Top 10 Things to Do Inside

September 17, 2011

Top ten things to do insideContributed by Cindi Pearce, Top 10 Guru

Being outdoors is great and a healthy for humans, particularly when the weather is lovely and you aren’t required to dodge rain, sleet, snow or hail.

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Best of … ways to move your stuff

September 15, 2011

One of the best of ways to move your stuffContributed by Tim Brugger, Top 10 Guru

There are right ways and there are wrong ways to safely move your stuff; whatever your stuff may be.
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Best of … things to do for mom

September 15, 2011

One of the best of things to do for momContributed by Tim Brugger, Top 10 Guru

As any self-respecting Mom will tell you every day should be Mother’s Day; and she has a point.
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Best of … dining room decorating ideas

September 15, 2011

A list of the best of dining room decorating ideasContributed by Tim Brugger, Top 10 Guru

As we slowly move toward Fall, our attention often shifts from outdoor dining and entertaining activities to the upcoming Holiday gatherings.
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Best of … imported foods online

September 15, 2011

List of the best of imported food onlineContributed by Tim Brugger, Top 10 Guru

As a fan of all things food, like many I appreciate the efforts of the in-house chef.
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Best of … bead bracelet designs

September 15, 2011

One of the best of bead bracelet designsContributed by Rachelle Dawson, Top 10 Guru

Charm bead bracelet designs have become popular because they can be customized for various people and occasions.

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Best of … simply unique baby gifts

September 14, 2011

One of the best of simply unique baby giftsContributed by Denise McGill, Top 10 Guru

What’s not to love about giving a baby gift and seeing the smile on the face of proud new parents.
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Top 10 States and Cities for New Education Graduates

September 14, 2011

Contributed by Lindsay Shugerman, Top 10 Guru

Graduation is approaching, and you’re ready to look for that first teaching job. But the news is filled with stories of cutbacks and layoffs. And you’re wondering if you’ll ever find a teaching job.

Relax. Even amid the dark economic news, there are some bright spots for new teachers. Here are our top ten cities and states for new education graduates looking for that first teaching job.

10. Maryland

Best states for new education graduates
With an average starting salary for new teachers of over $42,000, Maryland isn’t the highest paying state for new teachers, but it is one of the most generous when it comes to perks.

State law mandates equal pay across all districts, so teachers in inner city schools won’t suffer in comparison to colleagues in posh suburbs. And districts will foot the bill for higher education for current teachers, and then pay them a higher salary once the degree is earned.

9. North Dakota

Best states for new education graduates

Although the cold winters and relative isolation might not put North Dakota on most people’s list of places they always wanted to live, for new education graduates North Dakota belongs in the top ten. The refreshing lack of doom and gloom in education funding, plus a notable absence of layoff plans pushes this frigid state above more climate-friendly locales.

8. Pennsylvania

Best states for new education graduates
With an average teacher salary of just over $60,000 per year, plus a teacher student ratio of under 13, Pennsylvania is a good choice for new teachers.

The decentralized school systems (there may be several in one county) mean there can be big difference in teaching style and compensation, however. Some of the best opportunities may be in smaller rural areas where the low cost of living makes the salary even more attractive, and layoffs are less common.

7. Phoenix, Arizona

Best states for new education graduates

As one of the fastest growing cities in the U.S., Phoenix is expected to have more than its share of new teacher positions as well. Local support for education, a relatively livable climate and an exciting urban environment make this city a great choice for new education graduates.

Check out the districts before applying, however. Like Pennsylvania, Phoenix keeps school districts very local so the city has several within its boundaries.

6. Austin, Texas

Best states for new education graduates

Austin is a tech-savvy, growing city with a young demographic, and that means the demand for new teachers will remain high. While many parts of Texas are experiencing cutbacks in education funding, the Austin area has fared better, with more money for both salaries and for school programs. The city is a mecca for young adults, as well, with a booming social and music scene, making it an attractive choice for new college grads.

The nearby Round Rock school district offers exceptional arts programs, so new teachers in music, theatre and the visual arts may find a good starting place there.

5. Washington

Best states for new education graduates

The State of Washington, and especially the cities of Seattle and Spokane, have earned their place among the top ten locations for teachers. A combination of generous per-student spending and local populations that put a high value on schools means educators have the resources they need to teach effectively.

The abundance of outdoor activities, the arts and music make this a natural for young teachers looking for a lifestyle as well as a job.

4. Wyoming

Best states for new education graduates
With an average starting salary of more than $40,000 per year and a cost of living well below the national average, Wyoming is a great choice for new teachers who prefer mountain tops and hiking trails over art galleries and nightclubs.

