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AngieW in Texas

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  1. Being a PE teacher is NOT a safe bet, however, being a teacher who is also a coach is a really strong bet. Teacher-coach positions are among the last to be cut in my district. The safest teacher-coach positions in my district are Math or Science paired with any sport.
  2. This is something that I really worry about. I basically have no social security at all. I haven't contributed much into social security and I will be able to collect very little of anything I do put in because of the federal windfall provision. My district (like most in Texas) does NOT pay into social security. It only pays into the Teacher Retirement System and that is heavily loaded towards the back end so I would lose substantially by not being in the system for at least 20 years. I was hsing for 18 years and only worked part-time for a few of those years. I just started teaching 7 years ago, so that would mean that I would need to stay in the TRS system for another 13 years (to age 66) and I really don't want to be in Texas that long. The Texas legislature is actively trying to kill people by cutting unemployment benefits, cutting health care, cutting education, and allowing anybody over 21yo to open-carry guns without even requiring any kind of permit (and businesses can't just post a sign prohibiting guns, they have to actually confront the gun-wielder directly and verbally to be able to make them leave). Now they've made it illegal for teachers to talk about racism and they've made it illegal for schools or any state or local government to require masks. I know that I have to be here for the next 2-3 years at least to let the housing and job markets settle down, but then I need to get my family out of here to some place that is safer.
  3. The instant pot didn't last at all for me. I used it a lot that first month I had it, but after that I rarely used it. I have only used a few times per year since I got it. The air fryer is different. We use the air fryer every day, multiple times per day. It is worth getting even just for toast. I got the air fryer last year and have easily used it several hundred times. I've only used my instant pot maybe 20 times and I've had it much longer. It doesn't just cook food, it is amazing at reheating food too. I just went back and re-read the original post. I don't know how it is with boneless skinless chicken breasts because I never buy chicken breasts. I use it with bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs, although I do usually cut the bone out before cooking in the air fryer because it is less messy to eat without the bone. I sometimes have to eat my lunch in my car at school since I won't remove my mask inside in the building and the picnic tables outside have no cover so they are in full sun with no protection from rain either.
  4. I know I'll have to recertify anywhere I move to. Recertifying in science and math shouldn't be a problem (although I will have to study statistics, biology, and astronomy again) and I don't want to recertify in SpEd. My 23yo is wanting us to move to Washington state north of Seattle, but I don't think we can afford the area. All of the kids will move with me. The medical issues that my 23yo and 25yo have necessitate being in or near a major city to have access to more doctors. Ehlers Danlos and MOG antibody disorder are not common and we'd have to be able to find doctors that have done more than just read a paragraph about them in a textbook.
  5. I was the only one in my family to get Moderna. Everybody else got Pfizer. I had no problems at all with the 1st shot, not even injection site soreness. I had minimal issues with the 2nd shot. I couldn't sleep on the arm the injection was in that first night, but was fine aside from minor soreness for 2 days after that. I got the shot at 10am and ran a low-grade fever (99 degrees, usually 97.9) around 6pm that day. After I sat down and drank some water, it went away. It came back again about 2 hours later so I sat to drink water and it went away again. The second day I was very thirsty all day long and drank a ton of water. I was also physically exhausted. I was completely back to normal the 3rd day. The shot that was available for all of my kids was Pfizer (they're all adults). They would have taken any of them. This is just what was available for the appointment slots I was able to get for them. After my thirst issues, I pushed my kids to drink lots of water for the two days after the 2nd shot. My oldest who has no medical issues didn't have any issues at all with either shot aside from minor soreness at the injection site for about 2 days. My middle who has an autoimmune disorder that causes her immune system to attack her spinal cord had no issues with the 1st shot. With the 2nd shot, she started having numbness in her arms. She talked to her neurologist who said that is a common issue with patients who had transverse myelitis and/or MOG antibody disorder (her MOG presented as TM with numbness in her arms and torso) and didn't signal a relapse. It was just the immune system jangling a bit. He did have her take her emergency steroid prescription to calm it down. She was completely exhausted on day 2, but after that was fine. My youngest who has Ehlers Danlos and is deathly allergic to steroids had a sore arm with the first dose and couldn't sleep on that arm for the 1st three nights. They had no problem at all with the 2nd dose and could sleep on that arm the very first night. They did have one oddity that we figured out in retrospect. Both doses caused their period to come back again. They'd just had an endometrial ablation a few weeks before the 1st dose, so we weren't sure if the period weirdness was related to that or to the vaccine, but their period started up again on the 1st night of each dose.
