than an A in any course.  I hated this girl for humiliating me for a while, but perhaps I should thank her for what happened next.

There I was, sitting in the back row of a Technology in Business class, occasionally adding comments to the heated discussion on social media in the workplace when I had one single thought: “I wish I was teaching elementary school kids right now.”

To this day I can’t tell you where this thought came from, or why it popped up in the middle of that class.  But suddenly, I was scouring the web for ways to become a teacher.  I figured it was a phase that I would forget in a week, but I kept feeling a pull towards the classroom.  I ended up applying to Teach For America the day I saw Waiting for Superman in the theater- not because the movie is amazing, but because the whole time I thought “I WANT TO DO THIS!”

I was so scared when I sent that TFA application in.  I didn’t tell my parents because I was afraid they would be upset that I wasn’t using their generously funded MBA wisely.  I didn’t tell anyone at business school because I was afraid they would look at me like I’m crazy- “You’re going to apply for WHAT?”  But January rolled around, and I found out I had skipped the next step in the application process and had to schedule an interview two hours out of town.  This meant it was time to fess up.

Lucky for me, my parents ended up being really supportive.  They were surprised at my decision to be a teacher, but I think they could see it was something I had put a lot of thought into.  I completed my interview and was sent an e-mail a few weeks later saying I would be teaching elementary school in Tulsa for the 2011-2012 school year.

While my classmates discussed which job offers they should take- three figure salary at Corporation A, or two figure salary plus stock options at Corporation B, I was visiting local classrooms and furiously taking notes about how to manage a small group during centers.  I kept worrying that this huge risk wouldn’t pay off, but I can tell you standing here today that it did.

Yes I’m poor.  Yes, I’ve had days where I feel like I’ve completely failed a child.  And yes, I’ve even burst into tears a couple times in the teacher’s lounge.  But I did the impossible- I found my place in this big puzzle we called life.  I get along great with my co-workers.  I created my own family of wise owls with my class.  I found a job I enjoy getting up for every day.  I get excited about coming up with engaging lessons, centers, and projects for my kids.  And I feel like I’m genuinely helping people every day.  After 23 years of indecision and heartache, I’ve found a place where I can be the best version of me- and if that isn’t a perfect fit, I’m not sure what is.

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August 5, 2012

My Fall 2012 TV Line-Up (Complete with New Show Previews)

It has been way too many months since I have had a decent weekly line-up of shows, but I suppose that’s always how summer is.  Starting in September, my TV watching skills will come into play as I juggle 23 ongoing TV shows and try out 7 new series (all new shows are given a 3 episode test-this is the rule I’ve developed over time that ensures you will know after 3 episodes whether or not you want to commit to watching a show regularly).  Unfortunately, NINE of these shows air on Thursdays.  My DVR skills will definitely be put to the test on this insane night of competing television, but I’m confident I can handle it (thank god Project Runway will almost be done by the time the other shows start- and it airs reruns!).

Below you will find my finalized TV spreadsheet (sorry it’s a bit blurry in JPEG form).  Shows in the same color conflict with each other, and bold shows represent new series I plan on trying out.  For all the new shows, I’ve included a brief description and a trailer below in case you are interested in watching them, too.

Fall 2012 TV Spreadsheet

Partners– Mondays at 7:30 on CBS

Two guys, one gay and one straight, have been friends since they were kids.  As adults they try to balance their friendship with their romantic relationships, but sometimes run into trouble.  I’m really excited about this show because I love Michael Urie (Marc from Ugly Betty), and I also love that his boyfriend will be played by Brandon Routh (he played Superman!).  Plus, I appreciate that the show takes an unconventional approach by showing how guys can be best friends despite having opposite sexual orientations : )

Emily Owens, M.D.– Tuesdays at 8:00 pm on The CW

Mamie Gummer, daughter of Meryl Streep, plays the lead in this Grey’s Anatomy-like show.  The only difference?  The main character is a recovering nerd who is trying to put the past (unsuccessfully) behind her to have a shot at being a calm, cool adult.  I find her much more relatable than a lot of the characters on Grey’s Anatomy, and as that show is being dragged out too long, this show is just starting and brings a fresh perspective.

