Monday, July 13, 2009

Interviewing for a Teaching Position: Some Top 5s of Landing a Job

As a former teacher of 12 years, an administrative intern for 1, a Teacher on Special Assignment (TOSA) as an administrator at both the building and district level for over a year, an administrative candidate for six different building and district level positions and a finalist for four, and finally landing my dream job as the Director of Curriculum and Instruction for a small city school district, I have quite a unique perspective on the interviewing process at multiple levels. My experience runs the gamut from calling and scheduling candidates and reviewing applications, resumes, recommendations, and verifying certifications to choosing interview questions, creating interview documents, and designing performance tasks, such as lessons or presentations, along with aligning scoring rubrics for evaluation for all levels of educational employment from classroom teacher to building administrator to district level administrator, including superintendency positions. YES, I said it...PERFORMANCE prepared to be ON and be evaluated, folks!

Today, I spent 4 hours interviewing nine candidates for an open UPK (Universal Pre-K) position in my district in a building where I also serve as supervisor or administrator in charge. It was a very exciting day. Please understand that administrators must be extremely selective in choosing candidates to interview; experience and "fit" in their building culture are prime considerations. Of 134 potential candidates, I had to choose 8-10 to interview. Therefore, prior experience in a particular grade level, especially in regards to UPK (4 yr. olds) was very important to me. I also looked for multiple certifications for important areas at the elementary level such as literacy and special education. Multiple certifications is not a requirement, mind you, but it certainly adds depth to the candidate's experience.

Enough background already! As promised, below are two lists: TOP 5 TIPS for LANDING the INTERVIEW and TOP 5 TIPS for A PERSONAL INTERVIEW for a teaching position...drum roll, please....


  1. I should note that in many states, NY included, we have gone to on-line applicant screening so it is of utmost importance to be sure to attach EVERYTHING you can. Admins who do the initial screening look for an updated resume, a letter of interest SPECIFIC to the district or position (this is KEY for many districts; they won't look at it you if you have not expressed direct interest in their district), 3 letters of reference (minimum), and copies (usually scanned) of certifications and/or submissions/notifications that certs are pending. In other words, keep your on-line application up to date!
  2. Not only should you write letters of interest specific to each particular district that highlight your talents and what you can offer to that district, your resume should reflect the same thing. Have a core resume ready that you can tweak to highlight a particular district's needs and showcase your talents!
  3. Highlight specialized training, areas that you have provided turn-key training, and ways in which you have collaborated with others. Taking the initiative to prove that you are a life-long learner, are open to constructive criticism, and willing to learn from others and contribute to building culture are extremely important. Operating as an island, behind closed doors is a mentality of the past. You must show that you are open and willing to work with others to provide the BEST POSSIBLE LEARNING EXPERIENCE FOR KIDS.
  4. Make sure your references are up to date and are accurate. It's quite frustrating to call a listed reference that hardly remembers the candidate or has had very little interaction or experience of observing the candidate in the classroom. We, as potential employers, totally rely on the feedback of your references. That being said, INVITE MULTIPLE PEOPLE INTO YOUR CLASSROOM WHOM YOU CAN COUNT ON TO WRITE LETTERS OF REFERENCE OR PROVIDE FEEDBACK OF YOUR PERFORMANCE. This includes building principals, department coordinators, grade level leaders, consultant teachers (special ed. teachers and directors, support personnel, volunteers, and directors of curriculum and instruction, to name a few). Invite varied people from all areas into your classroom; make an effort to schedule their presence and ask for their feedback in writing.
  5. Attach any award or special recognitions to your application. This feature gives us, the evaluator of whether you are a good fit for the position, an opportunity to see if, at first glance, on paper, if you are truly a good fit and qualified for the position in question. Please remember that, at all times, you are your own salesperson, per se, and are responsible for selling your best qualities to the district and the position.


