Category Archives: school

19 down ~ 12 to go!

Standard

I have spent the last 3 weeks working Monday through Friday.  I work at a high school, in case you hadn’t noticed from previous blogs.  It’s funny what students notice.  It’s also funny what happens when you engage with them.

I have been trying not to be impatient with my students this week.  It has been hard.  They have been a little squirrelly due to the 2 week break that is now here.  They have also had changes in schedules both here and many times at home.

There are concerts to attend, cookies to bake, projects to complete, unit tests to study for, & so many other things that make this holiday lovely.

Some of my students moved, found out about illness, lost their homes, made bad life choices, forgot about projects, didn’t study for those unit tests, and many other things that may not only make the holiday less lovely but also the life that comes after the holiday.

The last three weeks at work have been good and my eyes have been opened to their conditions in and out of school.

I came to a startling realization this morning when, at 6:00 AM my husband went and gently woke our younger son up so they could make fresh salsa for the cultural experience they had today at school.  Ethan helped his dad make salsa and my mom helped him carry it into his school this morning and give proper storage and warming directions to the teacher for this afternoon.

My children have had that sort of support their whole lives.  They do not know what it looks like to have their safety or well being jeopardized by anything!

While I am fairly certain (notice I do not say 100% certain) that I do not have many students who are held in bondage against their will or who have been sold I am certain that I have quite a number who have not known the certainty of the love and support my children have had their whole lives.

To have both a parent and a grandparent go out of their way to take food to a school party is something many of my students do not understand.

That sort of support allows a freedom to be who you want and to pursue a life of freedom and choice.  That sort of freedom can also be very scary without close conversation about direction and purpose (we make sure we try to give the proper guidance).

What is fantastic is that they have me (and the other teacher and support staff) at our school.  My students share information with me that I can either counsel them on or send them to the right person who will be able to counsel them appropriately.

It is nice to be the person they see and then walk in the room (actually having been looking for me) with a “hang dog” look on their face to tell me something they think they did wrong. It is nice to tell them they are over reacting or that they aren’t and they have a chance to change their direction.  It is also really  nice when I can challenge them to do better and BE better.  I always smile when they call me mom because they have no idea what calling me mom allows me to do 😉 they just trust me enough that they want me in the inner circle of confidence.

I love that I am able to reach them on a different and life lesson level not just on a textbook and test level.

That is what this whole month has been about, so far, right?  A chance for others to have a different life? A chance? A choice, finally? A change?

If you haven’t already check out the change IJM is making in the world.  It has been amazing what the 700 staffers around the world are able to do with the money that people like you and me give to their organization.  This month the dresses you have been watching me wear are similar to a 3-day or a 5-k that other people do.  Mine just last a lot longer! I am wearing dresses so that I can help raise awareness about the 29.8 million slaves in the world and also raise money to rescue them.  I am also spending time in prayer and meditation about their plight and the courage it takes IJM to find them and rescue them. My friend wrote a fantastic holiday meditation book called O Antiphons.  While is it about the holiday the tip that you leave on Noisetrade will benefit IJM as well.  You should check it out!

Will you join me? Hit any of the links above to find out more or to give.  If that isn’t something you can do then I know you can pray. That is something we all can do.  A short simple prayer of supplication for freedom and courage for those who need it most.

Thank you for joining me so far….only 12 days left in this journey!

PS aren’t my students adorable?!

Fotor_141900181686114

My 3rd period senior class.

Advertisements

vertigo & understanding bosses

Standard

Fotor_141893974771539

So last night while I was blogging the room began to spin and my fingers forgot how to type.

This morning I got up and went to work, still spinning.

When students have prepped for a presentation and the teachers isn’t there to see and grade the presentation then some trust is lost between the two. Plus, I didn’t want to write lesson plans! We are two days from a break & I wasn’t feeling bad enough this morning to call in so I went to work.

During first block my brain wasn’t connecting to my mouth and I felt sluggish and dizzy. I had them do vocabulary while I tried not to fall out of my chair.

Luckily 2nd & 4th block were presenting their career research and I just had to grade their work as they presented.