Go On– Tuesdays at 8:00 pm on NBC

Since Friends, I will pretty much try most of those actors’ new shows.  This is why I watched Mr. Sunshine, Cougar Town, Dirt, and (only the pilot of) Episodes.  Go On is Matthew Perry’s new sitcom about a guy who finds friends and support in a dysfunctional grief group.  I love the bit in the trailer about “March Sadness,” and appreciate that the show seems to balance humor with some real drama about Perry’s character recovering from the death of his wife.  Be sure to catch the initial sneak peek preview on August 8th after the Olympics.

Arrow– Wednesdays at 7:00 pm on The CW

I think I’m only giving this a shot because I watched Smallville for so long. Smallville incorporated the Green Arrow as a regular character in the series, but Arrow is devoting a whole show to the superhero.  The Green Arrow story is about a rich guy who survives a plane crash his parents perish in.  He ends up on a deserted island for awhile and when he returns to his city life, he becomes a vigilante.  I was planning on passing after watching the trailer, but apparently the footage shown at Comic Con really impressed the crowd.  Now I’m curious about watching it…

Animal Practice-Wednesdays at 7:30 pm on NBC

My feelings for this show are kind of hot and cold.  I think it could be pretty funny, especially since the main character reminds me of Jeff on Community, but it might also be too over the top.  The premise is a smart-ass vet balances saving the lives of animals with goofing around with his co-workers and hitting on girls.  It has potential, but like Go On, it needs to balance the humor with drama to create long term appeal.

Beauty and the Beast– Thursdays at 8:00 pm on The CW

This show has A LOT of competition on Thursday night.  Kristin Kreuk plays a police officer who keeps getting saved by a mysterious “beast.”  This beast turns out to be a genetically enhanced soldier that was supposed to have been killed off because he was a failed government experiment.  He escaped, but has to stay hidden to ensure his survival.  Kreuk’s character feels the need to protect him because of the many times he saved her.  I feel that between the hot young actors and the classic storyline, this will probably do well.

Made in Jersey– Fridays at 8:00 pm on CBS

I really try to avoid court room dramas like the plague, but this one just may reel me in.  It has an Erin Brockovich feel to it because its about a Jersey girl trying to succeed as a lawyer in the competitive New York arena.  She uses her street smarts to close some tough cases (think Elle Woods and hair care knowledge), but will take some time to really prove herself.  If the show remains character driven over case driven, I’ll probably love it.  Otherwise it will get dropped (by me) after three episodes for sure.

There are three new shows that aren’t on my schedule because they won’t air until midseason (likely January).  I wanted to include them here in case you still can’t find a show that fits your particular niche.

The Carrie Diaries– The CW

This show follows the story of Carrie Bradshaw (the main character of the Sex and the City series) as she navigates the tough reality of being a teenager.  I absolutely love Sex and the City, and I hope this show maintains the character of Carrie well.  They will have the show set in the 80’s to keep up an accurate timeline, so that’s probably a good sign.

Mistresses– ABC

Despite big TV promos, I really wasn’t feeling any of the new ABC shows this Fall.  Last Resort seems to political, Nashville seems to country, and The Neighbors is actually about aliens…PASS.  Mistresses, however, is planning on taking a shot at that Desperate Housewives vibe.  GCB failed at this last year, but perhaps this one will make it.  I have a feeling it might be a little too sexy for my taste (when every single character is sleeping around with everyone else I get bored- let’s put some real stories and dialogue in there please), but we’ll see.

The Goodwin Games– Fox

How did I miss hearing about this show until now?  It has a great cast that includes Becki Newton (from Ugly Betty and How I Met Your Mother) and Scott Foley (from Felicity and recently, Grey’s Anatomy), a reconnecting family plot line, and a good mix of humor and drama.  These things all make for a Kelly show.  The premise is that three siblings are reunited by their father’s death, and end up competing for their inheritance in games their father really created to bring them closer.  The trailer for it looks really cute, and I can’t wait to check this one out next year.

What new shows are you looking forward to in the Fall?  And what favorites are you anxiously waiting to return?  For me, I’m definitely looking forward to the return of The Vampire Diaries-what a cliffhanger!

