Sunday, August 24, 2008


I thought I knew what I would be doing this year, but plans have changed. I will be doing the same as last year.

Next month, I am presenting again at PESDHH. I am showing some of the new software and ideas that I saw when I was at NTID in June. There are some really awesome things going on. The Clerc Center is using a new technology called Voice Thread. I plan to use it with my deaf student this year-not that I have really started thinking about how yet. There is also some really cool software out there.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

This School Year

I finally found out what I'm going to be doing this year. I will spend the beginning of the day with a deaf middle schooler and then go over to the elementary school and work with Kindergarten to Second grade kids with hearing loss. Hopefully I will be able to use more technology with them.

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Death of a Dream

I finally got an email telling me I did not get the job. I had kind of figured that out based on what had been posted at the website. Despite my doubts about how I could manage to move and almost thinking no way, I was realllllllly disappointed that I didn't get it.

I think this was the last chance to do this kind of job. Relocating will not be an option in the future. Right now we are trying adult daycare for my mother but I don't think it will be too long before she goes into assisted living. It will be even more difficult to move then.

Thursday, July 31, 2008

This Summer

I would apologize to those of you who are not Christians, but my Christianity is part of me and has a large influence in my life. This post delves into my career but also has some religious aspects to it. Read on if you are willing.

This summer I have interviewed for three different jobs. One was where I already work as a teacher. They are hiring a classroom teacher of the deaf, so I applied for that position. Haven't heard anything about it yet.

Secondly I applied for a job as an Instructional Technology Facilitator at the Pennsylvania School for the Deaf. I felt like the interview went well, but when we discussed money it would mean a $10,000 pay cut from what I am making now.

IF I had listened when God was using my conscience to tell me to stop charging things I could possibly afford to do that, although I would max out at a much lower pay rate (an issue because there is a history of dementia/Alzheimer's in my family) so there would be less for retirement. So at the conclusion of the interview I told them I was sorry I could not afford the pay cut.

Today, I interviewed at the Clerc Center where I did my internship. It would either be Rosemary's job in the elementary school or Julie's job in the high school. Depending on who they hire they will decide which position. I feel like it went ok and it is my dream job. Of course I have lots of doubts about it and about picking up roots and moving to another state.

In many ways I feel like I'm applying for a top level job without having the experience for it. I can do the technology but if you have been reading my blog from the internship you know how I can doubt myself sometimes.

There would be issues with my son. He has Angelman Syndrome and is out of school and attends a sheltered workshop. Any time you change states you have to start from scratch to get services. I would need childcare while I was working.

Next would be issues with my mother. She has dementia and we live together. She seems to be going downhill rapidly. (Maybe it just seems that way because I am home all day and seeing her more.) I would like to put her in assisted living but it is so expensive and her long term care policy is only for about 3 years. So she needs adult daycare at least.

Then of course there would be the whole issue of selling the house, packing up and moving to who knows where. Finishing up my current job and quitting it. (I hope no one from work is reading this)

When I look at all that would have to happen I get so stressed. Is this what God wants me to do? I don't know. It is so difficult to understand what He wants. One minute I am ready to go and the next I say no way can I do that.

One thing that has hit me several times and again just a little bit ago are the words to Mark Harris' song "Wings"

I pray that God would fill your heart with dreams
And that faith gives you the courage
To dare to do great things
I'm here for you whatever this life brings
So let my love give you roots
And help you find your wings

and then:
It's not living if you don't reach for the sky
I'll have tears as you take off
But I'll cheer as you fly

I can't help but wonder if God is using this song to talk to me-and then I wonder if I am reading things into something that are not there. Yes I have dreams-this last job truly falls into that category. And looking at the rest of the words it makes me think I am supposed to fly. Whatever happens if I figure out what God has for me He will be there for me and it will work. Just wish he would send me an email letting me know exactly what He wants me to do.

Well, from the sound of things it could be a couple weeks before I find out if they are going to offer me this job, so I just have to hang in there and continue going through things in the house trying to see what I want to get rid of (I was doing that anyway before all of this happened.)

If anyone has read this that would be directly impacted by it please feel free to contact me rather than worrying about things or letting it impact any decisions you make.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Now What?

Well, I have pretty well accepted that I will never be able to do the job I really want to do-instructional technology in a deaf school. But there is a part of me that still hopes I think. When I got my weekly information list that includes job postings from I found myself looking for a technology job. Found a cool one in software development with Vcom but it is only temporary and in Florida. No good but it would have been fun.

Then just for the heck of it I looked at Gallaudet's website for an Ed Tech job there. Lo and behold, they finally posted one. (Two really-one full time and one temporary) Now I don't know what to do. Should I apply? or not? There are many drawbacks-my son would need to find services ASAP (and probably not very likely to happen,) I would have to find something to do with my mother, and I would have to sell my house. All before school starts. Not likely!