I came home during my planning, (after I finish with students) crept to the basement and slept for 3 hours.

I am blessed (always!!) to have a boss and family that care about my well being.

When I messaged (I had to rewrite the email a few times due to finger brain lack of communication) my boss to let her know I was headed home due to extreme vertigo she asked if I could drive and also to take care and rest.

I have worked at the school for 9 years now.  At my old work, which shall remain nameless, my last boss was heartless (for the record I had more AWESOME bosses there than this last one but he is the one who drove me out!).  I would have to justify absences and it was often easier to go to work and stay for an 8 or 9 hour shift and put up with him than listen to him passively a aggressively complain about my absence. It is so nice to work for a boss who cares.

As soon as I got home my son came out a greeted me at the car to see why I was home.  He also asked to make sure I was OK and to see what he could do to help.  (My boys! I tell you I am raising an awesome pair of men.) My husband and other sone went and got dinner.

Now it is the end of the day.  I am going to work at my second job (I teach online school too).  Then bed.

My vertigo is annoying more than anything. For instance as I look at the keyboard, it is moving back and forth like a boat on the water.  It makes me nauseous. I can’t talk properly.  There are other problems that the vertigo poses too. That is a post for a more lucid time.

What became clear today is that I have options.

I left my old job because I didn’t like the boss.  Is my new boss perfect? No-one is! But is she understanding?  Yes.  She knows I get my job done and take care of my students.

I have choices.  I get to choose to wear a dress to work or not every single day!

Today I made the choice to wear black and white houndstooth leggings, a black and white dress, with a velvet-ish jacket that has flowers on it. I added a green scarf to the ensemble.

I make choices everyday.  Some are good & some are meh. But the point is I still get to make them.  I own them.  No-one makes me do things I do not want to do.

There are so many people in this world who do not have that luxury and many of them are in bondage.  In slavery because they needed to feed their family and this long term solution seemed the good thing to do so their family can be fed. In slavery because their parents sold them due to a promise of a “better” life.  Working for pennies a day unable to see the end of the tunnel, plan for retirement, a vacation, a sick day, a mental health day.

My vertigo changes my day.  I am unable to do things I want to do.

My boss changes my life.  I do not call in sick for random things nor do I call in often.  But when I do I am not afraid to take the day to watch my kids or to heal myself.

Check out what IJM does for people to free them and then after they have been freed from slavery.  A bondage that they could not escape without our help.  My Dressember donation site is a good place to give.  As a collective we are raising $500,000 for IJM.  That money will go to help so many people discover a freedom they may never have known. Of course you can also pray, always, for the enslaved, the people working to free them, and the people who are helping the free in after care.

A week of school is in the books

Standard

Today was wonderful! I can truly say I had a great day. I have now spent 5 days wearing dresses and I haven’t passed out, lost my mind, hurt anyone, or spilled anything on them. I am even wearing them long after I get home. I am cooking, cleaning, and doing my general after school lounging in them.

Today was dress down Friday (jeans and spirit wear, I work at a high school). My breakfast buddies (Friday mornings are sacred!) asked why I was still “dressed” up. They all know that I love any excuse to wear jeans to work. I was so confident in telling them about why I was wearing dresses! Amazing start to my Friday!

Later in the day a student came in late (we were taking a test) and asked to speak to me I  that hall. With tears in his eyes he told me that he hadn’t told anyone abut that he felt like he could trust me and so he told me why he was late. My heart broke you this young man who was so willing to show me his heartache in the hallway if school.  Without going into details, he felt like I was trustworthy and would care about him. He isn’t the first student to say those words to me and he won’t be the last.

Later in the day I went and visited one of my cohorts and we talked about books, artists, & Dressember.  My colleague was excited about this journey and wanted to know more.  As we talked the words, “Are you trying to inspire me right now” were uttered in my direction. My direction!

Then after a family night of Chinese food, Santa Clause 1 & 2, & an attempt at decorating the Christmas tree (not successful I might add), my daughter called!! That was an hour and a half of a blessing. We prayed together at the end of our conversation ❤ <3.  I love that our lives have intersected.

