Sunday, July 7, 2013

leading lambs to the slaughter

I've had a lot of time over the last year to sit back and take a look at my life and career. I can't help but be concerned about the educational system and the children who's lives it impacts. It seems as though ever 10-15 years a major revamping is undertaken by our state and federal government. No Child Left Behind appears to have left behind a huge number of children. Whatever happened to teaching the 3 R' s? It worked for me. I turned out pretty well I think. When did it become more important for our students to satisfy state and federal agencies by being reduced to a number? How many students are labeled as u.satisfactory because of one test? The one test that is really nothing more than a snapshot of that day, that moment? Is it really in the best interest of that student when he or she may be sick, tired, or scared because daddy came home drunk, grandma lost her job or they aren't sure where they'll sleep that night? 
Don't get me wrong, I understand the reasoning behind state testing. But really folks, how fair is it to issue a blanket test on students across the state when not every school has the same curriculum? Sure we all use the same states skills that we teach, but how different do you think a teacher in a sprawling metro school relays those skills compared to that of a tiny country school with a population of less than 200? That's like sending a vegetarian to work in a butcher shop.  My feelings on state mandated testing is really pretty simple. Every school teach from the exact textbooks at the same pace and test every nine weeks. Problem solved. 
That's just my opinion. I could be wrong. 

Friday, May 10, 2013

Settling In

My sister once asked me how did I know that teaching was what God wanted me to do with my life. I looked at her in amazement and said, "Think about our childhood!" I can remember lining my dolls up and teaching before I even started school. My mama was a Sunday school teacher and I thought that had to be the best job in the world. I was right.

I've taught little bitties, kindergarten, 4th grade and this year 5th grade. I feel like I've finally found where I'm meant to be. My niche, where I feel at home.... Everyone is so Leary of 5th grade. Students are tested in every area across the curriculum. How that makes a difference, I don't know. I mean I am responsible for teaching the material to them regardless of whether or not they test over it. I'm already so excited about the coming school year that my brain is going non-stop. Ideas are flooding my brain faster than pins on Pinterest! Don't get me wrong, I have taught my students well. They are amazing and my heart hurts knowing they will be in a different building. But every good teacher strives to be a better teacher. It's just that I find ways that I think will make learning easier, more dun and allow my students to take responsibility over their education. When you put learning in their hands it gives them a sense of ownership. That makes it matter to them . They become proud of their work. Not just trying to make good grades so mom doesn't get mad!

Oh wow! I love my job! 5th grade rocks! I know you're all wishing that you were a teacher now.

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Conversations with myself

I am my own worst enemy. I do and then I ask why. Shouldn't it be the other way around? Ask the question, weigh the pros and cons and then come to a sensible answer. If I had half the brain they say I have, wouldn't I ask the obvious question before making my final answer? That would solve 99% of all my problems. Which would effectively make my life a near perfect place to be. So do I wait to answer until after the question is asked?

Apparently my sense of self-preservation has not learned to listen to either my left or right brain. I'm not really sure if it listens at all. Or if I even have any self-preservation. I suppose since I obviously have no common sense over my own will, I shouldn't be held accountable for the shameless dither that my brain spouts out through my mouth. Or the unending actions of self-destruction I manage to do on a more than daily basis. Yet if my sense of self-preservation hasn't kicked in after thousands of slap downs, will denial of accountability hurt or help? If no one is to blame then no one can complain. If I complain, then who accepts the blame? On the off chance that I stumble upon some stray morsel of good that I've done, is no one the glory finder? Because if I can't blame my lack of self-preservation for the hideous aftermath that is my life, then I can't scream for recognition of that one moment of glory.

People wonder why I'm quiet sometimes. It's hard to have a serious conversation with someone when you are having one with yourself.

Saturday, December 29, 2012


It's been over 2 months since my doctor sent me home to rest.  The graft I had this summer isn't healing.(I had a spinal fusion with bone marrow graft and hardware) So for over 2 months I've stayed home. Most of my day is spent in bed reading, taking naps, and watching movies. I know that this has been hard on my students. It's been tough to find a certified teacher to take over too. I miss my students just as if they were truly my family. I guess they really are in some way. Most of them were with me last year and again the first part of this school year. It broke my heart to leave them to someone else. Although I know they were in good hands with a wonderful teacher, it was like turning a stranger loose in my home to care for my own children. I cried, I threw fits, I cried some more. Finally, I am beginning to see the light at the end of an otherwise dark tunnel.