Also, I would feel a lot of pressure to live up to my predecessor and my internship supervisor who is at the elementary school. I have this terrible fear that if I did have the job that I would not be able to do it-that I would be lousy at it. I also have a fear of leaving my comfort zone and going someplace new. What if I didn't like it? My bridges would be burned behind me and I would be stuck there.

I started filling out an application-my friends are encouraging me. I don't think they will be able to pay enough-it is very expensive to live there too. But I'm sending it in anyway and asking for at least as much as I made last year. Sure to prevent them from hiring me. If this is meant to be God will have to really work things out.

Interview for a Classroom Position

I interviewed at my current place of employment for a classroom teacher position. I think it went well except.......
My supervisor was really happy with the way things went this past year and that will actually work against me. He's not sure he wants to change the status quo.

Monday, July 14, 2008

I survived the interview

I survived the interview today. It was conducted in American sign language because the two teachers that were also there were deaf. There were only a few places where I was not quite sure what was being asked.

The bad news is that if I were offered it, it would be almost a $10,000 pay cut. I don't see how I could manage that despite the fact that I would really like the job.

I would not have to pay for health insurance, they pay full tuition for 4 grad classes a year that are related to the job, there is no set number of sick days as long as you don't abuse that all will be fine. They will also attempt to pay all expenses if you are presenting at a conference/workshop.

On the negative side the admin is very protective of their servers and do not like a lot of uploading and downloading to occur and storage space on the server is at a premium too. They are actually running 10 servers but I don't know how much disk space they actually have.

Thursday I have an interview with my current supervisor. We have a classroom teacher position opening which I have applied for.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Job Interview

I have a job interview at Pennsylvania School for the Deaf on July 14. I'm not extremely nervous about it despite the 1 1/2 hour interview-probably because I don't see how they can pay enough.

I am stressed over the idea of changing jobs. I have a secure job-and I am applying for a classroom teaching position (it may be only 1/2 day but that is fine-can keep the middle school that I have now.) I really do want to change to technology. But with all my home life problems I'm not sure what I should do.

There is also the possibility that there would be an opening or two down in Washington, DC which is where I really want to work. But I don't see how I could take a job there even though I would love to. Houses aren't selling and my house needs a lot of stuff done before I could put it up for sale. Whatever happens I need to quit my job by the end of July to give them time to replace me.

So probably even though I'm going to the interview I won't be making career changes-tons will be happening in my personal life though.

Now the more I start thinking about everything the more stress I begin to feel. I really hate this. Last year I kept putting of decisions about my mother because of possible job changes. Now I have to do something about her this year, and also get before and after care for my son. I really am confused about what I should be doing. Stay or change. If I'm supposed to stay why in the world were jobs even brought to my attention. Last year was..... I can't even describe it. I felt like I was being jerked around on a chain for nothing. Now it's starting all over again and it seems like summer is almost over considering how much I need to get done.

Well I'll keep you posted as to what is happening.

Poster Session

I finished the poster session at the International Symposium-Technology and Deaf Educaiton. I gave out 60 brochures about Kool Kids Sign

Just the first day I have seen some awesome presentations. Two were most striking. One was by Rosemary and Julie (from my internship) Last summer Rosemary discovered Voice Thread It allows teachers/students to post an initial picture/video and then have others comment on it-in sign language, voice or writing. Fantastic potential for usage.

The other was a presentation from Australia. Kids with hearing loss are spread all over a country with many scarcely populated areas. They are spread so far apart that providing educational services is difficult even for hearing kids (School of the Air works for many of them) They have developed a new kind of program-videoconferencing for educaiton. They interact over the videoconference with the child-including infants. Parents are right there and they teach the parents how to teach the children. It was very impressive.

There are several I want to see tomorrow-unfortunately two of them are at the same time-but at least the presentation is being videotaped so that they will all be online eventually-although they don't always show the right part of the presentation-frequently not the screen where a lot of the stuff is demonstrated.

Definitely this week was worth it.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

One Week Left

Only one week left before I go to National Technical Institute for the Deaf to present at a poster session. I am not ready. I have done no videotaping for the story yet. Hopefully I can get together with Gay this week and get a few days done so I can show what it will be like.

I also still need to work on the worksheets for the story. I may ask a friend to help with that. She was my aide the year I had a middle school classroom and was great at writing story comprehension questions. The story has a lot of irregular past tense verbs. The deaf student I work with doesn't seem to know any irregular past tense verbs when we do reading. I think I will be doing some pages for that.

At this point in time I am in the process of redesigning the front page of the main website Kool Kids Sign I had hoped to finish all of the redesigning but I have been so busy that I have made almost no headway.