August 4, 2012

Why I Would Be a GREAT Figure It Out Panelist

I loved Figure It Out as a kid, probably because as a class field trip, the entire 5th grade at my school got to be in the audience (#win).  But I like that I can play along at home, too.   Figure It Out is a game show that aired from 1997-1999, and then was recently revived for 2012.  The show’s premise is that a random kid has a talent, and a panel of four “celebrities” (a.k.a. Nickelodeon channel stars) take turns asking yes or no questions to figure out what the talent is.  There are three rounds that range from 45-60 seconds each, and in each round the panelists are given a clue.  This could be in the form of pantomime, Pictionary, or an object shown to them.  If the panelists guess a word in the talent, it appears on the IT Board, which shows the amount of blanks and filler words in the talent phrase (ex. Walks on Ball while Spinning Plates would show  ______ on _______ while ________  ________ at the beginning of round one).  The panelists have the three rounds to ask questions to fill in the blanks, plus a final guess at the end before the kid wins the grand prize (the kid wins a prize for each round he stumps them with the grand prize being given if they never figure it out).

The New “Figure It Out” Set

Now that you are up to date on how the game works, here is why I know I would be a much better panelist than all these “celebrities.”

1.  I would not give up on a clue.  Every clue is directly related to a word on the board.  I would constantly shout out and guess words associated with a clue until it appeared on the board.  I would not just give up and start a random line of questioning to waste time.

2. I would identify clues correctly.  So many clues come out and the entire panel gets stuck on it.  For example, pedometers were brought out as a clue (see below) and they all thought they were clocks or timers.  I immediately was like “It’s a pedometer- IT HAS TO DO WITH WALKING!”  They never made this connection.

Not a clock…

3. I would not repeatedly ask the same question.  Ugh.  This drives me CRAZY.  So many times the panelists will ask the same type of question over and over- “Does it have to do with clocks?” “Do you time yourself?” “Do you balance clocks?” “Does it have to do with time?”  All of these got a no answer, and yet this line of questioning took up a whole round.  More often than not, panelists have even asked the same exact question in a round.  This is such a waste of time!  Pay attention to your peers, people.

4. I would pass if I wasn’t ready.  It would be rare that I wouldn’t have a question ready by the time three other panelists have cycled through, but if for some reason I was tongue-tied or stuck, I would immediately say PASS to move on to the next person.  I always watch in absolute horror as the precious seconds tick by at the bottom of the screen as someone says something like “Um…uh….it doesn’t have to do with clocks….um….maybe…”  I’m getting anxious just thinking about these moments.

5. My final guess would be legitimate.  Even if the rounds have been completely useless and the IT board is full of blanks at the end, I would still try to make a real guess.  A lot of the panelists repeat what others say despite the fact that no words from the last guess were in the answer (ex. First panelist-“Balances on ball while spinning wheels.” Wrong.  Balances and wheels are not in the answer. Next panelist: “Balances on ball while spinning…” Why are you saying balancing?  It’s not balancing!).  And a lot of times panelists just say random, unrelated words in the end.  If you could guess even one word, another panelist might be able to guess the whole thing.  Make it count.

I get that they want the kids to feel good about themselves and get prizes, but most of these talents are not worth televising.  One kid just played bagpipes (cool, but definitely not unique), another basically made a mouse trap like device and was said to have “Built Monster Catching Energy Transfer Machine”….WHAT?  Sorry kids.  I’m not impressed enough to throw the game in your favor.  I love when the panelists actually manage to correctly guess a talent.  It gives me hope that the youth of America is being entertained by at least some people with intelligence.

And with that, I’ll leave you with the episode I got to see live.  You can catch me (or at least, my 5th grade self) at the 3:26 mark.  I’m sitting in the dark blue striped shirt, two girls over from the audience prize winner.

August 3, 2012

20 Movies to Look Forward to Before 2012 Ends: Part 2

Yesterday I started listing all the movies we still have to look forward to this year, even though Summer blockbusters have come to an end.  Like yesterday, I’ve listed all the movies by release date, included a brief description, and embedded the trailers for you to check out the movies yourselves.  Enjoy the rest of the list and let me know what movies you are looking forward to this year!

