Coursera: Intro to Finance

“Education, if done right, is an investment and not consumption. And often we do not invest because it takes effort and is painful; and so does loving someone. But only investments allow you to enjoy life for many years.”  –Intro to Finance Professor Gautum Kaul


I have put a plan into motion to be free of personal loans, credit card debt, and school loans within a reasonable time frame.  And, I feel a bit like the tortoise when it comes to money but also my plan is solid.  I also am taking some intro to finance and economics classes online.  The first is actually through my alma mater and everything.

I also want to mention that the only prerequisites to the class were and I quote “exposure to economics (the mother discipline of finance), accounting (the language of business), and/or algebra and statistics (we all need it).”  I only mention that because recently in a conversation I recall someone saying we didn’t really need algebra.  But, at least this class agrees we all need algebra and statistics.

Fiverr: 20 Days in

Three weeks ago, Nell suggested that I check out a website called Fiverr where people post gigs for $5.  She suggested that I offer math help.  I did notice that someone offered math videos answering your math question and someone else offered 30 minutes of math tutoring by Skype.  There was exponentially more offering to write 500 words of SEO content or edit 1000 words of text etc etc.  I figured I might as well try it:

So, twenty months in, I’ve had 10 projects.  Fiverr keeps 20% of the revenues so I’m really only getting $4 each time.  I have been averaging a project every two days.  And, it appears to take 2-3 weeks for payments to clear for actual withdrawal.  In ten days, I’ll level up and I’ll be able to post gig extras and the option to order multiple gigs at once.  Some projects are fun and easy: a satire of tips to screw up your organization through bad management and a DJ’s seven tips to keep your wedding interesting.   Other projects required more research and work: a business plan for a Nestle shop in Canada, petroleum deals around the world, and the history of the conflict in Palestine-Israel.


Fiverr00 Fiver01 Fiverr02 Fiverr03 Fiverr04 Fiverr05

The buyer’s feedback is such positive reinforcement that I’m beginning to think this is really why I’m doing this.  Who doesn’t love people telling them they did such a good job?  Unbelievably prompt?  Above and beyond?  Mind reader?  Organized in her thoughts?  Yep 🙂

I should just photoshop my own thumbs up for every school newspaper or yearbook I put out.  It’s so validating!

Wise Careers Post 3: Math Shouldn’t Be A Book-Free Zone

pokemon_0Wahoo, my article on math literature has been published by Wise Careers.  🙂  I got such good feedback on this one; the online marketing coordinator said “It is exactly the kind of good/helpful writing we want to have. We’ll be sharing it through multiple channels within the university.”  To be fair, it’s a little less narrative and a little more a list of book suggestions to use in math classes or include on reading lists.  My last article is scheduled for next week, but I just received a contract for three more articles.  So, for now, I will continue writing.  And, to think, I had given up on that 7th grade dream to be a writer.


I wasn’t able to attend the Affirmation annual conference in Salt Lake this year as I was spending some last chance weekends with my good friends before they moved to Italy.   This means that I missed keynote speakers, Steve and Barb Young, speaking to the cause of Affirmation.  I also was not in-person for my cameo in this short video for Affirmation.  I knew this change would come; I despaired for a bit but the time is now.  Change comes by staying, not leaving.

“So whether you are gay, lesbian, transgender or an ally, I want to invite you to be a part of affirmation.”

Wise Careers Post 2: More in Common Than Different

At the moment, I’m fighting my first cold of the school year and getting interims out.  I’m very pleased to be sending out such high grades.  I’m also very excited to show off my second article!!  Everyone always comments that Math and English don’t go together, but the two subjects have so much in common.  Click on the image below for the full article at Wise Careers, an education blog sponsored by Western Governors University.


I regularly am faced with the ubiquitous look of puzzlement when I explain that I teach middle school math and English. …It’s easy to categorize language, art and the humanities as one school of thought and science, technology and math as another. The former tied together by expression and the latter by analysis and logic.  While math does lay some groundwork for further study in science, engineering, and technology, some science subjects use less math and some humanities subjects use more. Combine persuasive communication skills with a keen sense of logic, probability and statistics, and behold: philosophy, business, and sports! No one intelligence type can be unilaterally associated with either subject to the exclusion of all other approaches. Math and English might seem juxtaposed at first, but interdisciplinary connections abound.

Wise Careers Post 1: A Marketable Combination

I wrote this!! It’s mostly how I ended up teaching Math AND English.  Click on the image below for the full article at Wise Careers, an education blog sponsored by Western Governors University.  I’ll be writing at least three more articles for this blog, maybe more.

Marketable Combinations

Even teachers need to make themselves marketable. That might mean an expertise in ESOL, PBIS, or STEM, or better yet a combination of endorsements. A unique combination of skill sets and a variety of experiences can really set you apart from other candidates. When I sat down with my program advisor, with my degree in English Literature, I had expected to plan a course of study for K-8 with a language arts endorsement. My advisor recognized that I already had several math credits and she suggested I get a math endorsement instead, as it would have been the same amount of additional credits. While I was told that I would never teach English due to the overwhelming number of teachers certified in that subject area, I decided to take that extra semester worth of classes in order to add the endorsement to my certification anyway. Now if I had never taught a single reading or writing class, that extra semester of classes might have been pointless. I’m glad to say that it has been an added perk in every job I’ve been interested in thus far.

