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What its really like to leave teaching

August 17, 2015

This is the second summer that is just merely a season to me. Summer for teachers is their longest break and a chance to unwind from the stress of the profession. Oddly enough it has not been difficult to adjust to working in the summer months, now the lack of built in breaks has been a different story. I have written before on why I left teaching and thought I would reflect on being 2 years out of the classroom.

People will want to know the why of what made you leave. 

This is especially true if you spent more than 5 years in the profession. Those not working in the public school systems often do not know all the obstacles teachers face on a daily basis, so I understand the curiosity. This question comes up a lot in the job search as well. In my experience I have found some employers have trouble with the concept of ex-teachers looking to enter other career fields and will ask why you left. My tip is to practice your answer before the interview and show confidence in your decision.

Some employers can't get past the teacher part of you.

I really wish I would have known this when I first stepped out of the classroom. In my mind I picked up so many skills in my 6 years as a classroom teacher from strong organizational and time management to even conflict resolution, but this does not translate to employers or HR. To many of them they just think teacher and are not sure how teacher translates to skills and experience needed for other positions. It can be hard not to take that kind of stuff personally, but just know that not every employer thinks that way.

Not working in a school means a serious lack of vacation time

I didn't realize how spoiled I'd become in working so long in the school systems when it comes to vacation time until I left. It really hit home last Christmas when I didn't have the traditional 2 weeks off and had to use PTO combined with Christmas day to go back home for a few days. I now understand why people say Americans get the least amount of vacation time in the world. No wonder Americans don't travel.

The beauty of an hour lunch break 

As a teacher I was lucky to get 30 minutes to cram some food in my mouth and make time for a restroom break before the kids lined up to start the next class. Now 2 years of having an actual lunch hour to eat and unwind before the second half of the work day, I don't think I could go back to the former.

You will more than likely have to take a pay cut

I knew this from my online research prior to leaving the field and prepared myself for it. You are essentially starting over in a new field and more than likely your new paycheck will reflect that. I just tell myself that it is a temporary step to a bigger goal, nothing worth having comes easy.

Tales of the Thrift: DC edition

August 10, 2015

It has been way too long since I went out thrifting between moving into the city in May and going on our road trip last month I hadn't been on a thrift hauling far too long. This weekend I decided to head out to the U Street area of DC to check out a few thrift stores.

Martha's Outfitters

I have been to this shop a few times before and always find something god. This store is part of a local charity called Martha's Table and the proceeds go back into the DC community.  This store is on the small side and does not have any fitting rooms, so be prepared to try clothes on in the corner. My first visit here I scored a Marc Jacobs long sleeved top for just $4.00.  This trip I was looking for fall clothes and did not leave empty handed. I found a cute Zara lightweight v-neck sweater for $3.49, a long sleeve scoop neck Cythnia Rowley shirt for $ 2.49 and a Tory Burch navy sweater for $3.49. When I saw the Tory Burch in good condition and in my size I immediately scooped it up and I'm glad I did.

Positives: Flat pricing similar to Goodwills and offers a good number of designer finds.

Negatives: No dressing rooms and on the small side.

Crossroads Trading Company

This is a national chain very similar to Plato's Closet where they buy gently used clothes and give you either store credit or cash. I tried to sell my stuff to Plato's in the past with minimal luck, but since the store was just down the street from Martha's Outfitters I figured why not check it out. Personally I found the prices to be high for used mostly H&M and Forever 21. But to be fair I am used to lower thrift prices from places like Goodwill. They have a large store that is very well organized and has multiple fitting rooms. They did have half-off stickers on some of the items and I picked up a cute Gap blouse that was originally $10.50 for just $5.25.

Positives: Wide and organized selection and dressing rooms available.

Negatives: The prices are higher than going to a Goodwill or Salvation Army.

Hello Oregon: Thoughts on my first visit to Oregon

August 03, 2015

Our first stop in Oregon was the coastal town of Cannon Beach. My sister had visited this town a few years since her husband has family in the area and raved to me about its beauty. That day we were greeted with lovely misty rainy weather as we walked down to the beach to dip our toes into the Pacific Ocean. I have to be honest and say that seeing the Pacific Ocean was something I was looking forward to on this trip. The furthest west I had gone before this road trip was Las Vegas in 2003, so I was excited to finally experience the west coast. My only west coast disappointment was that I was not near any In and Out Burger location to see what all the fuss is about. What can I say I love a good hamburger.

Coming from growing up in Florida where I either went to the beaches of the Atlantic or the ones on the Gulf of Mexico, the rocky terrain of the Oregon coast was different yet uniquely beautiful.

The next day I finally got to spend time in Portland. I think I might have come into the city with too high of expectations, partly from my love of Portlandia's The dream of the 90's is alive in Portland skit and hearing how awesome it was from my sister and a close friend. We were only able to spend an afternoon in Portland so the first stop was naturally a visit to Powell's Books. If you love books, this place is like heaven. It takes up a whole city block and houses every book you can imagine. The fact that I only spent $40 in there is amazing. We had a bit of a tiff with our friend/traveling companion right as we arrived into the city and split up for lunch. We ended up at Fat Head's Brewery where I enjoyed the Bumble Berry Honey Blueberry Ale and commented how many hipsters I saw while we ate outside on the patio. I personally found Portland to be heavy on the hipsters which isn't my style. It's not that I disliked Portland, I just think that coming from living in DC now it doesn't seem as big city as others described it to me. If I went from living in Orlando to then Portland it would have probably made a different impact on me.

We were advised to make the 45 minute drive from Portland to see Multnomah Falls in Columbia Gorge and I'm so glad we did. Oregon has so many varied landscapes and I think we were able to see several of them in our short time in the state.

The last stop on the Oregon trip was Crater Lake National Park. To get from the Portland area to here is a long and boring drive through sparsely populated Eastern Oregon. I didn't know it yet but it would be worth the tedious driving once I saw the unspoiled beauty of Crater Lake. T has said this was his favorite national park besides Glacier. He literally could not stop taking photos while we were there.