Nothing official here; just come chill!
Welcome to my little Den! Here you'll find all sorts of things- mostly blog challenges, but mixed in, you'll notice:
I'm a bit of a fangirl
My life is very busy
I enjoy using emoticons
I don't tend to swear, but stuff happens.
I feel like this song embodies my feelings about the music job. I mean, I love teaching the curriculum, it's just.... the admin stuff is so frustrating. I consulted my aunt, who's a lawyer, about the renewal contract. Long story short, I dug up the original contract, and it said we'd talk about renewal one month before the current contract ends. January is obviously not one month, unless she mistook my starting date to be in February, which it pretty obviously wasn't, if I went in for my mid-year review. And her knowing that.... well, that'd be a bit of a contradiction to say "oh I thought we started in February," if January was the mid-year review.
Anyways, so my aunt asked a bunch of questions, and then concluded that if I felt strongly enough, I could probably build a case on duress, because of the (power) relationship between employer and employee, combined with the fact that I was there to discuss my past performance and future stability of the job. Granted, I really wasn't planning to renew the contract in the first place, and the $1 pay raise (from 14 to 15/hour) really doesn't make the extra work worth it. Problem here is, I do like the schools I teach in, so I would love to keep teaching in the schools if I could, though I also don't want to make the boss an enemy if I leave the company and decide to take on the schools myself. I mean, I very much could do that with the new school, since I've only done a trial class with them- I could contact them and start teaching them myself. As long as I make sure the content is different enough to not be a music class that is the classic format of the company, I would be able to do that. The new contract also doesn't state anything about how it would work if I left the company but decided to keep teaching music classes at the schools. I'd need to find a new Hello song, sure, since that is definitely the property of the company (the boss, Calia, composed it herself), but otherwise, I'd probably be able to teach similar content, and maybe even make it more active, in the sense that they can do movements with their musical learning- like, hop a quarter note, jump an eighth note, etc. It'd be fun- and I might even try it with the kiddos at the school tomorrow, and see if that'll tire them out more and keep them stiller for storytime and the solfege.
For March, I might introduce the concept of the keyboard's notes corresponding to the solfege as well- put colored stickers on the keyboard that correspond to the xylophone, and go from there. We also have solfege hand bells that I occasionally bring out, but the kids get too excited with them and start touching the inside bell part, so I have to take them back. As a quote from Taylor Swift, "This is why we can't have nice things..." because they break them!
I absolutely love this song, as I also love Delta Goodrem. I recently re-added this to my Pandora as well- I randomly wondered if the app's streaming rights included Delta Goodrem, and they did! I was, of course, delighted. I switched from Spotify to Pandora because T-Mobile ended up giving me a free year of Pandora Premium services, so of course, I nabbed that. And then, too lazy to switch back to Spotify, I stayed with Pandora. So far, I can't complain too much. It has most of the music that I like- it's unfortunate that Kelsea Ballerini isn't covered in their services, but that's about it that I listen to, that Pandora doesn't have. Well, it's all I can think of so far that I want, and I can't have- Disney soundtracks aside.
And now, I'm on a Delta Goodrem binge on Pandora, so my next couple songs may also end up being Delta Goodrem. You've been warned.
I like this song because it's a departure from her sadder stuff she was writing back when this came out. It's also a single, and, I'm pretty sure, not attached to any album of hers. I love that it's different- and the melody of it is also super catchy. I feel like this is the perfect dancey song that you'd just jump around to if it came on and you were at a concert or in your room with nobody around. I definitely do the dance whenever I hear the song... and her outfit is GLAM. I'm also pretty sure I've shared this one before, too, but eh. It's a song I love, and it's one I definitely haven't heard in a while!
I have a mild obsession/fascination with The Voice live performances, especially when it comes to the judges' live performances. They're. so. good! And then, the CGI in this one is epic, too. These judges' performances have exposed me to new songs I otherwise wouldnt've went out to find myself. And since Mom and I play our own version of "Beat Shazam" in the car on longer drives, this definitely helps me. I've gotten this right before she can figure it out, on multiple occasions.
