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Archive for August, 2010

Say Hello Fall

As summer winds down officially next weekend for Labor Day and white is no longer acceptable to wear in public anymore, it’s high time to consider taking one last mini vacation before the real holiday rush and obligations come creeping in.  If you’re a thrifty shopper, you simultaneously look for Christmas and birthdays while searching the deals during back to school. A few scenarios come out of doing this: 1. You are stress free by the time Thanksgiving break rolls around and you can focus on the turkey, not Black Friday the day after. 2. You forget where you placed these savvy, thoughtful yet on sale gifts, and are left with the dilemma to go out shopping again.

Why not make this year special and incorporate something educational and useful into all your holiday plans. Take this fall semester to learn something new yourself and pass it onto someone you love. Some favorite ideas are books, new or used they all work the same!, on tape for the car ride or via download on your new Kindle. Get a thought provoking game like a fun puzzle. Puzzles and word games are great to give and can be themed to individual personalities. You can put them out at a party for guests to begin while dinner is being prepared. Take a lesson with a friend like a new language, or learn how to rock climb.

Where on earth will you have the time to hunt down a rock climbing instructor or a good freelance  tutor?! AND not to mention go shopping for books to make up for those early purchases you now can not find? Well, Excel Assist can help. Use it to search for the freelance instructors you need and if you don’t see one available, create a post for one so someone can respond to you. Find those games, books and crafts you need for your party too.  Test it out today http://www.excelassist.com.

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I am a Teacher

Everyone is a teacher in some form. Even if your profession isn’t necessarily education or titled “teacher”, many people hold roles entailing the same skills. Think about it, if you have ever trained someone else, demonstrated something, allowed someone else to shadow your work, than you too are a teacher. If you are an older sibling, know it or not, you had an influence on the younger generation.

We all can agree that a wide education is key, ignorance is not bliss if you want to get ahead in the workplace. The hope is that good things will follow if we are determined enough. It is the perfect opportunity to work the teacher in you into your daily life. In a way, a movement like this could resemble the idea of doing a random act of kindness, or catch on like in the thought provoking movie Pay it Forward. Passing on your knowledge to someone else is like keeping the elevator door open.  You can’t give a man a fish, you have to teach a man to fish so he can eat for a lifetime.

“Everyone, everyone is a teacher. Everyone is a teacher to someone; maybe it’s your children, maybe it’s a neighbor, maybe it’s someone under your supervision in some other way, and in one way or another, you’re teaching them by your actions. ”

Stated by John Wooden- Coach, Teacher and Author of You haven’t taught until they have learned: John Wooden’s teaching principles and practices.

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Remember the days when we were in school? There weren’t computers or if there were they were those huge block style apple computers with the little black screens and the green type. Then Aol dial up came into the picture and it was so amazing. Today you can’t enter a school without computers being utilized. Some schools are fortunate enough to have them in all classrooms!

Calculators were, for many of us, forbidden in math class because teachers wanted students to actually think and work out their brain. What is thinking in the modern day age and for the future? Imagine what our grandkids will be learning by the time they begin school.

There is a lot to be said about this topic and how it relates to today’s workplace. Standard skills are blowing right out the window but technically advanced skills of the younger, faster generation can certainly get you ahead, if you have the common sense to go along with it. There is a hard line on what to teach and allow in your classroom based on what used to be, and what the future of technology provides us. There is so much more to learn that can’t possibly be crammed into one school day of lessons. Capability to teach yourself and learn on your own is a fantastic start to the road to success.

Everyone has a niche, something they are good at, love to do, and can focus on in life. We are lucky if we know what this is early. Sometimes it takes some trial and error to figure out. In all age brackets, there are many of us not so technologically inclined. Keying in on our strength’s and staying open to learn and accept new challenges can be such a rush. Try something new today- see what else you can learn to make you happy!

Post your strengths on excelassist.com – see what freelance opportunities you could try!

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US vs. The World

The US is different from other countries in multiple aspects involving the workplace, taking vacation, leave of absence, hours n the work day, educational direction, maternity needs and so on.

A teacher or childcare provider thinking of having kids? Maybe you should try to move to Canada! Did you know that as soon as a woman confirms a pregnancy she may not work or resume working for 2 years?! Also, the men also gets to take a “maternity” leave of 2 months if he chooses when the child is born.

