Thursday, December 30, 2010

Idle Hands

I haven't blogged lately because for some reason I assumed that I could only use this blog as a "teacher blog" or a blog solely about work. Well, I haven't been to work in what seems like a million years. I'm anxious to get back into a routine in which I do not consume 9,000 calories and 14 hours of sleep a day.

What have I been doing? Well, spending time with my family, playing with my new camera (Thanks Mom, err...Santa), loving on my animals and relaxing  with my husband. Adam got the same amount of vacation as me which has been really nice. I've been quite the homebody actually.  It's so rare now that we're both working to get this much time together when we're not both exhausted. I'm treasuring every second I get.

Yesterday we celebrated our 3 year wedding anniversary. The Lord has blessed me so abundantly in my husband. He is the most patient, trusting, steadfast person I've ever known, and I am SO lucky to call him mine. He's pretty cute too! 

The new year is fast approaching and I am really marinating on my resolutions. I've been a bit ambitious in my thinking and have come up with these: 

Become a runner (More than once around the block, which is when my side cramp usually takes over.)
Cook more (I mean really cook. Fresh ingredients, homemade sauces...the whole bit!)
Learn another language 
Play guitar (Adam, I'm counting on you for this one!)
Learn all the ins and outs of my camera and hang my photography around my house.
Join a book club (Or at least read one book a month)

Maybe I should spread these out between 2011-2015? But heck, It's better to shoot high. 

Here's some pics of my adventures this break. I hope everyone had a wonderful, warm and laughter-filled Christmas. 

                                            Homemade Pizza
                       Pulled out the veil? Still have that bridal glow?
         We ventured to an antique store. Forget the Kindle, I'm a sucker for old dusty books.
                                              Playing with my camera. LOVE LOVE IT!

Monday, December 20, 2010

Do we even own Windex?

Home on a monday. Ahh yes, it's vacation. I would normally be halfway through my science lesson about now, but no, alas I am drinking coffee and fully intending on watching The View. I've made it to Christmas break. I feel like I've somehow reached a landmark. The 3 weeks in between Thanksgiving and Christmas were pure, unsolicited madness! My kids were bursting at the seams with energy, and frankly, I was just as ready to be  gone as they were.

Guinecula went with one of my students, let us stop for a brief moment and pray that she doesn't come back to school with any bite marks.........AMEN!

We had a lovely Christmas party and I got some wonderful, thoughtful presents from my students. We went on a field trip to see Narnia, which I thoroughly enjoyed.

I finally got my appraisal information back, and it wasn't bad. It wasn't glowing and I'm not expecting teacher of the year or anything, but I do feel like she's pleased with me. I can always appreciate honest feedback and room to grow.

As for how I'm going to spend my vacation: for starters, I need to finish Christmas shopping. I'm also in desperate need for a massage. My dog, Brady, smells like old ham so it would behoove me to get him groomed.

We returned home yesterday morning after I was honored to be a part of one of my favorite people on earth's wedding. I was so motivated to clean our disgusting house that as as soon as we walked in the door I began divvying out assignments to Adam. I suppose that it has been so long since we've last cleaned that Adam looked at me incredibly puzzled and said, "Do we even own windex?"

You better believe that we do now.

 I feel so blessed that I made it to Christmas break and am already setting goals for the new year. It's been a great ride so far and I can't wait for the second half.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

I don't know what to do with my hands.

In the profound words of Ricky Bobby, "I don't know what to do with my hands." I was wondering aimlessly around the parking lot looking for the object that I must have dropped before I got into my car to go home. I was aghast when I remembered that I had, only moments ago, decided not to bring anything home. It was then that I realized that about 98% of my day I have at LEAST one item in my hands at all time. A book, ruler, chalk, pencil, hall pass, and marker are just to name a few. So walking out of school today sans anything in my hands felt very peculiar, in a good way.

It's Thursday after Thanksgiving break, and one week ago today I was recuperating from an astounding consumption of calories. Heck, I'm still recuperating.

On Monday, when my herd of kids came barreling into my room, I had to take a double-take because I was certain at first glance that the tomfoolery going on in my classroom could not possibly be caused by my sweet and thankful little angels I had just left less that 10 days ago....

Here in lies a new teacher lesson:
Kids are ludicrous after a long break. Like, SERIOUSLY? I literally made both of my classes physically act-out turning a switch on their heads to symbolize the "auto-pilot" switch turning off and the "normal, sweet, sensical, children" switch turning on. It was both symbolic and necessary, because believe it or not, it made a difference. (It was either the switch turning, or the unrelenting scowl I was giving them all.) Eh, either way, I think I got my point across.

I had the most lovely Thanksgiving this year. It was full of laughs, family, food and fun. There were definitely many fond memories made. I love my sweet family and look forward to all being together again soon.

