Monday, June 8, 2015

A Week in the Life of Princess

As a little girl, growing up I always identified with the princess, Cinderella.
I want to take a moment to hash this out.  Cinderella is a great princess, in my opinion.  She's classic.  She undergoes a fabulous transformation.  (How many girls do you know that I can rock a bun, a black choker, and a blue dress to a formal event?) MANY movies have been made about her, and for good reason.  She survives, she overcomes.  She's the poor, pitiful girl that overcomes and marries up.

That being said, Cinderella is not the princess you want your daughters to identify with.  While I was never wealthy, never had a step-mother or step-sisters, I felt I could still relate to her plight from a very young age.  In fact, I first remember seeing this film at 5 or 6 and crying for the poor girl.  The poor thing, she lived without her parents; as I did for many years.  She lived with some horrible people; as I did for some years.  The people she was with made her do hard labor and verbally abused her; check.  And yet, she still got out of bed every morning, making due with her circumstances and hoping for the best.  Unfortunately, no matter what she did, for the longest time, life kept being...less than ideal.  & you just can't blame a girl for crying about it all.  I've been there, locked away for doing nothing wrong, a victim of the circumstances.
Eventually, the fairy godmother shows up (where was she ALL THOSE YEARS?) to help make things better.  I'm not deluded enough to say a fairy godmother popped up in my life, but rather I look at the fairy godmother as a catalyst; she was the turning point in the Cinderella story.  My fairy godmother would have to be the saving grace of Jesus at about age...11.  Just like Cinderella, I wasn't resentful about the waiting, I was just happy to have a new chance at life.  I didn't attend any balls, but I did attend church.  This got me through middle and high school years, whereupon I decided to go to college, a Bible College (Welch College), to further my knowledge of God, Christ, and Biblical history.
From there I gained a great education, made fabulous friends, was mentored by great faculty and staff, and met & married my husband, Nathan.  It's been a great happily ever after story for me.  We don't live in a castle; but in an apartment.  I'm not a princess; but Nathan spoils me like a queen.  We have love & life in Christ; and that is enough.
This week, I'm taking a new princess story, or chapter rather.  One of my favorite Disney princesses, Ariel.  Again, this is  not a princess little girls should idolize.  She's a rebellious kid, runs away from home, makes deals with witches, is consistently in trouble...and yet, she's adorable, brave, and fights for what she wants from life.
Like Ariel, I am going to sign over my voice to the sea witch (surgeon) to get some legs (a healthy school year) for awhile.  It's going to be...unpleasant.
I'm going to aim to be optimistic like Ariel always did though.  I'm going to make it work, because this is a means to an end.  & I'll probably look and feel like an absolute mess for the entirety of June.  It's life, life happens.
As for my other favorite princess (Ariel & ???)...she is a princess I almost wouldn't mind a little girl looking up to.  I try to live out the wisdom she pushes in her film every day.  I just wish she had come along when I was a little girl.  Hopefully by July, I'll be back to living the hard working Tiana life.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

For the Love of Summer!

Why I Decided To Love Summer This Year:
I know most teachers love summer.  Honestly, I never liked summer before this year.  Here's what has changed my mind about summer:
  1. My feet do not hurt from standing up (8-12 hours) all day.
  2. Sleeping in.  Waking up when I feel like it.
  3. Staying up, without repercussions.
  4. In my day, I can fit in time to read a book for pleasure.
  5. I am not required to wear my "work clothes."
  6. Time to cook a real, homemade (sometimes healthy) dinner.
  7. I do not have to have a cup of coffee to function adequately.
  8. My skin develops color from actual sun exposure.
  9. It may be sweltering hot outside, but the pool sure feels cool.
  10. I can put down the planner, and not make plans.
  11. Traveling.  There is time and money for going on roadtrips.  (IKEA in Atlanta, anyone?)
  12. Catching up with family.
  13. I simply get less sicknesses.
  14. I can see my friends, you know-the ones I don't get to see the other 10 months of the year because I am too busy.
  15. My email does not "ding" every 10 minutes of every day from 7:00 a.m. until I go to sleep.
  16. Yard sales.
  17. Time to create and craft things that I did not have time to do in the fall.
  18. I do not wear makeup EVERY DAY OF THE WEEK.  My skin needs the break, for real.
  19. I have conversations about things other than guided reading, common core, rotations, etc.
  20. Music.  Whatever music I want plays around me...all the time.
  21. Fourth of July.  Hello, grills, hotdogs, burgers, and time with family.
  22. Time for nothing.  I can sit on my couch and stare into space IF I WANT TO.
  23. All day movie/tv series marathon.  Netflix is my boyfriend on the side.  Seriously, give me a blanket, snacks, and my television.  I can waste a day for relaxation.
  24. Fireworks!  I can't believe I forgot FIREWORKS until now!
  25. Listening to the crickets.  Watching the "lightnin' bugs."
  26. Hair in a rat's nest all on top of my head.  Totally normal.
  27. Air conditioning.  'nuff said.
  28. Driving in daylight.  During the school year, I am in my car before the sunrise, and too many days I am driving home past sunset.
  29. Fitness.  I have time to workout every single day.
  30. Finding new ideas.  Pinterest and me have time to work things out.
Why do you love summer?