Honestly, this song doesn't actually relate to my life much right now, I'd say... this is a very anticipatory song, and there isn't much in my life that's anticipatory right now. This performance is also quite powerful- I mean, Delta Goodrem and Kelly Rowland are two huge powerhouses, especially when you put their voices together. Both have amazing vocals, but put together, it's definitely mind-blowing.
This performance was from 2019, 9 months ago, according to Youtube- and it also had Guy Sebastian- another artist whose voice I also really like. The previous year had Joe Jonas, whom I wasn't completely loving. I mean, he's good, but Guy Sebastian is good.
Which reminds me of an incident after lunch today when the kids were going back to their classroom- a bunch of boys were discussing baseball, when another boy turns around and goes, "I don't play baseball. I play T-ball," in a somewhat derisive way.... guess he doesn't actually know which one is better. Or maybe he likes T-ball better because it's easier.
I recently found out Pandora has the albums from The Next Step, so I added them all. Which was probably a mistake, because I don't actually remember a bunch of the songs.
This one, though, was pretty epic, and I'd say is one of the few dances that every time I hear the song, I can still kind of remember how the dance goes in my mind. It's also hands-down my favorite dance of the whole series, and I get chills when I watch it. I don't think I'd ever get sick of the song, and the choreography is amazing! It actually kind of makes me want to rewatch all the episodes that are available... though, practically speaking, it's not the best use of time... I've started watching Handmaid's Tale, I'm behind on SVU, and I have another episode of All Rise to watch. Hulu, unfortunately, doesn't allow downloading of episodes to watch offline, so I watch Netflix instead, and from Netflix, I recently finished Miss Americana (Taylor Swift documentary) and most of Next in Fashion.
Going back to the song, it somewhat makes me want to get back into dance. I've taken up ice skating recently, and I love it- it's much cheaper than ballroom, which I'm not doing anymore (oh, yes, I used to do ballroom lessons, for like, 2 months? ). Maybe I'll get back into dance? I really don't know- I do love barre, and I love skating, and I love aerial stuffs in Australia- I still need to find a nicer, local studio to do aerial here, but I'm happy with barre and skating for now, though if I ever figure out how to balance 4 classes and 3 jobs (potentially 4, if tutoring becomes something consistent) and barre and skating all in one week.... It's alot. I never quite understood why people tell me to rest, and now that I list out all my commitments and such, I can see why. One of the barre instructors was saying that just hearing my schedule makes her tired as it is. And I kinda used to just laugh at it and joke it off, but yeah, I can see that now. I mean, my 4 classes- Math, Social Studies, Reading, and Language Arts- all have their own fieldwork and project assignments. Then, I work as Yard Duty at school, Monday, Thursday, and Friday. I do retail on Saturday and Sunday, and now some Mondays. Wednesdays, I teach music. Saturdays I skate. I barre every day- usually twice. On the bright side, though, I do sleep very well.
You should know the chances of me doing a playlist, sans Hi-5, is pretty slim. I mostly picked this one, though, because I was scrambling to put the February music on my Google Drive for my music job, and it ended up not working. So I brought out the Hi-5 and put that on Google Drive for myself and did a bunch of Valentine's songs. Granted, "Friends Forever" isn't really Valentine's-y, but I explained it to the kiddos as, you show your love and appreciation for your friends and family. So, it works.
And yes, I actually haven't really been listening to much Hi-5 recently, mostly because I haven't been in much of a mood for it. Plus, I don't have it on my Pandora- they only have Hi-5 as a radio choice, in which there's other, low-quality children's songs that tend to make people's ears bleed. And I'd like to not have to listen to that, because chances are, I'd just skip over it and get frustrated if it doesn't go back to Hi-5. The last Hi-5 I actively listened to (sought out) was their holiday stuff, back in December/late November. I would say I used 99% Hi-5 and maybe (if even) 1% other holiday music.