I'll leave you with this quote from Mr. Dan Rather that rationalizes all of the stink eyes, and tough love I give my kiddo's.


“The dream begins with a teacher who believes in you, who tugs and pushes and leads you to the next plateau, sometimes poking you with a sharp stick called "truth"”



Truly, I love each and every one of them.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Thinking about Thanking

To speak gratitude is courteous and pleasant, to enact gratitude is generous and noble, but to live gratitude is to touch Heaven.  ~Johannes A. Gaertner

Ahhh, Thanksgiving is near. I can't wait! Thanksgiving is by far the most attended holiday in my family. The only thing larger in attendance than people is the FOOD! There is so much food! Casseroles, pies, and turkey galore!

Family can be so stressful, dysfunctional and crazy sometimes. However, God handpicked those people gathered around that table, and whether we like it or not, those people have made us who we are. I have so much identity in my family, and am grateful for everyone in it.

I truly believe that God and family are the most important relationships we have in this life. It's so hard to be away from family, I miss them all so much. I'm looking forward to the holiday season.

It's weird spending this many consecutive days away from work. In case you're concerned about who is caring for Guinecula during this holiday break, he is in my guest room. I'm not kidding. If there is anyone that has ever overstayed their welcome in my house it is him.

I'm burning multiple candles at one time, yet my house still smells like wood shavings.

There is so much to be thankful for. Some of my tops include: God, family, friends, a free country, my house, job and animals.

Here is wishing you a laughter and family filled Thanksgiving! Cheers!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Sunday Funday

Praise God for relaxing Sundays. Today has been a wonderfully relaxing day. My poor husby is sick. How he got my sickness is beyond me....maybe. Either way, we slept in and had a great lazy Sunday. I'm just now pulling out my paper gradebook and updating my online gradebook that my student's parents can see. Let the e-mails begin.

This week will be nuts. We've got Young Authors Day we'll be celebrating, as well as our Friendship Feast (The politically correct way to say Thanksgiving Feast). I'll be out Friday for one of my Best Friends' wedding.  Basically, I'm grateful for a lazy day in which I have no obligation to be anywhere or do anything.

We've got a fire  going in our fireplace because it's chilly outside. We're about to play a riveting game of scrabble before we dive headfirst into another busy work week. Don't be jealous. I wish I could bottle these days and keep them on the mantle.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

I never knew how much I didn't know

Hindsight. 20/20. This is one of the truest statements I know. Would've. Could've. Should've...these are such unproductive sentiments to have. My new verse for when I fall on my face is next time. Instead of wallowing in my failures and shortcomings, I will choose to learn from them and be a better person/teacher/wife because of them.

I've been listening to the new Sara Bareilles CD on repeat for a good 2 weeks now and am so inspired by her lyrical genius. This morning as I was driving to work I heard the words I never knew how much I didn't know. I was like AMEN sista! It goes along with the ole' saying "Ignorance is bliss."

As we grow older we have to be intentional about our ignorance. We go on vacation to be ignorant of all that is going on in the real world. We choose not to watch the news or read the newspaper because we just don't want to know. 


Even now as I type I wonder, How much do I not know still? I'm overwhelmed at how much I have yet to learn about life, love, teaching, learning...the list goes on and on. I've learned so much since I was an innocent child...I've aquired even more experience and knowledge since I graduated high school...and college..and been married with a job.  I suppose that instead of being intimidated by my current level of ignorace I should be grateful, and excited.

There I go thinking too much again. I'll leave with a lighthearted story. This conversation occurred with a student after reading a post-it note he stuck on my door that said, "Penis are useless." Hope you enjoy this little nugget of my day:

Mrs. Henderson-"Now  class, as you leave today I'd like you to stick a post-it note on my door that tells me something you learned today."

Students-"OKAY!!"

**Moments later I approach the culprit**

Mortified Mrs. Henderson-"What is this? Why did you write such an inappropriate statement on your post-it note?"

Baffled Student- "What? I read an article that said there are efforts in the United States to retire all the pennies. Wouldn't that make them useless?


Mrs. Henderson-"Well, I suppose so...I am so sorry. Go on now, and work on your spelling!"

Monday, November 8, 2010

Really?

Today was one of those days where all I wanted to say was...Really? Really alarm clock? You're not going to go off when you're supposed to?

Really coffee cup? You're going to fit awkardly in my cupholder so my coffee sloshes all over my car on the way to work? Really?

Really red lights? Waiting for the exact moment BEFORE the point of no return where I HAVE to stop?

Really....DVR? Only recording half of Greys? Now I don't know if the two lesbian characters go to Africa or not!?

If you noticed, I skipped my entire day at school. I did that because it was ONE BIG FAT REALLY?? kind of day!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Sick Day

Well today is my first official sick day. I wish I could say that I'm spending it catching up on work, shopping or getting a pedicure. But no, I'm actually sick. I went to work yesterday morning and felt so miserably horrible that I had to leave mid-day.