Need longer than a one week vacation from your day job and evening or weekend teaching jobs to de-stress? Think about relocating to Europe. Their summer breaks are a minimum of a month in all professions. They also get to go home for lunch or a nap each afternoon. Wouldn’t that be great to have implemented in the US!

Here are a bunch more fun facts on educational comparisons in other countries from NationMaster:

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7 Tips for easing back into the school year:

1. Make and keep a tradition for the day or night before, after the first day, week or weekend. Idea: Go for ice cream to celebrate the end of the first school week.

2. Get a good night sleep. Start getting to bed a half hour earlier and waking up a half hour earlier each day until you get used to it. Wake up to natural light if possible for the easiest eye opening morning.

3. Have a good breakfast to give you energy for the day. Make sure there is good protein included with those waffles!

4. Talk about any worries and upcoming school activities to put the mind at ease and create excitement for the fun things to come.

5. Pack your lunch, supplies and bags the night before so you  are all set in the morning. Many things get forgotten with groggy morning wake-ups so be prepared!

6. This applies to teachers and students: if it’s a new school or classroom, take a tour before hand so you can become familiar with the area and know where to go on the day you begin. If it’s a new commute route, take a test drive to plan how much time it will take you so you know when you need to leave by and when you will be late.

7. Remember everyone else is in the same boat on the first day so don’t be afraid to smile and introduce yourself. A new year has arrived- make some new friends!

Visit Oprah.com for more helpful ideas on planning your entry into the new school year as well as tips on how parents can get more involved.

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For those of you beginning the school year and looking for another job opportunity to go along with teaching in the classroom, online teaching may be an option. You must LOVE to teach in order to take on a whole new class after you just get in from an actual classroom all day. You must be organized and have excellent communication and writing skills in order to communicate via email as necessary with learning questions. You must be somewhat tech savvy in order to schedule video class sessions, upload content and create posts for your students to respond to. Find out more on How To Get A Job Teaching Online with pros and cons  on doing so.

For students looking to enroll in these online classes, it is really more about your learning style. If you are a great self educator and will take the time to look into and research the topics as needed to complete your assignments by the deadline, then online is perfect for you. If you are the type that needs the interaction or to hear the lecture in order to learn best, then online is not your best option.

A study conducted in 2009  found that online education actually trumped classroom education. Read about it here from the nytimes.com

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The US unemployment rate is still a big issue we are trying hard to overcome. The European Union is having trouble with this problem as well reporting a similar statistic for the old and young age group. A logical theory out there is that the more qualified citizens began picking up the positions young people would likely go for.

From the European Parliament: Both young and old people are often squeezed out of the labour market and find it difficult to find jobs. The 15-24 age group has the highest unemployment of any group and just half of 55-64 year olds are in work.

Rush Limbaugh commented on this as well in an article earlier this year and revealed this chart below:

Tips for the old and young in search of work:

  • Register at your local Workforce Center and be enthusiastic about finding a job.
  • Accept the fact that this is a lengthy recession and that actually finding a job may take a while.
  • Get help creating your resume or updating the one you have.
  • Use any job interview as an opportunity to refresh and fine-tune your interviewing skills.
  • If your computer skills are feeble or non-existent, explore the opportunities for local community education courses that train you in basic or advanced skills. Courses like these are common almost everywhere; they are affordable, if not free, and convenient.
  • File your resume with a temporary staffing agency, highlight your years of experience and your strengths.
  • Get job references in writing from colleagues, managers/supervisors, clients/customers—encourage them to include quantifiable information in their reference letters. Ask a few if they are willing to provide the same in verbal references. These are “testimonials” to your qualifications and experience—what you can bring and offer to an employer/place of business.
  • Seek the support of a local group of unemployed adults—groups like these have cropped up all over the country.
  • Volunteer with an organization you respect and might enjoy learning more about.
  • Check out your job hunting opportunities with job placement services.
  • Get a higher education and better your training. Education and experience is the only way to compete these days now with the previous working crowd now having to step down a bit to lower more entry level positions.
  • Try excelassist.com to pick up freelance roles during your search. It may turn into something more permanent!

Unemployment Handbook

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For most with a full-time job, shifting things to spend more time with your family or friends may be a difficult almost impossible task. Freelancers have better freedom to move their schedules a bit more and are also able to take phone meeting or web meetings in the comfort of their own home.

But Don’t Quit Your Day Job Why not freelance on the side instead of full time?