I mean, they even have "Frosty the Snowman," "Jingle Bells," and "Rudolph", so what more do I really need in terms of Christmas carols?
I chose this song because I used it for Freeze Dance with the new school I did a trial for on Wednesday, and they absolutely loved it! The teachers were grooving with the song, too. When I used "L.O.V.E," it actually didn't go over as well as this one did, so if I use a Hi-5 song, I'm using this one. This Wednesday is still February, so it'll still be Hi-5 friendship songs. I really only have 5 songs for February from Hi-5; I'm sure there's more that I could use, but I only use about 2-3 every session anyways, so 5 is fine.
We're going to Australia soonish, like, the end of March, and I haven't been for about a year, now. Literally, the last time I went was Spring Break of last year, and the end of March is Spring Break of this year... I've chosen this song because I feel like I've changed since last year's Spring Break. I'm nervous about going back and seeing everyone again because it's been so long, and I also actually have hair this time, which Mom says there's a chance that I may have to shave it off if Grandfather deems it necessary. And, call me vain or whatever, but I really hope things won't come to that. I feel like I've finally kind of found some places I "belong" here away from uni- like barre, and the store, kinda. Thing is, both places have only known me with hair, and I'm a bit anxious about what would happen if I go in and all my hair is gone. The barre studio's clientele is a very rich one, and with money, typically comes a narrower world-view and a certain snootiness of people if they think you don't belong or you're strange. I already dislike big classes for that reason- it's intimidating to me, firstly, and secondly, there's the ladies who've been going for years and years, and yes, they're grown women, but there's still cliques, trust me.
There's also a lady who sometimes attends the morning classes, whose daughter was in Sis's year, and she thinks the girl and Sis were good friends, but honestly, I've barely heard of the girl. Definitely not awkward at all, right? And she even tried to offer me half a banana before a 6 am class once. Needless to say, I politely declined, citing my stomach's sensitivity to eating and then exercising immediately afterwards. I can't really imagine what she'd say about it. And honestly, this never used to bother me when I was at school- ever. And even when I was in Australia, I got a little anxious over it after I shaved my head and went back to aerial yoga, but the instructor was super sweet about it and only commented on it once out of interest, to which I explained it was a religious thing. But in Australia, that was one instructor. Here, there's probably about 5-6 different instructors I like taking classes from, so that's explaining it 5-6 different times, and probably more, to other ladies at barre if they say something or assume it's cancer, which many people previously have. Also, there's school. Like, work-school. The kids are definitely going to say something. I mean, I'm not too fussed about what a bunch of 6 year olds say, because they say some pretty ridiculous stuff to begin with- we have a kid, who the dad says he enjoys making up stories about his life. There's always a "there was this one time when X happened to such-and-such family member," story he tells, and somehow it's related to what everyone is talking about. I commented on that in front of his dad on Friday, since the other Yard Duty and I were doing traffic and the kid was waiting in the truck with the dad, for his older brother- us adults were chatting about sports fees in high school and in general... and he said something about, "One time, I was doing X and Y happened," So I told him that he has a very exciting, eventful life. The dad said he likes to make things up, which explains alot. I mean, otherwise, how does a 6-year-old end up having such an eventful existence?
Anyways, yeah, so I'm very apprehensive about my hair's future- to where I've been considering getting a bob cut, but there was someone I saw get a bob cut a few months ago, and it didn't look good on them, so I'm also kinda on the fence about that too.
Story of my life with online group projects. Let's be alone, together. In other words, I'm pairing up with someone else who also couldn't find a partner the first time around. I'm contemplating at what point I should begin my own project if the other guy doesn't reply. I attended the extra credit video call (in which I declined to use video ) last night and the professor introduced the next project, which is making a kids' story book that relates to math and health, science, or technology/STEAM. Like I said in the Day 14 entry, I have a concept figured out- I just need to find the state standards that it relates to, and the math principles it may reflect.