Instead of feeling sorry for their poor, sniffly teacher, my kids seemed to prey on my vulnerability and stuffy ears. I don't know if it was my sickness and lack of patience, or their day after halloween sugar hangover...either way, I had to get out of there.

I went to the doctor and she confirmed my suspicions that I have a bad sinus infection. Off to bed I went. I remained horizontal for the next 15 hours and woke up this morning still feeling horrible. I'm on antibiotics, but I guess they're taking their sweet time to kick in.

When I would miss school as a kid it was no big deal. I'd veg out all day eating chips and watching trashy daytime TV. Seriously, did you know that Steve Harvey is the host of Family Feud? I know it's bad, but I thought he died. My biggest problems were the osteoporosis commercials that kept interrupting the Price is Right. But today, I'm having borderline anxiety at the thought of someone else in my classroom at my desk, teaching my kids. Adam brought me to reality by asking how effective I would really be trying to teach two digit multiplication with snot running down my face. I concurred.

So for now I'm on Kleenex box number 2, movie number 3 and toothbrushing number 0. It will be tough to catch up after a day and a half out of the classroom, but hopefully I'll come back 100%.

Maybe I'll peel myself up from the bed and brush my teeth. However, I wouldn't want to overexert myself. Instead I'll begin movie number 4. Julie and Julia here I come.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Analysis Paralysis

"I must write it all out, at any cost. Writing is thinking. It is more than living, for it is being conscious of living." -Anne Morrow Lindbergh (American writer and aviation pioneer)

I've been thinking about too much. I finally recognized this about 2 seconds ago when I realized that I was thinking about thinking. I've been busy, per norm and haven't prioritized blogging. This is not a good thing for numerous reasons.

1. My blog is cathartic. The thoughts in my head have somewhere to go, like a mini filing system that will never get cluttered. What's in my mind can get out on paper...or screen. Eh, you get my drift.

2. My blog is like a mass e-mail update. It's nice to allow people who love me to know that I love them too, I'm just blogging from beneath a pile of ungraded papers.

3. My blog is like a time capsule. I'm fully aware that I am experiencing a time in my life that is rare and I am taking the opportunity to take a Polaroid of it. A Polaroid of words to be exact. This blog will chronicle a chapter of my life that I will always cherish and long to come back to. It's important for me to remember that.

Adam and I are planning a vacation...I'm not sure if we'll really end up going anywhere, it's just fun to plan hypothetical trips. Ocean? Mountains? Who knows...

This week had been ultra long and it's only Tuesday. I've decided that it's because I planned a Gyno appointment for Monday. That, my friends, is the most uncomfortable small talk on God's green earth. That's all I have to say about that.

(When I'm 45 and reminiscing this blog, I feel certain that I'll wince and the fact that I shared my Gyno appointment with the internet. Oh, Katti....)

I finished up the first 9 weeks of school. It's flying by. I didn't believe anyone who told me it would. I love being a teacher...my job is to think, and to teach kids to think.

I've just been thinking too much. I'm going now...to be hypothetically on a beach somewhere.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

The Everyday Picasso

As we were preparing for our plant test last week, I was perusing through class checking various students self-made vocabulary cards. I came upon one of my students who was diligently studying and noticed his definition of the word "symmetry."

Here you shall be enlightened:

Symmetry-A place where dead people are buried.

Mrs. Henderson-"What in the world does this have to do with plants?"

Student-"I dunno..."

Mrs. Henderson-"Did you even look in your science book for this definition."

Student-"No."

Mrs. Henderson-"And why would that be?"

Student(emphatically)-"Because you said you didn't want the exact book definition, you said you wanted the definition to be in our own words."

Mrs. Henderson(holding back laughter)- Okay, I understand that. However, I think you may be confusing the word symmetry with cemetery."

Student-"OOOOHHHHHHHHHH......that's embarrassing."

Mrs. Henderson-"It'll be between you and me."

The truth is, these kids are bearing with me more than they know. I am learning and sculpting myself as a teacher, and they are my canvas. Somedays my art is unrecognizable, and some days I view it as a masterpiece.

There are so many days and moments when I feel exactly like my sweet, confused, misguided student. I just have to laugh it off and say, "That's embarrassing."

We're all in this together.




Monday, October 4, 2010

8-8-8

So, Adam just went for a jog. What a show off. He invited me along and I'm not sure I could have internally laughed any harder. Working out is truly the last thing I want to do after teaching all day.

I said here's the deal babe, "You jog...I'll stay here, eat pasta and get fat. Plan?"

I was warned that exercise would take a backseat once I started work. I've always been someone who's valued staying in shape. Heck, I did bikram yoga for almost 30 consecutive days. Yes, I intentionally went into a room that was over 100 degrees and did yoga, for 90 minutes!!! That should count for something right?

