OPTIMIST1948   27,132
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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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Its been rough winter so far

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Lesson. If Ihadstarted my weightloss journey this year instead of last, I dont think I would have made it. Last year was the winter that wasn't. Mild temperatures meant I could get outside most days. While I'm thrilled to be working and productive member of society, the scheduling challenges mean I am definetly loosing fitness.

And its making me CRAZY.

I remember taking one day and just hiking for 3 hours. (Of course, now I cant find the blog posting) I was able to get outside and Do Something. Now, its so hard with scheduling and Child, its only my own stubbornness that is keeping the memory or what I was and could be again alive.

The swim lessons have been good for that. Not a gigantic waste of time as previously posted, not the awesomeness that I hoped for. But if nothing else it forced me to carve out some time in my life. I think at this point I just need to keep that time slot bookmarked and guard it like a mother bear with her cubs.

The roads are clear today and it is supposed to be warmer. I am hoping to get a run in. Optimistic as always.

Here's the hiking blog: www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_jo

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

DOGLADY13 2/24/2013 7:50PM

    I feel your pain. I was "off" last winter, too, and doctor's orders were exercise, exercise, exercise. I have gained back some weight and lost some ground. It's really hard for me to get into a regular routine and I am tired many evenings after work. But you and I are still in it. The days are getting longer. It won't be winter forever. We are Warrior Women and we'll get through this crummy winter.

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MARTY728 2/13/2013 10:22AM


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MELMOMOF4 2/12/2013 8:08PM


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TIME2BLOOM4ME 2/12/2013 7:43PM


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BIGPAWSUP 2/11/2013 11:44AM

    I am SOOO with you on this. Spring will get here eventually. We just have to hold on and try to figure our schedules until then.

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JPONCIN 2/11/2013 11:06AM

    I hope you got your run! Remember how good you feel when you're done. :)

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CKMATHERLY 2/11/2013 10:03AM

    Yeah, I miss 70 in January. It's been cold, wet and dark. I was laid off and looking for work this time last year too. So the short days were not a problem. Gainful employment is a needed and great thing, but it sure does take a lot of your day.

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CINERICIA 2/11/2013 8:23AM

    Keep carving out those small bits of time for yourself. It will all add up. And winter can't last forever. Can it? No. Really. It can't, right? (I start to have doubts that I'll ever see the sun again come the middle of February.)

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RIDMYCOCOON 2/10/2013 1:00PM

    ONEKIDSMOM speaks for me. I really cannot express my sentiment better than she. Love yourself hun you got this! emoticon

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LESLIELENORE 2/10/2013 10:46AM

    It has definitely been a colder and snowier Winter. It is good you have the swim lessons to give you the impetus do something. I find it easier to skip workouts when the weather is so cold and miserable. Keep pushing forward.

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COOP9002 2/10/2013 9:29AM

    Hope your winter starts to moderate & you can get outside soon.

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ONEKIDSMOM 2/10/2013 9:20AM

    Sounds like you are defining your own "line in the sand". Which when faced by challenges is a life-saver. Like calling my 8 miles "wimping out" (compared to the 15.5 I originally envisioned), your feeling of "losing fitness" is a relative thing. Yeah, we're not satisfied any more with total sedentary. But we need to find what will work. And 8 miles beats sitting on the couch. Swim lessons, as you pointed out, while not what you envisioned, are helping you get where you want to be.

Good job. Spark on!

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FITFOODIE806 2/10/2013 8:49AM

    This won't has been much different than last. Maybe with spring approaching, your time will come with the season change. I know I have had a tough winter with food and determination. I start over every single week.

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UNSWEETMAMA 2/10/2013 8:36AM

    emoticon emoticon

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A must for every romantic out there

Saturday, February 02, 2013


  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

DOGLADY13 2/8/2013 7:17PM


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JPONCIN 2/4/2013 9:19AM

    That was adorable! :)

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    Awwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww!!!!! Love it!

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AUTUMNBRZ 2/3/2013 6:42AM

    I LOVED that! Ty emoticon

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LINDAKAY228 2/3/2013 6:10AM

    Oh that was cute!

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ONEKIDSMOM 2/3/2013 5:54AM

    emoticon Happy Valentine's month. emoticon

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RIDMYCOCOON 2/3/2013 2:08AM

    I remember seeing this before a full feature movie recently. I love this!! emoticon

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LESLIELENORE 2/2/2013 9:40PM

    Loved it!

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BIGPAWSUP 2/2/2013 9:29PM


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They grow up so quickly

Saturday, January 26, 2013

The cold weather here in the northeast has put a kaposh on most of my exercise. I'm making a point of going to the gym tomorrow, but otherwise (with the exception of Thurs Swim lesson) its been pretty pathetic here. The pity-party continues: evolutionary eating patterns are kicking in too, I've been craving and eating hot, caloric things. You can only heat your insides with tea for so long before they kick at you and demand TOAST and CHEESE and BEEF.

But anyway, I wanted to celebrate two important events in my son's life which have nothing to do with weight loss and exercise, but are kind of momentous.

1) He started reading chapter books this week. The Mouse and the Motorcycle, The Chalkbox Kid and vol 1&2 of the Magic Tree House series. Encyclopedia Brown is in progress. In one week. Clearly, when it comes to books in this house, we dont mess around.

2) Friday, he lost his first tooth (intentionally; one was knocked out a year ago after a series of gravity accidents). Child has decided that he wants to save his money for "A Real Camera" not a hand-me-down or a kids camera. He wants a real one. And he had me write a letter to the Tooth Fairy to save up his money until he looses enough teeth.

Of course today he did wake me up by piling every single stuffed animal he owns on my head.....