  1. Appear confident; but also be sure not to appear too haughty. This is a FINE line to walk. Do your best to not allow your nervousness or eagerness for the position to overpower your skills and abilities at a particular grade level or in a particular subject area. Also, be sure to highlight your abilities in a particular program or area that lend itself to the builidng vision, the building initiatiaves, the particular needs of the students in that building. Student achievement and evidence thereof should be your foremost focus.
  2. Your ability to highlilght your willingness to work and collaborate with others in the building to promote student achievement is of the utmost importance. Maintaining or enhancing a building culture is very important information for building leaders. We need to know that you can easily transition into a position and/or team and can be an integral player in promoting student achievement. We also like to see people who are multi-talented and multi-certed, especially at the elementary level. It does happen that we hire a singly certed individual, but in these days of dwindling enrollment in WNY, it is a plus to have a candidate who has certification in multiple areas as well as experience in key areas such as literacy, RtI, and Special Ed.
  3. SPECIFICS, SPECIFICS, SPECIFICS! Just as we ask students to rely on their experiences and text based details, we expect to interview candidates who are able able to provide specific examples of how they have implemented specific strategies, programs, and philosophies in their classroom (NAME THEM AND DESCRIBE HOW YOU HAVE IMPLEMENTED THEM). Having those specific examples readily available is also a bonus, BUT...knowing how and when to navigate those strategies and highlight them in an interview is another story. See number 4 below.
  4. Yes, I appreciate your portfolio and all the work you have put into it; really, I do. The key to referrring to your portfolio in the interview is to indexing it properly, so that when a particular question is asked, you are able to reference a specific example with ease. Yes, we really do want to see examples of your work, but we rarely have time to review your portfolios afterward. Therefore, IT IS YOUR JOB TO HIGHLIGHT WHAT YOU HAVE TO OFFER THROUGH EXAMPLES IN YOUR PORTFOLIO...and don't be so dismissive as to say, "I can leave this with you." Rather, be proactive and show us examples and things you can highlight by providing us with memorable experiences that do not ask us to invest additional time.
  5. Most, if not all, interviews will end by asking what questions you have for us. Here is where you NEED to show, through your questions, that you have done some research on the district. DO IT! Talk to anyone and everyone you can about the district and what it has to offer...learn all you can before the interview. And, if, for example, a district's website is outdated and under construction, TAKE THE INITIATIVE TO LEARN ALL YOU CAN ABOUT THE DISTRICT, ITS PROGRAMS, ITS INITITIAVES, ITS EXCTRACURRICULARS, etc. Make phone calls, send emails, talk to others who may know someone in the district. In other words, DO YOUR HOMEWORK!

Finally, be yourself in an interview; be excited and showcase what you have to offer. If you are your true self... a child advocate, someone who is dedicated to the profession, and willing to work collaboratively in the best interest of the child...I assure you that you will find your perfect fit in this extremely rewarding yet often frustrating profession sooner or later. And, with God Speed, I trust that it will be sooner rather than later.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Everything I Need to Know I Learned From My Browndog

It’s funny how life works out sometimes. I grew up in wonderful family and was blessed with two loving parents and three fantastic siblings. I am the youngest of four and have a sister for a best friend and two great brothers. For as far back as I can remember, we always had dogs in our family. My dad, a hunter and fisher extraordinaire, had a saying about dogs: "If it can't hunt, it can't stay." As a result, we usually had a retriever or a setter. So when I grew up, got a teaching job, and bought my own house, I also bought my best browndog; a wonderfully friendly and spirited chocolate lab named Bailey (officially named Kate's Mudsplash Bailey Girl).

As I reflect on my life as an educator, as I often do, I can say that everything I ever needed to know about life I learned from my browndog. Here are some lasting life lessons that I've learned from my furry and brown best friend:

1. Greet everyone enthusiastically, be happy to see them, and show them how much you care about what they do. In other words, build lasting relationships. Dogs have this wonderful connection to people and, as an administrator, I can't say enough about how important it is to build relationships with those with whom you live and work closely. There is always a common goal to strive toward in education and there's no better way to get people to follow you as a leader but through building relationships and appreciating what they do every day. Take time to appreciate those important people in your life and show them how much you care about them and what they do. It is the single most important thing you can do for your teachers, who do the most important work in the world...inspiring the next generation to do great things.