I'm still trying to find balance. I remember my mom telling me once a loooong time ago that a truly balanced life has 8 hours of work, 8 hours of sleep, and 8 hours of play. I don't know a single person that lives their life in balance.

I'm going to try and get there.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

"Whatever you are, be a good one." Abraham Lincoln

It has been exactly two weeks since I've blogged. Travesty, I know. Things have been ominously quiet and calm in my life, so I'd been saving up energy for whatever it was that was going to happen.

Well, our school caught fire. Yep, your read that correctly, we had a fire in our cafeteria and had to evacuate mid-day. 4th grade was out at recess, so I was completely oblivious as to why 600 students were pouring out of the building.

I have to admit, I wasn't completely oblivious. I had actually been informed by my student. I know, like an idiot. I just assumed he had his wires crossed when he was screaming at me that the school was on fire.

I owe him an apology.

The worst of it came when I had about 12 belligerently crying students who were adamant about the fact that ,"We must go in the building and safe Guinicula from the impending flames!!"

I was assuring them that he would be fine while simultaneously praying that Guinea Pigs aren't effected by smoke inhalation.

Well, several fire trucks and an hour later we were all inside. It was a long day.

Monday was my birthday, and I have never felt so loved and appreciated. I lucked out and got the kid whose family owns the local Frozen Yogurt shop, so we had a regular ice cream party. Toppings and All!! The kids were thrilled, and I got a lot of neat stuff!

Adam took me out this past weekend and we had a wonderful night in the city. Sundance Square in Fort Worth is a wonderfully romantic place with a great vibe and lots of energy. We had fondue, hit up a live jazz club and an art show. My favorite part was just walking around, truly feeling away from it all. We had an awesome time.

Now, I'm decompressing from all the action and finding time to rest and reflect.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Birthday

Harry was the MOST excited about Adam's birthday!
I am so happy to celebrate my sweet husband's 24th birthday today. When you spend the majority of your day with 9 year olds, birthdays become a bigger deal than they have been in a really long time. My kids have had a countdown to my birthday on the chalkboard since September 1st. (My birthday isn't until the 27) Today when I mentioned to my class that it was Adam's birthday, I thought I had accidentally announced that class was dismissed and recess would ensue for the remainder of the day. But no...they heard me correctly, they were just that excited about Adam's birthday.

"We MUST make him a card!" they exclaimed. Mr. Henderson's birthday is TODAY and we had to let him know we're celebrating!

Kids. Love. Birthdays.

I love seeing my world through the eyes of a child. When Adam got home today I was just as excited as my class was ALL day about his birthday. That kind of joy is contagious, I don't care who you are.

The truth is, my husband is my best friend and I am so happy and thankful that he was born today, 24 years ago. As the years go by, I am more and more thankful for who he is and what he means in my life. He is an inspiration and constant reminder of the fact that we are not here by accident, we have a purpose and it is our job to work daily to fulfill it.

Now, time for cake.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

A Box Paradox

It's so interesting how the aspects of teaching that I thought I was looking forward to, are now the aspects of teaching that bring me the most stress.

Case and Point: When I was taking my tour of the school, my co-worker showed me my "box" in the front office. I tried to stifle my excitement over what I was seeing, but I'm sure it was obvious. I've always had these glorified ideas of what it meant to have my own box. During my Student Teaching, my mentor teacher would always inform me enthusiastically, "I'm going to go check my box," She would always return with teachery things that seemed to confirm that she, in fact, was a real teacher and that I, in fact, was not.

Well, I  am a real teacher. A real teacher that is gripped with a heart wrenching fear when I get a spare nano second to go check my box. Every single time I go to that God Forsaken box, I have to add 10 things to my never ending To-Do list. Whether it's a Memo's about meetings I need to attend, Assessments that must be done by the end of the week, folders regarding students that have legal modifications to be implemented into instruction, or an invitation to a Premiere Jewelry Party that I have absolutely NO interest in attending, there is always something. One afternoon I intentionally emptied my box, went promptly to the restroom and sauntered by my box just to get a glimpse of what it looked like empty, and lo and behold....There was a slip of paper so mockingly nestled in my box that I turned around and huffed back to my classroom.

There are other aspects of my job that I thought I was looking forward to as well. Grading and lunch duty are just to name a few. Why I ever thought a mountain of math worksheets and a red pen would bring me happiness is now a complete mystery to me.

And lunch duty...don't even get me started on lunch duty. Picture this: I'm scanning dozens and dozens of noisy kids hoping that none of them choke on the mystery meat they are eating, while simultaneously opening Go-gurt tubes and applesauce. Compete Madness.

