I have to start this post by clarifying that I am not someone who usually writes about things that involve politics, states’ rights, or how things are done. Not because I don't care about these things, or have opinions or thoughts, but because I feel VERY unqualified and don't really KNOW enough to be saying much about anything. I seem to have some mental blocks about it. I TRY; I really do, to keep informed, keep up, and be involved. But I can't seem to remember who is who or how things work or why. I rely very much on my husband in these matters as he is really good about all of this and is very passionate (usually enough for both of us, lol) and I totally trust and agree with his opinions as well. Reading back over this it sounds as if I am saying I am a complete glue who lets her husband tell her how to feel, but that isn't really how it is at all. SOME things I too am very passionate about. Maybe I should just write out what I am thinking this morning.
As most of you know, my daughter Melody is 23 years old and is living in New Mexico on the border of Texas with her dairy farmer husband Mike. She graduated from Cal State Fullerton in May of 08 (2 little weeks before her wedding ~ wouldn't do that again, haha) with a degree in Child and Adolescent Development. Her intention from the beginning has been to teach either Kindergarten or the first grade. She chose Cal-State Fullerton in the first place, as it is one of the few universities in the country that offers a credential program that is good country wide, and whose reputation for preparing teachers makes holding a degree from there an excellent qualification for landing a job. I was all for it is well, not only for these reasons, but because it meant she would stay home for college, as Fullerton is only about 25 minutes from our house (with no traffic of course, SIGH) and I was anxious to hold onto her a little longer. She COULD have worked a program at the school where she would have received not only her degree, but her credentials in 4 short years. Another benefit of Fullerton. But after getting into it a little bit, we both decided it would be soo stressful and such an overwhelming work load, that there was really no reason to do it. She was after-all very young still with her whole life to get things done she wanted to do. Looking back now on what ended up happening that might have been our first mistake. Anyway....I think you need to know that Melody has not only always been an excellent student, she is a DEFINITE perfectionist. This can make things very difficult (at best) sometimes. She worked soooo hard to get that degree. Living at home I saw firsthand what she went through. She graduated in 4 years with a 3.8 and on the Dean's list. Her senior year was really VERY overwhelming. She not only worked part time at a school, she also served two internships and finished her final classes AND planned her wedding. In between times she flew out to New Mexico occasionally to see her finance that was super busy himself starting up a new dairy with his dad. Because of the way they do things, which again was why Fullerton is such a good place to get this particular degree, she was required to do the internships for her degree, where most other colleges she would not have had to do that until she was in the credential program. Now, I feel like I also have to tell you at this point, what I really wanted her to do was......WAIT to get married until she had FINISHED the credential program. She COULD have gotten both her credentials (which would have been good ANYWHERE in the country) and had her Masters as well in just another short 18 months. But, at that point in her life, 18 months seemed an eternity to a young woman who was in love and whose finance lived in another state. Sooo she graduated and planned to get her credentials in New Mexico. Well, after the LONG STRESSFUL Senior year she put in, she decided she would take a year off from school and adjust to not only married life, but from moving out for the first time in her life, and 1000 miles away from all of her family and friends. She could substitute teach in New Mexico she found out with the degree she held, and decided she would just do that. That way she could not only pick and chose when she would work, but she could also visit all the campuses to see which one she really like and would eventually want to be hired at. In Lovington where she lives, the schools work quite a bit differently than California. All of the grades are together on one campus. Meaning....all the first grades are on one campus, all the second, and so forth. There are about 8 classrooms on each campus. This worked well for her. She was able to enjoy her newly married life, and yet still managed to eventually work at every single campus including the high school. And this year she began graduate school to get her credentials, or wait it is called licensing there, as she had planned. Anyway, she "thought" she would be able to get it at the university that is there in their