2. Work hard and play hard. My browndog will be turning ten in a few weeks and she is still all puppy. She loves to work hard and please me, her leader, and she loves to play even more. We need to take time to do the same things. Being an educator or an educational leader is hard work; we face obstacles every day and do our best to inspire and motivate others to do their best work as well. But the job can be taxing, both physically and emotionally; so it is ever so important that after working hard we reward ourselves with a little bit of fun. This is true not only for us, but for our students as well. We need to remember to reward hard work with some fun. It will pay dividends that are everlasting. Kids and teachers alike will become more connected to their schools and they will become leaders in their own right.

3. Take a walk every day. In other words, take time out to get some physical activity every day. I have a teacher in my UPK program that is seeing the rewards of this idea in real time. Each day, after her normal routine of calendar, weather, the pledge, etc., she has the kids count to 100 doing combinations of ten reps of some sort of physical activity...jumping, push-ups, squatting, jumping jacks...anything she can think of. The kids love it and are building strength and so are she and her aide. I visit each classroom every day and I can see the kids making progress! But what I really love is that the kids make me join in too. It's fun, we see progress in others and praise each other, and we expend some energy which helps us to focus on our work afterward.

4. Rest as needed. My browndog is a power napper. As she is approaching her ten year mark, she naps more frequently and tuckers out more easily. However, she recuperates quickly because she rests as needed throughout the day. As adults, we need to remember to do the same. Of course, we cannot nap while on the job but we can be proactive by planning accordingly so that we are able to organize and manage our work in meaningful and effective ways. Teachers need to learn be ever-mindful of their weekly and report card deadlines so that they are not spending their personal family or home time grading papers or projects to calculate grades. There must be a clearly defined line of work and life. Educational leaders need to find and share strategies and tools to help teachers monitor their time more effectively.

5. Praise good deeds. I will admit that the browndog was not always the best pet. As a pup, she chewed every rung on my dining room chairs until they were toothpicks, she ate my favorite and original Birkenstocks my sister brought me from Germany, and she often shredded magazines or books for me to find when I got home from work. Rather than spanking or punishing her, I found that a much more effective way of stopping the bad behaviors occurred when simply praising her for being a good girl each day. Although she has not done anything like that since she was a pup, I still greet her each day upon my return home from work by asking if she was a good girl. Each day, she takes me through every room in the house to show me what a good girl she was or to "brag" in her own way about what she had done that day. As a result, I take time to shower her with praise for her deeds (or lack thereof) and she is so receptive to that praise that she is inspired to do good work each and every time I leave her. People, or students and teachers, are no different. Taking time to praise them for the work that they do each day goes a long way.

6. Play well with others. Dogs and people are social beings, so why aren't teachers? Many teachers operate as islands; they close their doors, plan their own things, and rarely collaborate unless required to do so by their leaders. A teacher can do wonderful things, but teachers, together, can do AWESOME things. Teachers need time to work together to plan meaningful learning experiences for children. In addition, teachers must be granted time together to ensure that what they are teaching is aligned to state standards. Further, teachers need time together to discuss the different strategies and ways they implemented their content and instruction in order to compare with one another which ways were more effective for kids. This is the most powerful conversation that is worth having in our field.

7. Take time to smell (the roses). Dogs, especially my labbie, are led by their noses. Those of us dedicated to the profession of educating kids need to take time out to appreciate the good things we do and the progress that we reap. We must make time to reflect on the things in life and work that we do well in order to find inspiration and motivation to continue to grow as people and professionals. Reflection is the key to inspiring growth and ensuring that we do not enter into a "rut." We cannot continue to do things the way we've always done them. Our students and teachers deserve much more than that. We must be open and willing to grow professionally and continually in order to inspire the best in others.

So take time to look for life lessons in the little things that we take for granted. My browndog has certainly inspired me to do so. Your teachers and your students deserve the same.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Building a Professional Learning Community

In my current situation as the Director of Curriculum and Instruction, I am charged with ensuring quality programs and learning experiences for all students, Pre-K-12. My biggest challenge right now is that the teachers in my district have not had stability in my position for nearly two years. They are jaded; they have heard that great things would be taking place and were willing to invest time and energy into things that were promised, but have not seen any follow through. In addition, they are starved; they are dying for some professional development that is meaningful, will enhance their daily classroom practice, is seamless in its implementation into the classroom, and will engage and motivate the unique students in classrooms today.

