OPTIMIST1948   26,746
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OPTIMIST1948's Recent Blog Entries

Alarm Clock for Runners

Thursday, March 07, 2013

Too bad I have a dumb phone that wont do this for me...(but still, this may be the incentive I need to start exercising in the mornings)

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

DOGLADY13 3/9/2013 4:20PM

    Yeah. Me and that alarm would have a come to Jesus meeting pretty darn quick.

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ADAGIO_CON_BRIO 3/9/2013 11:58AM

    That's a great motivator! Although if I had something like that, i would develop a quick co-dependent relationship that would lead to resentments and sniping...

But that's just me!

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ROXYZMOM 3/8/2013 6:30PM


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LESLIELENORE 3/8/2013 6:02PM


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JPONCIN 3/8/2013 6:19AM

    Hahaha that's awesome!!! ;)

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BARCLE 3/7/2013 10:21PM


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BIGPAWSUP 3/7/2013 10:17PM

    I need that alarm also!!

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In which I learn a thing or 2 about convenience foods

Thursday, February 28, 2013

They are not always more convenient.

The origional plan for dinner this evening was a pot of soup - either pasta fagiole or Chicken Alphabet Noodle. Possibly a ham chowder. In a fit of industriousness I had even pre-chopped the vegetables.

While at the grocery store, I decided the soup idea was going to be too much work. I picked up some premade chicken sliders and frozen sweet potato fries (and tater tots too. Hey, I have a 6 year old. Dont judge me.) We needed a vegetable, so I opted for DH's favorite: broccoli rabe.

An hour later, everythings getting done at different times, I dirty 3 pots instead of 1 and I realized: shoulda gone with the soup.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

DOGLADY13 3/3/2013 1:11PM

    I love cheesy tater tots. I am unapologetic when it comes to my junk food pleasures.

A couple of years ago, I made the rule that I would no longer buy highly processed foods. The ingredients on the label have to be things that I could buy elsewhere in the store or I just buy the basic items. It makes for some pain in the neck, do I really have to cook moments, but our diet has improved tremendously.

That's not to say that I don't eat junk. There's plenty of opportunity for that at the office, but what comes into my house is pretty selective. It has also simplified cooking.

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LESLIELENORE 3/1/2013 4:29PM

    Strange how that works, huh?

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    Ha ha.Been there.
Soup is always my quickest option now. I can make the best chicken soup, we like lots of extra vegetables in it, and it makes a whole meal. The other option is going to the diner...yes, they now know where we like to sit. Unfortunately I'll eat way more and less healthy food than my soup would have been and still be finished and home in the same time it would have taken to cook, eat and relax!

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GINGERHAWK 3/1/2013 9:54AM

    I think we've all been there at some point and, I'm not gonna lie, I love the occasional tater tot (and I don't even have little ones at home anymore!).

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FITFOODIE806 3/1/2013 8:02AM

    Ha! So been there. My kids had corn dogs last night while DH and I are chicken, sweet potatoes, spinach and quinoa. Sometimes that's the reality of family cooking!

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JPONCIN 3/1/2013 5:36AM

    I made soup...sorry! ;)

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LULUBELLE65 3/1/2013 4:57AM

    I cannot manage to make dinner with out dirtying everything in the kitchen.

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ADAGIO_CON_BRIO 2/28/2013 11:17PM

    I really hear you. I have been there and I have done that and I have had ten dirty cooking items when I really only needed one or two.

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5FOOTRUNT 2/28/2013 10:05PM

    LOL !, I've done that as well. The things we do to ourselves.

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DJ4HEALTH 2/28/2013 10:04PM

    yep should of gone with the soup. One pot emoticon

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BIGPAWSUP 2/28/2013 9:45PM

    I've done that. Trying to save time/energy you end up spending more! Hope dinner was a least good!

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VIXSTERLU 2/28/2013 8:41PM

    Haha, this made me giggle. Thanks for that! I am so hungry right now, I can't wait to go home and eat my slow cooker concoction. I had a huge Togo's salad, but still hungry, grrr. Thursday are too long for me, boohoo emoticon

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ONEKIDSMOM 2/28/2013 8:15PM

    Whyizzit, when I buy the ingredients at the store it sounds so simple, but when I get home I don't feel like putting it together? emoticon

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Update: not working for "free"

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

FYI for those of you that care:
This is an update to my 2/12 blog about working for "free"

They decided to pay me! (I think they were just seeing if they could get away with it.) I had to fill out the paperwork for back pay today, so it may still be a bit before I can collect the money. Everyone in the building: Union, colleagues, principal were relieved that the situation is resolved.

