Posted in Life, Lists, Teaching

11 Reasons Why You Should Hire a Former Teacher

Former teachers make the best employees (and there’s probably about to be a lot more of them), so if you’re looking to expand your workforce, here’s why you should consider hiring an educator.

#1: Excellent Communication Skills

Teachers are expert communicators. They can speak to everyone from children to board members to angry parents in a calm, enthusiastic manner, and they maintain a cheery attitude, even as they repeat the same thing 700 times a day. They’re good at speaking clearly, writing professional emails, and (thanks to covid) they have learned to convey a wide range of emotions from happy to shocked to sternly disappointed, with only their eyes.

#2: Fast Learners

Concerned that a former teacher doesn’t have the specific skillset you’re looking for? Give them an uninterrupted hour and see what they do with it. (The first thing they will do is look scared and confused because they’ve never been given an uninterrupted hour before. To make them feel more comfortable in this situation, try ringing a bell once in a while or screaming in the office next door for no reason.) Educators are given new technology on a yearly (sometimes weekly) basis, trained on it for thirty to forty-five minutes, and expected to implement it with 140 users the following day. And they DO. When the technology doesn’t work as advertised (it never does) and when the users haven’t been added correctly (they never are) the teacher figures it out, makes it work, and hands out two Band-Aids, a laptop charger, and a pass to the counselor’s office all at the same time. Teachers are learners. Give them a chance to learn, and they will wow you.

#3: Calm Under Pressure

Teachers remain calm in stressful situations. We are used to having unexpected (and unusual) circumstances pop up in the workplace, and we handle them swiftly and without panicking. Even when we may be freaking out inside, we remain cool, composed, and unruffled to the outside observer. Situations in which I, myself, have had to remain calm include but are not limited to the following:

  • A student sticking a paperclip in his eye
  • A student sticking scissors in an outlet (This actually happened next door, but I had to watch both classes while the teacher escorted her shocked (literally) student to the nurse.)
  • A student vomiting in my trash can
  • A student drawing Pennywise-the-clown makeup on his face during my lesson
  • Having to keep my students in my room for an extra half hour because there was a bat in the school that had to be caught before we could release them into the hallways again

#4: Great Public Speaking

Educators are comfortable in front of large groups of people. We know how to get the attention of a crowd, and we can project our voices when the mic doesn’t work.

#5: Masters of the Pivot

The definition of flexibility in the dictionary should have a picture of a teacher next to it. Teachers are excellent planners. We create engaging, educational lessons properly paced to fit within our forty-five-minute, one hour, or ninety-minute classes. But we know, when creating them, that the chances of the lesson going exactly as planned are slim. Anything from a technology outage, a fire drill, or a disruptive student can throw off the best laid plans. That’s why we’re always ready to pivot. Swap the writing lesson for reading time. Take a walk outside to escape the heat of the broken air conditioning. Do Friday’s lesson on Thursday, or reteach what the class learned on Wednesday if they’re still struggling with the material. Changing plans is part of the job when you’re a teacher. We’re better at it than anyone should have to be.

#6: Strong Organizational Skills

Teachers must have systems in place to keep track of who’s absent, who’s missing work, who’s failing, who’s in the restroom, and who’s allergic to peanuts. They have to differentiate every assessment for each student’s individualized learning plan, and they have to keep data on each student’s progress. This takes an organized mind and (for me personally) a lot of different colored pens. (Side note: Teachers love office supplies. If your company wants to up your sticky note game or needs advice on the best brand of marker, hire a former teacher.)

During hybrid teaching, the need to stay organized increased tenfold. Suddenly teachers’ desks looked more like the workstations of air traffic controllers: multiple monitors, a dozen tabs open, headphones, the dings of various messages and notifications interrupting every other sentence, and the poor teacher coordinating it all. (Please note that none of us want to do that again, but we can. We did. No planes crashed on our watch.)

#7: High E.Q.

Companies today are beginning to see how valuable it is for their leaders to have strong emotional intelligence in addition to intellectual intelligence. Being able to relate to others, to empathize and connect as humans, is essential to creating a successful staff. Employees are happier, less stressed, and more motivated to produce quality products when their emotional needs are met in the workplace. Teachers are ahead of the game when it comes to E.Q. They’ve been trained in Social Emotional Learning and have both participated in and led numerous team-building exercises. Educators know the power of intrinsic motivation. They know that students won’t perform their best if they don’t feel safe in their environment, and they won’t reach their full potential unless they care about the work they’re doing. If you need someone to build relationships within your workforce and help your organization feel more cohesive, what you need is a teacher.

#8: Boundless Creativity

Teachers are problem solvers, content creators, web designers, and miracle workers. In addition to teaching, we also have to decorate our classrooms and hallway bulletin boards, participate in random dress-up days throughout the year, and constantly come up with fresh, engaging, interactive lessons to ensure that our students aren’t bored. A teacher’s creativity knows no limits. Try us.

