headshot.cropped.booksI am Kara, a veteran English teacher, yearbook adviser and newspaper adviser, who moved from Richmond, Virginia, to South Florida in the fall of 2010. In the span of four months, I got engaged, resigned from my job, planned my wedding, and put my house on the market. All while my newly-minted fiance was living 15 hours away. After our Virginia wedding in August 2010, I said goodbye to my home state and all things comfortable to join my husband Aaron as he embarked on a new career adventure in entomology. Essentially, we moved to a popular vacation spot for the termites.

Since I’ve become a member of the Sunshine State, I’ve started a new teaching job, sold my house in Virginia, gotten laid off from said teaching job, only to be officially rehired three days before the first day of school. They like to keep your future employment mysterious down here. Years later, I’m still teaching and advising at the same school, we bought a 1950’s old Florida home, we lost one cat and added a dog and a tiny human to the family. Ramona is buried under a Bismark palm in our yard, Quincy is a spunky terrier mix with separation anxiety, and Fox is a human baby born unto us in August 2015, just a week before our fifth wedding anniversary. Hart is baby brother who arrived in April three years later.

While I started this blog as a coping mechanism during transition and to stay connected to my friends and family, it’s renewed my passion for writing and creating a finished product. As a teacher and publication adviser, I have modeled and supervised this process for years. But I missed penning my own tales, so here I am subjecting you to my perspective.

New here? Try these first.


Feeling lost? Go to IKEA.

Why I wanted to kill a cat

Show your shame



Comparing yourself to others stunts your growth

What to learn from what you don’t finish

Calling all you clingy, dependent types

“Thank you for your service to this District and good luck in your future endeavors”

How to get laid off gracefully

Of ants and orchids

Overview of year one:

Mad Pen: a blog year in review

Reflections on community:

To live and die in New Orleans (probably my favorite thing I’ve written for this blog)


2 Responses to “About”

  1. Chris at 5:17 pm #

    Kara, I wanted to contact you directly about the post you just wrote to Penelope at Brazen Careerist, on stereotypes, and on what you learn from your students.

    Kudos is my message to you! I understand what you say. Before I was a nurse, I was an English teacher, and had some of your same experiences.
    It is brave and true to listen and to look below the surface. What presents initially is never the whole story. There is a truer, deeper story beneath the surface.

    I hope you are happy in your new life in Florida as a wife. I have just resigned my 21-yr-old position as a bedside nurse. I still do some home care. But I am loving the feeling of stepping back. YOU?

    Chris Keller, MSN, RN

  2. Kara at 2:01 am #

    You made my day, Chris! Our philosophies do seem to align. Glad to meet a kindred spirit.

    An advantage to teaching is that it’s impossible to take myself too seriously while facing teenagers every day. I hope this is insurance against future flirtations with snobbery.

    I’m enjoying all of the newness while still missing my friends and family in Virginia. Stepping back has been nice though–ah, the perspective. In the end, this whole moving experience will score me a few extra points in the personal growth category.

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