Through the situation I was a *professional.* We had a week break for President's Week. I worked up to that Friday "To give you the break to arrange coverage." I also left work for 1-2 days following break so that the students would be busy..in case he needed a few more days to organize something. Instead Principal called me into the office before the day started on the Monday back and gave me the good news. I said "Terrific! Then I am back on board. You can count on me."

I dont like playing Chicken. But I'm glad this particular gamble worked out.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

DOGLADY13 3/3/2013 1:06PM

    This is great news.

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    Good for you!

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VIXSTERLU 2/28/2013 1:35PM

    That's wonderful news! So glad it worked out for everyone, especially for you emoticon

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BIGPAWSUP 2/28/2013 1:22PM

    emoticon Way to stand up for yourself. I'm so proud of you! emoticon

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GINGERHAWK 2/28/2013 1:21PM

    Good for you - glad the issue was resolved in a positive way! Nice job!

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SIMONEKP 2/28/2013 10:45AM


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LESLIELENORE 2/28/2013 10:25AM

    How awesome that they will pay you, just sorry you had to go through the stress.

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LIVINGFREE19 2/28/2013 9:28AM


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LULUBELLE65 2/28/2013 3:28AM

    yay! Good for you!

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FITFOODIE806 2/27/2013 11:23PM

    Great news!!

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ROXYZMOM 2/27/2013 11:03PM

    Awesome :)

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JPONCIN 2/27/2013 10:48PM

    I agree that they were trying to bluff...what great news for you!!! I'm really happy for you. You are back to doing what's best for the kids, and for you. :D

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UNSWEETMAMA 2/27/2013 9:32PM

    emoticon emoticon

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CHOCOHIPPO 2/27/2013 9:12PM

    Good for you. I'm glad it worked out.

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ONEKIDSMOM 2/27/2013 9:11PM

    Woo-hoo! You stood up and respected yourself, and surprise! So did the organization. Unfortunately, it's the way it is rigged. When I applied for my current position, the folks offering the job were forced by their rules to offer me the minimum, and I had to counter to ask for what I know my work is worth. Kind of like dickering over used car prices. Called Negotiating.

I wish we didn't HAVE to do this, but it is part of the world in which we live.

Good for you, and congrats on your new paying position!

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The Pancake Problem (and solution!)

Sunday, February 24, 2013

I love pancakes. My family loves pancakes. Pancakes are a great Sunday breakfast item.

I've worked out a fairly lowfat/ high fiber recipe that the entire family eats with no complaints....


I was having a personal problem because I was always overloading my calories and was hungry again 2-3 hours later. It was a protein problem (once I started tracking my macronutrients, I started understanding my patterns alot more.) Now I'm not going to make 2 breakfasts - one for me and one for the rest of the family. That's just crazy! I'm not a diner chef!

I tried bumping up the protein by adding peanut butter to the toppings or eating a cheese stick with it. Only a marginal improvement.

Then I tried that dieter's staple: cottage cheese - 1%. About 0.5 cup. By adding it to my pancake toppings (real maple syrup, occasionally fruit) it adds a luscious creaminess that my brain mistakes for whipped cream (yes really) but I can eat fewer pancakes and "last" longer until a reasonable lunch time.

Here's my pancake recipe: recipes.sparkpeople.com/recipe-detai

Now if only I could get better about not eating that last lonely pancake rather than toss or put away!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

MINSOSTER 3/1/2013 4:54PM

    Yum! My family loves pancakes too. I haven't read your recipe yet. I have been using cottage cheese on top of my pancakes for a few years now. I also add a cup of diced fruit (mangos are amazing!) along with a serving of chopped nuts and 2 tbsp pure maple syrup. When I sit down to my plate it looks like a gourmet creation to me and keeps me full for hours. My family thinks I am weird, and they keep it traditional (which now seems boring).


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SIMONEKP 2/28/2013 10:47AM

    Also try adding a scoop of protein powder into the batter and 1/4 cup more water. You can use the flavored powders to create flavored pancakes, chocolate, strawberry etc.