To add to the pool of frustration, my teachers are in their second year without a contract and negotiations have gone into arbitration. To put it simply, it's ugly out there. Teachers are disgruntled and feeling under appreciated and overworked. In addition, as in many other districts out there, there is a huge disconnect and feelings of inequality between buildings and levels (elementary, middle school, and high school). To complicate the matter further, there are feelings of animosity not only between buildings, but within buildings as well. biggest hurdle right now is building collegiality. Thank God for my PLN and my DLN to help me in this momentous task. I've recently begun the process of joining Communities for Learning and I am so excited to have this support to help me on my quest of building collegiality and establishing an atmosphere of supportive collaboration throughout my district. I long to create a learning community "in which participants embrace the privilege and responsibility of learning individually and collectively. " I want to inspire teachers to increase their expertise and share that success with other teachers in an atmosphere where they feel safe and inspired to do so. I believe that, only through building collegiality and fostering an atmosphere of sharing experiences, teachers can come to understand teaching and learning to a point that transcends the limitations of their unique individual perspectives.

How do I go about building this collegiality among teachers, departments, and individual schools in my district? I have some ideas and I'm hoping that my membership in Communities for Learning will direct me and support me in bringing those ideas to fruition. But I would appreciate any suggestions you might have to help me as well. How do you attempt to bring people, who have a history of not working together, to join in conversations to move your building or district forward for the sake of the children you serve?

Friday, February 20, 2009

Meeting the Needs of All Learners

Differentiating Instruction seems to be a most topical phrase in education these days. Teachers often fear that differentiating instruction means that they have to develop individual lesson plans for each kid in their class EVERY DAY. Thankfully, this is not the case. There are many ways to differentiate instruction for all kinds of learners and learners at every imaginable level even though they are all in attendance in one classroom.

I'm sure that we all can agree that there is essential content that every child needs from a particular content area. A teacher can, of course, deliver that content in any way he or she sees as most effective. However, and given what we know about brain research , we all know (or should know by now) that we cannot continue to teach as we have always done in the past. Kids are much different learners today than we were years ago. They are digital natives and we are learning as we go along.

Differentiating instruction does not have to be a complete abandonment of the lessons teachers have carefully planned and aligned to state mandated standards; rather, differentiating instruction around those standards simply means that teachers provide students with a variety of means to demonstrate their understanding of content. In an ELA classroom (as per my background experience), the simplest way to differentiate was by product; in other words, I provided a number of equitable choices for students to demonstrate their knowledge of content and their skills in demonstrating that content knowledge. (I have many thoughts on this and lots of other examples of differentiated assignments and project choices on my wikispace; see the initial page and the Writing Assignments page). But there are other ways to differentiate; many teachers differentiate by content, process, and product according to students' readiness, interest, and learning profiles.

As an administrator, what do I look for when visiting classrooms to ensure that each child is engaged and learning at their own pace? I look for kids who are engaged in whole group instruction or discussion; I look for kids who are quietly working on things on their own; I look for kids who may be working in pairs or in cooperative groups to accomplish something meaningful; I look for kids who are working at creating a new product based on their knowledge of content. This is the essence of differentiating instruction. When teachers differentiate, they provide structure in their classrooms and attempt to manage students while they do meaningful work. Differentiating instruction involves relinquishing some control by putting content into the hands of the learners and helping them to make meaning for themselves. This is not easy for teachers because, let's face it, there is a bit of a control freak in every teacher out there. However, differentiating instruction does lead to some powerful learning for our students and it is making a difference in many classrooms.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Teaching in the Trenches Without a Contract

"We must want for others, not ourselves alone."
Eleanor Roosevelt

In these harsh and uncertain economic times, it is difficult to stay positive. Times are tough and this is especially so in the field of education. As a native Western New Yorker from historic Niagara Falls, Governor Patterson's message of doom and gloom concerning school budget cuts has us all a bit running scared. To complicate this matter, there are many school districts in my region that are also experiencing teacher contract negotiations. These two issues combined have created an atmosphere of toxicity in schools across our area. Teachers are tense, disgruntled, and feeling under appreciated. This combination defines an atmosphere of trepidation, fear, and antagonism. How do we, as school leaders, work through such toxic situations?

