09 November 2011

#OpEleanor Week 2

Last week there were definitely some challenges. And although these may not all be "fears" for everyone, in the moment I could have reacted in a much more negative way, so I'm counting them as successes. 

Twitter screenshots each day made it easier to compile the post, and I could have easily just posted them without any explanation. I decided that my challenge to myself to write called for writing (imagine that!). 

I am so blessed and thankful for those on Twitter who each day have supported me, even with a simple good job/hug/comment after seeing my Operation Eleanor tweet(s). It makes this project that much more doable to know that you have support!

Sunday -
                  This could be the theme of my week really. I can't describe the homesick I've been feeling. I didn't used to understand what people meant when they said they missed "home" so much it hurt. I get it now. It doesn't help that the job situation is challenging and I feel as though I'm failing. I need to remember that when I came back here in August, I kind of expected that things might not work perfectly and I would need to head "home" in November/December. I just wish I could catch a break and something would work out.

Monday -
                 And then, 10 minutes ago, I just gave a link to this blog to a "real-life" friend. That term is so weird now, since most of the people who read here I've now met in person. And the ones that I haven't probably know me better than people who only know the 'off the Internet' me, really.

Tuesday -
                 Huge breakthrough. Too bad it didn't last.

Wednesday -
                     80% of my closest friends are parents. Why is a Bible study where all the other women are moms so hard for me? It's not like I can't respect their concerns, but I definitely have a hard time relating. And because of that I've gone 3 times out of 7 weeks. I'm going to try to be better, at least as long as I can stay here.

Thursday - 

               We had prayer/worship night at the small group I attend. I am TERRIFIED to pray aloud. I don't know why, except it goes well with the painfully shy thing. I was rehearsing in my head, I was ready to speak up. Then the prayer ended. And I was relieved. Someday I'll break through that. Someday.

Friday - 

          It didn't help that at the beginning of the trail there were about a million warnings about bear sightings. We didn't go much farther than that, and I went after her as soon as I took the picture. She definitely liked exploring and made observations that she couldn't wait to share. The parking lot was scarier. She went about five cars farther than me to get something that we'd left. I was okay-ish until a man walked quickly by me towards her/my car/his car/I don't really care. I definitely went to her again. But letting her take those steps is necessary and important.

Saturday - 

          K and I had a girls weekend, including her first viewing of The Princess Diaries. She loved it. I was struck by the quote "Courage is not the absence of fear, but rather the judgement that something else is more important than fear." I tweeted it. With at least one error (judgement/judgment??). It was retweeted, at which point I saw the error for the first time. Usually this bothers me, a lot. I'm too worried about what people think about me. Last night, I decided that I was human. Errors are a part of life.

Sunday - 
      I was feeling crummy this afternoon. Probably because I told my mom that I feel like I have to give up. And then she told me that crying isn't okay, as she always does. I was ready to eat dinner at 3:30 and crawl into bed. A friend from small group sent a "who's up for game night" text at 4 and I decided to join. There were five of us and we played a couple of games. Most of the others I knew, but even then group settings can be HARD for me. Not tonight. I'm so glad I made that choice. (Plus, I won't be awake at 3am this way!)

05 November 2011

#OpEleanor Week 1

I have to admit something here.

I want to go home. I feel like a failure. I feel like this "experiment" may have been a HUGE mistake.

This feeling is stronger on Saturday nights when I sit home alone, that's for sure. This feeling is stronger because this was a really hard week, but it was here last week too. This feeling is stronger when I'm asked if I want to donate to the food bank and all I can think is that I can't even really afford the food I'm buying for ME so I can't help. Little things are bothering me and I just want to be home. I don't even really know where home is exactly, but the four days I spend with my family may or may not help at the beginning of next month.

I joined Operation Eleanor this week. Eleanor Roosevelt said "Do something every day that scares you." Megan/Undomesticdiva challenged us to do something every day for 30 days, for November. This week was full of moments that could count.

