Saturday, November 22, 2014

Finding the Window

Thank you so much for all of the supportive comments left on my previous post! I'm a big believer that when God closes a door, He'll always open a window. This past week I spent time exploring what those windows could be, and also reflecting on my past experiences as an educator and how I got to where I am at. I met with both the special education program director and school counseling program director at my school, and both were kind and understanding as I explained the reasons why I want to transition into another program and talked to me about how to transfer my current units over.

My largest realization over the past few weeks is that I want a career that allows me to build relationships with students in a way that is meaningful and relevant to me, and that's why I know in my head and heart that I have to change programs. As a teacher, I enjoyed working with students on academics and also helping students become more competent in areas such as social skills, how to cope when things don't turn out the way we expected, making good choices, how to repair friendships, etc. Especially during my last two years as a teacher, I really felt pulled towards the counseling side of the many hats we wear as teachers, and I feel it is so important to address mental health in the schools.

I've been doing more research on school counseling this week to really make sure that this is the direction I want to go. I've e-mailed several friends from the school counseling program at my school who I took classes with last year, and I've already contacted a school counselor who has agreed to let me shadow her for the day. And thanks to the super sweet Brynn, who was kind enough to share her perspective with me about being a school counselor.

I definitely feel like a HUGE weight has been lifted off of me at this point. Most of my classes will easily transfer over to the school counseling program and I feel as if I have the support of many people in just one short week. But most importantly, I'm encouraged by what everyone has shared with me and that they feel as if they make a difference for students. I'm waiting until after my shadowing experience before I make my official decision to switch programs, but at this point I feel fairly confident that this is the right path to take.

I have one outfit to share this week. Wearing black pants has pretty much become a staple for me because they are so versatile. These are the same Banana Republic sloan-fit slim ankle pants that I wore last week, but in the regular length which work well when I'm wearing flats. For some reason, the tall length feels like it has a baggier fit than the normal length.

BR sloan-fit ankle pants, Anne Klein blazer (thrifted),
BR top (thrifted), Lands' End flats, gifted scarf

I'm very thankful to have the full week off to get some rest, family-time, and catch up on school work. I hope everyone enjoys their Thanksgiving holiday! 

Friday, November 14, 2014

Fork in the Road

Happy Friday! I have one outfit to share, but it's been turning dark so early that I had to turn on the light so that my outfit could be seen in the photo! Hence the terrible quality, but you get the idea. I love wearing neutral colors nowadays, especially with the fall-ish weather we've been having. 

Michael Kors trench (thrifted), Banana Republic sloan fit pant (tall),
Target scarf,  Ferragamo pumps (thrifted)

This semester has kinda flown by, in a few weeks it'll be done. I'm trying to stay afloat with my coursework and fieldwork hours, but it's been very trying. The big news for me is that after doing about 150 hours of practicum experience and being almost half way done with my program, I've decided that I don't love the field that I am studying. This hurts to say and write (I've had plenty of crying time the past few weeks), because I fully expected to love being in practicum and having the opportunity to connect my course work and background as a teacher to the field. But I definitely see a disconnect between what I'm learning (hello, ivory tower!) and what actually happens, and I know in my heart that this field is not a good fit for me. I've had multiple talks with my professors, cohort friends, and those practicing out in the field about my thoughts, and I feel solid on this decision. I've been praying for a clear direction on what to do next because it really is a confusing time for me right now, especially with the amount of time and money I've already invested. But all is not lost; I think knowing what you don't want to do is a big step towards understanding what you do want to do. 

Here are my options (or at least how I see it for now). I'm definitely leaving with a MA degree one way or another!: 

1. Graduate in May with a MA degree in educational psychology and go back to teaching full-time. I miss teaching--it's been so weird some days at my practicum because sometimes I'll barely get to see kids because of meetings or tedious record reviews or report writing. I love the days when I get to do some counseling or work with students in the resource room--those are the experiences that I feel are meaningful. 
2. Transfer into the special education program at my school and work towards a MA in special education with a teaching credential in special ed. This will probably take me another 1.5 years (eek!) since most of my coursework doesn't transfer over, but this would get me back into teaching and open possibilities towards working further in special education.  
3. Graduate in May, and apply to an educational leadership program/credential (I'm thinking a doctoral program, which will take me another 3-4 years but has always been my long term goal. One of my professors is strongly encouraging this route). This would help me learn how to be a part of systems change, which I definitely see myself being a part of.