November 9th

Skyfall: The next big film in the James Bond Series.  I don’t even remember what the last one, Quantum of Solace, was about, but I’m sure I will end up seeing this one anyway.  I would try to explain the premise, but you can just watch the trailer for yourself.

Anna Karenina: For all you period piece and book lovers- this is the movie for you.  I’ve never read Tolstoy’s novel, but I know it’s about a woman who is married to a government official while having an affair with a Count.  She considers leaving her husband to be with her lover, but has to deal with the backlash of Russian society in doing so.  This movie has the same lead (Keira Knightley) and director (Joe Wright) as one of my top favorite movies- Pride and Prejudice.  This makes me think I may just like it ; )

November 16th

Breaking Dawn-Part 2: This is the final installment of the Twilight series, so non-fans should be happy it has come to an end.  I’m a fan of the series, but even I’m ready to move on after this.  In this last movie, Bella deals with becoming a vampire, the Cullens prepare to fight for their family against an army of vampires, and Jacob *finally* gives up his crush on Bella- in favor of her daughter instead.  Yeah, that pretty much sums it up.

November 21st

Silver Linings Playbook: Two recovering mental cases, played by Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence, find solace in each other despite their obvious quirks.  I haven’t heard much about this movie, but I found the trailer endearing enough to add to my movie list.  Besides the leads, the move also has a strong supporting cast, so it may just be a hit.

Life of Pi: I still remember reading an excerpt from this book in high school.  I thought it was so intriguing, but I never ended up reading the whole thing.  Perhaps I might just have to grab a copy before this movie gets to theaters.  In Life of Pi, a young man gets stranded on a lifeboat with a tiger (upon more research, it seems other animals are with them, too) after a ship carrying his family and their zoo animals sinks.  The story follows their struggle to survive in the middle of the ocean.  The trailer already looks beautiful.  I’m hoping it’s a good adaptation for fans of the book.

Rise of the Guardians: I’ve been seeing trailers for this animated movie for awhile.  The story follows how Santa, the Easter Bunny, Jack Frost, the Tooth Fairy, and the Sandman have to team up to fight off an evil spirit that threatens children around the world.  It sounds kind of weird at first, but the trailer makes the movie seem more like an animated movie for adults (like Shrek– which had a lot of humor for the over 12-year-old crowd).

December 14th

The Hobbit-An Unexpected Journey: Do I really need to convince you to see a Peter Jackson directed prequel to the Lord of the Rings Trilogy (three of the greatest films ever created, in my humble opinion)?  Yeah, didn’t think so.  This is another book-turned-movie I need to read.  I made an effort to read all the individual Lord of the Rings books before their films, and I’ve heard The Hobbit is a much quicker read (apparently it’s written as a kid’s book).  What I do know about The Hobbit is that it follows the story of Bilbo, including his big adventures with Gandalf and how he came upon the One Ring.

December 21st

This is 40: This is a sort-of-sequel to Knocked Up, only the story follows Debbie and Pete (the sister of Katherine Heigl’s character and her husband).  The couple is struggling with getting older and tries to stick to some resolutions to improve their lives.  Knocked Up is definitely not one of my favorite movies, but this movie looks funny enough to make the trek out to the theater.

Monster’s Inc 3D: Just like Finding Nemo, I’m really excited that this movie is coming back to theaters.  I think it is even more exciting because the new Monster’s Inc movie-Monster’s University– is coming out next summer.  This will be a nice refresher for those who haven’t seen the movie in awhile before seeing the prequel about how Scully and Mike met at college.

December 25th

The Great Gatsby: Okay, I’ll admit it.  Besides hearing the title before, I know absolutely nothing about the plot of The Great Gatsby.  However, I was so excited to hear Baz Luhrmann was directing (because I love Moulin Rouge!) and that Leonardo DiCaprio was starring in it (Leo is usually a sign of Oscar nomination potential).  Check out the artsy trailer for yourselves, and try not to immediately want to buy a flapper dress afterwards.