I know that feelings like the feelings I had today do not last.  I know that when we are experiencing amazing things there are really HIGH points and really LOW points.

I realize that this post has very little to do with the fundraiser BUT THIS….if I was in bondage none of this would have happened.  If I lived in a different country it is likely that I wouldn’t have the wonderful students and co-workers that I do.  But my life isn’t different.  I am seeing my life for the first time as a blessing and as a gift that I can no longer take lightly.  I must DO.  This month I am doing, what will I do next month.  How will I effect those around me? How will I effect the world? I have no idea but I will do something.

Look at the picture of my dress.  I didn’t take a photo of the whole ensemble today but this shot is the epitome of who I am.  I am who I say I am.  I try my best not to put on airs for others.  I want to be as authentic as I can be.  My mix of patterns is how I see myself, a nice mixture of colors and patterns all somehow connecting and making sense although they shouldn’t.  It is the beauty that is everywhere if you choose to look for it.  I hope that you will stop by my donation page and check out what Dressember is doing with IJM.  Donate if you can, but more importantly, learn about the cause, tell other people about it, & find out how you can help.  Every little bit counts.Fotor_141783536467348

Day 3 Wheee!

Standard

Fotor_141764552671534

My students finally noticed!

So this morning my co-worker came in to see the ensemble.  She asked me again what the reason was for doing the Dressember event.  I told her all about the event, IJM, and how raising money for this event was the main reason I was participating. My first period student who were in the room were interested in what we were talking about so, I told them a little more. In my next period class we were studying Chaucer and The Prologue to The Canterbury Tales. As we talked about the satire and social changes that Chaucer hoped to see it made me realize that I could easily talk about Dressember and all the changes in our society that need to happen.

I know I am only on day 3 but I am feeling empowered and able.  I am feeling like I am able to be authentic with people about why I am passionate about this subject.

I feel like I am already planning next year!

day 1 and done

Standard

Fotor_141747343532475

 

I have made a decision to wear a dress everyday in December to raise awareness and to raise money with Dressember and International Justice Mission .

I do not really like to bring any sort of attention to myself and I do not like to have pictures posted of just me anywhere so this is a huge step out of my comfort zone. Ever since I was a young girl I have HATED wearing dresses.  They were constraining and I couldn’t run “fast” in them or play in the mud in them.

To “say yes to the dress” without anyone I knew around me doing the same (people I see on a daily basis) was something I knew I was going to need emotional support on, but how was I supposed to talk about it without seeming arrogant or self serving? I had been thinking about doing it since the beginning of November.  I finally made the decision the week before Thanksgiving.  I didn’t talk about it until after Thanksgiving and had signed up for my donation site.

I talked a little bit about it with my daughter and her friend.  They were both very supportive and excited about it for me.  I talked a little bit about it with my BBF’s and of course they were excited for me to partake in this event.  But even I still didn’t (and maybe still don’t) fully understand what it was that I was going to be undertaking.

I have plenty of dresses so that wasn’t a problem.  Last year I seriously thought about participating in Dressember but talked myself out of it due to the temperature of the month of December and it was a commitment I wasn’t ready to take.  This year the decision came fairly easily.  I sort of told myself I was going to commit and I signed up as a participant and that was that.

The harder part for me I think are the comments that may come during the month. Don’t get me wrong, I am not anticipating nasty comments, but the “you look so beautiful, you should wear dresses more” or “oh, are you doing this with such and such?” I am a little defensive about things and these comments would make my defenses pop up like red flags.

I need to back off, I need to “take a chill pill”, I need to not think “so much of myself”.  I NEED to remember that I am not doing this for me or any discomfort or personal gain.  I am not doing this so others can identify me as any particular type of person.

I have decided to take a picture for the next 31 days and post them here, on my facebook, twitter, & instagram to get the word out about the cause.  I have decided to give up my vanity and make sure to have a picture a day taken of me, IN A DRESS! I will share links and bring awareness.

I will talk to my students about the venture.  They complete a research paper that is built around social justice.  It will be good to hear about an organization that started as “a quirky style challenge” turned into something much larger than just fashion.