Tuesday: I took over a classroom. Of out of control second graders. I keep being told that I'm doing well and that there is definite evidence of change. I'm not sure I believe it. I sent a child to the office five times on Tuesday. I didn't have five office trips last year when I had my fifth graders.

Wednesday: There was six inches of snow on the ground. The day before had sucked. I didn't want to get out of bed. I did. I call that success for this experiment. I also drove to work without slipping a single time, so I felt quite accomplished. I had 10 students absent, the day went decently well.

Thursday: I sat at small group and played games without once checking twitter. I fall back on Twitter a lot and I know it. It's nice to know it's there to catch me when I need it and when I'm overwhelmed in settings which is more than I care to admit.

Friday: I started my day with a parent meeting. Parent meetings as a teacher are scary. Parent meetings when you've taken over a classroom three days before are terrifying. I don't know what, if any, difference it made; the day was hard. I finished my day by doing another thing that scares me. I went to dinner by myself. As much as large group social activities cause me stress and anxiety, so do on my own outings to restaurants. I have no idea why but it is what it is.

Saturday: Today started with a baby shower. As if those aren't scary enough, this was a baby shower for a friend from high school. Who I hadn't seen in nine years. There wasn't a single other person I knew. I survived. I almost chickened out five times this week. I knew I needed to go and not just because of this project.

To some extent, I think writing here has gotten scary. I don't know why, but I don't even click on the blogger link anymore. I need to overcome that. I challenge myself to take this month to write more. I know it's good for me, I know it's healing.

I'm excited to see where this month goes. I'm also terrified.

If you'd like to join Operation Eleanor/#OpEleanor - check out Megan's posts here and here. Or, just do it. There are no rules really.

13 October 2011

Boy toys vs girl toys.

Typing this on my phone- I apologize now for any errors.

I don't normally write about things that happen when I'm subbing, partly because I've agreed to confidentiality and partly because it comes and goes so quickly that it doesn't always make a lasting impression.

However, yesterday was an exception.  I was in a classroom of children with severe special needs and one of the children brought a toy to school. This little boy brought a toy that would typically be considered a "girl" toy. He was fixated on it and wanted it all day; when it was missing he would ask to have it back.  That was annoying, yes, the constant "I want my toy!" over and over. But it was also bearable.

The part that got to me was that one of the aides in the classroom kept telling him that because he was a boy he should be playing with "trucks and cars" and not this "girl toy". That was far more annoying than him asking for his toy.

I don't understand what the big deal is. If the rule is no toys, that's fine and I can accept that (it is, but apparently this child has been given special permission from the teacher). However, why does it matter what toy a parent allows their son to play with?

05 August 2011

All That Matters

I leave in a week. It's going to be a long week if last night was any indication.

We all know I was supposed to coach youth cheer, right? That goes way back to a promise I made at the end of this post (which, yes I know I've now linked to that post like five times. I'm kind of proud of it.)

Well, last night was supposed to be my last cheer practice, not counting the BBQ tomorrow. The level of drama and two parents ready to pull their children makes me question what is best. However, I need to do this for ME. The Colorado me is so very different than the me that I am when I am "home". So much healthier and happier and outgoing. The opportunities that are presenting themselves are ones that I would regret not taking, even if they fail.

And then, I realize the people who are being awful about the leaving? Don't matter. They're the ones who don't know me and know how hard I work and how dedicated I am to being the best that I can possibly be. They don't know that leaving this town, these schools and these children will be hard for me. Harder than I can describe. They don't care about the fact that I had tried not to publicize that I was in fact leaving because I need to be able to say goodbye to a couple people first, rather than having them read something on Facebook or hear the rumor from someone in town.

And if people can't respect that? They are obviously not the ones who matter in my life. I know that when I get to Colorado I have K and B, their mom, grandma, aunts. I have Katie and Scott and Violet. I have the church group I started attending this summer. I have friends to hang out with in Boulder as well as in Denver. I have people who care. People who won't be disappointed in me if something falls through or if I cannot be there for every little thing.

I wish I had that here (and there are some, but right now the pushing away feels far stronger than the encouragement). I'm excited to see where the next 3 or 6 or 12 months takes me. I am confident that I've made the right choice. And that's all that matters.