town. That was her first WRONG assumption. That university DOES NOT offer graduate classes. Sooo she had to travel 1 hour and 45 minutes ONE WAY through ice and snow to the nearest college that did, 3 days a week ALL last semester. PLUS do a repeat of internships that she had already done in California that DID NOT COUNT in New Mexico. SIGH.... Having completed all that (which by the way meant she was barely able to come home to visit) she also had to re-take 2 state tests (paying a few hundred dollars by the way for EACH test) and pass them which again she had already done (and paid for, or we did actually, haha) in California. She completed that as well. Now, all that is left is an ENTIRE semester of student teaching which she is thankfully doing right there in Lovington for the second grade. OK, I am FINALLY to my point of this whole thing. I am often told I tell WAY too many details, which I probably do, but I feel like you had to get the "feel" of what she has been through to prepare herself for this profession. She is working in essence totally for free 8 to 10 hour days, 5 days a week this semester teaching the second grade, in addition to occasionally going to seminars and classes, and STILL has 1 on-line course to complete this summer. And this course is VERY involved complete with 2, 3 page papers a week, a couple of 10 page ones AND tons of reading. It just seems ridiculous, and yet, it is what it is. Meanwhile, I found out today, that the girl who also lives in Lovington and has been student teaching in KG (which is what Melody really wanted and didn't get) has in actuality been FULL TIME teaching this class for 3 years! Her degree is NOT in the required area, but in business, and she had not taken a SINGLE graduate class, or taken the required state tests. And yet, they were soo desperate for teachers, they hired her on with the stipulation that she complete the graduate classes (plus a few others as well) and take and pass her tests in a 3 year time frame. I guess she is now officially quitting in June as she has not been able to do it. She has flunked the tests 3 times (though there is another in August she could have tried for) and can't get the work done in the classes she needs to. I guess she has only completed in full a couple of them. YET, meanwhile she has been FULL TIME teaching for 3 years!! Now granted it is only in KG, but still. She does not receive the pay of a fully credentialed/licensed teacher either. BUT!!! I just don't get it. How this is fair to all the teachers who have had to do everything Melody has gone through, or much more importantly is it fair to the kids who have had her as a teacher, is what I want to know? WHY is it that teachers or our kids are valued soo little that this could happen in the first place? Can you imagine how ridiculous it would seem to everyone if say for instance Melody had gotten the degree she did, but decided what she really wanted to be was a nurse, so she simply gets a FULL TIME nursing job WHILE she gets the education that she needs to be one!! And yet, it is the very same thing in my opinion. People must just think that anyone can be a teacher, or it is not a valuable enough profession to be concerned about. And meanwhile who really suffers is the children. SIGH....This whole thing just frustrates me soo much. There are just soo many things with our education system that are just plain wrong. And yet, what is it that I can really do about it? Pray for sure I guess. Write a letter or two...but to who and saying what? Meanwhile, Melody is actually perky. She says to me this morning, "Mom, just think, this means there will be an opening in the KG campus where I REALLY want to be in the fall. Isn't that exciting? I am FINALLY almost there!" I guess I should just jump on her bandwagon and be happy for her and all the future students she will have, as I JUST KNOW she will be such a good teacher. And I will... right after I find a way to swallow all this down.
Just thought you should know..
BTW...she got her sweater/dress we sent her and is wearing it today (or I think she is anyway)...She didn't obey me and snap a picture of herself in it and send it to me so I could see her in it, or I'd post it for you to see. I'm sure she was too busy hurrying in so as not to be late for a job that she is not even being paid for, and few truly appreciate. OK, I am offically done with this story. = ) I miss her soo.
OK, here is her picture. She decided to wear it tonight as they were going out to dinner with friends. It is somewhat blurry as there seems to be something wrong with her camera, though you can get the general idea. She decided to go with her brown boots which are also pretty cute. Notice her little dog Baxter in the second picture. Always by her side, haha She didn't want me to post this on my blog as she said this was after she had worked all day and wasn't really looking her best fo a pic, but she knew I was waiting to see the dress. I ignored her, as she looks great as always I'm thinking.