Top 5 Non-Sewing Highlights of 2015!

Top 5 of 2015

Because we can’t sew ALL the time, right?

1. Happy Home

Jamie continues to be the best part of my life every single day, and our cats keep us both entertained. It feels like a year where things are coming together.

2. Family 

I’ve been so proud to see the strength in my family through hard times, and I could not love and admire them more. I feel incredibly lucky in many ways!

3. New Job

To my great surprise, I got hired this summer as an ESL specialist teacher! I didn’t even know such a job existed around here. Turns out there are 5 of us in my school board, and we each work directly with English Language Learners at 5-10 schools, as well as collaborating with teachers to support ESL students. It’s been a huge learning curve, and I LOVE it! It’s so fascinating to be able to focus on seeing everything through an ESL lens – usually as teachers we are balancing so much that it’s easy to feel overwhelmed. There’s no promise that I’ll be able to keep the position next year, but for now, I’m thrilled.

4. Permanent Job

Ok, yes, this is almost like the first one… but because of my new job, I am finally a permanent employee! After teaching for 3 years in Japan, I spent 4 years doing temporary teaching jobs like maternity leaves and supply teaching. Being a permanent contract employee means that I get paid through vacations like Christmas, March break, and the summer holiday. It also means we won’t lose health insurance every summer, and I won’t have the nerve-wracking and soul-destroying anxiety of applying to 60+ positions each July in hopes I get one! Jamie is still working semester-long jobs, but having at least one of us permanent is a huge relief.

5. Improving my Photography

As I do these Top 5 posts, I can’t believe how much better my pictures are then in the first half of the year – even though nothing changed about my equipment! Most of it is simple stuff, like figuring out how to focus more effectively when using a tripod and remote. One of my goals for 2015 was to get out and about while taking pictures, and I’ve definitely conquered that fear! The Better Pictures Project has been a great motivator for me, and I’ve loved seeing other people get involved too. Thanks to my monthly muses for their inspiration and advice. January is going to be about taking pictures inside – something I’ve always really struggled with!


Next up: Reflections and Goals! 

If you haven’t checked through the growing list of Top 5 participants, it’s worth a look! Everyone has linked to their posts in the comments on this post. I”m having fun reading them all!

19 thoughts on “Top 5 Non-Sewing Highlights of 2015!

  1. So happy for you that you’ve been able to land permanent status. ESL specialists are very much in demand around here; hopefully you get to continue as that if you’re enjoying it! It seems like it’s far easier to get a permanent teaching position in the US, or maybe that’s just a mis-perception? Very interesting!


    1. I think it is easier in the States… They opened a lot more teacher’s colleges 10 years ago, so suddenly there were way more graduates than jobs. When I first started working in this board, there were 1600 applicants to get on the supply teaching list (is it called substitute teaching in the US?), and only 40 hired that whole year. Some years they don’t even hire anyone! Then once you are on that list, it’s anywhere from 4-8 years to get permanent work.


      1. Wow! I never would have guessed. Yes, they’re substitute teachers here. You can even begin subbing before fully completing your education in some cases. The laws vary from state to state, but here in Massachusetts you have to have a masters in education or your education specialty (like being a ESL specialist, or reading, etc) to be a licensed teacher. But it also seems like we have a shortage of qualified teachers in the US instead of a surplus!


  2. That’s brilliant about your job. Permanent jobs are hard to come by these days, even in the UK. Teaching seems to be like Science. Lots of short contracts. It is soul-destroying moving about and/or looking for work all the time. I have really enjoyed the “Better Pictures” posts. They have been so thought provoking and really made me interested in photography again. I am so glad that you will be continuing them in the New Year. Xx


    1. That’s it exactly! I’ve read quite a few mentions of science people burning out lately, and that’s certainly true of teaching!
      I’m so glad you’ve enjoyed the Better Pictures Project – I’m excited about some of the posts I have coming up! It’s the perfect excuse to make me learn new skills!


  3. That was a whirlwind 2015! Kudos to you and Jamie for sailing through, and rising to each challenge! ⛵️ Love, ‘Metaphor Mom’



  4. Congratulations on the permanent status, as it’s the same process for educators in western Canada. We call them EAL teachers, which means English as an Additional Language. Most of our immigrants already have more than 2 languages when they arrive here. We have the same thing with our substitute teachers (not supply teachers here), as it can take an average of 5 years to get permanent status despite a number of temporary contracts. Hopefully, you continue to find the strength and grace to deal with challenges which arise with family and work. All the best for a lovely 2016.


  5. I know you are the most dedicated teacher and you deserve your emerging success – I only think it should have happened sooner! but I suppose that everything comes together in its perfect time. I know you and Jamie have many more successes you will be able to celebrate in the next couple of years. That’s the great thing about having put in so much time and effort – and being good. Eventually, it pays off! And I have to agree that your photos have been amazing this year. Can’t wait to see what you tackle in 2016. xoxo


  6. Awesome accomplishments! From my point of view, you also really improve your personal style with sleeker lines and bright colours. It’s always a pleasure to visit your blog, Gillian. A brilliant New Year to you!


  7. Congrats on the permanent teaching position! That’s a big deal! I’m with Lisa above, it does sound way harder to land a permanent job in Canada than the states. I was a substitute teacher while I finished up grad school and *hated* it. It almost made me rethink becoming a teacher. But my permanent position has been so wonderful! I feel lucky to have such a crazy and rewarding job. Kids are so much fun.


    1. Oh man, walking right into a job sounds lovely! It’s hard on new teachers ehre beacuse they spend years doing substitute teaching, which calls for quite a different skill set than regular teaching… then when they eventually get longer contracts, they have no experience planning or evaluating! I was lucky that I’d taught abroad first, so at least I had a chance to develop my teaching style first.


  8. Congratulations on getting a permanent contract. I didn’t really follow the Better Pictures plan, though I read the posts, but plan to in this coming year. Happy New Year!


  9. Being a teacher is a very hard job…I have the utmost respect for teachers! It’s wonderful that you have permanent work right now. Your Better Pictures Project has been beneficial to many of us…thanks for your work on it!!


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