27 July 2011


I'm at a very interesting crossroads right now.

I applied and interviewed for what I was sure was the perfect job in Colorado. And I was very disappointed to not get the job. I interviewed the same week that my summer school position ended and I was scheduled to drive back home.

Nothing in me wanted to make that drive home. And when I found out that I didn't have the job, that drive was even more difficult.

However, I was told that they would like to use me as a regular substitute in their school. And I couldn't really see any reason to not take the offer. So, I applied to sub in the district. And heard nothing back. Right now, I don't know whether to start packing with the intention of being back in two weeks or not.

To make this decision even better, cheer camp started this week. I am loving every second of coaching, and I don't really want to have to tell these girls that I won't be continuing as their coach, even though they all know that is a definite possibility (see also: I should have listened when a friend said maybe going to camp wouldn't be the best idea, it gives me too much incentive to stay).

I don't know what's going to happen. I don't even know what I really want to happen. On one hand, the opportunities in Colorado (and there are a LOT, in many aspects of life) make it hard to want to stay here. On the other hand, this is my town and I can't stand to let people down or go back on what I say.

Hopefully everything will straighten out soon, so that I know what to do with my life for the next week.

12 July 2011

Two Years

Last year, I wrote this. It is amazing to me how far I've come in the last year.

Two years ago today, my aunt died from breast cancer. It has changed who I am in indescribable ways. I finally spoke to my cousin's family a couple months ago, but not my cousin. What do we say to each other, when our biggest connection is gone.

Normally, I go to Canada every second year. I cannot fathom that trip without her there. And so, this year does not include that plan. I am okay with this, mostly. But I probably should get over this feeling before my grandparents pass away. It's not fair to them that I refuse to visit because their daughter is gone.

Today, I've not cried, not yet. I had an interview this afternoon. A potentially life changing, oh please let me have this job interview. I think it went well, but really? How am I to know for sure? My aunt always told me that I had to send her a picture of me with my first class. Who will I send that picture to now? I knew I couldn't fall apart until afterwards, and I didn't even attempt to start writing until I got home from the interview.

I can honestly say that I'm doing well. The insomnia that hit when she died and the constant anxiety is gone. I still have rough days, but they are few and far between. I think of her often, but can talk about her without tearing up every time. Mom and I have had a conversation and referred to her, and ended up laughing through our tears, a much better way to be than the mention of her name making us unable to speak.

Two years ago, my world changed. I will never be the same. But I am so very glad to be making it through each day so much stronger than the dark, dark days surrounding my aunt's death.

26 June 2011

Two weeks

It has been two weeks since I left for my summer job. Before I left home, I was ridiculously busy. In fact, I had one or more activities EVERY afternoon for the last couple of weeks before I left. This made packing interesting to say the least, but I managed to get it all done.

Well, things apparently don't change in my world. I got here and promptly jumped right in to activities. Last Monday was simple enough, a trip to the mall and grocery shopping because having food is a good thing. Tuesday, a coworker invited me to lunch which was fun and a nice distraction.

Wednesday I had a photoshoot with a 3 year old and his 6 month old baby brother. It ended up being a photoshoot with the boys, along with their nanny's 4 year old and her other charge, a 4 month old little redhead. It was a blast and I was glad to visit with the family, who I hadn't seen since I was here in November.

Thursday night, I went out with my friend who lives here. A friend who I've known since she lived in Oakland and I was attending lots of games each year. She moved here several years ago and last year we went to see the Rockies and took a road trip to see the A's play in Kansas City. It was nice to catch up and visit what may well be my favorite bar.

Friday was baseball. Because it would be very unlike me to not attend a ballgame as soon as possible upon arriving in a major city. I went with a friend from twitter which was a blast. I have gotten way more comfortable with meeting new people, and going to a baseball game was probably the perfect setting for that.