Monday, July 14, 2014

Love for a Child

Dear Student,

I'm going to love you.  In fact, part of me already loves you, just not as much as I will love you.  I still love the students I had in my life last year, and they still linger in my heart, as you will next year.  You are one of roughly twenty students I have now, one of about twenty-five in total that I anticipate to have this year.  I wish I could tell you that I pray for you everyday.  I wish I could tell you that someone I know is praying for you everyday.  You may never know the difference these prayers will make in your life.  That's okay.  People pray for you so that this year will roll smoothly not only for you, but for me, too.

I am your teacher.  I will teach you how to read this year.  I will teach to speak in proper English this year.  I will teach you about telling time, subtracting, and tens & ones this year.  You and I will go on the journey I call phonics forever, all day, all the time.  You will learn all your sight words with me.  I will teach you about weather, measurement, animals, plants, solids & liquids.  I will teach you about famous history figures, holidays, and more.  I promise to read to you every day.  I hope by May you will read to me every day, fluently.

Student, please learn me as fast as you can.  I promise to exercise patience with you this year, all year.  It is much easier when you know me, and how and why I operate the way I do.  Know that when I am still holding my green coffee cup, I am not ready to speak in depth with you.  Know that you can hug me any time you want, except when I am teaching you, I would never deny you that love.  Know that you can tell me anything.  You can trust me, because it is my job to do what is best for you.  Know that after lunch I am more tired, and I struggle more to be graceful with each complaint.  I'm so excited you're here, and I hope you're going to stay through May.

Love that lasts for always,

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Fight for Summer

Dear Teacher,

It's summer, right smack in the middle of summer.  Are you resting?  Are you doing all the things you don't have time to do during the school year?  Things like travelling, seeing family, reading books, taking naps, & sleeping in?  Have your worries subsided?  Has the drama within your school building left the forefront of your mind?

Oh, I hope so, dear.  You deserve to have your own life, a life separate from your career.  You spent too many days after school working into the twilight.  You got up just an hour earlier to get to school earlier to get things accomplished before the sun woke up.  You spent planning periods racking your brain over how to make (insert boring topic here [subtraction]) fun for your students.  You were on the phone with parents countless times this year.  Too many nights you came home too spent to make dinner-cereal is an acceptable meal, right?  Your salary was spent partially on students that would have went without, your classroom to be a second home, supplies that weren't supplied.  I am so proud of you for these things.  I know you really loved each child this year.

But it's okay to take off for a few weeks.  Put down the dry erase marker and teaching manual.  Close the lesson plan template and pinterest can wait for another day.  Remember:  August is coming.  You remember August!
August...when school starts.  August, when you have to take your classroom and unpack and organize it again...the process that will take you no less than a week to get "just right."  August when you write every students' name about 100 times on everything.  August...when you make countless trips to Wal-Mart for supplies that were forgotten (hot glue sticks, plug-ins so your room doesn't smell like a bathroom, tape, hand sanitizer, and kleenex).  August, the month where planning periods are a joke and your students will make a billion mistakes.  You will take many overwhelming hits that month, from co-workers, administration, students, and parents.  WHAT DO YOU MEAN MY CHILD FORGOT WHAT BUS SHE RIDES?! August is a time for the 3,127 new objectives the government needs you to learn in professional developments.  Things you will undoubtedly be confused about...until Christmas.  August, when your students don't know & love you yet...but hey-they're excited to be here!  August, when the parents don't completely trust or understand your systems...because hey-you're not like the teacher their child had last year.  August, when your personal life will take a backseat for awhile.

So go outside.  Enjoy the sunshine.  Enjoy the flowers and the pool and the free time.  Pray for your new babies.  Enlist other people to pray for your students.  I give you permission.  You can even hit up pinterest and tweak lesson plans if you really must...but keep it to a minimum of an hour a day.  Think on ideas, even.  But PLEASE don't allow yourself to burn out.  Don't allow yourself to become hard to those students.  These new students deserve better than that.  You've worked too hard to give yourself less.  You fight to hard to lose summer, too.