  6. I really need to get out of Texas. It will be at least 2 years before I can go because of the crazy housing market. When I move, it will need to be to a 4-bedroom house with a yard for the dogs (and hopefully chickens) and at least 2 bedrooms need to be on 1st floor (preferably 1-story) because one of my kids has physical disabilities and often needs a cane and I'm not that great with stairs either because of my knees. My teaching salary needs to be enough to be able to swing a realistic mortgage. I think I should be able to swing at least a $50k downpayment after selling my house here. I'm 53, so the mortgage would need to be reasonable for a 15-year fixed term loan. I know that a lot of y'all are also teachers. I need to find a place to move to where teacher salaries aren't horrifically bad compared to the housing market and local cost of living and it has to be LGBT friendly and not super hot. One of my kids has medical issues that cause major problems with the heat and they pass out when it gets too hot. Texas gets way too hot and they are trapped in the house from June through August. My Texas certifications are 7-12 science, 7-12 math, EC-12 special education, and ESL. I don't want to go back into Special Education again. In the past 6 years I have taught IPC, chemistry, physics, forensics, and Algebra I intervention. I am a GSA sponsor and I have coached the science team for the past three years and we made it to state my first year and regionals this year. The competition was cancelled last year. I teach at a Title I school and while my district is awful, my campus is awesome. I have an MS in Physics and I have taught at a community college before (dream job for me, really), but I know that full-time teaching positions at community colleges are few and far between, in Texas at least. There is usually only one full-time teacher in each department and everybody else is part-time. I left that job because it was part-time with no benefits and you usually had to work there as a part-time teacher for at least 10 years before being under consideration for the full-time position. My kids also need to be able to get jobs that have benefits. My oldest has to buy her insurance on the exchange because Office Max doesn't offer insurance or full-time hours to anybody except managers. My middle will be able to get insurance through HEB when she ages off my ex-husband's insurance later this year because HEB treats their people right. My youngest is on my ex-husband's insurance because teacher insurance is abysmal. They are looking for an office or data entry job, something that isn't physically demanding because of their physical limitations. Where is a good place to look for a new job that is LGBT friendly, not horribly hot (pretty much all of the south is knocked out by this), and isn't as horrible to teachers as Texas (low bar since Texas government absolutely hates and despises teachers)? I would love to also have it be a racially and culturally diverse area or at least near to a racially and culturally diverse area, but I know that is much harder to find.
  7. I just put my garden in last year. It took me from spring break in March until the end of April to get it set up and then I had to buy seedlings to get it started. I have so much shade here that it is hard to grow much aside from herbs. We lost a lot of branches from the snowmaggedon that happened here in Texas, so I think my garden area will have some more light. The only perennials to make it through the ice were thyme, chives, sage, and oregano. And the sage had to be trimmed all the way down to the ground. I bought a lemon bush in a pot last year and that will actually produce lemons this year. I brought it inside the whole week of the storm. I bought one more lemon and two blueberries to grow in pots this year. The only place that gets enough sun for them is my patio and obviously I can't plant them in concrete. I have an old swing frame that I have hung peas and strawberries from this year and I'm hoping that will work out. I'm mainly focusing on perennials (especially herbs). I have not had luck with fruits or vegetables due to all the shade. The plants will grow and produce leaves, but no fruit.