Oddly enough I family that I've babysat for back home for a long time, who happen to be good friends of K and B's family were here for about a week and their parents had a bike ride on Saturday so I watched the kids. We went to the butterfly pavilion, the mall and for a picnic lunch at the base of the mountains. It was a long day with a lot of driving but it was also a lot of fun.

Sunday I attended a new church which I loved. It was perfect and welcoming and I can't wait to go back. In fact, I was comfortable right away and ended up attending their college and careers group on Thursday night. I can't tell you the last time I willingly attended a Bible study, but this is one I definitely will be sad to miss after I leave.

Week two was a little bit slower but not much - K and B came home Tuesday evening so it was nice to finally see them and take a trip to the pool, library and bookstore on Wednesday and Thursday afternoons. This weekend included a movie in the park with B and a BBQ about an hour and a half south of here.

I like how easily I fit into things around here, how easily everything just flows. I'm happy and relaxed which are two feelings that often sometimes escape me back home. I know that part of this is that everything is new and that things could change quickly, but I definitely could see my self living here long term. So for now, I continue the job hunt. Hoping for more success this year than last.

08 June 2011


In October, I wrote about being sad that I was losing a student because his family was moving to another state.

Before he and his family left, we had a small party for his birthday and to say goodbye. Each child made him a card to wish him luck in his new school. (And a couple students "wrapped" up the foot off the chair that he'd broken as a gift, which caused much laughter).

I just received a message from his mother on facebook. She told me:
I cleaned out T's backpack with him the other day and in there were all of the cards the kids had made for him in (our state). I asked him why they were in his backpack, and he said for courage. Thanks for sending him off with courage.
He has carried those cards with him for SIX months. Every day. For courage.

When people ask me why I teach and why I strive to do well at what I do, stories like this will be my answer.

02 June 2011

Six things I'm loving right now

1. UnderArmour ColdGear Fitted Hoodie -  I bought a black one on clearance thinking it would be good for next year's football season, while I'm coaching cheer. I've worn it to every baseball game since it arrived, since we are in the midst of the winter that will not turn to spring. I love it so much that I bought one in white as well when I found a good price.

2. The Penderwicks at Point Mouette - I have used The Penderwicks as a read aloud in three classrooms now. I tried to use the second book as a read aloud with less success, but was still very excited to have a third book in the series. I love the sisters. They are incredibly fun to read about. And this third book may well be my favorite on the group (but you HAVE to read book 1 before you read book 3, the big surprise in 3 wouldn't be as critical without prior knowledge).

3. Kindle - I bought a Kindle a week ago. I cannot say enough about how much I love it. You need one. Even if you are SURE you don't.

4. Nikon d3100 - I finally started a facebook page and website for my photography (email me and I'll share the link if I know you - it's using my real first and last name so it's not going here). I bought this camera back in January. I've taken countless pictures with it and couldn't be happier.

5. Tamron AF 70-300mm - I used a giftcard to Amazon to pay for most of this lens. I was torn on what to buy but decided with the countless hours I've spent at the baseball fields that a zoom lens made sense. It definitely has a learning curve but I've started to get decent pictures with it and can only get better from here.

6. Crocs Kadee - I was disappointed when Crocs was out of stock in the shoe that my friend's dog chewed just months after I bought it last summer. However, Crocs customer service told me to try Kadee (via Twitter). I bought Kadee in Oyster. And then bought Kadee in Black. They are the most comfortable shoes ever. And they're cute and school appropriate.

What are your current must haves and/or splurges?

This post is completely unsponsered. However, in the interest of being completely honest, the links are all Amazon Affiliate links.

29 May 2011

One good, one bad

I've read several books in the last week or so. Some good, some okay, some bad.