We look for opportunities to showcase teachers and their techniques. We provide opportunities for teachers to work together and share their expertise. We inspire teachers to get excited about teaching and learning through meaningful professional development opportunities. We take the time to tell teachers in unique ways how much we appreciate all that they do for the children of our district. And we quell rumors that run amuck.

Although my immediate focus is the quality of curriculum and instruction and securing motivational and innovative professional development for all teachers in the district, I am also the direct supervisor of the UPK (universal pre-K) and ALT (alternative high school) programs that are in the building for which I serve as principal. Although the teachers in my building are experiencing the same strain of working without a contract for the second year in a row, I am thankful that they are still positive about the profession and continue to work hard for their kids. Sadly, I cannot say this for all the other buildings in my district. Some buildings are worse than others, mind you, and a few remain just as positive as mine.

I have years 13 years of experience as a middle school and high school English teacher and as a department chair as well. I know full well what it feels like to be in "the trenches" and be without a fair teacher's contract. Two different times in those 13 years we worked a year or more without a contract and I was on the negotiations team for one of those contracts. It was not an easy place to be; and, yes, I was angry at times, but I never, and I mean NEVER, let my professionalism come in to question. Unfortunately, this is not the case in my current district. Below are some things currently taking place as a result of this toxic atmosphere:

  • Teachers are talking to students about how unfair it is to be working without a contract both inside and outside of their classrooms. In fact, some teachers have taken time out of instruction to do so. This is happening to the extent that teachers are actually telling high school students that prom will probably be cancelled because there will be no teachers willing to chaperon without a contract. That is just awful, not to mention wrong.
  • Teachers have gone to a "work to rule" stance, refusing to perform any ancillary tasks above and beyond their contracted work day regardless of whether they have performed such tasks in the past. As a result, kids are suffering. Teachers are not staying after school to provide extra help for kids who need it. Teachers are not chaperoning events that help to motivate kids or further connect them to their school. Teachers are entering and leaving the building en masse, at exactly the start and end of their contracted day, period.
  • Teachers are bullying other teachers, even those who are non-tenured, to be sure that all are following this work to rule stance. Teachers have been hollered at by colleagues and even followed out to their cars while being berated about taking work home with them.
  • Teachers are bad-mouthing the district in the press. Just see this post by a friend to understand what I'm talking about. Not only do I find it unwise to bite the hand that feeds you, so to speak, I am also deeply saddened and offended by such tactics.

Times are tough for everyone these days, but that is no excuse to behave unprofessionally. As a former teacher, I would never have thought to behave in ways that sully the profession and take away from kids. No matter how hard it is sometimes, we must always remember to remain professional; we must always remember that this profession is about kids and not ourselves. We have to remain positive for the kids and provide them with the best possible education we can because they deserve it.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

A Day That Shall In Infamy

Today we have witnessed an amazing feat for America. President Barack Obama became our 44th president and the first president of African American descent. As I watched this historic event streaming live on the web, I was brought to tears a number of times. Watching him walk out to the venue, I couldn't imagine what was going through his mind or how nervous his stomach must have felt; yet he never displayed a moment of weakness or nervousness at all.

As he addressed the throngs of Americans present and on line, as well as the millions of others from around the world, Barack Obama spoke eloquently and confidently as a leader should. The cameras captured millions of people in attendance witnessing an event that many thought would never come. I saw people young and old, black and white, male and female, all united together in the common bond of the hope that is now America. Among the particular images that touched me were parents gathered with their children, New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin, Jr. as the President mentioned those who came to the aid of others "when the levees broke," members of the armed forces standing confidently in their dress uniforms, and members of the original Tuskegee Airmen proudly wearing their caps identifying them as such. Seeing those airmen brought a lump to my throat and tears to my eyes. Imagine how proud they are to be Americans today! In addition, when President Obama spoke of his father who, "less than sixty years ago might not have been served at a local restaurant" as his son now stood before us all and took his most sacred oath, the tears flowed not just for me but for all of us Americans who remember those difficult times in our history.