August 2, 2012

20 Movies to Look Foward to Before 2012 Ends: Part 1

Summer blockbuster season is over, but don’t let that get you down.  I went through all the upcoming movies through the rest of 2012 to pick out 20 that I think are worth checking out (they’re listed in order of release date).  These movies show off an eclectic taste, so I’m sure there are at least a few that will peak your interest ; )  I embedded all the trailers for you to judge the movies for yourself.  I’ll do the first ten on my list today, and the next ten tomorrow.  Enjoy!

August 3rd

Celeste and Jesse Forever: What’s not to like about Andy Samberg and Rashida Jones?  This movie is about a couple who is in the process of getting divorced, but tries to maintain a close friendship anyway.  They inevitably find themselves jealous and unsure about their decision to get divorced as they meet new people.  I think this looks funny and relatable, and as I already mentioned, I love the leads.

August 15th

The Odd Life of Timothy Green: This is a slightly odd premise for a family-friendly film- a couple who can’t conceive a child writes down everything they would want their child to be, buries these notes in a box, and a child magically appears in place of the box.  I’m worried there will be a sad ending about the child having to leave the couple at the end of the movie, but who knows?  Jennifer Garner seems very endearing as the mom, so I might give it a shot despite the obvious warning signs of a tearjerker ending.

September 14th

Finding Nemo 3D: This movie was absolutely majestic in 2D, so I can’t imagine how good it will be in 3D.  This is definitely one I will promote to my class since they were newborns when it first came out.  Even if your kids have seen it on DVD, I would suggest letting them experience it in theaters come September.  But if you’re enough of a fan, you won’t need me to convince you ; )

The Perks of Being a Wallflower:  I haven’t read the book this movie is based on, but most speak very highly of it.  A lonely high school boy makes friends with two misfit seniors while trying to deal with his dark past.  It looks like a pretty quirky coming of age story, and I’m excited to see Emma Watson play someone outside of Hermione (plus if you see in the beginning of the trailer, Nina Dobrev is in the movie, too!).

September 28th

Looper: I heard Joseph Gordon-Levitt was in this, but when I watched the trailer I thought- oh, I guess I heard wrong.  Then I realized he plays the main guy you see in nearly every shot of the trailer.  He just has had some great make-up done to make him look like a young Bruce Willis.  Make-up artists, I salute you.  Looper is about a group of assassins that travel back in time to take out their victims.  When a looper realizes he himself is being hunted, he has to figure out a way to survive as his present and future self collide in the same time period.  Sounds exciting-bordering on confusing-but any movie with Joseph Gordon-Levitt is worth looking into.

Hotel Transylvania: There are several animated movies on this list I’m excited about- this one comes out first.  An overprotective vampire father builds a hotel for monsters to keep his daughter safe from people.  His plan works well until his daughter gets rebellious just as a teenage boy stumbles upon the hotel.  As expected, chaos ensues.  I laughed a lot during the trailer- I think the characters are hilarious.  Hopefully the whole movie is just as good.

Won’t Back Down: This is my *favorite* of this whole list- and yes, I may be a bit biased because I’m a teacher.  Two mothers (one is a teacher) from a low-income neighborhood work together to transform their school into a place where all students can succeed.  I love that this is about the parents taking action, and not just teachers.  Maggie Gyllenhaal and Viola Davis play the moms, so you know this is going to be awesome.

October 5th

Pitch Perfect: Ok, yes.  This looks like it will have the cinematic value of say The House Bunny or Dodgeball, but hey.  It could be funny, too.  It’s about a college girl who gets roped into joining an all-girl acapella group.  She helps them update their boring set lists, and in exchange I’m sure they help her become a “better person” or whatever.  I think the highlight will be Rebel Wilson (from Bridesmaids), who has every snappy one-liner in this trailer.

October 26

Cloud Atlas: This movie is so epic it needs a five minute long trailer.  I can’t begin to explain what it is about, but I’m intrigued overall by the theme of past and future selves intertwining with the same people and events.  There’s a huge list of stars in the film, most notably Halle Berry and Tom Hanks, and it already has a 2 hour and 44 minute run time.  I hope it lives up to the hype.