I know I will be able to return to my school family. I've prayed, my students even put me on their prayer list, my family and friends are praying. I believe that God put the love to teach in me when I was too young to even go to school. When I was barely old enough to attend Sunday school, I wanted to be a teacher. I love what I do. I feel it is an honor to be paid (poorly but I am paid) to do something I love so much. It's like a gnawing inside of me that gets stronger every day. Seldom are there days that I don't want to teach, sometimes my urge to be there gets a little vague, but it doesn't take much to bring it back to full force. God gave me the drive and desire to teach. I truly believe that. I do it because I love it, not because it's my job. So for now I'll continue my healing and know that soon I will be back with my school family.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Brain Freeze

Have you ever loved someone so much that even just a few days away from them caused you to lose sleep? That's pretty much what I'm experiencing...except it's not just one someone. It's 23. That's right, 23. Unbelievable that you can miss that many people. If the truth be known it's way more than 23. But I digress....

After spending most of my summer in bed, I just knew I'd be ready and all healed up to go back to school in August. I did make it back to school...unfortunately I battled pain, pain, more pain, and the most compassionate doctor ever. After months at school, countless bottles of pain medication, my doctor finally took matters out of my hands.  He enforced a 6 week leave of absence. Now most of you are asking  yourself, "who in their right mind would have to have an ENFORCED leave?". If you teach for the love and not the summers off, you understand where I'm coming from.

It's been almost 5 weeks. While I know this time off has been necessary for the health of my spine, it grows more and more frustrating every day. I will know next week if my doctor is letting me off leave. I spend my days lying in bed, in the recliner or walking from one end of the house to the other. It's not quite as exciting as it sounds, believe me. I actually thought while I was off that I'd amass this large collection of units to use in my classroom. Ha! I pinned madly, created shortcuts and favorites. That's pretty much the extend of my efforts. I quickly found  that the more time I spent on educational sights, the more tears I cried. So hear I am, with one week of leave before I hear yay or nay. This is where the brain freeze comes in. Any mention of or viewing of educational sights sends my brain into a total freeze. Only mindless web surfing will melt this freeze.....
Oh did I mention the awesomeness of Christmas shopping online?

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Flabby Brain

I tell my students that their brain is a muscle. Just like those "guns" all the guys like to show off and kiss, your brain is a muscle you should be able to show off. Use it, kiss it, and keep it in shape. Naturally, this caused a major panic to set in. Why? I began to spazz wonder how in the world I was going to fit everything into those flabby  wonderful brains of theirs. Since I keep my brain in tip top physical condition (my brain looks hot right?) I had an epiphany. A pack of index cards and a Sharpie! (I'm obsessed with Sharpies and pens) Every time we cover something new, make a note card and chunk it in our brain box! I even went so far as to think I can color code my box, index cards and the color of Sharpie I use! (I told you it was an epiphany!)

So here I sit....without my colored index cards, no coordinating boxes to put the as yet started completed note cards. My principal thinks it's an awesome idea. I have to agree with her. Repetition may get boring repetitive, but it certainly reinforces the skill.

My Christmas wish list to Santa now consists of new Sharpies, index cards and coordinating boxes. I wonder if I should just go ahead and add those new boots, belt, and ring I want too?

Friday, October 12, 2012

Pinning Has Me Worn Out

I'm a collector. Or a pack rat. I'm not sure which. When I figure it out, I'll let you know. I collect just about anything. Shoes, t-shirts, sweaters, idea books, teaching help books, cookbooks, and the list could go on forever. I've realized in the past few months that it's time get rid of all the junk great stuff I have horded collected over the years. I'm doing it little by little. Wouldn't dream of overloading my poor little heart by becoming totally organized over night. It's not going to happen. I'm a procrastinator, I'm ADHD, blonde, scatterbrained, and somewhat possessive of my stuff. But being the smart brilliant person that I am, I have come to the realization that in order to not only become a better teacher, but to become a better person, I must downsize. Ultimately, for me anyway, this is a very daunting task.

I've always laughed at my mom. She saves everything. But then I had a cerebral moment and bam! I'm just as bad, if not worse. So I'm saying goodbye to the clothing that I haven't worn in a 2 (or more) years. I'm downsizing my classroom. Seriously? If you haven't touched it in years and thought your principal stumbled upon a virtual goldmine.......until you realize you made her a copy of YOUR nifty collection, it's time to donate to the resource room, the single mother, the new teacher, and the good old dumpster.

So if you are reading this, you probably know me and are eagerly anticipating me dropping a trash bag full of junk great stuff outside your door. Stay tuned for the emotional scarring newly organized me.