Freelance Advantages For Keeping Your Regular Job Too:

Taxes are a lot simpler, the income a bit more stable, and your day-to-day job could provide you with new opportunities to meet future clients and helpers. Just be sure to confirm your side job interest with your boss to ensure there is no compete.

Tip to get your clients to pay you on time for freelance gigs: offer a discount of a small % or $ amount for receiving payment on time either on the current invoice or on the next invoice.

Spend the money on a good home accounting system like QuickBooks or similar. All your invoices and income will be tracked and generated with the same aesthetic. No one needs to know you work from home- make it look professional! This will also help you to track outstanding payments and your income totals at tax time. Keep Track of your Expenses!

Finding and Advertising work- Google is an amazing thing. Enter in key words and find companies of your interest and look through freelance listings on job boards. You can advertise your skills on these sites for free most of the time also. Excelassist.com can help you find what you are looking for AND advertise your availability!

Keep track of companies you have cold called, emailed or spoken to about work in an Excel or similar spreadsheet. There is nothing worse than not realizing you have already pitched your story to the CEO the day before while you are on the phone with them. It’s not a good first impression.

Make Sure You Have a Good Contract. Good faith and a person’s word will only get you so far. Make sure you have full documentation via contract and conversations via email. Save these documents at least a year – others recommend 2 years.

Figure Out What To Charge. How much do you want to make hourly, then calculate the amount of hours you think it will take you to complete the task. The total is your flat rate. You can adjust as necessary and also compare what others are charging by doing your research online.

Article Reference

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Many college professors actually have day jobs too. Some of the best teachers may not actually be trained full-time teachers, but people who are on the job everyday and take the time to extend their hands on current industry knowledge in evening or weekend classes. But how can you get involved in teaching your skill and promoting your industry?

There are alternate certificate programs available by state and you can also contact your local university to find out how they select new professors.

When interviewing for positions, your field experience is extremely valuable to many institutions even though your actual time in a classroom may be limited. If you do your job well and work well with others, there are many instances in our careers where we have had to train someone, make a presentation, or show how to do something we are familiar with. Thinking back on all of these instances in your life, did you enjoy lending a hand to better someone’s knowledge? If you answered yes, then teaching may be a great second career for you.

When applying, write a good cover letter highlighting your experience teaching others and demonstrating leadership in your own field. Also explain why you are interested in teaching now at this stage in your life (without getting too personal).  On your resume, be sure to highlight any awards, acknowledgements, your own educational background, program knowledge and any additional expertise you could bring to the classroom.

Also check out the 7 Biggest Challenges Teachers Face

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With Facebook and numerous social media outlets at everyone’s fingertips, its a wonder why we haven’t seen this sooner. You constantly receive those forwarded emails or mass posts for donations to charity or to sponsor someone running a marathon for a good cause. Why not create the same outreach to further college education? Its brilliant! You don’t have to qualify in certain criteria because you name your own. Personal family and friend can vouch for you, upload pictures, and spread the word to get donations. US News had some insightful tips on how to get the most when creating your own scholarship:

1. Choose the right Web site. You can build your own site, use standard social networking sites such as Facebook or MySpace, or try a new scholarship-building site, such as Greennote.com, Scholarmatch.com, or Sponsormydegree.com.

2. Include photos. Students who post pictures are more likely to get donations than those who don’t, says Henner Mohr, founder of Sponsormydegree.com.

3. Give lots of details and write clearly. “Kids who write vividly stick in your mind,” notes Dave Eggers, author of A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius and What is the What, and one of the founders of Scholarmatch.org.

4. Spelland grammarcheck. Donors aren’t likely to fund requests for college tuition from someone who can’t spell.

5. Think like a donor. Be honest and personal, but keep in mind: if your hobby is getting high or collecting expensive handbags, why would anyone want to give you money?

6. Spread the word. Friends, family, former teachers, churchmembers, co-workers and strangers can all help, says Andrew Snow, a student at the College of the Sequoias who raised money using Sponsormydegree.com. Some of his friends posted his appeal for aid on their Facebook pages and on Twitter. Eventually, word got to a newspaper reporter for the nearby Fresno Bee, who wrote about him. A reader of that article donated enough to fund an entire semester at school.

7. Keep your donors and your plea updated. You’ll need funding for at least four years, not just one. If you can show donors that you are working hard and succeeding, they might be willing to help next year as well.

8. Show your gratitude and give back. Snow believes his plea received funding at least in part because  he wants to be a teacher and promises to repay his sponsors by giving similar donations to other students as soon as he starts earning.

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