  8. I am a public school teacher in Texas, so I am teaching in-person and virtually at the same time. I teach high school in a Title I area, so our in-person rate is relatively low (about 1/3 opted for in-person). I teach one class that is predominantly 12th graders (one class fully virtual, one class with 9 opting for in-person but only 4-5 actually come, and another class with 6 opting for in-person but only 3-4 actually come). I teach another class that is predominantly 9th graders (10-13 opted for in-person in each class, but usually about half are in quarantine at any given time). My football players rarely manage to be in-person for more than 2-3 weeks at a time because we have had so many cases in football (by far our biggest sport). Covid is rampant at my school, mostly spread through lunch and sports because my district has said that students don't have to wear masks if they are engaged in physical activity and obviously they aren't wearing masks while eating lunch. We have one teacher who has been in a coma for more than a week. We don't know if she is going to make it or not. It is really quite terrifying. My school had already gone full virtual the week before snomageddon happened because we had so many teachers out for covid (either positive or quarantining due to direct exposure) that we didn't have enough teachers available to cover in-person classes. I do go in-person to do my grocery shopping, but that is pretty much all that I do. I get some kind of take-out food 1-2x/month for the family. My oldest works retail. My middle works at a grocery store full-time. This year my youngest has left only for doctor appointments and actually has a surgical procedure this week. My two older kids have done some shopping in person, but no dining out. They have picked up food to bring home. I was able to get my 1st dose 1.5 weeks ago. None of my kids are eligible yet. My middle dd's neurologist told her that she should only get an mRNA vaccine becuase he thought that was less likely to trigger another autoimmune Transverse Myelitis attack.
  9. I am in Texas and my daughter just got home from her shift at HEB. Things were really wild on Saturday and Sunday. She was scheduled for Friday morning, but couldn't make it out of the driveway because of the ice. She said that her store has managed to mostly stock up. They got city water turned on again on Sunday. The freezer section is pretty sparse and the deli and bakery sections are bare. The dairy section has limited stock. Otherwise they are in pretty good shape. They kept meat and eggs in stock all day. They've been bringing in pallets and pallets and pallets of water bottles because so much of the area is under either a boil water notice or has no water. We were fortunate to actually have rolling outages rather than having no electricity at all and we never lost water and had no burst pipes. My area also has no boil water notice.
  10. Tiers vary from state to state. Texas decided not to follow CDC guidelines and took essential workers out of 1b. I was fortunate to still qualify for 1b because of my BMI. Austin Public Health has been working with local school districts to get vaccines for teachers who are 1b and I was able to get my first Moderna shot last week that way.
  11. Please ask them to test for MOG and for AQP4. Both of these can cause NMO. They are considered more rare conditions, but since my 25yo went through this in 2019, I think it is important to check out. It is just a blood test. In my dd's case, the blood test came after the new neurologist (the original one that the ER referred us to was incompetent) ordered an MRI that showed a 7cm lesion on the spinal cord. Now my dd has a great neurologist.
  12. My 25yo has a telehealth appointment with her neurologist next month to discuss which vaccines would be okay to get and which would not. She has a 7 cm lesion on her spinal cord from transverse myelitis when her immune system started attacking her spinal cord last February. She has been fortunate in that she has regained nearly all of the ability that she lost, but we don't know that she would be so lucky next time. There are multiple vaccines out there, so she wants to discuss with the doctor which ones would likely be safe and which ones would not. For instance, live vaccines are generally not recommended for anybody with MOG antibody disease, which is what she has. From what I've read, the mRNA vaccines would likely be safe for her, but we definitely want to hear from the neurologist.
  13. I bought a Blue Air 211+ and Winix for my classroom. Combined, they can change out the air in my classroom in 12 minutes. With Covid spreading like wildfire in the schools, I think it's essential to have an air purifier in the room. I also double mask for my bigger classes. The Blue Air 211+ is rated for 560 sq ft. The Winix is at a great price right now at Costco and comes with 2 years worth of filters. It is also very quiet on the two lower levels.
  14. I was a secular hser. I hsed my kids K-12. I am now a high school science teacher. I can completely understand the desire to have a site that is really and truly strictly secular. It can be very hard to find materials that don't blast religion at you all over the place that aren't just standard textbooks. It was a huge pain to always need to work around the weird religious stuff that popped up in the weirdest places for no reason at all.
  15. Our hospitals and all health authorities are begging the governor to shut things down for at least two weeks to help stem the tide or at least give the local governments authority to do it (although most of our state needs it). He refuses. At least he did finally put a mask order in place.
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