The state also boasts low student-teacher ratios, a plus for new educators hoping to connect with their students. Applicants should do their research before applying, however. Unlike Maryland and several other states, salaries are not set statewide, so starting pay could be more or less than the average.

3. Illinois

Best states for new education graduates

When the average starting salary for a teacher is over $10,000 more than the average starting salary for other college grads in the state, you have a winner for new teachers.

Not only do new education graduates hired in Illinois average over $58,000 in first year salary, the cost of living allows that money to go far further than in better-paid but more expensive places like New York and Massachusetts.

If you’re a new grad or an education major considering Special Education, the state also offers full tuition waivers for up to four years for some colleges and universities in the state for teachers interested in meeting the need in those high-demand programs..

2. Providence, Rhode Island

Best states for new education graduates

Ocean access, beautiful New England settings and a school district that spends an amazing $15,000 per student all combine to make this one of the top two locations for new teachers. Student teacher ratios are under 10, and student performance remains among the highest in the country.

1. Alaska

Best states for new education graduates

The number one spot for new education graduates goes to Alaska. Class sizes are small, and local support for education is exceptionally high.

Yes, the cost of living is high. But Alaska’s even higher salaries, combined with new teacher sign-on bonuses in many specialties make this state far more affordable than many in the lower 48.

Top 10 Worst Things You Could Do the First Day on the Job

September 14, 2011

Contributed by Lindsay Shugerman, Top 10 Guru

You’re not sure what happened. One minute you were starting your first day on the job. But just a few hours later, you were unemployed again. What went wrong?

We have a few ideas. See if you were guilty of any of these major fail moves on day one of your new (and very temporary) job.

10. Told the customers to shop somewhere else

It may not have been covered in orientation, but unless you work for Nordstrom which actually approves of this kind of thing (in the name of customer service), it was probably a bad idea to tell the customers the competition had better service, lower prices or superior products. Double no-no points if you did it without taking your eyes off the book you were reading or your current game of “Angry Birds.”

9. Introduced everyone to your religious or political views

Of course it’s good to have strong values. But handing out your manifesto in the lunch room? Score extra demerits if you were standing on a chair at the time or if you used a bullhorn.

8. Showed up for work nude

OK, so a chain of body care stores in the UK got some major publicity from this stunt. But they’re almost European, and that sort of thing is better tolerated there. Here, most employers expect their employees to show up more or less covered up. Just sayin’ …

7. Rearranged the boss’s office

Maybe the desk would look better over by the window. And those executive office bookshelves might have needed some organization. But did you have to call in a crew to do it the first day on the job?

6. Rearranged the boss’s clothes

Repeat after me: “I will not touch the boss’s clothing. Ever.” This applies no matter how much you think that that shirt would look better tucked in, or a different belt would just set off the whole outfit. Got it?

5. Living in fantasy land

What were you thinking? If you pent the day trying to convince everyone they were in the Matrix, or on the Holodeck, you failed. You can’t expect to last past the first day on the job by pretending films or TV shows are real. Keeping a new job requires a solid grasp on reality. (By the way, did you happen to see a misplaced sonic screwdriver in the break room? The Doctor told me ask.)

4. Invited your friends in

Especially if you told them everything is free. Of course your friends are important. But didn’t you think someone might notice when your entire fraternity showed up and you were holding the door as they emptied the shelves? Do you thing people on Wall Street or in our nation’s banks do things like that? Oh wait…never mind.

3. One for me, one for the register

My guess would be that you did well in the sharing lessons in preschool. And while your sense of equality for all is admirable, odds are you’re going to find that your first day on the job will always be your last. Call them silly, but employers prefer to pay you what they choose. Go figure!

2. You burnt down the building

And yet, somehow, as you stood there amid the ashes and smoke of what once was a business, you couldn’t really look me in the eye and claim that were surprised by that pink slip, could you? You could?? You were? Oh my!

1. You did not show up

I know. You got the job, and to you that meant it was yours to use – or not. After all, if you buy a new car, no one gets upset if you don’t take it out for a spin right away.

A word of advice? Next time it’s your first day on the job, pay attention to the “on the job” bit, okay?

A final word or two.

The first day on a new job is always stressful. But if you managed to avoid these major disasters, give yourself a pat on the back, and look ahead. But don’t get too confident … there’s always tomorrow! And by the way, you might want to forget that sauerkraut and sardine casserole you were planning to reheat at lunch tomorrow …

Top 10 Reasons My Mind Goes Blank

September 14, 2011

One of the top ten reasons my mind goes blankContributed by Paul Seaburn, Top 10 Guru

It happens all the time. I’m in the middle of a conversation and suddenly … my mind goes blank.

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