#9: Assorted Skills

Teachers have skills you might not even know your company needs. We’ve been trained (yearly) to deal with seizures, peanut allergies, asthma, fires, tornadoes, lockdowns, cyber security, suicide prevention, bullying, covid protocols, active shooter scenarios, the proper way to use an epi pen, and how to safely clean up blood. You’re welcome.

#10: Lunchtime Entertainment

Former educators have endless funny stories to tell about our teaching career, the kinds of things that sound made up but aren’t, so we can keep your team entertained on lunch breaks. Plus, we all eat super fast, so we’ll be finished long before everyone else.

#11: Appreciative of Perks

Teachers are used to doing a lot of extra work for no extra pay. Everything from bus duty to cafeteria duty to academic coaching to after school tutoring fall into the category of “Other Duties as Assigned,” and these minutes taken away from conference periods, lunches, and evenings are rarely compensated. The kind of perks we’re used to are jeans passes (You get to wear jeans on a day that’s not Friday! Yea!) and snack size candies in the lounge. If you give a former teacher stock options or a bonus or the ability to go to the bathroom whenever they want, they will cry with gratitude.

*

All joking aside, teachers are some of the smartest, hardest working, biggest-hearted, most creative and passionate people on the planet. They’re just looking for a chance to make a difference in an environment where they’re valued for their skills and effort. Their resumé may not wow you at first glance, but if you give them a chance to learn, and if you treat them with respect, they will blow you away with their work ethic and dedication. Hire a former teacher. You won’t be sorry.

Posted in Lists, Reading

Carie’s Quarantine Reading List

Here’s a list of books to read during the apocalypse social distancing due to the Coronavirus. There’s something here for everyone.

*

20170404

1. Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel

If you aren’t freaking out enough about COVID-19, read this science fiction novel about a pandemic that wipes out most of the world.

2. Greenglass House by Kate Milford

If you’re freaking out too much about COVID-19, read this heart-warming middle grade mystery about a family snowed in at their cozy, ramshackle inn with several intriguing guests. Read my full review of this wonderful book here.

3. A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles

Another heart-warming hotel story. This beautiful novel about a man who spends forty years in house arrest in a hotel is one of my favorite books. I highly recommend it.

4. The Shining by Stephen King

If you like hotels, but heart-warming isn’t your thing, read this very different story of a family snowed in at a large, haunted hotel. Read my post about this awesome horror novel here.

5. We Have Always Lived in the Castle by Shirley Jackson

Constance and Merricat are pros at social distancing. This unsettling book from the POV of that “weird house” in the neighborhood stayed with me long after I read it.

6. Bel Canto by Ann Patchett

From Goodreads: “Days stretch into weeks, the weeks into months. Joined by no common language except music, the 58 international hostages and their captors forge unexpected bonds.” If you’re stuck in a foreign country or experiencing an unexpectedly extended vacation, check out this beautifully-written novel about a non-voluntary shelter-in-place scenario.

7. Surviving Antarctica: Reality TV 2083 by Andrea White

This dystopian YA novel takes a look at the future of remote learning. Spoiler alert: It involves reenactments of historical tragedies and kids unknowingly having cameras inserted into their eyes to film their plight for the world.

8. Five Feet Apart by Rachael Lippincott

This YA romance shows how you can still find love during social distancing.

9. The Girl With All the Gifts by M.R. Carey

Just in case this turns into the zombie apocalypse, we should all be informed.

44890112._SX318_

10. Strange Planet by Nathan W. Pyle

Because these are strange times we live in and these cartoons will make you smile.

*

Happy reading! Remember, stay home & stay safe.

Posted in Lists, Writing

No Joke

I’m posting this tonight rather than tomorrow morning because I don’t want anyone to think anything in here is a joke. I also don’t want anyone to avoid reading my post because they’re worried it might be a joke. I also don’t want to post it and then become suspicious of all the comments because I’m concerned they might be jokes.

If you think I’m being way too paranoid about April Fool’s Day, that’s because you didn’t grow up in my family. We celebrated every holiday. We dressed up on Halloween, watched fireworks on the 4th of July, pinched people who weren’t wearing green on St. Patrick’s Day, and lied, joked, and pranked on April 1st. I walk backwards looking over my shoulder on April Fool’s Day and treat every story, message, and plea for help with suspicion. It’s the way I was raised.

[Click here to read about the time my cats pranked me on April 1st.]

I don’t devote much time to April Fools anymore– call it maturity, call it wisdom, call it laziness– but last year when April 1st fell on Easter, and I was visiting my parents for the weekend, I put googly eyes on everything in my mom’s kitchen. That was fun.