President Obama's speech was compelling. He spoke of our trials and triumphs as a nation and he spoke of how, today, we gathered "because we have chosen hope over fear, unity of purpose over conflict and discord." He referenced scripture, our forefathers, and our founding beliefs as a nation united together for a single purpose. Most compelling, he said, "The time has come to reaffirm our enduring spirit; to choose our better history; to carry forward that precious gift, that noble idea, passed on from generation to generation: the God-given promise that we are all equal, all are free, and all deserve a chance to pursue their full measure of happiness." America, the time has finally come.

Yes, these are words and ideals we have heard before; but today we witnessed them come true for the first time in our history and I am overwhelmed at the hope that it brings us all. I'm hopeful that this new leader, our 44th President of these United States of America, will bring about the change we so desperately desire for this country. President Obama strikes me as one of the most intelligent men we have ever had in this important post and I am confident that he has the ability to lead us to great things. I believe him when he said, "Today I say to you that the challenges we face are real. They are serious and they are many. They will not be met easily or in a short span of time. But know this, America--they will be met."

Congratulations, America. We have finally turned a corner that has haunted our history for far too long. Today, we can finally come together and put an end to the elitist behaviors and ideals that have kept us separated for so long. Today, we can join as one and work toward the common goals and beliefs we have established for our nation.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Stuck in the Middle: Finding Ways to Inspire and Motivate Adolescents

The mind is not a vessel to be filled, but a fire to be ignited. - Plutarch

As I returned home from teaching the first class of a new semester of pre-service English teachers at Niagara University recently I was feeling inspired. I love the energy that a new group of students brings to the classroom and their willingness to learn, try new things, and absorb as much as they can motivates me to do my best in leading them into the reality of teaching today. When I returned home, I sent them all an email welcoming them to class and telling them how happy I am to have them under my wing. Simple communications such as these go a long way in building relationships and classroom community. It also fosters sharing and building a personal learning network (PLN) among my students.

In the past my pre-service teachers have been quiet and shy, lacking confidence and afraid of what awaits them in the classrooms of their future. Granted, there have been some who have been more eager to learn and outgoing, and there always seems to be that one who knows everything and assumes the attitude that there's nothing you can't teach them that they don't know already, but this new group, however, seems different. They're excited to be there, eager to share their ideas and beliefs about education, and they're asking more questions than any class I've had before. And I am loving it! Just when I was contemplating how much longer I can manage to teach along with my administrative responsibilities, I am inspired to find ways to make it possible.

Nothing can compare to a classroom full of students eager to learn and try new things, ready to be challenged and chomping at the bit to share their thoughts. My new group of pre-service teachers fit this bill and so do my four-year-old Universal Pre-K students. Both are excited to walk in the door everyday to learn new things, try something different, and share their thoughts with one another and their teacher. Why is that those students in between these two age groups have lost that spark and excitement about learning?

Having been a secondary English teacher in both middle and high school for fourteen years, I can attest to the fact that the spark for learning begins to fade somewhere at the onset of adolescence and tends to last until the excitement and uncertainty of applying to colleges begins to set in. Even though there are some great teachers who do some great things to motivate and challenge students "stuck in the middle," that spark essentially alludes both teachers and students for quite a few years. It's sad. It's criminal. And it's our reality. But what causes it to happen?

Is it the emphasis on standardized testing and benchmark assessments? I think there's something to that, but I don't think it's the sole cause. What I do think is that, somewhere along the line, the emphasis changes from the exercise of skills to the demonstration of knowledge and this is what stifles the natural inquiry inherent in students. Although the world, students, and the expectations of schools has changed dramatically since we were young students, many teachers continue to teach the way they were taught when they were kids, with desks in neat rows, very little interaction among their peers, and very few assignments that foster constructivism and the creation of a new original product.

So how do we challenge teachers to move away from the way they've always done it and, in turn, challenge their students to engage in content in new ways? We must help teachers to become confident in relinquishing some control and allowing students to take the reins once in a while. Some wonderful things tend to happen as a result. Just read this blogpost by friend, Crista Anderson, to see what can happen. It's our job as administrators to provide opportunities for teachers to learn new strategies to tap into that spark and motivation that seems to be missing in students who are stuck in the middle.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

7 Things You May Not Know About Me~Gone Viral!

Angela Stockman, a treasured friend and colleague, who I follow on Twitter and have blogged about before, has tagged me for this fun little meme that has been winding its way around the web. Some of the bloggers I keep up with and Twitter with daily have shared seven things about themselves already, and I’m enjoying learning more about the people I’ve come to rely upon so much over the few months I've been in the Twitterverse and the blogosphere.