I will constantly remind myself and others that I am doing this because there are those in the world who don’t have the freedom to speak, let alone choose what they wear (among relatively minor prohibitions).

Most of all I will do this to take the focus off of me.  I am going to try writing a blog or two about this experience without using the word I or me.  Put the focus out and on others so that minds and lives can be transformed.

I am doing this because the world needs change.

Every starfish deserves a chance, but that is a story for another day.

 

My fundraising site

 

I teach high school!

Standard

Yes, I said it.  And you know what I love it!  I feel good in the morning going to work.  Yes, I know teacher are underpaid (all of them) and underrated (most of them) but nonetheless, it is a job I look forward to doing every day.  I have to work.  It is part of my chemical make-up.  It is also part of my family financial make-up. Why should I do a job I like?  I rarely complain about the students or my daily routine.

I dreamed of being a stay at home mom all through my teen years.  I said to myself I would be a stay at home mom until my oldest was in high school, just like my mom did.  Then reality struck when I stayed home. I was bored!  I cooked, I cleaned, I took good care of my son, and I was still bored.  I worked part time during that period of my life and I was accused of talking down to my co-workers.  I was hurt by that accusation.  I wasn’t trying to be mean or talk down to them, I was around a baby all day and worked several nights a week and, well, you know, baby talk was my colloquial.  So after almost 2 years of being a stay at home mom I went back to work, outside of the home, full time.

I did that job for another 8 years.  I enjoyed it, mostly.  Well except for the part about: customer service, working nights, weekends, & holidays, being made to feel guilty for having to stay home with a sick child, and a myriad of other retail related woes.

Then an opportunity I have never regretted came up.  Teaching.  I had wanted to be a teacher before I decided to have a family.  Why not now?  It would take a little more education, time, & maybe even a slight pay cut but I would not be swayed.  My husband and I sat down and talked about it for a while.  Finances, schedules, and life changes were discussed.  We did not take this change lightly.  We prayed and talked to others about it.  We devised a plan for survival.  Luckily, we never had to implement any of the components of our plan.  I got the job!

In 2007 I started teaching and I have never looked back.  I have loved every minute of it.

There have been days, weeks, months, & yes, years that I have wondered if what I do is all worth it.  Is the money worth it?  No, I am in charge of 150 students.  I see 90 a day (first block of 30 students every day).  If you do the math I make less than the average babysitter.  Are the hours worth it? Sometimes, I am NOT a morning person so getting up at 5:45 usually becomes 6:00 and PUSHING it out the door.  Are the entitled students worth it?  Man, there are days I wonder how they got to be that way: wanting and demanding everything they say blaming me for their problem of not understanding simple directions, complaining that there is to much work in our class, need I go on?

So, you ask, what prompted this blog post.

I will tell you.

A student, or maybe three students, or maybe even more that that told me I have influenced them in some way, shape, or form. But this one in particular…

We do silent reading in our class.  That means we spend 15-20 minutes of each class reading, self selected text.  (My master’s research was driven by Readicide a book by Kelly Gallagher.) They pick out a book and read.  They do have to complete a book share presentation and write a review for a class book (this gives other students an opportunity to look through colleague testimonials and find a book they want to read) but other than that they just read in class.

He told me, “I hate reading!”

I said, “Let me try to help you?”

He said “OK”

Challenge accepted.

I helped him find a book about a war vet called Warlord: No Better Friend, No Worse Enemy by Ilrario Pantano. That was his first quarter read. Today he selected his SECOND book for the year.  He is reading Burned by Ellen Hopkins.  He told me today he loves reading poetry.  His friend (who also made the same declaration at the beginning of the year) took him to the library today to get the book.  His friend (who says he has never read a book until he picked up Mob Boss by Jerry Capeci) just started reading Crank by Ellen Hopkins and is already (much to his pleasant surprise 3/4 of the way through) and told this student that Ellen Hopkins is a good author.

These young men hate reading, would never say they liked reading, like reading!

That, my friends, is why I love teaching.  That testimony is worth so much to me.