Life After Grad School

I spent the last two and a half years working towards my Masters in Special Education. When I started the journey back in the Fall of 2013, I didn’t know if I could do it, but I was going to try. I took two classes every Fall and Spring semester and one class each summer and I graduated this past December. My diploma arrived in the mail and Sylvia helped me frame it. We hung it this past weekend next to my Bachelor’s degree diploma. For the last two and half years I have spent most nights up typing papers for grad school or doing work for my teaching job. I was always BUSY it seemed. It has been a little weird NOT having something to do every night.

My job hasn’t changed too much, except I am doing more supervising than I have in the last two years. I hope to be doing more assessments as well. I actually have time at WORK to do WORK there and if needed I do a little at home. I am back to mystery shopping a bit, just because I need something to do. I am spending more time with Sylvia when she is home and not working. I am trying to spend more time with Ethan as well. Life seems LESS hectic, which is a good thing. I am trying very hard to get two walks in a day, even if it means walking in the house. I have accomplished that every day for the last month! I have also been COOKING more! Sylvia took over all cooking responsibility from Nov. 2014 to this past December. Now that I have more time, I am cooking more. We do chose recipes together though.

Sylvia and I will take Ethan to camp in March and have a weekend to ourselves and I won’t have to worry about grad school work. I am really looking forward to that as much as Ethan is looking forward to camp. Life is good!

Graduating this Month

After 2 1/2 years I am DONE with graduate school. I earned an A in each of my two classes for this semester. One of the professors has encouraged me to get my doctorate, but at this point I am not interested in that. I am 48 years old and am glad to be done with graduate school. I now have to wait for the university to report to the state education agency that I have completed my coursework and I will be a certified educational diagnostician! When I first started graduate school I didn’t now if I could really finish and get my degree, but here I am. Sylvia has been a great support for me! I am super excited and can’t wait to hang my diploma on the wall. I actually don’t know what to do with myself, since I am used to being busy, but I am making myself slow down a bit and make time for myself and for my family. Now, can I survive 12 more school days until Christmas Break!

I’m Almost Done!

I’m almost done with graduate school. I have one more project to finish this weekend and I am DONE! The project is about halfway done. I have to do a video this weekend, write up a short report on the video and complete a self-assessment rubric….turn it all IN and I am done! I passed my state exam back in October and my graduate school project is completed and passed. I do have ONE more class to attend on a Monday evening online, but that is just a technicality. I can’t believe that I will be done soon. It has taken me two and a half years, but it has been worth it. I could not have done it without Sylvia.

I won’t be attending the graduation ceremony. The university is out in West Texas and just too far. I did order a frame for my diploma! I am looking forward to the Thanksgiving Break and being done with all of my work!

I PASSED!

I passed my state certification test!!! I will graduate in December and then I will be qualified as an educational diagnostician! I have already paid for my certification, so now I just have to finish my two classes. So far, the classes are going well. I am well ahead in both classes, and right now waiting for some of the quizzes to post so I can complete them. I have 2 more projects to do that involved videos, but other than that I am pretty much done with the hard stuff.

I can’t believe how quickly the last 2 1/2 years have passed! I couldn’t have done it without Sylvia’s support!

It’s Been a Month

I just looked and the last post I made was on September 6th, which is just over a month ago. Let’s just say I have been very busy since then. Jack is in his fourth semester of college and has come home a few times since the semester started. He likes his classes and will be graduating in May of 2016!! Ethan is a freshman this year and had a really good start to the year. He likes ROTC and Science the most. He had ONE day in which he had a total meltdown at school towards the end of the day. His case manager at the school and I met to discuss how to better support him at school. We came up with a plan and so far it is working! I am sure we will have some more bumps along the way, but he hasn’t had any more meltdowns!

Work has kept me very busy, along with graduate school. We have had several new students move into our area that need services. I have been able to get my hours for my internship. I am also facilitating IEP meetings, which can be a bit overwhelming, but so far I have gotten through it. I have a great group of people that I work with who have helped me figure things out. We are in the process of hiring some new staff and are currently looking for a new teacher. I am back in the classroom two days a week to assist with a new student and we have a permanent sub there the three other days. Graduate school started off with a bang with LOTS to do. I have kept busy and am now ahead in one class. I want to get ahead in the other class, but the professor has not posted all the quizzes yet. I read and do my best to stay ahead. I am SO glad I have stayed ahead though, because a horrible stomach bug kept me home for TWO days and I couldn’t do a thing. I then went back to work and had to play catch up there, so I didn’t even touch grad school work for four days last week.