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BOILHAM 2/26/2013 7:33AM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon
I love pancakes!
emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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SEABREEZE64 2/26/2013 7:25AM

    When I was young.... we often had cottage cheese with syrup. It was one of my favorite dishes. Now it is cottage cheese with sugar-free syrup. Ho Hum...

I am going to check out your pancake recipe!!!

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    Good idea.
I'm a huge (pun intended) fan of greek yogurt. Have you tried that on your pancakes or perhaps using it to make the pancakes?

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ANDY_54 2/25/2013 1:49PM

    Mmmm, love pancakes--every single kind. The cottage-cheese thingy scares me, though. I wonder if it could get beat or whipped and adding it the batter? But I really like the thought of eating some protein with the carbs!

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MJ7DM33 2/24/2013 7:24PM

  emoticon Thx!

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CINERICIA 2/24/2013 1:03PM

    Mmmmm...pancakes. I love pancakes of all varieties. And with peanut butter on top? You're after my heart, you are. But I don't know that I can get behind the cottage cheese. Too...cottage cheese-y. (I'm more of an egg white omelet kind of girl.) But I'm glad you've found something delicious that works for you.

(My Little One experiments with pancakes all the time. She is currently in love with recipes she finds on Gojee and Chocolate Covered Katie.)

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ROXYZMOM 2/24/2013 11:06AM

    I love pancakes too!! Did you ever try Morningstar breakfast sausage patties? They are very tasty and have lots of protein. I eat mine with it and 1/2 banana. Nice and filling.

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ONEKIDSMOM 2/24/2013 10:45AM

    Great solution! Even better that it does cool things to your imagination (whipped cream).


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FITFOODIE806 2/24/2013 10:29AM

    Ha! I am eating pancakes as I read this. :) we also do pancakes every Sunday. I'll look at your recipe. Ours uses Greek yogurt which bells with the protein. Today I made soft boiled eggs with mine and that was super good.
I also struggle with the last one on the plate!

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PMRUNNER 2/24/2013 10:25AM

    We should try that, we have pancakes or waffles every saturday too. Thanks for sharing!

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LESLIELENORE 2/24/2013 9:59AM

    Great idea!

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JPONCIN 2/24/2013 9:53AM

    Oh wow what a great idea! Thanks for the recipe. I'm ready to change things up here! :)

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MSCARCHICK 2/24/2013 9:50AM

    Sounds like a great solution!

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BIGPAWSUP 2/24/2013 9:46AM


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Would you work for "free"?

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Not food or fitness related. Any seeking that content are advised to move along.
I am a trained certified experienced teacher. I have been unable to find a job for 2 years. During this time I have battled depression, anxiety and feelings of low self-worth.

I took my current position as a teacher's aide because it will allow me to stay in the education field, doing what I love, even if its not at the ideal location or the ideal job within that field. When I was offered the job much was said that "The school is growing. There might be a position down the road." No promises, but potential. At the start of this semester, I was asked to teach a single section of biology to some of the hardest cases in a new, special program. The rest of the time, I am a teacher's aide. Eagerly, I agreed. I am a team player. I want to teach. I am willing to start at the bottom.

Surprisingly, I have been making progress with some of these hard cases. Within the regular program, some students are seeking me out for all the regular reasons teens bond with adults in their lives. I enjoy a collegial relationship with my teacher colleagues, even if I am not "one of them." After all, we're all in this together. Things are going well. I feel buoyed....until today.

I will not be receiving teacher pay for this one section. My choices are thus:
1) Continue to do the job. Be a team player or sucker depending on your point of view. Its for the good of the kids.
2) Refuse to do the job. Be an @$$wipe/ non-team player and possibly not have job in the future. Damage the kids.

Husband says #2. Science colleague says #2. Logic brain says #2. I dont want to establish precedent that they (central administration - building principal planned to pay me and was surprised when they said no) can do this. My heart knows this is the WRONG decision for the kids. I feel sick and want to cry.

What's going to happen? The science teacher in the building will be asked to design lessons for someone else to deliver. They wont be able to do it as well as I can
1) I know the content
2) I have built the relationship with these students.

FYI - these are not "normal" kids. This is a special school for the emotionally disturbed. My fellow teachers, you know these kids, these are the ones that make you crazy in the classroom. The ones that cant stop talking, the ones that always had something happen during lunch, the ones that cant make it to school on a regular basis. Here they are!