So, here we go with the rules:
  1. Link your original tagger and list these rules on your blog
  2. Share 7 facts about yourself in the post–some random, some weird
  3. Tag 7 people at the end of your post
  4. Let them know they’ve been tagged

Seven things you may not know about me:

  1. My favorite guilty pleasure is watching Charmed. I just love this show and I was sorry to see it end last year. I watch all the re-runs and try not to miss it...EVER. I have taped it on vhs, dvr'd it, and watched each season and episode a gazillion times. It never gets old for me. I don't know what draws me to it most...the characters, the magic, the complete impossibility of it happening in real life...who knows? I just love it. That's all.
  2. I have NEVER seen Pulp Fiction. Honest! I've never seen it and it's one of my sister's favorite movies. Because of her I know some of the lines and can quote them..."You know what they call a Quarter Pounder with cheese in France? A Royale with cheese. " It's a cult classic and I have never seen it. To this day she cannot believe I've never watched it.
  3. I wanted to own my own flower shop when I was in high school. That was my first career choice. I love horticulture, gardening, and designing flower arrangements and always have. In high school I amassed a sequence in Horticulture and was a star student. I worked in two different flower shops out of high school and was an awesome designer, if I do say so myself. Never in a million years did I ever picture myself as a teacher or administrator back then. It's funny how life works out, isn't it?
  4. My favorite place to travel to is the big town of Vestal, NY. This is mainly because my favorite cousins live there and I have such fond memories of visiting them every summer since I was a tyke, but it is also one of the most beautiful places in New York State that I've ever been to. Nestled in the foothills of the Catskill Mountains and seated along the Susquehanna River, I will admit that every time I leave there and get to a certain spot on the thruway on the way home, I cry...literally. I just can't help it. I used to take the bus there with my grandmother when I was a kid and I look forward to going there and seeing my cousins, The Mooneys, every chance I get.
  5. The people I admire most are my parents. I know, it sounds corny, but it's true. My parents were a HUGE scandal back in their day. Mom went to an all-girls Catholic School, Madonna High School, and my dad went to an all-boys Catholic School, Bishop Duffy High School, and when they were 17 they were pregnant and had to get married. I say "had to" because back in their day that was the accepted practice. Before they knew it, they had three kids before they were 22. My mom tells a story, my favorite story, about how she was pulling three toddlers in a wagon one summer day and an old codger sitting on his porch laughed a big belly laugh and said, "Well I guess so, honey!" as she walked past. She didn't quite get it until she got home and started unloading kids from the wagon; suddenly she saw that on the side of the wagon it said: "Rapid Delivery." I came along four years after my sister and they tell me that I was the only one they planned. My point is, my parents had to get married and are still happily married today. I am THE ONLY ONE of my high school friends whose parents are still together. My mom had to drop out of high school and be a mom, but she went back to school when we were kids and became a teacher. My dad just plain worked his tail off to support his family and I had a very happy childhood that I would not trade for the world.
  6. I used to weigh 311 pounds. Even when I admit that number to friends who have seen me at the height of my weight, they can't believe it. Honestly, I can't believe I let myself get to that's scary and I was so unhealthy too. I had complications of high blood pressure and my asthma was really bad. I had a hard time walking from my classroom to the main office to get my mail. And doing the stairs? I don't even want to think about it! Thank God I have made better choices in my life and I am on the road to leading a much healthier and happier lifestyle. I've lost nearly 100 pounds and I'm working on the rest.
  7. I had an odd crush on my Ken doll when I was a kid. Gosh, that even sounds weird, doesn't it? I remember being very young and playing dolls with my friends at their houses and I always brought my Ken doll. I also remember being upset when the Barbie and Ken family set came out and they had a baby...that should've been me, not Barbie! Just another reason to hate that skinny blonde!

I’m tagging the seven people below, but if you’re reading, feel free to jump into the mix as well. Let me know if you do, and I’ll link to you.

Theresa Gray, Rob Currin, Adam, Vicki Davis, Jennifer Dorman, Glen Westrbroek, Mike Sansone