I am taking my State exam for my diagnostician’s certification this coming week. I have been studying over the last few weeks and even bought a study program online. I have been practicing taking the test all weekend, and reviewing the answers I have gotten wrong. There is NO easy way to prepare for this test, and I can take it again if I need too. The practice test online is also to help me learn to take my time and really READ and understand the question. There can be lots of tricky words that they use and if you misread the question, you will more than likely get it wrong! Once I pass that, then I graduate in December and then I will be certified!!

Sylvia is working hard as always. She took very good care of me while I was sick. She got a touch of the stomach bug too, but not nearly as bad as I had it. She stayed home from work on Monday but was back at work by Tuesday. We went to my class reunion a few weeks ago. It was fun, but I really didn’t know too many people. I did see one or two friends and we got to chat for a while. We had almost 800 people in our class and about 200 showed up! My name badge had my senior picture on it….I felt old looking at it!

The Countdown Begins

I officially go back to work on Aug. 17th, but I have a two day workshop next week. My district is going to have some teacher facilitate IEP meetings and I have been chosen as one of those teachers. I will attend a two day training on the computer program and on the paperwork for ARD meetings next week. I then have an IEP meeting on Friday for a student transferring into our district. I am going to get paid for these three things, so that will add a little bit to my paycheck!! I am looking forward to going back to work, but the HEAT has arrived here in Texas and I am not looking forward to driving around in the heat. Ethan and I are staying home as much as possible these days!! Sylvia’s schedule is changing some and she won’t have as many students, which is good because she will soon take over cooking again!

Ethan returns to school on August 24th and that will be the first day back for the students in my district. I won’t be in the classroom all day, but I may have two classes at the middle school if a student transfers in that we are expecting. My grad school classes start that day too! YIKES. I have already ordered a few books. This will be my last semester and I will graduate in December. I just have to get through my internship!! I will be out driving more this year and going from district to district to attend IEP meetings and such.

Ethan and I met with a few of his teachers and two principals yesterday. I just want to make sure his transition to high school goes well….YIKES again…high school. We shopped for school clothes last week which is pretty easy with standardized dress. We finished up shopping today buying white undershirts and underwear for him and some blouses for me! I picked up a few things for Jack as well! He is home this weekend! His summer semester finishes on Aug. 21st and his Fall semester starts on Aug. 31st so he won’t get much of a break.

I finished my summer grad school class this past weekend and made an A in the class. Overall it has been a good summer. I feel like I rested more than I have in past summers and spent more time with Sylvia and Ethan! I am looking forward to getting back to work, but I hope this heat breaks soon!

Three More Weeks….

I have just three more weeks and my summer is over. It has been a good summer for me and the family. We visited family in another state. Jack turns 19 this week and was home this last weekend for his birthday celebration with us! It wasn’t much, just dinner at a restaurant and a cake. I bought a new car and am already going to refinance it tomorrow….LONG story there, but I think I can get a better interest rate. Grad school started on July 7th and ends on August 3rd. All assignments are done except for the FINAL PROJECT and I am about half way through that. I have spent a lot of time with Ethan and really taken it easy! I cut down on the mystery shopping quite a bit and plan on cutting back even more when school starts. I will have my regular job, which is changing a bit this year as far as duties, and my internship as a diagnostician AND another class. I will be taking two grad school classes and will have some HUGE project to do to graduate. I also have to take the state exam to get certified as a diagnostician. Let’s just say that the Fall semester will be BUSY! I think I am up to the challenge though. Ethan goes back to school in four weeks and will be starting high school. YIKES. I hope the transition goes well. Sylvia is working hard, but we have taken a morning walk almost every morning. We have some time during the day together on some days and on other days she is working ALL day and into the evening. She even complimented me on the cooking, since I am doing more of it right now since I am not working. Overall, it has been a fairly restful summer with not too much stress! I think the last three weeks will be much of the same…I HOPE!