After reading the Alexis book, I read a book called The Summer I Lost It. The description says "Kat is just like other fourteen-year-old girls. Except this summer, she's spending four weeks at a Health Camp . . . otherwise known as fat camp. Can she lose the weight she needs to be able to do the things everyone else does? Or will she let her body control her?" Sounds okay, right? Yeah. It wasn't. First of all, she doesn't go to camp - her parents won't let her. She DOES start going to a gym and develops a crush on another kid who's going there. I feel like the fact that the description doesn't even tell the truth is probably not a good sign. And really, as I kept reading I kept getting more and more annoyed. I understand that children need to eat healthier and that we have a problem with obesity in our culture. However, the way this book handles things left me thinking about the impressionable kids I interact with daily. The ones who WILL starve themselves to be thin, the ones that I have had many conservations with about eating. This book focused on counting calories and working out daily and while that's all fine and everything, I could see it sending a message to the wrong group of kids. Plus, it was boring. I don't often feel bored, but I could have given up in the middle. I kept going hoping it would get better. It did not. 

After that, I had a bit of dread heading into my next book to review. This time I went with This Girl is Different. There wasn't anything about this one that I didn't like. It was well written, fast paced and interesting. The description is "What happens when a girl, homeschooled by her counterculture mother, decides to spend her senior year in public school? First friendship, first love—and first encounters with the complexities of authority and responsibility." I was impressed by the plot, the friendship, the relationships in this book.  This is a book that I would love to add a copy to my library for higher level readers, there is some mature content, but done in an "okay for the 13+" crowd way. The main character, Evie, grabs your attention from page one and it's hard to put the book (or kindle!) down until you've found out what happens to her during her first year in public school, her senior year of high school. 

I received review galleys from NetGalley for both of these books. This in no way influenced my opinion, other than introducing me to a couple new books. The links in this post connect to my Amazon Affiliate account, meaning I earn a few pennies if you buy through them.

13 May 2011

Hoping to Walk

Once again, this year I signed up to do the March of Dimes walk in two cities, both LA and the one closest to my home. Our walk is significantly smaller (but then again, so is our city!) than the LA walk and far less organized, but will still be fun.

Tomorrow, we walk for Maddie. And Aubrey and Annie. And now, I'm going to add two more little girls to my list of babies to walk for. A friend's little girl who was born at 34 weeks and 3lbs just over a week ago. She is doing amazingly well, and should come home from the hospital next week sometime.

I'm also walking for the baby who is the reason I had my job for the first half of the year. She was born six weeks early with numerous birth defects. Her problems were exasperated by poor medical care and doctor error, leading to five months in the hospital, numerous surgeries and various medical problems that will likely affect her for the rest of her life.

But she's alive. And that's what matters. She lived because of research. Her life has had a huge effect on mine as well as the students in my former class.

However, at this current moment there are three huge obstacles standing in my way, threatening to stop me from walking tomorrow.

First of all, the weather is supposed to be pretty bad. We had thunderstorms all afternoon today, and by tomorrow night there's a chance of snow.
Secondly, the shoes I wore in LA (the shoes that were advertised as for "walking" and with money going to March of Dimes for purchase) gave me a huge blister that is definitely not gone.
Third, the knee that I twisted/tweaked/sprained back in January and kept reinjuring because I insisted on playing basketball with the kids (NOT smart!) is hurting again. Probably doesn't help that it was aching a bit and then I played basketball again, I apparently will never learn.

If all goes well, I'll walk tomorrow. But, I'm afraid that I'm going to fail on my commitment. And that is incredibly frustrating.

03 May 2011

Little Things

My students are amazing. I am so blessed to have them in my life. Even if at times I lose sight of that.

Sometimes my students drive me crazy. Sometimes I don’t know how I’m going to make it through another day, much less five more weeks. Sometimes I wonder how I’m going to handle field trips and report cards and packing and leaving.

But then sometimes, sometimes they blow me away.

This morning my seventh graders were chatty and giggly and not very work-y. They hadn’t seen each other in a week. It was reasonable that they needed to catch up. I kind of sat back and let them go, while watching to see that at least some work got done. As long as they were working on their project, I didn’t care so much about the off task conversation.

Half way through class, one of the girls spoke up. “I LOVE this class”. Suddenly, everyone was quiet. And then the comments kept coming. I was floored. I knew that they were enjoying class, and that they liked the fact that when they said they wanted to do Shakespeare, I bought materials to make it happen, but I wouldn’t have guessed that anyone would claim “love”, much less this student. Sometimes I wonder how effective I am as a teacher. This class? Helps me to see that there is so much more to being a middle school teacher than simply teaching a unit.