I predict that with my own work, it'll be much easier to turn in than if I did it as a group, since I kinda know what I'm looking to do, so I may just end up doing that. I think the story will start out after school one day and Mom is busy/at work/not around, but the little girl wants a snack, so she eats a bunch of junk food she finds around the house- cookies and chocolate milk, ice cream, potato chips, peanut butter, Nutella, and whipped cream. She washes it all down with a can of soda. She wakes up after a nap with a major tummy-ache and starts crying. Mommy comes in, very alarmed, and takes her to the doctor. The doctor says she needs to eat more fruits and vegetables- not sugary snacks. The doctor introduces the MyPlate concept to her, with the 5 food groups, and says every day, she should have 3 whole fruits about the size of her palm, and 3 servings of vegetables. Doctor shows her what a serving of vegetables is considered- 10 baby carrots, 7 cherry tomatoes, 5 broccoli florets, or 5 spears of fresh asparagus. And then, tells the girl, if she doesn't feel better after a week, come back. End of the story- she feels much better, has more energy, and doesn't love eating her fruits and veggies, but she's better at it now.
I think it should be fun to illustrate, too. I'm actually kind of looking forward to doing this- if I can find the time to do the illustrations, that is.
I think this perfectly describes my relationship with the music job. The boss thinks she "owns" my Wednesdays, because Wednesday is my "day with the company," which means she can send me anywhere. Like, Beverly Hills, which, thankfully, hasn't happened yet. But she's trying to add a new school to my schedule and I'm iffy about it. Mostly because of timing, though it's also better than Beverly Hills, where I'd have to drive about an hour or hour-and-half to teach a half-hour class, then drive who-knows-where-to, to my next class, probably.
As I said in my last entry, though, the new local school trial went extremely well. That behavior management song went well, because I added movements to it so they recognize what they're singing- eyes watching (point to their eyes), ears listening (cup their ears), voice quiet (both pointer fingers go "shh" to their mouth), body still (hug themselves). It goes to the tune of Frere Jacque, so it's a familiar melody, just different words, which I like, because it makes it easier for them to learn (in my experience). The goodbye song is also to the tune of "Row your boat," and it's interesting because the school also changed the lyrics of the end, from "life is but a dream," to "life is full of dreams," which probably gives you an idea of what kind of environment they're cultivating.
I honestly went in, hoping and trying to not like the school, so I wouldn't have to teach there, and now I actually want to teach there with them, and I want to start the classes with them ASAP. It just went over that well! Once the actual logistics of the class were worked out, everything ran smoothly- the teachers were there for support, and because 20 names is quite a number to learn in 30 minutes, they also helped me with the names. I remember a couple of them, but there's definitely going to be a learning curve for the names for me, because that is not my strong suit.
You can kinda see that I actually enjoy teaching... it's the lack of communication and lack of planning on the boss's part that really gets me. I mentioned the February 10 email for February 17th incident- after I told her 2 weeks' notice. And when I went on Wednesday, the school said they weren't expecting me. Well, they completely forgot I was coming in, because, (surprise, surprise) the boss didn't follow up with them that I would be going in. I emailed her an update about the school that night, and she only just replied this morning... I still have a trial with the Beverly Hills school, which I definitely don't want to do- I googled the street name and there's 2 potential schools on that street, so it's not like I can start doing the research and figuring out what I'm doing for that trial, but Mom's first comment was "it's going to be a bad drive for you."
Mom also made the astute observation today that this lady (the boss) seems very involved in her church (definitely true) and a little disorganized (also very true), and the combination of that leaves her in a position to not be the greatest communicator. I was making small talk with the boss once during the summer and inquired about what her other job was (since she mentioned having one) and she said she helped develop curriculum for the school at her church. Which probably does explain the multitude of Bible-related and Bible books in general, in her living room bookshelves. Don't get me wrong, it's not a bad thing to have those books, but also... if you don't have time to run a business, then don't.