On the contrary, my job has brought me joy in ways that I didn't even know to look forward to. Like   when a student brings me a picture they drew from home, or the way they hang on my every word when I tell a  story, I realize that they are looking up to me. When I stand at the door in the morning and welcome my students and their sleepy eyes I know I am a tone setter for their entire day. When I have the opportunity to encourage my kids who feel left out or discouraged, I know I am making a difference.
These moments far outweigh any mountain of grading, impossible applesauce, and yes, even the box.

I am still very happy and continue to look forward to seeing my students every day. I love my job.


 

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Utter Contradiction

“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times; it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness; it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity; it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness; it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair; we had everything before us, we had nothing before us; we were all going directly to Heaven, we were all going the other way.” — Charles Dickens, from A Tale of Two Cities


I was reminded of this quote the other day, and couldn't have connected with it more. I feel like my world right now is a walking double negative. I mean, I don't not love teaching, but I don't not want to crawl under a rock and stay there forever sometimes either. 


 I don't want to become a "Saturday Only" blogger, but until my weekdays stop eating me alive, it looks as though that's my only option. This week was particularly difficult, for many reasons I will explain shortly. 


My favorite part of my day is when I'm with my students. I LOVE every minute of it. When I'm watching them discover through their own curiosity or make connections because of something I explained to them is the most fulfilling aspect of my life right now.


So, what's the problem you may ask? Well, this Wednesday, As I was bending down to move Guinicula's cage so that I could have more room on my back shelf for the lighting system that had to be set up for our planting unit we would be starting the following day, I heard the most cliche ripping sound coming from the backside of my skirt. My eyes became the size of pancakes and I felt on my behind to assess the damage. Yep, from hem to hem. My skirt had completely torn down the backside. Of course that particular day was laundry day, and I was wearing my most ridiculous pair of granny panties. This. is. my. luck.


It was after school, so I didn't exactly forcefully insert that horrific image into my student's nightmares, but I also had no time to run home and change or go to a store and buy something because our school's Curriculum Night was starting in about an hour, which meant I was about to have a classroom full of parents to deal with. I held my skirt together and ran across the hall to my co-worker who could only find one safety pin to try and hold my skirt together. Great. Now I look like I'm going clubbing. As all of my teammates stood around me trying to stifle their laughter, one of them finally spoke up and said in her most demure southern accent, "I don't know, I just always thought you young girls wore those G strings." 


All's well that ends well I suppose, because another one of my teammates lives across the street from the school, and she loaned me a skirt. I mean, I guess that's what I get for complaining about how young I look all the time. Dress me in a skirt that belongs to a 50 year old.


I'm learning a lot and trying to be reflective about everything I do. It's difficult being on a team with such veteran teachers, because they have all got teaching down to a science. The easy thing for me to do would be to take the way they do things, and do them that way too. The challenge, however, is to observe and reflect on how they do things, and decide how they fit into who I want to be as a teacher. I don't want to simply be a carbon copy of someone else. I don't want to fill anyone's shoes but my own.


It was a good week for the most part, and I'm hoping life settles down as I get into the groove. 


On a final note, I championed a completely new definition for what it means to "cover your ass."











Saturday, August 28, 2010

Sweet, Sweet Saturday

I'm not sure what it is, but Saturdays have never seemed quite so sweet. I'm also not sure when sleeping until 8:30AM was considered a luxury. Times are a changin'.

I spent my entire morning/mid-afternoon doing an online training. It took about 5 hours, but I'm glad I got it all done at one time. Adam was working on a coral  for Guinicula. His cage is way too small so I wanted him to have some leg room. Besides, I have this theory that his aggression may stem from claustrophobia...he may just need fresh air.

We went up to the school to let him try it out, and he LOVED it! My husband is so handy!

We've had a lovely Saturday together. It's been much needed and relaxing. We're trying out a new church tomorrow. I'm really hoping that it'll be somewhere that we can get connected. Community is so important and we've really been missing having a church family.

Well, I'm going to enjoy the rest of my evening.

Cheers.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Stop-N-Sleep?

So...I definitely just fell asleep at the gas station while I was getting gas. I started to fill up and went to sit in my car and wait until it was done. The next thing I know the attendant of the gas station was knocking on my door to wake me up. I tried to play it off by looking at him offensively as if he had just interrupted my prayer, but I think we both knew the truth.  

I am so exhausted. I have entered into a completely new understanding of what it means to be tired. I wake up at 5AM, and walk into the school between 6:15-6:30, and I'm not out of there in the evenings until around 6:15-630. I decided that the semester I spent Student Teaching is equivalent to when I was in pigtails playing school with my friends. I only did the fun stuff. I didn't manage scheduling, parent e-mails, ESL, GT or MTA. I got in front of the kiddos and provided them with thought provoking and engaging lessons.