So my challenge in the next 24 hours is to find a way to nicely tell my principal that I will not be working for free, but its not by choice.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

DOGLADY13 2/24/2013 7:46PM

    Not fair. I think you need to have a heart to hear with the principal and make your case. You should be paid a differential for that class. Period. You should also make the case that they will probably pay a different teacher at teacher's wages to teach that class if you don't do it. So they need to step up and do the right thing.

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MYRTLE811 2/24/2013 9:33AM

  Although it seems as though you're in an untenable place, I would recomment you keep the job. You need to fill out your resume and what an experience it is to set your curriculum and work with kids who need the extra TLC and help for their special needs. Use this to your advantage; this is not the only school around you. Let the principal know that you hope to have a full time job next year and want him/her to keep you in mind. Be proactive about it.
You are getting paid your aide's salary; know it's not the same, but remember that principal's hands are tied; he's not making this decision. I hope you weight and measure all the positives you will get out of this as well as the negatives and make the best choice for yourself in the end.

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LEANJEAN6 2/23/2013 8:21AM

    Such a position to be in--but --you are worth it as a great person--Hopefully someone will recognize this---If you don't ask, the answer will always be no----Lynda emoticon

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LIVINGFREE19 2/14/2013 10:04AM

    Sorry to hear about this. What a bummer to be only an aide when you have the credentials.
Good luck!

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    You've gotten some good advice. If you've made your decision, good for you.
If you haven't here's one more spot of advice.

I hire and fire. It's a good/bad part of my position. I weigh the experieince of candidates for new positions not just on their educational and experience qualifications but also on the "spark" they have for the job.

I have hired several people who I know have been fired from their last jobs because I found the worth they have and saw the real stories behind these honest people. They proved their passsion, drive and knowledge. They have done exceedingly well and I couldn't have made better choices.

I have fired several people who were intelligent, well educated yet lackluster, incapable of living with the stringent rules placed on the actual work at hand and sometimes downright dangerous to the process.

Are you getting paid and are you getting experience? Keep looking for a new job but just imagine the resume you can put together with your enhanced skills you may have gained in this "volunteered" position. Telling the employer at the end of the year that you have learned and enjoyed the challenge and "by the way I'd appreciate a letter of recommendation" may get you that new job or remind them of your worth. No experience leaves you unchanged...it's how you allow it to change you!

Then again, if you despise the place or are treated poorly, call it a day.

Either way, I wish you luck. emoticon

Comment edited on: 2/15/2013 8:30:55 AM

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CINERICIA 2/13/2013 6:54PM

    I have nothing to add to the valuable and thoughtful advice you've already received, but I wanted to let you know I feel for you. I know the decision must be ripping you apart. But it is the right decision. But hugs and sympathy (and empathy) all the same.

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ADAGIO_CON_BRIO 2/13/2013 6:08PM

    I don't know all of the particulars: How about this:

"Of course I will do this IF you give me a full teaching position in the next academic year". Until then, I will be willing to forfeit the pay I deserve because I know that you are not the kind of person who would exploit me. As soon as you can draw up the contract for next year and we all sign it, I will go ahead and teach this class."

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JAIMESIZED 2/13/2013 11:45AM

    Please keep us updated. I'm so sorry you're being put in such a horrible situation!

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MARTY728 2/13/2013 10:19AM

    Is there a Teachers Union at the school? If so, you may want to involve them.

Good luck and please let us know the outcome. emoticon

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ANATASHIKI 2/13/2013 9:41AM

    can't you talk to the kids? the parents kids? they can't do anything for you? both choices are bad. I don't think you can afford to work unpaid. but maybe you will find a way to explain it to the kids

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JPONCIN 2/13/2013 9:31AM

    I am so tired of school districts doing whatever it takes to save a buck. These are at-risk kids, and they won't get what's in their best interest, in the name of a school district saving money. Completely wrong. I'm sorry you are going through this.

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BIGPAWSUP 2/13/2013 9:17AM

    I think it is horrible for them to put you in this position. I'm so sorry. I hope you can find a way to make it work for the future.

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FITFOODIE806 2/13/2013 7:36AM

    This is so awful. I'm really sorry. Is it a private school? Is there a teachers and or aides union? You are in a difficult position and the school put you there. I hope this works out for you and for the kids.

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    This is brutal!

