It always amazes me when I am on vacation how much I actually needed time off. I get so used to the fast pace of the school year that I forget about important things like my certification, my taxes, my student loans, etc. It's not that I neglect to do my duties of keeping up with all of it, but I don't have time to really think about these things and make sure I am doing things properly. For example, everyone at my school got audited in November for our 2006-2007 taxes, don't ask me why, but we all (or almost all of us) owed about $178.00 to the state for our pension. I wrote the check and sent it off without even researching what was going on. Over the vacation, I actually made time to talk to an accountant and find out what was going on.
In terms of my certification, I am working under an initial certificate (which doesn't expire for 2 more years) but I am eligible for my permanent one, it's just a matter of getting the paperwork done and paying online. I have also taken the required courses to get the ESL extension on my license, but I wasn't organized enough to actually apply. Over the break, I registered for the CST-ESOL exam which is the final thing that I need to get the inital ESOL license. I plan to apply for my permanent certificate and the ESL extension together during the April break.
Students loans. I make on-time payments on my student loan each month, but I hadn't figured out if I was eligible for loan forgiveness. When I first got my master's, I was already working at my school and taking graduate classes part-time. I did some research the summer after I graduated, but found that I wasn't eligible for any of the loan forgiveness programs offered by the DOE. What I never realized was that I WAS eligible for FEDERAL loan forgiveness programs. After doing some more research this past week, I found this website (it took a lot of searching!) http://studentaid.ed.gov/PORTALSWebApp/students/english/cancelstaff.jsp?tab=repaying And after reviewing it and finding that my school qualifies as "low-income," I think that I may in fact be able to get some loans forgiven if I stay at my school for a 5th year. (which I was planning to do anyway). I had to make 2 phone calls to request the proper forms, and as soon as they arrive, I will apply.
Long story short, teachers have a lot on their plate and a lot of personal and professional business to take care of. It is almost impossible to do all of these things while working at school. I would have never been able to make those phone calls or speak to an accountant during the day without a lot of stress. I am so thankful for the time off. I feel so refreshed and ready to start my week tomorrow.