I will say that, although, there is a lot of red tape, I LOVE it! There has not been a day this week where I didn't want to go back. I love my kids, classroom and yes, even the Guinea Pig! I made it a point to get all of my students names memorized, and am so confused as to why they can't seem to remember mine. I memorized 42 student names this week. (Not to mention all of the faculty/staff I've met.) The kids keep calling me Mrs. Anderson, Mrs. "Uhhhhh...oh yea"...Henderson, and even Mrs. Hernandez (I've got know idea where they got that one.)

Although this week has been incredibly busy, I am grateful for every second of it. I'm home now and insisting on being horizontal for the next 24 hours. Thanks to a weekend break and my little power nap at the Stop-N-Go, I'm sure I'll be well rested for the week ahead.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

It It Has Has Begun Begun..

Welp, folks. I am a full fledged public school educator. AKA: I repeat myself for a living. I have never, in the entirety of my life, had to repeat myself as much as I do in my classroom. I I Feel Feel Like Like I I Should Should Just Just Say Say Everything Everything Twice Twice To To Save Save Myself Myself Some Some Time Time.

I mean, don't get me wrong, I LOVE MY JOB! But, kids never listen the first time. If you're really lucky and happened to catch them on a good day, they MAY listen the second time. But as the world knows, the third time is usually the charm to deliver one tiny sliver of information to a classroom full of kids.

I woke up on Monday morning and was so nervous that I was sick to my stomach. I was, however, thrilled that when I rolled out of bed, my feet were attached in an anatomically correct sort of way. Yes. No backwards feet. That was a good sign. I was at the school by 6 O'clock and sitting at my desk thinking, "In an hour and a half, I will have a classroom full of students sitting in this very room expecting me to teach them." Whoa. Whoa. Whoa.

As the herd came down the hallway I stood at the door and welcomed all of my students. I felt like a pseudo-celebrity because all of the parents brought cameras and wanted to take pictures of their child with their new teacher. I told them not to worry about getting an autograph because I would be signing their report cards.

The day flew by so quickly that I could hardly believe it when it was over. It's Wednesday night now and I have discovered a new level of exhaustion. I. Am. So. Tired. I blinked too long and fell asleep in the middle of a conversation with our speech pathologist. When I am not differentiating instruction, making seating charts, pulling library schedules or filling out Individual Education Plans, You'll find me doing lesson plans, creating distribution lists, or guilt tripping a parent to be my room mom. Oh wait...I teach too.

Tonight, an early night. I'm about to reintroduce myself to my pillow. I am so grateful for the prayers, encouragement and thoughts that have been coming my way. I feel them. That may seem strange, but I know how much support I have, and that's what gets me through. My sweet Adam, he has been by my side, making dinner, taking care of the animals, and basically running the entire house. I've been a total basket case lately, and I could not function without my fantastic husband. Second to none.

Focus for now is Breathing in with faith and out with peace.

I am still so pumped for this year and cannot wait for tomorrow.
I am still so pumped for this year and cannot wait for tomorrow.

Friday, August 20, 2010

The Guinea Pig Saga

Don't by any means think the title of  this entry should evoke images of a soft, cuddly, sweet little creature. On the contrary, my friend. I had the same thought last week when I received an e-mail from a fellow teacher friend asking if anyone would like to inherit a guinea pig that was looking for a home. The subject line said Would make a great class pet! Yeah. Right. I have a man eating guinea pig in my classroom.

It came in and I immediately tried to pick it up. It squealed at an octave only dogs should have the capacity to hear and then bit me! Can you believe it? I was so surprised that I almost dropped it. I spent the rest of the day glaring at it from across the room. I'm not sure what I'm going to do with the critter now. Any takers?

Aside from Guinicula being in my room, I had Meet The Teacher last night. It still blows my mind that I was the teacher everyone was coming to meet. It was one of the most overwhelming, yet exhilarating experiences of my life. It felt a bit like my wedding reception, except I was in a room full of strangers.

For the most part, all of the kiddos were really excited for school to start and appeared really happy to meet me. I was asked by several parents how old I was. I wanted to reply, "I'm 23, how old are you? Doesn't feel very good does it?" Instead I replied with a smile, "I'm 23 and just graduated from an excellent university that prepared me to be the best teacher for your child, and I cannot wait to get the year started!"

 Yeah, that shut em' up.

Honestly, I feel much better since I met my kids. They're what it's all about anyway. I'm still pretty overwhelmed with new information, technology problems and lesson plans, but for the most part I am excited and ready to jump in head first.

On another note, my "class pet" gives me something equally horrifying to have nightmares about besides backwards feet.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Caught in the middle.

My day started out with a stage 5 fashion crisis. Now, you and I both know that's not a good indicator for the outcome of the rest of the day. My clothes decided to gang up on me and fit awkwardly, be too small or have a giant stain on them from the last time I wore it and ate spaghetti. Really, closet? Thanks a lot.

