Teaching in Hawaii: The First Quarter


I am, literally, walking into my second quarter of teaching here in Hawaii. Monday, today, is the start of a brand new quarter. I am excited, relieved and most of all, happy I have made it this far.

I have a lot I need to work on. Like, gracious me, there are a hundred and one meetings that I have to attend and I need to find a better way to keep track of it all. I plan on buying a new planner here in a few for the upcoming year, but that isn’t going to help me much at the moment.

This first quarter has had a lot of ups and downs.

I have learned I really do love teaching, there really is no other job I would rather do, in the world. I love my science team and department. I am learning to get along with my team as I have started to get to know some of them better, at this point.

Classroom management isn’t too bad. I have a few kids that are very challenging but overall, day to day, no big deal by any means. I am changing up my punishments a little. I don’t like taking all of their recess time for infractions so I have decided one warning is free, after that it is 5 minutes per warning for a same or similar infraction (mostly a concern during lab work).

I have learned to pick my battles. I do not have lab stool for my lab tables, so they have taken to sitting or laying on the tables during lab. I used to care and now I don’t. Is it really a big deal if they are laying down while working with no liquids or hazardous materials? Personally, I really don’t think so. Similar to my study hall group. I question and talk to them about their grades and why they are failing a class, but the reality is they are 8th graders and it is high time they start to advocate for themselves and be proactive about their education. I have no idea what they are missing or have for homework in other classes. So, past drilling them on why they are failing a class that is not mine, I can’t really do a whole lot. I let them chat, decompress. They talk to me about personal things and I mediate disagreements. It is still a positive use of time, for the most part.

It took me about half the quarter but I figured out a daily schedule that I like and seems to work well for my students. They now hate that they have bell work, which is a requirement of the school, it just took me a while to find something I found advantageous and that didn’t take up a ridiculous amount of time. Tomorrow they have an easy peasy bell work, three favorite things you did over break and then we will share and transition to talking about our field trip. I have to tell them their jobs, what day they are going and hopefully we will have time to do a stations activity. If not, we will just transition that over to other days this week.

Honestly, the hardest part has been learning our schedule. I see each class 4 times a week, we get our an hour early one day a week, and I do not see two periods, on a rotating basis, once a week. Thank goodness I have these schedules printed out and hanging on the board. I would never know what was happening.

I really do love what I am doing. I am sad that fall break is over, but, a small part of me is excited to get back to work. Only 16 school days until our next day off!

I will add, I love our days off because they are almost always days that my husband gets off too. So, we get some quality time that we rarely get during the work week.

I hope you all are doing well. I am going to try and get back into posting here, at least once a week. I know that is not a lot, but I don’t want to over-commit. I do a lot at work. Averaging about 50-60 hours a week. There is a huge district grant program where we have to implement a project, science fair, a field trip and then the state testing. Just, so much.


Hawaii Teaching Update


I haven’t been around a lot. A lot.

Part of that has been because I got a job!

I believe I mentioned it. I had like two weeks on insane interviews. Let me recap that right quick.

So, I got back to Hawaii from Ohio on July 1st. The following week I had my intake interview with the State of Hawaii, interview with a substitute agency, an interview scheduled for an after school program and in between all of this (after the intake interview), I had an interview with an intermediate school.

Gracious that was a busy time. Sharing a car, getting Mr. Wanderlust to his work obligations, my work schedule and then this interview process. Lord, have mercy.

All the interviews went well. I was offered a position at the intermediate school, two days after my interview. That in between day was me meeting with the other 8th grade science teacher to see if we meshed.

I have spent the last week planning my curriculum. Doing research. The whole nine yards. I went shopping for school supplies, professional attire. Everything. It has been insane. But fun!

Teaching is a lot of work. I cannot keep up with three blog posts a week here. I can do one a week. I can commit to that.

So, I will.

The posts will likely be going up on Mondays, in the morning as always (I believe I have it set to 06:00 EST).

I will also begin another blog on my classroom, lessons, experiences, etc. That will be for family, friends, people interested in coming to Hawaii to teach. I will post here once that goes live. Blog posts there will be infrequent and sporadic. Ideally, I would like to do a post a week, but I don’t know.

Part of me also wants to convert this blog. This blog  is With Love, Wanderlust. The name was never specifically personal finance related, for a reason. I love personal finance. I love teaching. I love traveling and exploring.

If I am honest, this blog is likely to become a “lifestyle” blog. Not beauty and fashion, but Mr. Wanderlust and I’s lifestyle. If that is the case, posts would be regularly once a week in regards to personal finance, with a smattering of other posts throughout.