So I'm at a fork in the road as I plan out my classes for next semester and start to ponder about what 2015 will have in store for me. Let the anxiety adventure begin. 

Thanks for stopping by! 

Sunday, November 09, 2014

Midi & Mary Janes

I'm still here...barely. It's a little past mid-semester, and I'm eagerly anticipating Thanksgiving Break in a few short weeks! I'm definitely feeling a little worn down, but I am enjoying working at my new school site and crossing off assignments from my to-do list.

I wore this outfit last week and I felt very lady-like in it. The best part of this outfit is that everything I'm wearing is thrifted and I probably spent under $30. I love midi skirts and how they flow when I walk; I wish I had more of them. Also, these Mary Janes are adorable--love the cherry red color and the two-inch heel.

all thrifted: Talbots skirt, Express belt, a.n.a. chambray shirt, Kenneth Cole Reaction pumps

 Thanks so much for stopping by! 

Friday, October 17, 2014

Leopard is a Neutral

I love leopard print in small doses like shoes or a scarf, so these pants are a little bit out of my comfort zone. To tone the print down a bit, I wore my trusty denim shirt and and added a necklace. It seems like a denim shirt pretty much goes with everything and it's so comfy to wear. I bought this particular one from Target a few weeks ago using a 25% off Cartwheel deal.

Merona denim shirt, Target necklace, LOFT cropped pants

It's just about mid-semester, so school work is starting to pile up. I am happy to say that I have waaaay less assignments and research projects than I did last year. I was constantly stressed out about an upcoming deadline for a major project or presentation last year, which gave me so much anxiety. Although this year is busier with work and fieldwork, I definitely feel much more relaxed (yay!). 

I'm also enjoying working with my group of undergrads on their research projects and providing some guidance on a career in education for those students who are interested. I had a conversation with one of my seniors who is interested in becoming a teacher that lasted for 3 hours! I haven't had the chance to be a mentor before, so it is fun and inspiring to be in that position. And speaking of mentors, next week I will be meeting my new field work supervisor. I am hoping and praying that this placement will allow me to grow in confidence, give me the opportunity to put into practice the things that I am learning, and give me more insight into the field. 

Thanks so much for stopping by! 

Friday, October 10, 2014

Crossing the Line

This week was fairly challenging professionally, but I like what I wore! I wore outfits 1 and 3 to my fieldwork site, and the second outfit I wore to work. I purchased the J. Crew photo floral dress from ThredUp a few weeks ago, and I was nervous about buying it because I didn't try it on and I had no idea if it would be long enough for my height. I was happy to see that the dress fits well and the length is ideal. The beautiful print and colors makes me feel so happy. 

#1: BR Hampton-fit crop pant (via ThredUp), Lands' End Canvas cardigan, Sofft loafers
#2: J. Crew Factory dress, Mossimo denim jacket, Halogen flats (thrift)
#3: J. Crew photo floral dress (via ThredUp), BR cropped blazer (thrift), Audrey Brooke flats (thrift)

This week was difficult because my fieldwork supervisor asked me some personal questions and made remarks that pretty much crossed the line. I reported the incident to my university supervisor, and she was equally appalled by what happened as well. Thankfully I am fine and I know that I will recover and move on from what happened. The bright side to all of this is that I will be assigned to a new supervisor who will hopefully be a much better match to my professional interests and will hopefully be more respectful and understanding as I try to learn this profession. 

Thanks for stopping by! 