And then, my sixth graders came in the door. Between now and next Friday they will have no time in my classroom due to various other school activities. The outrage at that surprised me. “Why can’t we ever have a sub?” “Why does this class get cancelled?” I pointed out that I have NEVER cancelled. But I guess it was a problem before.

This is the same class that has two students who will walk in and tell me “530”, meaning we have a baseball game at 530, please be there. Today, the first student walked in and asked me “are you going to be able to come to our game tonight?” I hesitated a bit, because I really don’t want to sit out in the cold. The second student walked in and simple said “530”. I wasn’t even facing his direction, and everyone laughed. I told them I would come as long as it’s not too cold, and one of them told me that I have to be there.

Little things make my day. Baseball takes up way more time than basketball and football and it’s harder to be there at every game. But it’s important to them, so I will do my best. 

02 May 2011


This weekend. Let me tell you about this weekend.

I drove to LA on Thursday in 7.5 hours. I should have taken that as a sign for what was to come. There was NO traffic for my entire drive. Well, except a bit on the 405, but really? Nothing I could handle. Traffic was not nearly as kind for the rest of the weekend.

Thursday, I got to LA at 830pm. Magda and I were at In-N-Out by 930pm. We then left the house at 1030pm to drive an hour away to see Heather (and Annie!), Greis, Nanette and Jen (and Katelyn!). We joined Heather’s mom and cousin and stayed up all night.

We stayed up all night to watch the royal wedding. Say what you want, but it was every little girl’s fantasy. I’m glad I didn’t miss it. There were princes, a "commoner" and carriages on TV. There were blue ring pops, purple tiaras and silver rhinestones in the living room. There was much laughter from everyone. And many silly comments that got sillier as the night went on.

Friday, we slept in, kind of. We didn’t go anywhere until noon. We had lunch at the beach at 2. We then took some pictures at the ocean. It was only the second time that I’d been to the ocean in many, many years.

 Ladybug on a seashell.

Friday night, I went to baseball with my uncle. It took me 55 minutes to drive 18 miles. Nanette told me that wasn’t too bad for LA. I was thinking “in my world? 60 miles isn’t too bad in an hour...” I met up with my uncle and cousin and enjoyed a baseball game. My uncle apparently thought I was five. “Do you want peanuts?” “Do you need popcorn?” “Ice cream?” “Cotton candy?”

 3-1! (Who is now 2-9, but that's not the point!)

I enjoyed the game. It was nice to see another ballpark, and a pitcher who I knew from when he was an A was on the mound, which was fun. However, I was beyond tired. I made it until 10pm, the bottom of the eighth inning and decided I couldn’t do it anymore. I got back to Mariah’s house (by the way? Mariah rocks. Totally invited me to stay last minute. And then I was all kinds of busy and hardly even saw her) at about 11.   

Saturday morning, we were up early.

We drove to USC. We met up with wonderful friends.
We walked.
We walked for babies. We walked so that babies won’t be born early. We walked in memory of a little girl who was born too early. We walked with babies who were early and babies who were full term.

Babies made new friends.

Oliver didn’t appreciate Katelyn’s screaming.

We had lunch with the friends, at a table for many. The restaurant had an amazing dessert bar. Annabel was DEFINITELY interested. After breakfast/lunch, I said good-bye to the wonderful friends. I’ll be back next year. Maybe earlier.
I'll take one of each, please! 

I went to visit my cousin. We shopped. We ate Chick-Fil-A. We toured her college campus. We watched a movie.

And in the morning, we got up and drove to the beach for church. It was fun and I’m glad that I stayed instead of leaving early to head home.

 Point Dume, Malibu

Yesterday afternoon, I drove. And drove. For 8 hours I drove.

And then this morning, I woke up to go back to school. The end of a vacation is definitely less fun that the beginning.