I do want to clarify one thing though: are they paying you as a teacher's aide full time, and just giving you 1 slot of teaching (at basically a cheaper rate to them) or are the hours with that one class not paid to you at all? Either way is unfair and inappropriate, I just thought I'd ask which was going on.

Not being paid appropriately as a teacher is very, very challenging. I am trained as a teacher for high school math and computer studies, am fluently bilingual, have a background teaching algebra and calculus at university... and I work as an administrative officer for the government because that's the full time job I finally got.

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LULUBELLE65 2/13/2013 3:31AM

    As a teacher, I feel your pain. We teach because we love kids. We build relationships with them. We care about them outside of the hours we are required to be with them. It's not a regular job. But, it is a job. None of my friends in the business world would give away their services, nor would any company ask them to, but teachers are asked to give up their time, their talents, their skills on a daily basis because we are not valued the same way that other professionals are. And part of that is of our own doing, because we are willing to "do it for the kids".

You need to take this stand. For yourself and for teaching as a profession. You are a trained professional and need to be compensated as a trained professional. As someone else said, you are not making the choice to leave, they are making the choice not to pay you.

Good luck!!!

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ROCHELLE62 2/13/2013 12:40AM

    I think you can thank them for the opportunity and the experience but let them know that you took it because they told you that you would be compensated and they have broken that promise. Let them know that you worked hard for your degree and certification and that it required sacrifice from your family and those around you and it would be a betrayal to them to give it away for free. I know that schools are tight, but it seems to me that each person that works for free means fewer teachers will be hired--which is what led to where you are now.

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LIVE_AMAZINGLY 2/12/2013 10:55PM

    There was a case like this in our school where the woman worked for 'free' with the offer of the first job that came open. She worked for about 3 years that way. A job opened. They hired from 'the outside'. She (rightly) quit. She worked for 3 years for nothing - plainly not even appreciation. It seems that they thought she would keep working even if they hired someone else, cause after all she had been party to working so long for free. She didn't place a monitary value on her services, and there-fore the school didn't either.

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ONEKIDSMOM 2/12/2013 10:07PM

    I'm with GladGad... make your case, that you are sorry, but you cannot do the job "for free", but if they step up, you will be worth it. This could be a "testing limits" thing. My sister in law had to have a similar conversation with the administration of the Catholic school for which she taught for many years. She could not afford to keep the job if she did not receive benefits. It broke her heart to have to have it, but she did have the conversation, and they did come through for her.

A workman is worthy of his hire. So is a teacher. Good luck, and be strong.

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GLADGAD 2/12/2013 9:35PM

    If you really want to stay on AND get paid, you have a chance to do so. Write down every positive thing that you listed here and when you talk to your principal, open the conversation with your list. Give him/her every reason why you should be kept - you are, after all, an invaluable asset to the school.

After that, let him/her know that you will only stay on if you have a salary. If you are still turned down, then you know that it's not YOUR decision to leave, but THEIR decision to not make you stay. You are not letting the students down, the school is letting them down. You were fighting for them.

If you are told that you still are not getting a salary, thank them for the opportunity to make a difference in the kids' lives, because that's what you enjoy doing. Let them know that you will come back anytime when they are able to provide an offer.

Just because you do something you love doesn't mean that you shouldn't get paid for it, or that you should be paid less than someone who doesn't enjoy it.

Good luck!

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2BDYNAMIC 2/12/2013 9:20PM

    My heart most definitely goes out to you and feels your pain ............... This is very difficult, but I also hear the love and devotion you have for these students .......... and I worry without you ................... will they get the short end of the stick? ............ And will you too? ................. something is wrong here, but is is NOT with your heart .......... You sound golden ......................... Bless you and I do pray something very "good' comes of this ........................... Your friend ............ 2B (jan)

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ALIHIKES 2/12/2013 9:15PM

    Very difficult decision. But I think you are right to move on.

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LESLIELENORE 2/12/2013 8:45PM


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KSCHRAUT 2/12/2013 8:14PM

    I am a fellow teacher and understand - our salary is already low for everything we do, you should be paid for that class. Hard decision definitely, but I think you are making the right one.

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KRISTEN_SAYS 2/12/2013 7:59PM

    Tough decision, but I think you're making the right one. Best of luck to you!

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TIME2BLOOM4ME 2/12/2013 7:42PM


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