I'm planning on going to the Lady Antebellum concert in May this year. Maddie and Tae are opening for Lady A, and I've heard of some of their songs before, so I figured I'd familiarize myself with more of their songs- then Mom made a comment today that made me think of this song.
She'd said "I can't believe it's been a year since you've seen your grandfather (in person)". I told her, "I guess that's what happens when you get a summer job." *shrug* She corrected me and said, "that's what happens when you grow up."
That's how I ended up at this song. After that comment, my mind immediately went to, "that's the downside of growing up...." We had another disagreement last night (no surprise there) about how my priorities are all messed up and not ordered correctly. And honestly, yeah, maybe they're a little out of order, but it's also because I'm trying to make my own way through this program, which is really messing me up. It makes me wish I could work my way to a credential, because I feel like these classes are teaching you how to teach, but the specific fieldwork requirements for you to practice are so specific that it makes it hard. Plus, the assessments are weird. Like, I need to make a book for my math class, that somehow integrates health, science, or technology with math. And that's due next weekend? I got an idea for it today, though- where a kid isn't feeling well, so the parents take the kid to the doctor, and the doctor says, "You must eat 5 fruits or vegetables every day for a week." So this command would knock out health, plus counting to 5, and days of the week. I can do my own illustrations as well, so this might even end up as my book 2 if I decide to publish it. It's also supposed to be another group assignment, but this guy hasn't replied me about doing the book with me so I'm not counting on him.
Anyways, Mom thinks my priorities are ordered so school is somewhere among the bottom- she's not completely wrong, but it's hard for me to prioritize something when it's not tangible. I mean, barre, and all my jobs, require me to be in a physical space at a specific time. School does not, which makes it hard for me to put effort into it- especially when I have large assignments only worth 6 points. She doesn't think barre and Yard Duty should be prioritized so high, but when I'm not Yard Duty, I'm in the classroom, observing and helping out. Then, barre keeps me sane and fit. My lululemon position feeds the barre addiction and gives me cute clothes, and the music job gives me teaching experience, I suppose.
I think being in a normal classroom, combined with the teaching experience I'm getting from the music job feed off each other, in terms of setting classroom expectations and norms, and becoming more effective. I went to a new school (local) on Wednesday for the music job for a trial class, and it was a HUGE class of 3-5 year olds- 20 of them. Compared to my current one of 7-8 kids, that's almost triple. BUT I used a song that my host teacher uses with her class in normal school for behavior management, with this new school, and it went over so well. The teachers loved it, and the kids followed along well. I loved that new school, actually- everybody was so appreciative of each other and everything else- there would be a round of applause after everything. I mean, I did the "Hello Song," then they clapped. I did Do-Re-Mi, and they clapped. I let two kiddos do the Do-Re-Mi, and they clapped after each kiddo. It was really cute. They clapped after the storytime, as well- I chose a story that essentially ended with "It's the thought that counts, not your end product." and some of them made very insightful comments while we were reading. If anything, I'd actually recommend that this school also do a 45-minute class, because there's so many kiddos.
I completely digress- maybe I'll find a song to use to rave about this new school later. The downside of growing up- I would like to find a place and move out. And I'm completely undecided if I would like to move to Australia or not to find a job after I'm credentialed. And if I want to keep my Chinese class. The downside of growing up? You need to make these decisions yourself, and they're not easy decisions.