05 April 2011

Marching for #Maddie

19 months ago, my best friend had a little girl. 3 weeks early. She had IUGR throughout the entire pregnancy and we never knew when labor might happen or how early the baby would be or how big. She weighed in at 5lbs. She spent 5 days in the NICU. Five long days. My best friend was lucky. She got to bring her baby home relatively quickly, but those five days felt like a lifetime. The baby is now nineteen months old and thriving. Her verbal development is amazing, she's climbing all over the place, she has a sense of style and an opinion on everything. She throws a mean temper tantrum. She's still tiny for her age and has breathing treatments almost nightly for asthma that was diagnosed at 6 months.

Five months before my best friend had a baby prematurely after a pregnancy full of complications, Madeline Spohr died. A beautiful 17 month old girl didn't get to turn two, or three. Because she too was born early. I didn't know her family at the time, other than through reading a few blog posts from her mother. After Maddie's death her family decided to find a way help others. They created Friends of Maddie, an organization that provides NICU support packs for families. Last year, my best friend and I delivered 24 of these packs to the NICU at the hospital where her daughter was born.

Last year, I met Maddie's family when I joined them for the March of Dimes walk in LA. I also met many other individuals who were touched by their story. This year, I'll be joining them again. It is an opportunity that I will not pass up. But here's where I ask for your help.

I set a fundraising goal of $150 last year. I raised over $300. This year I set my goal at $500, and I'm only about a third of the way there. If you could help by donating anything, even just $5, I'd appreciate it greatly.

Donate in memory of Maddie!
Donate honor of Annie and Aubrey!
Donate to remember that baby in your life who was born early, or the one that was born on time because of medical research!

21 March 2011

Starting over

I started a new job today. I started a new job today at the school that I attended for fifth through eight grade. The school where my name is on the wall as valedictorian.  I honestly wouldn't have ever thought I'd be in those halls again. I would never have chosen middle school. I started a new job today, at a middle school, and I enjoyed it. I hope the rest of the week goes just as well.

I needed this.

I also started online coursework last week. I missed school. I was craving the chance to learn. And so, I spent money I don't have to work towards an endorsement that won't actually help me get a job probably. But I started grad school. I love it.

I needed that also.

Maybe with this new start, I'll have more to write about. We had to choose a piece of writing we were proud of and discuss the writing process we took to get to the finished piece. The only piece of writing I feel truly "proud" of? The letter I wrote to the football players. I want to have more of that. More writing I can feel proud of. I have never really felt that and have usually been too shy and reserved to share writing (I don't even pretend to claim that most of what you find here is of good quality - I'm okay with that, this is an outlet more than anything else).

For now? I'm off. To sleep and rest and hope that it really isn't going to snow because I would like to attend baseball tomorrow. But I will NOT be sitting in a snowstorm to do so. Not a chance.

02 February 2011

Change is hard, I get that

I subbed this morning in kindergarten, which is not what this post is about, although I could probably write that one too. It's only important because one of my former students has a little sister in kindergarten, so while I was releasing kids to their parents at the end of the day her mom was there.

She told me that her daughter is devastated and unimpressed by their new teacher. For this child to be that upset surprises me because she is a very sweet little girl, who I would expect to easily adjust to a new situation. We were close but I expected her to like her teacher just as much. And that may come. But while this mom and I were talking she was almost in tears about the entire situation. This certainly didn't help me to keep it together today, the first day I didn't see my class.

And then tonight at basketball, the sisters of another student informed me that a)he doesn't like her and b)she's letting things go in the classroom that shouldn't be allowed, including foul language. He also told them that he hasn't learned anything in the last three days, which isn't really that shocking, since he's one of the highest kids in the class. But I'm afraid he's going to shut down. And that scares me. After his game, I asked him how class was and he told me exactly what his sisters told me. I told him to give it this week and that the behaviors are because the kids want to push, just like he wanted to but was not allowed to because he knows what I, along with his parents, expect of him.

