Wednesday, August 6, 2014

My Summer Holiday

I'm not sure why, but I really haven't caught the "blogging bug" again since returning to Thailand. However, I think it may starting up again...

I've truly been blessed this summer to have a long  holiday away from teaching. I've done quite a bit and feel rested and ready to return to my Year 1 classroom at The Australian International School Bangkok in a few weeks. This summer for me has been about three things; 1) Finishing my master's program. 2) Working on completing requirements for my Wisconsin teaching license and 3) Researching what it means to be having a baby! (Let alone a baby in Bangkok!) We also went to the beach! I've also watched a lot of TV, but it's summer!

Finishing My Master's

I have received notice that I have completed all requirements and in August I'll officially graduate from the State University of New York (SUNY)- Buffalo with a MS in Multidisciplinary Studies. My degree program focused on preparing me to a more professional-qualified teacher, especially in an international environment with a diverse student body.  I started the program in 2011 when we lived here previously and was forced to stop when we returned to the US in January 2012. It's unique international program that's only offered in co-horts all across the world. Most of the classes met over the weekends at a local school. Professors were either already working in Thailand or nearby countries or were brought to our location just to teach their class. While there were things I did not like about the program (like needing to complete an extra class this summer because I was never notified that some transfer credits would not count), but overall it was an excellent source of professional development and time/$ well spent. I met a great group of friends and other teaching professionals. My professors prove to be great resources and contacts as I continue my career. I'd definitely recommend the program to someone interested.
My final in class session with Professor Kim (pink shirt) surrounded by some great friends who are either just beginning the program or just finishing with me.

License Requirements

I would not change my teaching career experiences for anything, however I'm not sure I'd recommend my exact path for everyone. Since graduating in December of 2006 in my BA in Elementary Education/Special Education I have taught full time 5 1/2 years and substitute taught 2 years. All of this across three states and in Thailand. Three different teaching licences= three different hoops of requirements to jump through. That's how after nearly 7 years of experience and being finished with a masters, I'm still working on qualifying for an initial teaching license without any stipulations. Currently, I'm  finishing up my minority relations and a environmental education professional development classes to satisfy Wisconsin's unique requirements.  If I were a politician I would make professional licensing (teachers, nurses, etc) my issue- it's ridiculous and expensive for everyone involved. Ok, excuse me why I step off my soap box.  I love being a teacher and that's why I will jump through hoops. (but I do really hope we never live in any other state!!) 

We spent a long holiday weekend in Koh Chang in July as well. We love this island and are loyal customers to a resort on the south side. I think this was our third or fourth time there. We had one beautiful day at the beach and other rainy day spent reading on hammocks under a shelter at our hotel. We enjoyed evening dinners on the pier and even found a shop selling Iowa State T-shirts. It was a lovely get away!!

We're Having a Baby!

I'll definitely post on this more  (my plans for work, gender, expected visitors, etc) soon, but we are having a baby. It still seems surreal to me, but as I post this I'm already 18 weeks along. I found my doctor and my hospital through a friend's recommendation (and our insurance approved list!) and couldn't feel more comfortable and happy.

My doctor is located at this highly respected and well-known hospital. 

The only baby items we've purchased are a used pack-n-play and maternity clothes. Baby things are SO expensive here it's not even funny. I've connected with different mom (usually spelled mum here, but I won't let that slip into THIS blog) groups here through facebook mostly and realized that buying used is the way to go.

New in the US: $80-$100. New in Thailand:  $600,  Used (can't tell at all)  in Thailand: $170 (See what I mean about outrageous!)  Here's our pack-in-play set up. I wanted to see it in our space, measure it, etc. However, it's not out permanently yet. It has an infant level and came with a mattress to use as well. It's about as neutral as I've seen advertised and goes quite well with our color scheme. 

I've also joined a Mom to be/Mom & Baby Group that offers classes, resources, and events. I've attended two Babies and Bumps meetings where I learned about baby wearing (a must in a big city that sidewalks aren't stroller friendly) and hypnotherapy techniques to use during pregnancy and labor (very interesting and included a 45 minute session with the therapist).  I hope to go to a moms who work get together to get the advice from those moms on how they did it as well. Overall, I've been able to connect with a few other new moms and pregnant ladies which as been great. I'm looking forward to their huge yard sale in September.

Bangkok Babies and Mothers International 

There's an update on my summer! Teachers go back to school in 1 week, kids come on the 19th!  Time to get into school mode.... after I take a nap!

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