My Chinese class dilemma: This class is an additional (optional) class towards my credential that would allow me to teach in a bilingual classroom. Apparently, it also applies to ELL/ESL. BUT if I go ahead with the bilingual authorization (BILA), I'd have to student teach in a bilingual classroom, which is not something that my district has. And the district I'm working in now is the one I grew up attending, so I'd like to stay here if I could... Which would mean I technically don't need BILA, unless that allows me to teach in middle and high school foreign language classes as well, in which case I would probably deem it worth it, but I also can't find a fieldwork location for it yet. When I went to get my withdrawal form signed on Wednesday, the department chair was saying the class was most likely not going to be offered again for a long time, due to low enrollment. The school typically doesn't open a class without 15 people enrolled. There were 8, including me. She also mentioned, though, that I could do fieldwork in a Chinese School. Given the situation in my last entry, I wouldn't be going back to the Chinese School I taught in and asking the principal if I could go observe there, but I do know someone with a connection to another Chinese School, which also provides K-8 education after school, so I asked her if she'd be willing to introduce me/if they'd be okay for me to go observe classes. She emailed the director, and the director hasn't replied yet, so we'll see what they say I guess.
I'm 100% sure I've shared this one before, but I did really like the show when I watched it, and this song came back up on my Pandora playlist the other day and I went "oh yeah, that's actually kinda me right now."
I've been really quiet on the blog/social front here for about a month or so. I'm pretty sure I mentioned I was trying to process some news and changes in circumstances that I personally didn't quite have time to respond to. Long story short, I'm no longer teaching Chinese School, and it wasn't by choice. One of the co-principals from last year retired, and he was the one who liked me. Yes, the other co-principal didn't like me. I accidentally offended him by cutting him off on a phone call at the beginning of the year last year. Anyways, this second co-principal is still co-principal, but there's a new co-principal this year. Regardless, he has seniority... he called me during a Sunday barre class in December. Since I was in barre class, I didn't take the call. I figured, if anything, he could leave a message and I'd call him back. Unfortunately, the only content of his message was, "this is X, the principal of the Chinese School. Please call me back at this number."
So I did, after driving down to the mall, because I still had to work that afternoon. He didn't pick up the first time, so I went and got in line for ice cream. Then he called back. He started out with "there's no easy way to tell you this..." in Chinese. And then English. And I figured, "I'm probably losing my job." And I was right. We talked for about 5-10 minutes, during which he emphasized that "it was a group decision," and that he didn't make the decision alone. I mostly "mmhmm"ed and "Yeah, uh-huh"ed him, because the more he said it, the less convincing it became. The main reason was that my teaching style "didn't match their (the school's) vision."
Mom was in barre with me, so after class, I'd already told her and another lady I've become pretty friendly with, about the principal's call, so after getting off the phone with the principal, I called Mom and broke the news to her. And then I had to go into work, smile, be friendly, and act like everything was great. The lead for that afternoon had asked if I had anything to clear- I mentioned the principal's call, and he was just like "oh, okay. Umm *back to business*" So I definitely didn't quite get the post-call support I needed to fully process the information, but that was honestly probably for the best, because it was right before holiday/Christmas season got into full-swing, and I don't think it would've been great if I'd let the news completely sink in. Thankfully, that lady I talked to at barre that morning ended up visiting the store that day when I was at work and I got to talk to her about it for about 10-15 minutes on my break- she was pretty upset about it on my behalf, which was appreciated!
Mom also made me clean out my Chinese school trolley about a week after the news- we'd had another disagreement and she was like, "now that you don't need it anymore, can I have it back? " So I unpacked it and put away the contents. I made a comment about how the body wasn't even cold yet, and she retorted with something sarcastic about me not being salty, which definitely didn't help the situation.
Anyways, so Mom saw her friend the other day, who is on the board of the Chinese School. Apparently this friend doesn't actually know what happened- just that my name was gone and there was a new name in my place. *Shrug* Which is interesting, considering Mr. Principal mentioned that the board had helped make the decision. Regardless, I realized that I no longer cared too much about it when Mom brought it up. Sure, it stung a bit still, but I'd say I was rather over it, the school, and the whole situation. The friend also doesn't know what kind of "vision" the school has, which, I'll say again, is interesting, because 1. she was also co-principal once upon a time (when I was a high school TA?) and 2. she was board president last year. I mean, if former board president and co-principal doesn't know the school's "vision," either the school needs to communicate it better, or that vision doesn't really exist.