My Turn!

Sylvia has been cooking dinner for us every night since November. I have cooked a few meals, but not many during this time. Between work, grad school and dealing with Ethan, I was just overwhelmed and Sylvia decided to take on the cooking all on her own. I don’t mind cooking, but it is not my favorite thing to do and I also am not big on trying new things. However, I am now home for the summer and grad school doesn’t start for a month so now I will be doing most of the cooking. I have been checking AllRecipes.com and the Kraft website looking for recipes. Sylvia has helped me choose a few to try this week and we went shopping to make sure we had everything we needed. I cooked my first meal tonight and it turned out really good. I got it off of the Kraft website and is called Mac and Cheese Skillet Lasagna. Sylvia is at work and will eat when she gets home. Tomorrow I will be making a chicken recipe with some sides!

I am also back on my diet, which is really just counting calories and keeping track of how much I eat. I am using my FitBit to track my walking and calories burned. Ethan and I went to the rec center and walked today. I also walked this morning so I reached my 10,000 steps easily today. I am planning on sticking to this over the summer and hoping it will carry over when I go back to work.

Start of Summer

Now that all of the rain has ended, SUMMER has truly begun. It is HOT and we are only in the 90s right now. Ethan and I were up early to run some errands before the heat really got bad. Jack was off all day with his girlfriend for her high school graduation. Sylvia left early for work, so we all had a busy day. Ethan and I went to an ice cream social that was outside, IN THE HEAT, for a support group meeting for Tourette Syndrome. We were under the shade of a tree at least, and we drank LOTS of cold water. We also ate some yummy ice cream. It was fun and I got to talk to other parents. Ethan got to hang out with some kids his age. He and I then grabbed some lunch and came home. Sylvia and I did get to lay down and take a nap this afternoon for an HOUR! Oh now that was nice. She is off seeing one of her friends tonight who is having a small party to celebrate something or another. I didn’t feel like going and Sylvia was OK with that. I went out around 7:00 PM and did some easy yard work, but still sweated A LOT.

I started watching a new Netflix series, Sense8. It is pretty good and there are some lesbian and gay main characters. The story lines have been interesting. I watched four episodes just today. Ethan and I have to hit the road in the morning to go do some mystery shopping, and the first shop will be at our FAVORITE donut shop. NO WONDER I AM NOT LOSING WEIGHT! I then have two gas shops and we get to come home!! Jack will head back to school tomorrow and then the week begins on Monday. I will have to keep y’all updated on the guest bathroom make over that hopefully is starting next week. One company is going to come out and measure the bathroom sink vanity to put a new one in. That will take a few weeks, because they have to special order the vanity top. Another guy is going to paint the bathroom, put in a new mirror and new lights. I put in a new tub a few years ago and tiled the whole tub area. I also put in a new toilet. This will finally get the whole bathroom made over!! I am excited. Sylvia and I want to redo our bathroom next!

Lots of rambling tonight! Lots going on. I hope to enjoy the next few weeks before my grad school class starts on July 7th!!

So Ready!

I am so ready for this week to be completed. My last day with my students is on Thursday. I will miss them a lot, but I am ready for the summer! One of the teachers I work with in my department has resigned, and I am glad! She is the one who has been driving me crazy. Another teacher has resigned to move to another district to teach. I am sad to see her go. My boss and I have been busy sending the word out that we have two job openings. We do have on interview set up for this Friday!!

Sylvia’s job is also slowing down a bit, but NOT a lot. I am going to take over a lot of the cooking. She has been doing all of the cooking since November. Now that I will be off from work, I will take that over for a while. She will assist me in planning the meals so that there is VARIETY! She will also help me pick out recipes that we both think I am capable of doing. I don’t like complicated. Jack will be at school, so it will be me and Ethan most of the summer. My niece is going to stay with us some, so that will make it nice. I am hoping we can go to a small water park near us, go to see my mom, go to the movies and the library, and come up with some other fun activities. I think we will all enjoy sleeping in a bit longer!

Grad school starts again on July 7th and that will keep me busy, but I think I can handle it! I can’t believe I will be graduating in December!