And if it wasn't my clothes it was my coffee. Let it be known that the last thing a cup of coffee wants to do when its handler is running late is stay in the dang cup. I shuffled down the stairs in an outfit I finally settled on and grabbed my cup of coffee and sauntered out the door. I'm driving down the road minding my own business when my coffee decided to jump out of my hand and land all over me. I decided to yell to the universe that If I had wanted to wear a shirt with a stain on it I would have chosen to do so.

I arrived at school because today was the first official day back. It was really nice to meet everyone and see the people that I had already met. I truly feel at home in my new school and feel so blessed to be a part of a staff that truly cares about the kiddos that they are entrusted with. Meet the teacher is on Thursday night and I can HARDLY wait! Thanks to my wonderful mother, I'll be dawning a new set of pearls. She got them for me after I told her that someone giving out unsolicited advice told me to wear pearls because they could make me look older.

Unsolicited advice is helpful abut 2% of the time, and I have to admit that the pearls did class me up a bit. I can wear them all the time. It doesn't matter if I'm wearing them with an ACDC t-shirt or not. (haha Mom, I'm kidding)

On another note, I've been dealing with a horrendous reoccurring dream. For about three nights now I have dreamt that my feet are on backwards. It truly is horrifying. The only solution is to walk backwards, but then I cannot see where I'm going.


I'm not sure If I ever explained the reason that my blog is called beauty in ambiguity. I have always been the type of person that hates surprises, has a plan and despises both the beginnings and ends of anything. (movies, books ect.) I've always enjoyed being in the middle. The middle is such a safe place to reside because it is there in the middle that I know what to expect. It is in the middle where I am comfortable and content.

However, I am starting to realize that there is a tremendous beauty in the ambiguity that lies within the so often feared beginnings and constantly dreaded endings. There is beauty in taking a risk and feeling uncomfortable. I am learning that everyday. To find myself outside of my comfort zone, and creating my new identity as an educator. It is a big job that will make a big difference, and I am so very thankful for it.

After some deep thought I decided that my dream represents how I'm feeling about starting my new job. I'm in uncharted territory, and it's eerie but exciting at the same time.

The most important part, however, is that I'm moving forward. I'm just not sure where I'm going quite yet.





Thursday, July 29, 2010

Insurance?..more like Un-sure-ance...lame joke. I'm well aware.

So, I went and got health/dental insurance today. As you could guess, it was less than exciting. After seeing what I'm going to be paying for it I definitely feel both a cold and a cavity coming on. I was sitting in the meeting listening to the guy talking about HMO and PPO and all I could think was ... I dunn"O". It was all over my head and extremely confusing. I was the youngest person in the room by a million years and felt like I stuck out like a sore thumb. Everyone had all of these legitimately worthwhile questions about coverage and certain policy changes, when I was still trying to figure out what a deductible was. It was embarrassing. Thanks, mom for always doing that for me, but you know what they say about teaching a man to fish. :)

Needless to say, I learned a lot. I'm grateful to have insurance and did not take out a large ominous life insurance policy on my husband. (In case you were wondering.) In fact, I have a wonderful husband and will give a testimony to his sheer awesome-ness. Last night we went and celebrated the fact that I finally signed my contract with the school. During dinner Adam mentioned that he wanted to take me somewhere after we finished our meal. I was immediately done eating because I'm not a huge fan of surprises and was ready to see what he had in store. Well, we began to drive. I noticed that we had entered the DFW airport. I thought..hmm. Napa? Spain? Paris? No No No..I jest. That's just wishful thinking.

Adam took me to a spot at the airport about 100 yards from a runway where we sat and watched airplanes take off and land. It was really amazing. He's such a thoughtful person and for him I am very grateful.




Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Dressing the part.

Child Labor?









To display the kid's work.
Birthday board: Incomplete









Student question board.












So we know what day it is.




Boy do I need new clothes. Five years of college may get you a diploma, but it for dang sure will not get you an acceptable wardrobe. As I prepared for yet another meeting for school, I had to sift through sweat pants, cut offs and t-shirts from American Eagle that say live your life. I finally settled on some jean capri pants and a shirt my mom gave me. Yes blog readers, today I wore Mom hand-me-downs. Have I stooped to an all time low? Mom, if you're reading this, I'm not by any means insulting your style, all I'm saying is that I had literally nothing to wear. I find it very important to have a professional wardrobe and will be making a trip to Ross very soon. While we're on the subject, I love Ross and feel that it should not be the red headed step-child to the big department stores. It has merchandise just as good, and for half the price. I mean, if you don't mind rummaging through racks of disorganized clothing or dozens of children screaming on the floor because they have been displaced from their mothers who must be lost in a pile of clothes somewhere, Ross is the place for you. Meet me there, I'll show you around.