Saturday, October 04, 2014

Brain Overload

This past week I had the opportunity to listen to a guest speaker and attend professional development events. It was definitely brain overload to try to absorb all the information, but I did enjoy everything that I learned which is not always the case with PD.

Our guest speaker was a lawyer specializing in special education law, and she discussed the differences between IDEA and section 504. I'm starting to have a basic understanding of ed. code and the process of determining whether a student qualifies for special education services, but it seems even more complicated when also having to consider 504 plans.

I also went to a workshop which addressed mental health disorders in schools. I was shocked by the prevalence statistics, which indicate that 46% of students aged 13-18 have a diagnosable DSM-5 disorder and 21% of those students are considered to have a severe disorder (taken from a 10,000 student national sample). I guess this might makes some sense when considering that from 13-18 there are a lot of hormonal changes happening, but 46% seems pretty high to me. Anxiety disorders was the most prevalent in the study, followed by mood disorders, major depression, ADHD, and PTSD. We also learned more about the criteria for each of these disorders, and that we should keep an open mind when looking at the symptomatology because many disorders tend to look like one another. Although I'm not qualified to make a medical diagnosis, it is a part of my job to have an understanding of such disorders in order to make educational decisions for children.

Finally, psychologist Laurence Steinberg (who is considered to be a leading expert on adolescence) gave a talk to promote his latest book. My biggest take-away from attending is that during adolescence we need to take advantage of the plasticity of the brain by encouraging young people to take positive risks and by also introducing novel and challenging activities to them. He also mentioned the importance of authoritative parenting, which balances warmth with firmness by creating boundaries for children and taking the time to explain our reasoning to kids. He also shared that characteristics such as grit and determination are better predictors of success for children than being smart, and that such qualities can be cultivated when we provide challenging activities that are appropriately scaffolded and when we allow our child to make mistakes and learn from them. 

Two outfits from the past week: 

#1: BR sloan-fit pant (petite), BR silk shirt, Lands' End Canvas cardigan, Audrey Brooke pointy toe flats
#2: BR lightweight wool pencil skirt (tall), Merona tee, ON cardigan, YSL scarf (thrifted), Halogen flats (thrifted)

I've been favoring my Banana Republic pieces over J. Crew pieces lately. The sloan-fit pants I'm wearing was a find from ThredUp, and I didn't realize that it was a petite size until I received them. I actually like the cropped length on me (I'm 5'11''), especially because of the warm weather here (100 degrees yesterday!). I bought another pair of the sloan-fit pants recently on ThredUp in the regular length, and I also have two pairs in tall that I ordered from BR's website that I haven't tried on yet. I'm imagining that the regular length will fall at my ankles and the tall length I'll probably need to wear heels with. I really do like these pants overall--they are slimming, don't sag as the day progresses, and the fabric is a nice weight. I think they'll be a staple piece in my closet for years to come. 

Thanks for stopping by!  

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Four Weeks In...

Everyone has said that the second year in my program would be the busiest, and that definitely appears to be the case so far! I've been wearing more professional attire at least two days a week for my fieldwork, but I've been terrible about taking photos. I did manage to take one quick outfit photo though last week:

BR cardigan, LEC scarf, Merona tee,
J. Crew royal paisley skirt, Audrey Brooke flats

I've been wearing an outfit formula of cardigan + tee + scarf + ankle pants or skirt. The school that I work at keeps the office freezing, so I always wear layers. 

It's been a transition working as a practicum student. I'm appreciative of my supervisors who are allowing me to take my time to feel comfortable. I've been doing a lot of observing, but I know that I am ready to start taking on more responsibilities. I think one thing that is holding me back is that I'm nervous about making mistakes and being corrected, but I know in my heart that that is exactly what needs to happen in order for me to grow. So I'm trying not to be anxious and overly critical of myself. I keep reminding myself to relax and to enjoy this process of learning that I am going through. 

In other news, I found the J. Crew photo floral dress at ThredUp! It was practically brand new and I only paid $32 for it. Can't wait for an opportunity to wear it! 

Thanks so much for visiting!