The personal finance posts that you will see here monthly would be;

Monthly Budget Update
What’s on the Menu/Meal Prep/Grocery Trips
Debt Payoff Update/Savings Update (this will be a transition coming soon)

I really hope ya’ll understand. I just cannot keep up with teaching full time, writing blog posts three days a week, and take care of myself and my family. But, I really enjoy blogging so I want to keep carrying on with it as well!

Hawaii Teaching Interview Update


I had an interview last Friday with the state for my intake interview. I had a hard time finding information relating to what the intake interview was, so bare with me as I explain it for anyone that may stumble across this blog.

The intake interview was the next step after filling out the online application, style profile and calling to set up said interview.

You go into the DOE and meet with someone in HR. They ask you a ton of questions, around 50+, and it takes about 45 minutes to complete. They are pretty standard questions in regards to teaching; what have you done in this type of scenario, do you think you are this kind of teacher, explain, etc. Nothing too out of the ordinary. If you get enough points on this question series they add you to the list of teachers looking to be hired. From there schools will contact you if they would like you to interview for their teams.

My interview went pretty well. I scored enough points to be on the hire list for the next two years. I am hoping to hear something by next school year vs this school year (school starts in like 10 days…sooo….yeah I am good!).

I have an interview the day this post goes live for substitute teaching for some charter schools. That pays less than the states substitute pay, but was a little more straightforward in getting some information. To sub for the state you have to reach out and contact a bunch of schools. If they need substitutes then they will call you to set up an interview. After that interview, with one school, you will then be put on the preferred sub list for the district and be able to sub, pretty much, anywhere. I have reached out to a couple of school but haven’t heard anything back at this point.

Either way, I am excited to be getting a foot in the door.

Are any of you playing Pokemon Go? Totally, unrelated but curious all the same! I am addicted. Mr. Wanderlust and I walked 16 miles this weekend >.<

Living in Hawaii: The Budget


Hawaii has an insane cost of living. If you are new to my blog, Hello! Welcome.

We didn’t voluntarily come to Hawaii.

We aren’t complaining either.

We were sent here due to Mr. Wanderlust and his job. I’m pretty sure I explain this more in the about me section up at the top of this page…but it probably needs updated. Let me write that down real quick.

Okay, so back to it.

We were born and raised in the mid-west. Had a small stint in Texas. Now we are in Hawaii. This is our budget. Aren’t you excited?!

Debt Payments: $703.36
This is student loans and car payment. This doesn’t include any extra payments. It is just the minimum. And, boy howdy can I not wait until this category is gone.

Food: $800
I just died inside. This does include eating out which is for dates ($50). The other $750 goes to actual food that I cook at home. Three meals a day. I want to try and get this down but we just did our first shopping trip this past week, so I’m not 100% on how possible that is. Here is a link to our meal plan for this month. That will give you an idea of what we eat.

Housing: $2,399.84
Another yikes category. Our rent is $2,300 a month; all utilities but internet included. It is a 900 square foot condo that accepts cats. That is part of the cost. The other part is it is Hawaii. A one bedroom condo in the city will run you 1900 for 300 square feet and no pets. The rest is our internet and renters insurance.

Pets: $50.00
Nothing really changing here. We are most likely going to order their food and liter through Amazon since it is cheaper. This may go up a little once the fur balls are actually here.

Transportation: $100
Gas isn’t all that more expensive and Mr. Wanderlust has a pretty short drive to work, with minimal traffic. I don’t plan on getting a car so this category will go up to include my bus fare.

Personal: $150
This is for our cell phone plan. This will be our last purchase with Verizon. Once our plans are up we will be switching to something like Ting. We are on a family plan with the in-laws and they used Mr. Wanderlusts line to upgrade someone else on the plans phone so we were a little stuck this time around. Once I get a job we will be adding a clothing allowance here and personal care as well.

Entertainment: $68.46
Birchbox, Hulu and spending money is in here. Not a lot by any means.

We are in the process of rebuilding our emergency fund and awaiting reimbursements from the remainder of our hotel stay. Once we get the emergency fund reestablished we will buff up the savings categories. Unfortunately, we need to set aside about $2,000 so I can fly home this summer to deal with some legal family stuff. My plane ticket is right around $1,000. I need a rental car for a week (boo) and it is close to $700 to fly the cats back to Hawaii.

We are doing okay right now. Once the rest of the reimbursements come through we will be even better. May is pretty much all budgeted for as well. That makes me feel better.

Our condo had a $2,300 deposit on top of the rent. That hit us pretty hard. Not going to lie. We had a little too much fun in Waikiki but, our bills are paid and we enjoyed the few things that we did do out of pocket.