Monday, December 31, 2012

New year, new plans

I am not a fan of new year's resolutions.  I hated having to write them as a kid, and I haven't come up with any in a long time.  I live my life without regretting past decisions.  Everything I have done, everything I have lived through, has made me into this person I am today.  For better or for worse, there is nothing I can do to change that.

And the idea of a resolution is that you are resolving to do better at something next year.  As if the past year was a mistake.  Or you didn't try hard enough.

Instead, this year, I am going to write where I see myself a year from today.  What I hope to accomplish this year, instead of what I want to change. 

In one year I want to be a teacher.  I already am technically, I spent a year student teaching and I have my teaching credentials.  But in one year I want to have my own classroom.  I want to have a "real" job as a teacher.  I want to have students whose lives I can impact.  I don't know where I will be.  Before this trip to Texas, I would have said without a shadow of a doubt, I would be in a public school setting, hopefully at an Elementary school working with kiddos with severe developmental disabilities.  Now though...  I'm not quite sure.  I knew Texas had a lot of services for children with special needs, but I didn't realize quite how many.  There are private schools and special centers specifically for students with special needs here.  So then I have to weigh the options; do I work in a public school - dealing with all the paperwork and hassle with being a government employee and the struggling school system - and make more money?  Or do I work in a private school where I may not have as many "hassles" to deal with, but where I would make significantly less money...  I don't know.  I'm hoping to apply to many different schools, possibly including both public and private, and I'm confident in the fact that the right school will be made apparent.  A school where I feel comfortable with what they are doing, where I will be able to use evidence-based curriculum, where I like the team I will be working with, and where the principal is comfortable with me and Owen working as a team.

Next January 1st will mark one year that Owen and I will have been working together.  One year is the magic number; experienced teams say it takes one year to find your groove and to really work efficiently as a team.  Now, I find things where I don't know what to do.  We went out to a restaurant yesterday, and we asked to sit at a table in the back.  It was a large table, but we were a large group.  I put Owen on his mat behind my chair, where he fell asleep and sprawled out.  We weren't in anybody's way, because there was nobody else there, but I felt funny about having Owen in such a "in-the-way" spot and I wasn't really sure where I would have put him had the restaurant been busy.  But until I figure all these things out, I'm just going to square my shoulders and hold my head up and pretend like I know what the heck I'm doing.

Hopefully in one year, I won't be pretending anymore.

In one year I want to have an answer regarding my weight.  I want to know one way or the other if the pills caused metabolic damage.  I want to know if there is something medicine can do to help me, or if I am on my own.  Either answer I am okay with, but I need to know.  Owen and I will be going to a slew of doctors in the next two weeks, one of which is the doctor who can hopefully answer this question for me.  One year from now, I want this not to be something I am still looking for an answer to.

One year from now I will hopefully still be celebrating the holidays with my family, but I am hoping to have moved back to Texas and not be celebrating with a white Christmas.  Neither Owen nor I are a fan of the snow; I think we will both be happier somewhere where it doesn't snow and keep us cooped up inside all winter.

I wish I could say that in one year I will be done with school.  But, it is looking likely that if I come back to work in Texas within my first year of teaching I will need to add an ESL certification to my repertoire to work here.  But, in one year I will have both a teaching certification and a behavioral analyst certification.  I will be a board certified behavioral analyst (BCBA) which is a nationally recognized certification.  I am hoping that in a year I will have one (or more) papers published in peer reviewed journals.  This summer I am hoping to be going to the international Applied Behavioral Analysis conference in Minneapolis (with Owen of course!) to present two poster presentations on research projects I have done.

I have a lot to look forward to this year.  Tomorrow, Owen and I get back on an airplane to end our Texas trip and go back to California for two weeks.  I'm not looking forward to all of the doctor's appointments we have lined up, but I know it is a necessary evil.  And hopefully I can get one step closer to finding some answers.  After that we are back to Spokane to finish graduate school and start applying for jobs (yikes!).

Happy New Year!!

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