Update: August

My new apartment is fabulous (moving up three flights of stairs was not).  I plan to vlog it soon and introduce my new roommate.  We make a good team.  I had the dinnerware; he brought the silverware to the table.  (Pun totally intended!)  I’ve been busy getting the car registered and unpacking and realizing I don’t have things like cutting knives or frying pan.  I don’t even have a broom!  I’ve been settling back into school mode, but I do have one more week vacation planned with my mom.  Can you believe I haven’t been to Florida?  Well, soon that will no longer be the case!

I will be writing as an independent contractor for Wise Careers, sponsored by Western Governors University,  so my mind has been on teaching math and language arts, the common core and getting ready to teach sixth grade.  In five years, I’ll have taught every grade between fifth and tenth 🙂  I have this great idea for themed warm-ups: Messy Mondays, Test Practice Tuesdays, Word Challenge Wednesdays, Traveling Math Thursdays, and Fast Check Fridays.  I’m thinking I can pair my traveling vlogs with my math warm-ups.  I really want to work out at least the first interim’s worth of warm-ups.  In the end, it could make a really nice ebook.  Anyway, my first paid article will premiere on August 15th.  I’ll social network it up then.

In other thoughts: my mentor and friend wrote a series of posts about the Common Core and Creativity that I appreciated.  My first year of teaching was in the Marshall Islands, where I was using the National Standards.  It was pretty much the Common Core with some extra emphasis on ESOL; it even used the same color scheme.  It’s been strange entering a school system that’s still transitioning.  I was glad to see something labeled Common Core when I went to check out the sixth grade curriculum the other day.  Again, as Dr. Starko points out Common Core is the standards, not the curriculum, and there are no standards for the process.  It seems pretty straightforward to me.

Update: July

I’ve been preoccupied with finding a new job, moving into a new apartment, and finding more trustworthy friends, but mostly I’ve been in class or traveling. Vlogs to follow travels (obviously).

Unfortunately, some kids broke into my car and stole a GPS and a bag full of personal yearbooks.  Settling the yearbook account has been dragging into July.  I keep forgetting that people don’t think the Marshall Islands is a real place where I actually worked as a teacher.  And, I’m starting to accept the fact that I’ll be 40 before anyone treats me like an adult.  (It’s nice when the guy working at the coffee shop smiles at me and mistakes me for a 22 year old; it’s not nice when my colleagues mistake me for a 22 year old.)

Itinerary 2013

Highlights of the summer: awesome roommate, fireworks, lots of hiking, new car, lots of adventures, and I suspect the Ann Arbor Art Fair, seeing all the southern states I’ve never seen before, and the world’s largest Rubik’s Cube.

Map 2013

Vlog 29: Waking up in a Tent

The best part of camping is waking up in a tent the next morning. I love the morning light filtered through the tent. And, camp breakfast is just as good as silver turtles, especially if you have a camp stove. Of course, then I remember why I think bacon is disgusting, but still.

Happy Pride!

“You don’t have to push a handcart to be a pioneer.”

Last weekend, I marched in my first pride parade–People Recognizing Individual Diversity Equally–with Mormons for Marriage Equality.  It was overwhelming at first but in the end very empowering.  Some guys who drove up from Virginia asked me if I had a girlfriend.  I met a family from North Carolina who drove up to support their teenage son and his friend who had “read a lot about the closet and didn’t want to do that.”  Mostly, I just think that he’s really blessed that he won’t spend the next 15 years trying to marry a woman.  I also gave out lots of “Hugged by a Mormon” stickers.  Got my own “I <3 Nice Jewish Boys” sticker and a great shirt that says “Grrrl Scout.”  I should have worn them together; that would have been appropriate.  I added my name to some e-newsletters.

Here are pictures for now but the vlog is forthcoming.  (There’s just been so much going on with the end of the year: reconciling yet another grade/job shift, selling 150 yearbooks, lots of testing and grades, upcoming camp trip plans, still looking for an apartment).  Please visit and  Affirmation has support materials, news, events, and videos.  I’ve found that it is a very supportive community.  I’m also looking forward to the first ever pride event in Provo (organized by a very good friend of mine).

Vlog 25: Around the World

I hit 14 embassies last Saturday: Mexico, South Africa, Ethiopia, Ghana, Bangladesh, Malaysia, Pakistan, Egypt, Sri Lanka, Barbados, Serbia, Afghanistan, Belize, Turkey.   I accidentally got off at the Van Ness stop so I worked my way around and then I worked my way through the Kalorama corridor. I talked to a bunch of interesting people, got advice about Serbia, finally found Afghanistan and barely managed to see water painting in Turkey.  I managed to meet up with my sister eventually.  (I want to live everywhere…yeah yeah.)

Vlog 24: Embassy Tours

Thanks to the DC Embassy Tours I have visited several European Embassies: Belgium, Finland, Slovenia, Czech Republic, Netherlands, Latvia, Estonia, Lithuania, Spain, Poland, Luxembourg, Romania, and Bulgaria. Belgium knows how to self promote with Smurfs, solar airplanes, and lots of goodies. I thought Bulgaria had a more modest and sincere showing with their cheese pastries and documentary. In general, I find that European food is not so vegetarian friendly and I feel very Asian in comparison.