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

ARIZONAMARY 2/8/2013 2:03PM

    My kids love reading also. They even read on the weekends because they enjoy it so much.

Have you looked into the Geronimo Stilton series?

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MISSIFISH 2/2/2013 9:36PM

    Chapter books are a big deal! I love encyclopedia brown so much, but I never could get either of my girls into him. Bummer.

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LENLEN3 1/29/2013 11:09AM

    I love parents who encourage/support the love of reading in their children. The world needs more of you :3

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PMRUNNER 1/28/2013 8:49AM

    Yay! My oldest daughter loves to read and has her first loose tooth too! Fun times!

One of the nice things about her reading is now she is doing some of the reading to her younger brother and sister too. Watching them read together is so nice (and makes up for all the fighting and teasing that they inevitably get into).

Enjoy and love your little boy!

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ROXYZMOM 1/27/2013 7:44PM

    So much fun!! I miss that with my sons - they are all grown up now. Glad you are enjoying every moment!

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BIGPAWSUP 1/27/2013 10:04AM

    Congrats to your son.

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KIMBERLY_Y 1/27/2013 9:23AM

    So much fun to watch these precious moments. Thanks for sharing. I am freezing here with you. Burned some calories yesterday playing in the snow with my girls. I actually worked up a sweat! emoticon

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DOGLADY13 1/27/2013 8:41AM

    I love the wake up call, but even more so that you were the one awakened and not me!


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EASTENDCLAM 1/27/2013 8:11AM

    ... and it gets faster! Mine graduated college and I'm "Can't be, aren't they high school sophomores or something?"

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AUTUMNBRZ 1/27/2013 7:07AM

    I loved Encyclopedia Brown!! :)

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    I love when kids can get their teeth into reading!

Camera is a cool idea. It's great to see their views.
I received one as a gift one Christmas, I was a few years older than he, and it sparked my lifelong passion for photography.
Go, little photographer, go!

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KRISZTA11 1/27/2013 5:27AM

    Thanks for sharing these important moments!
You reminded me of the times when my own kids were you young...
Sweet times!

I too need hot meals in the winter...
Luckily, I love steamed (or microwaved) broccoli and cauliflowers, so I can add a huge portion to my dinners.

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CINERICIA 1/26/2013 9:17PM

    In my head, I said "aww." Those are amazing and sweet milestones. Might I humbly suggest "A Series of Unfortunate Events" for future reading?

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LESLIELENORE 1/26/2013 9:11PM

    Wow, big moments!

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ONEKIDSMOM 1/26/2013 8:03PM

    No, duh! Hug him tight! emoticon

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Ask and you shall receive

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Swim lessons at least.

Last week I started swim lessons and was mightily disappointed. I was not challenged. (I can already swim, I want to get better!) I spoke with the Director that night and she was going to check into the class and call back. When I didnt hear from her I called back last night.

They DID decide to split the class and since the other person did not show up, I DID get a private lesson at public rates!

Turns out I'm already pretty good, just all the stuff I've figured out on my own, but there are a few tweaks that will improve it even more. Perhaps not 6 weeks worth of tweeks, but definitely an improvement over last week. And it gets me out of the house and having a regularly scheduled exercise time. You cant have everything, but "I have to admit, its getting better....a little better all the time."

A reminder and public service message: if you are not satisfied with something in your life, do something to change it!!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

BIGPAWSUP 1/24/2013 9:35AM

    AWESOME!! Enjoy your private lessons! I'm certain you will learn and have fun.

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    Yes indeed!

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LESLIELENORE 1/19/2013 2:00PM

    Wise words!

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DOGLADY13 1/18/2013 9:54PM

    I'm so glad you are getting a good deal for the money. Lessons are expensive and you should get what you pay for. Swim lessons were hugely helpful for me. Sometimes they were the only thing that kept me going in the water to practice.

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UNSWEETMAMA 1/18/2013 11:38AM

and I just heard that song this morning emoticon

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GINGERHAWK 1/18/2013 9:52AM

    I think it's wonderful that you're taking lessons to see what tweaks you can make. I mean, there's typically room for improvement and growth in a lot that we do, right? Good for you for taking the plunge (literally and figuratively)!

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FITFOODIE806 1/18/2013 8:44AM

    Such a great reminder for all of us! And I'm excited about your swim lessons. Ease pass on any helpful pointers!! And have fun :)

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ADARKARA 1/18/2013 8:18AM

    I've told that exact thing to so many people lately! If you don't ask for what you want, no one will know you want it!

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CINERICIA 1/18/2013 7:43AM

    You're absolutely right. Sometimes, it is so much easier to complain about something than to step up and make the change. Good for you for pursuing this and getting what you needed. And every lap is one lap closer to those awesomely strong and sculpted swimmer's shoulders. I'm a touch jealous.

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AUTUMNBRZ 1/18/2013 7:24AM


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GODIVADSG 1/18/2013 7:02AM

    emoticon emoticon Love that you are perfecting your stroke! Way to speak up too!

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KBSPARKY 1/18/2013 6:16AM

    That is an excellent public service message! (and I would like to take swim lessons to get better also.)

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JPONCIN 1/18/2013 5:34AM

    Wow that is so awesome! Good for you! I want to take swim lessons too. I hope you have a great time!!! :)

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VIXSTERLU 1/18/2013 12:16AM

    Woohoo! A private lesson at public rates :) Way to speak up. Good luck.

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IMREITE 1/18/2013 12:15AM

    Good message. unless we work for and seek out opportunities to get better we will stay the same.

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MIATIA1 1/17/2013 9:33PM

    Love your message for I say all the time you can't just wish for a change you got to make it happen... emoticon

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