As I walked to my car I grew more and more upset. The sisters asked me if, because I'm hearing these things, could I report them somewhere. The thing is, I can't. Everyone knows how upset I am about not being in my class. I can't complain about the teacher without it sounding petty. I told them that their parents could absolutely place that complaint though. And I kind of hope they do.

I also hope that it really is just this week. We worked way to hard for the last nineteen weeks for these children to have a miserable second half of fifth grade. It's such an impressionable age and the thought of these two, along with who knows who else, shutting down for the second half? If that happens, I'm just afraid of how it will impact them in the future.

28 January 2011


Today was my last day in my class.

I didn't even manage to make it to school before I had tears in my eyes.
I walked into my classroom and found chocolates and flowers. I cried some more.
I decided that if I could do all the crying before school started, maybe I'd make it through the day.

I was okay until I was handed an envelope of letters and cards from my students.
The kids, of course, wanted me to read them right then.
I knew that would be a bad decision.

I pulled out one letter and made it two sentences.
Even the kid knew he had to walk away or we'd both be done for.

I will miss them more than anything.
But reading this note, among others, helps me.

It's too precious not to share. (Spelling, grammar and abuse of commas all belong to the student.)

Dear Ms. (MyLastName),
Thanks for being the best teacher any one can have. You were always there when I needed somebody to talk to you. You were always there to help me with work. You would let me do your football picks. You were always there sitting in the stands. I hope you still will be, in basketball. I taught you football but now you're going to have to learn on your own, don't give up on football please. I will e-mail you my sport sceadules. I hope you will sub for us soon. If you don't move to Colorado. Don't move to Colorado. I will continue being a leader when Mrs. (TheirTeacher) comes back. I will carry the memory of my favorite teacher forever. I will miss you.
Your Student,

This one's pretty great too.

I know you won't be gone for good but we will still miss you. It is going to be hard not having you as our teacher. We will miss you so much. We will try to ajust without you but let me tell you it won't be easy. Try to survive without us. I know it will be hard because we are awesome.
Your Favorite Student (followed by a few of the nine million nicknames we had for her this year)

I am so blessed to have touched the lives of these students. And when I'm feeling down about the situation, I have these notes and several more to turn to.

19 January 2011

Coming up with a title is too much pressure right now

I haven't tweeted in two days.

Not one person has said anything/noticed.

I'm surprisingly okay with this.

I deactivated my "blog" facebook account tonight.

I considered doing the same with my other one as well.

I think I need an internet break.

I think I need a life break.

I wish I could afford a vacation.

Or even a long weekend.

My job ends in less than two weeks.

I am not dealing well with it, nor are the students.

Except today they were pretty good while the teacher came to observe.

And I was proud of them for being cooperative.

I can only hope it lasts.

We've had several conversations about expressing emotions appropriately.

I'm hoping it has sunk in.

10 January 2011

Breathe. Wait.

I haven't attended church since my aunt died.

Well, I haven't attended church and cared since then anyhow. That was eighteen months ago (on Thursday). I went a couple times with my best friend, but wasn't really there.

On Christmas eve I chose to attend at a small(ish) church in my hometown, but I don't know that I can say my heart was in it. I went because I love to hear the Christmas story, I went because I like to sing Christmas carols.  There is a whole lot more to faith that reading one chapter of the Bible in the month of December and singing a few songs.

Yesterday, I decided to be brave. I took a huge step. I walked into a church, sat down, sang, prayed, took communion and really, truly listened. I listened and heard a message that was exactly what I needed to hear. A message about waiting. About understanding that there is a plan and sometimes it hurts before the purpose of that plan is revealed.

I've written enough about struggling with my aunt's death, and more recently, about being confused about where I'm supposed to be. I do understand that this job that I've been at for the last 5 months is exactly where I needed to be, even if for a long time it wasn't what I wanted. I'm dreading the day that it ends (which could be next Tuesday, or the 27th, or the 31st, or the middle of February...). I just need to remember that it'll all work out and when I start to get worked up about it all I need to do is breathe. And pray. And wait. It's the waiting that's hard.

I'll be okay. The kids will be okay. And who knows what the next adventure will bring.