IMG_20180401_000702001_LL

But I digress…

The reason I’m writing is to share three pieces of news with you which are not jokes. I promise.

Screen Shot 2017-06-19 at 1.54.06 AMFirst, earlier this year, my story “Phoenix” was selected as a runner-up in the WOW! Women on Writing Fall 2018 Flash Fiction Contest, and Sue Bradford Edwards was kind enough to interview me about my writing process for WOW’s blog, The Muffin. You can read my answers to her questions and see a cool picture of a cicada here.

Also, I’m excited to announce that my story “The Girl in the Attic,” which was originally published in Growing Pains by Sinister Saints Press, will be reprinted next month in Allegory. So, if you haven’t had the chance to read this creepy tale, soon you’ll be able to enjoy it for free.

Screen Shot 2019-03-31 at 10.13.24 PM

Finally, I’m happy to share that my good friend Susan Rooke, author of The Space Between and its sequel, The Realm Below, nominated me for the Versatile Blogger Award. The VBA is a way for bloggers to acknowledge fellow writers and recognize them for their content. I’m honored to be chosen by Susan, because her blog is awesome. It’s equal parts writing, humor, and delicious food and drinks. Her stories about her family and her life in the country always make me smile, and her recipe for sweet batter bread is now one of my favorite things to bring to potlucks. It’s always a big hit. So, thank you, Susan!

The rules of the Versatile Blogger Award are…

1. Thank the person who nominated you and include a link to their blog. (Done)
2. Tell your nominator and readers 7 things about you. (See below)
3. Choose up to 15 bloggers whom you admire for their content (writing and/or images) and creativity. Nominate them in turn. (Comin’ up next)
4. Inform your nominees. (Will do)

Since some of my favorite bloggers have already been nominated, I’ll just add four: Ashley B. Davis, The Bohemian Freethinker, Annie Neugebauer, and Love, Teach.

Ashley Davis is my writing buddy, critique partner, and a very persuasive recommender of good books. She’s also a mom of twins and a blogger. We’ve only met once in person (what? how is that possible?) but we meet almost every Sunday morning online to write and talk about writing and talk about books and drink coffee together through the interwebs. Ashley’s blog is awesome because she thinks deeply about things. Whether she’s writing about a book she loves or an event she went to or about the writing process itself, her post is going to be honest and genuine and deep. She really puts herself on the page, and I love that about her. Go listen to her read her poem “Time Consuming” and try not to get chills.

Penny R. Pierce, author of The Bohemian Freethinker, is a good friend I’ve never met. We found each other through our blogs and bonded over our love of pets and teaching and poetry. Penny is a musician and a teacher and a thinker, and she has such a big heart. Our virtual friendship has moved beyond the screen into snail mail. We send each other postcards and letters every few months. Anyone who still communicates by snail mail is alright in my book. Go read her post “When Time Stands Still” to understand her unique outlook on the world.

I owe so much to Annie Neugebauer. I met Annie at a Poetry Society of Texas Summer Conference when I was first starting out as a blogger, and I learned so much about creating an online presence from her great example. Annie’s blog is professional, organized, and informative, while also being beautiful and whimsical and inviting. Annie writes for other sites as well, such as LitReactor and Writer Unboxed, but the hauntingly poignant posts at her home page are still the ones I like best. Check out her latest post and be sure to congratulate her on being a Bram Stoker Award Nominee!

Ah, Love, Teach. I love Love, Teach. She gives me teacher tingles (which is a phrase that makes my students giggle and blush out of embarrassment for me). She makes me laugh and cry and drop my jaw in awe that she can read my mind so specifically. And I am SOOOOOOOOOO excited about her recent announcement that she is writing a book! (Note: If you are a teacher, Love, Teach’s book is what I’m giving you for your birthday in 2020. There. Shopping done.) I can’t possibly pick a favorite post from her blog, but here’s one about teacher memes that cracks me up.

IMG_20190331_220505451

Ok, I’m almost done with this post. When I started writing, my dog was awake, and I was rambling about April Fool’s Day and how I didn’t want to post this tomorrow. But if I don’t finish soon, it will BE tomorrow. So here, in no particular order and without thinking too hard, are 7 things you might not know about me.

  1. I have hazel eyes.
  2. I make yummy cookies.
  3. I love the song “Roam” by the B-52s, but I don’t know any of the words. That doesn’t stop me from singing it.
  4. I can recite “The Cremation of Sam McGee” by Robert Service from memory.
  5. I have watched this video of a mama raccoon trying to teach her baby raccoon to climb a tree 14 times this weekend. Make that 15.
  6. I am childfree by choice. I don’t want to be a mom.
  7. I love it, love it, love it when my dog wags his tail in his sleep.

Ok, that’s it. Good night, and good luck tomorrow.