Your Teacher Friend

Monday, May 20, 2013

Junie B.'s & May's

This is the last Monday of this school year.  My last Monday with these particular children.  & I just cannot believe how fast this semester has went.  I left room 164 in December and took room 152 in January, and looking at my class pictures, I smile at the memories.  I went from a really difficult class, to a very loving class, and yet, I feel the same about both.

I found out last week that I will be teaching at this school again next year.  :)  I will be starting graduate school in the fall, to get an MA in ELA.  Next year I will be an EL teacher, and probably for the rest of my MNPS career.  I'm very excited.  I have started slowly packing up my classroom, I may be teaching first grade EL next year in this very room, but nothing is certain just yet.  As an EL teacher I'm "flexible."  Essentially, I will be put in the grade where an EL teacher is needed.  I have peace with this, knowing that God is blessing my work.  (Though I hope I know what grade by Friday.)

My classroom is a mix of excitement and sadness; on the part of the children and myself.  However, with the exception of one child, I know I have helped in preparing them to become second grade learners.  I look at my Junie B.'s and May's and even the Herb's and Lennie's and I think, what great, funny, and sincere children they are.  I may not be a mother, but I know an abundance about love from them.  I can't wait to see what God has in store for them, and me.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

& she loved.

There are 10 (actually 9.5) days of school left in the MNPS school calendar year.  Days filled with fun things.  In room 152 we still have the birthdays of a boy and a girl, Field Day, a class party, and 2 star students left to choose.  This is a busy time of the year.  Thankfully, the SAT 10 is over, and my class was well behaved.  There were minimal problems in room 152 this year.  I was well received by my parents, and was spoiled during teacher appreciation week.  Several parents have asked if I would be willing to teach second grade next year, because they would love a full year with me teaching their child.  I feel honored and blessed.  Of course, I have little to no say in the matter.  :)  That's just how things are.

As this year wraps up, I don't know what grade I'll be teaching next year, I don't know what school I'll be teaching at next year, and it all feels very uncertain.
I will be teaching in an EL classroom though.  :)  That is pretty exciting and new for me.  & I would never have dared to try if it wasn't for Molly Martin and Ashley Morgan.
I live in a scary paradox right now.
Supposedly, this coming week things will be more solidified and certain.  I just breathe deeply and pray for another year wherever God will lead me.  I do know that I am doing what I want to be doing with my life, what I feel God wants me to do with my life, and that He guides me into places I wouldn't choose for myself.  I am safe, a little unsteady, but content.

So as I write my last lesson plans, and think about packing up my classroom, I look around this room and I count myself so lucky.  I had excellent children.  Children who taught me important lessons.  I have learned so much about love this year.  & when I say love, I mean a whole host of things, especially patience.  I have learned that at the end of the day, no matter what happens, these children still love me.  No matter how stern I've been, they adore me.  I have learned that messy bed hair is beautiful because it means that the child slept, and will have a better day.  I have learned that all the details matter, down to my toenails, my smile, and eye contact when they are telling me a story about their pet toad.

I have worked hard this year.  I've commandeered 2 classrooms in this school year.  I wouldn't trade that experience for the world.  I know when I go to school in the morning, children that are no longer in my class will stop by to hug me or say good morning.
& I'm going to start my masters.  Exciting.

On May 24th I just know there will be tears in room 152.  Tears of sadness & tears of joy.

I just want to be like The Giving Tree.  Give everything I have, until there's nothing left.

Friday, September 28, 2012

Notes from the Road

Dear Shawna,

My life suddenly got a little busy. God gave me an interim position teaching first grade at Edison Elementary. I have at least another month there. & you were right...the age doesn't matter. I am enjoying it. I was formed for this. Teaching fulfills me in a unique way.

We (Nathan, Meagan, Andrew, and I) are heading to Indiana for Becca's wedding. Driving three states north after school today...we are all beat. Though kudos to Andrew for driving most of the way. I had planned to read Harry Potter & the Chamber of Secrets all the way there, but then the sun set. Boo.

At the end of this day I remember:
-I am a happy nerd.
-I have great friends.
-Props to bus drivers. I would be a mass murder if I was one.
-It is fine to favor one nail polish above all others.
-Don't forget that live is not a feeling. It is a choice, an action verb.
-Luke Bryan, Miranda Lambert, Goo Goo Dolls, & Beethoven all have a station on Pandora on my iPhone. That is okay.
-I am wearing black to a wedding. Heh.

I don't know what comes next for me, but I'll keep a wether eye on the horizon.

All of It,