November 2nd

Wreck-It Ralph: Gamers are going to love this movie!  A video game villain decides he wants to be the good guy for a change, and starts jumping into other games to try out his new lifestyle.  A lot of memorable video game characters will make appearances throughout the film, as you can already see in the support group scene in the trailer.  I’m sure the numerous promos during the Olympics coverage have already got you pumped for this one.

Stay tuned for tomorrow’s post for the second half of this list!

August 2, 2012

Should I Stay or Should I Go Now?

Coming back to Tulsa has come with a few unexpected surprises (of the bad kind), but let me give you some quick background.  I’m the type of person that makes a certain amount of friends, feels good about that group, and then doesn’t bother to really work on making more close friends.  Yes, I have people I see at big events and work meetings, but once I have my core support system, I’m pretty content.  It takes a lot for me to really work at widening my circle.  This past year I would say I was even more content than usual with just a few close friends.  I had to move to a whole new place, start a whole new career, and become physically and financially independent from my parents for the first time in my life.  That’s a lot to deal with- so making good friends had to come after taking care of my sanity.  Alright, that should be enough background- let’s move back to the present.

In the past month, two teachers at my school have left because they were offered better jobs, I was assigned a new manager for TFA (this is the 3rd time in a year…), one of my closest friends here was on the verge of moving out of the state (thank god she is staying!), I was getting into arguments with my co-workers constantly over how furniture should be arranged, and my small prospect of a boyfriend was gone before we even got started.  Now most people have families and their best friends they’ve known for years to get through these challenges.  I, unfortunately, don’t have either of those here.  Phone calls help- but we all know that’s not the same as coming home to those who love you.

I realized people I could count on last year are not permanent.  Things will change this year.  I’m teaching a whole new grade (a testing grade- which adds pressure), I may or may not create that same wise owl family with my students that I leaned on so much last year, and my teaching partner for my grade is not confirmed until a few weeks into school based on enrollment (so I don’t have anyone to collaborate with that I know will definitely be with me all year).  Having people who can support you through these unknowns is crucial.  I really wish people could appreciate how great it is to have a spouse, parents, children, grandparents, siblings, cousins, nieces and nephews within a short drive (if not in your home).  Most days I’m okay being on my own, but others can be really difficult.

I have one year left as a Tulsa TFA corps member.  After that, it will likely be my choice to stay here and continue teaching at my school, move to a new school in a new city, or move back and teach in my hometown.  I’m lucky to have my career choice nailed down, but the place where I work long term?  That’s definitely a big question mark come May.

I’ve thought about this a lot over the past month.  Yes, I had a lot of bad things happen those first few weeks back, but I’m not one to just stay depressed about something for long.  I like to find ways to make my life better.  So while I type out my big goals for my students, I am mentally drafting some for myself.  My biggest goal?  I want to really give Tulsa a shot this year.  I want to experience the annual festivals.  I want to check out this annual fair I hear so much about from my kids.  I want to find ways outside of teaching to help the community.  And most of all, I want to get to know more people.

I’ve already started on my goal a bit.  A big reason I don’t get out as much is having to take care of my dog on my own.  Well, I found a great dog park only a couple miles away that attracts a lot of people.  It’s been fun to go out and chit chat with random Tulsans for an hour while AJ gets to know the canine community.  I also joined a dog walking group on Meetup, and hopefully will get to know more dog lovers through their monthly group walks.

I also *finally* joined Tulsa Young Professionals last week.  The more I learn about this organization, the more fantastic I think it is.  It has a bunch of different work crews to get involved in that get you plugged in to your interests and helping the community.  They also have a lot of events including seminars, happy hours, volunteer jobs, and a running groups.  I volunteered with them at a music festival last week, and today I went to their little intro session for new members.  I can’t wait to start working with them, and they have a social event next week I plan on attending with some friends : )

Do I want to live in Tulsa past this school year?  I really don’t know yet.  I know I belong in the classroom as a teacher, but figuring out if I belong in Tulsa as me is going to take some time.

“Just know you’re not alone, cause I’m going to make this place your home.” Phillip Phillips, Home