Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Enjoying my time in Costa Rica

I sort of feel like I needed to update.  Not much has been going on, nothing exciting anyways, but I figured I'd go ahead and make a post anyways.

I'm not sure if I mentioned this before but Oscar and I finally bought a table set!  The table we were using qualifies as a card table at best and the chairs were falling apart (all graciously lent by Oscar's mom).  We had been wanting a new table set for a while so we can have friends over.  Not that we really have friends, but ya know.. just in case.  We spent one Saturday morning going around to all the shadiest spots in Pavas to try to find a really good deal on a (possibly stolen) table set.  The one we ended up getting was actually brand new and we got it for half off!  We're both really happy with it.  Now we just need to make some friends and invite them over for dinner!

Work is going really well.  Right when a whole bunch of teachers are getting their panties in a wad about silly things, I'm enjoying working there even more.  The thing is, this school is not perfect, this job is not perfect, but the only job that would be perfect would be getting paid to not have a job!  Well, at least for me.  Even those little rapscallions that I had no desire to teach in the beginning of the year are starting to grow on me.  I've started giving them hugs, but only when they really deserve one.  I also think I'm getting better at coming up with activities for them.  We started potential and kinetic energy (seems way too hard for their level, but whatever) the other day and I came up with a great game on the fly.  We played "Red Light/Green Light" but instead of Red Light the kids had to say "potential energy" and instead of green light it was "kinetic energy".  (In case you don't get this, potential energy is stored energy, and kinetic energy is movement energy... basically)  They freaking LOVED that game.  And now they want to play Potential Energy/Kinetic Energy every day.  It just cracks me up.

Day to day life has been great.  Oscar and I are very happy.  He doesn't mind that I can't stand doing the dishes and I don't mind that he can't stand having to take care of the puppy.  In just a month and a half it will mark one year living in Costa Rica!  It's certainly been a fun ride.  I'm hoping for residency approval in the next few months or so.  One of the teachers I work with lives right down the street and we occasionally walk up to the park with Perlita and her two towheaded kids.  I help her with her limited Spanish, and she helps me with my even more limited German.

Oscar's dad's (Oscar 1) birthday is this weekend.  Since I'm the only one they know who bakes, it's my job to make a cake.  Oscar told me his dad likes nuts, but I realized I never really make any cakes with nuts.  After asking a few online friends, I think I'm going to make this turtle cake.  It looks pretty easy and really tasty.

I think I've rambled on enough.  Here's a few pictures of Perlita since they're the most recent pictures I've taken.

Like a proper hound, Perlita has taken to stoop sitting.

Spoiled puppy with her own puppy bench and puppy pillow.

What an un-ladylike position!  Showing off her spots.  She's actually covered in them, you can see them when she's wet.

Monday, June 11, 2012

License Update

After waiting a total of 30 minutes on hold and being hung up on twice, I was finally able to speak with someone at the NC Public Schools Department.  She told me that because I have the provisional license, it's nonrenewable.  Meaning, my license will expire, and it will just stay expired until I get employed with NC Public Schools again.  Then, when I have a job, my license just comes back.  I asked about three times if I had to take the Praxis, just to be sure.  But it seems like I don't have to do anything!  Which is great!  I might call again in another few months just to triple check.  Because I'm just sort of used to covering my ass now.

Work is going well, but I can feel myself already starting to burn out.  Which makes sense, our "winter break" is right around the corner and it couldn't come soon enough.  I've just been running out of good activities to do with the kids.  I find myself repeating the same stuff over and over.  Even the kids notice: "not another flip-book!!  Teacher noooo!"  I need to put in a little more time to come up with different note ideas and such.  I feel so uninspired because a lot of the content is super boring (rocks, water cycle, weathering, erosion, etc).  I'll figure it out.  I don't want to have kids bored out of their mind every day!

With winter break right around the corner that means my trip to Germany is coming up!  I'm so excited about it!  My baby brother flew into Berlin two days ago for his very first solo trip.  *awwww*  He's going to have a blast.  I hope he starts traveling more too.  I think it's really the most important thing you can do for yourself.  Delta sent me an update saying they changed my schedule.  Now I'll be coming home on Friday instead of Thursday.  I'm sort of split with being excited for getting another day for free, and bummed because I'll only have two days to recoup before going back to work the following Monday.  I also haven't been able to chose my seats on the planes and am dreading that I'll get a middle seat on the 10.5 hour ATL to FRA flight.  Oh well, I guess with my extra day coming home I'll have a day to spend sleeping off jet lag!

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Keeping up

This is post is really only for teachers, it's sort of boring.

Something occurred to me the other day that I hadn't thought about before- when we move back to the USA in a few years, my teaching license will be expired.  I graduated in 2010 and my provisional teaching license is for 3 years.  The way to renew your license is to either get 15 CEUs (continuing education units) or take 10 hours of classes in a university.  My first year teaching I got a ton of CEUs.  You get these by going to workshops, programs, and other pointless time wasters that your school forces you to go to and "rewards" you with CEUs. But I highly doubt I have 15.

Letting my license expire would SUCK.  Big time.  I'm currently licensed to teach all high school sciences which makes me pretty freaking marketable.  But, if my license expires I would have to take an exam in every single subject to be re-certified to teach it.

So I need to make some phone calls.  I need to:

a) find out how many CEUs I have, and how many more I need
b) see if the "workshops" I go to here would count for CEUs
c) if it doesn't, see how many class hours I have to take to make it up
d) find out if these classes have to be education classes
e) find out if I can take these classes at a university in Costa Rica
f) triple check to make sure any classes taken online in Costa Rica will go towards my renewal

I would hate it if I had to take online classes in the USA, it's so much more expensive and with the salary I make here it would be hard to afford it!  Plus, I'd probably be counted as "out of state" which makes everything double the price.  I have a feeling I'd be looking at $5-7000 for one semester of online classes.  I could do that here for $500 or so.

Since Eastern USA is currently two hours ahead of Costa Rica, I have to wait to call until Monday when I get home early.  Best case scenario: they let workshops here count as CEUs.  Worst case: I have to pay an arm and a leg to take classes online at a USA university.

Here's to hoping.