On the really negative side of life, I am the victim of identity theft. Someone managed to get information about my mac card and withdrew $1500 from my account. I wasted lots of hours between the bank and the police and filing fraud alerts with credit agencies etc. I also had to contact all of my autopay bills to stop the withdrawals. It is not fun and is very tedious.

Sunday, June 01, 2008

It's Done and I Did It

I finished The Missing Jewels game. I may go back and redo some of the video but it's ready for my poster session this month. It's at:

The Missing Jewels story is online without video. I'll make a couple pages of video before the conference to show what it will be like but I won't get it finished before the conference. The story is at:

I need to pull all the sections of the website together under the front page so that they can be found. I also need to do something for the games and storybook intro pages-right now they are just white. I'm thinking about maybe making an ILY hand background paper. And I may put some sign language animations from Vcom 3D. I love their program and it has dropped down to less than $500 but I don't like their characters. I love the Daz characters but it takes forever to pose them.

Ok that's the "It's Done" part, now for the "I Did It" part. I sent my resume into the Pennsylvania School for the Deaf. Don't know if anything will come of it. And of course the biggest issue is pay and benefits. Because it's in Philadelphia I would have to pay the city wage tax. The driving time would be a little longer than I travel now according to Mapquest and depending on which route I take could have toll charges (the shortest time route.) I know they don't pay as much as other places so even if I were offered the job I may not be able to afford it. I also have no experience as an Instructional Technology Specialist. And of course it would mean leaving a nice secure job and I do love the first part of my day. I just don't like being an itinerant teacher.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

And even more-the job hunt

I receive several newsletters related to the Deaf. Included in them are various job postings sometimes. Well this week I got one newsletter and in it was listed a job as an Instructional Technology Facilitator at the school for the Deaf closest to me in this state (New Jersey is actually closer) Next newsletter which is only jobs and resumes also has it listed. And finally it was listed on the school website.

I was not sure exactly what that position entailed so I emailed for more information. It is for what I want to do. I would be able to stay in Pennsylvania which would prevent any problems with my son and his needs.

On the negative side the school is in Philadelphia so that woud mean a wage tax of about 3.8%. Gas is skyrocketing and it would be an hour or more drive (I drive 45 minutes now.) So basically I'm not sure that I would make enough pay to cover my bills. Unlike the Clerc Center it is only a 10 month position. I also really enjoy working with the Deaf student I work with. She is doing so good and I don't want to leave her. But at the same time I want a job in the technology field. Needless to say I am confused, nervous and fearful. I hate that.

Soooo, I'm filling out an application and sending it in. Don't know what will happen if anything, I'll just have to wait and see. And if I'm offered the job than I will make a decision about it all.

And There's More

PESDHH, which I presented at two years ago-I think of it as the time that if it could go wrong it did-will be held again this year. It will be at Western Pennsylvania School for the Deaf (WPSD) and we will have access to their computers. I have been encouraged to submit a proposal for a technology training. Not sure what I will propose. There are so many possibilites and I have 90 minutes or 3 hours to cram it all in to.

Missing Jewels Game and Storybook

Both the game and storybook are finished except for the sign language videos. I hope I am meeting a friend on Monday to make the video for the game. She is going to try to make the story videos too but she feels she is more English than ASL so it may not work out very well.

The story may have only a few pages done for the NTID International Symposium but at least it will give the people an idea of what will be there when school starts up again. Hopefully it won't take me too long to remember how to do the videos and put them in.

This summer I'm taking two Flash classes so hopefully I can learn more about the program.

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

A Lot's Been Happening

The game story is finally finished and I've been very busy creating the 3D graphics. It's not done yet-still need to add sign language to it but here's a link.

I'm having problems with the pages that have scrolling on them. I could only get a scroll bar to work in input text mode which isn't the greatest solution since it is possible to type into the story. It still needs a preloader. I also wish that I knew a way to preload the videos so it won't take so long for each page to load since they will all have video. The story is 42 pages long so if I preload the whole story as one it will take forever-especially on dialup.

I now have to go back and rework the game-change the graphics to match the story and of course add in the sign language videos.

The Best Yet

This June is the last International Symposium Technology and Deaf Education. When they asked for proposals I submitted the Kool Kids Sign ABC game and the in works color game for a poster session. I was accepted. I will be "presenting" on the Monday of the conference. I can't wait. Perhaps this will open a door to a technology job in Deaf education. I'd be torn though. I have a full caseload this year-one of whom is Deaf and very ASL. The interpreter is also a good friend and he keeps telling me that I'm not changing jobs.

I still have a great desire to work in the field despite my fears that I wouldn't be able to do everything I would need to do. I go along quite content in what I am doing but if I start to think about it I really want to change what I'm doing and get into the technology end of things. There is so much that can be done with Deaf kids and I don't have the time in my schedule to do anything and I only have one student anyway. At least this will spread the games to more schools so they will get more usage.