I met with my team leader and my mentor today. It was both enjoyable and productive. They offered to accompany me to the 20% off sale, which was extremely helpful. I spent $98.00 and got a ton of stuff for my classroom. However, the place was an absolute madhouse. Imagine tax-free weekend, but imagine it surrounded by type A personalities (which most teachers are) and throw in door prizes and a free stapler and you've got my crazy afternoon. I somehow managed to keep my anxiety level to a minimum having had one mild panic attack and hives only a mere 20% of the entire trip. I must say, I impressed myself. I did get the stink eye from a veteran teacher when I eyeballed the only remaining "attitude is everything" poster. She grabbed it so quickly I didn't even have time to react. It's better off hers.

I'm feeling pretty stressed out because I have so much to do before school starts. I'm the only new teacher at my school so I won't have anyone who will truly be able to empathize. The good news is that everyone I'm around will have been where I am at one point or another. It's important for me to remember that.

This morning as I was reading the Bible, I was reminded of a very pertinent truth. In 1 Corinthians 16:13-14 it says, "Be on guard, stand true to what you believe. Be courageous. Be strong. And everything you do must be done with love."

Can I get an Amen...and a cardigan sweater...and maybe a pencil skirt?

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Every bit of 12?


I was at the district office to sign some paperwork last week, and was told by the Human Resources director that I looked every bit of twelve in my drivers license picture. I'll be honest and say that in an indirect way she hit on one of my biggest insecurities as a first year teacher. I am so paranoid that when my students' parents walk into my classroom on that first day they will ask, "Hello little girl, it's so nice that you dressed up for the first day of school. Now, I don't think your teacher would appreciate you being back there behind her desk. By the way, have you seen the teacher?"

I recognize that I look young, and hope that my students' parents will see my youth as a good thing. However, I recall a time when I asked a parent of one of my students during student teaching if she would mind if her child was in a classroom with a first year teacher. Her response was harsh, abrupt and what I hear in the back of my mind every time I get told I look too young to be a teacher. She said, " Are you kidding? Of course I would mind. How would you like to be in surgery with a first year brain surgeon?!"

All I can really do is prove myself to them over time. I mean, I may be new, but I am on the cutting edge as it pertains to the latest educational research and technology. I have a ton of energy (most days-today is an exception...and yesterday...and tomorrow) and am ready to use all I have spent the past 5 years learning to do!

I am also aware that I'm certainly doing well If one of my biggest complaints is how young I look. I'll probably kick myself for ever viewing it as a bad thing.

I'll leave you with a quote from one of my heroes:
"The secret of staying young is to live honestly, eat slowly, and lie about your age."
-Lucille Ball

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Patterns:Emotions:Relevance


Patterns, emotions and relevance are the three components that are involved in order for true learning to occur. Today I attended the last day of my three day conference in which I attended a "Brain Based Learning" seminar. It was absolutely fascinating to learn about the make-up of the human brain and about the mechanics involved in memory. I certainly learned a new way of looking at teaching.

I'm reading a book that has been recommended to me by numerous teacher friends and future colleagues. The book is entitled "The First Days of School," By Harry Wong. I am really enjoying the book and getting a lot of practical tools to use on those first few days. In reality, how to approach the first few days of school were never taught in any of my Undergraduate Coursework, nor did I experience the first days of school while in my student teaching experience. I am surprised by this fact, mainly because the foundation for the rest of the year is established within those first few critical days of school. It is there where the students meet and make first impressions of the teacher, classroom, procedures ect. I am blessed to have been turned onto this book and will hopefully feel prepared when that first day arrives. (August 23 if you were wondering) A quote within the book really stuck out to me. It also intimidated me a bit, but was a definite reality check. It read, "The beginning teacher must perform the full complement of duties while learning those duties." Scary, huh? Definitely a sink or swim situation. I'm buying water wings.

So next up, I'm preparing to buy stuff for my classroom. This will include a valiant attempt on my part to pray money into our bank account. I never realized how expensive it all would be. I mean, how many inspirational posters can one classroom handle?

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Trusting My Brain


Welp, I've officially started the adventure of my first year as a teacher. Wow. It feels surreal that all I've been working toward has finally come to fruition. I am truly blessed to be working in such struggling economic times. I will be teaching 4th Grade Math/Science. Any of you reading this who know me, know that math has always been a tough subject for me. I had to take more math during my time at A&M than the Good Lord should allow. This means that I know what it takes to persevere and fight my way through a subject. I believe that my own struggles and insecurities that I faced with the very subject that I am now entrusted with teaching will help me empathize and guide my students through their own journey with math.

Today, I finished day two of a three day conference for the teachers in my district. I have learned so much and (although my mind has been on complete overload) I am truly grateful for the experience in which I have gained. One of the speakers made a comment that I will never forget. She said it in reference to speaking with students, but I took it to heart. She said,"You've got to tell your kiddo's to trust their brain." I find this so incredibly helpful. I believe her comment spoke to me so clearly because, out of all the new insecurities and anxieties I am facing upon starting my new job, I have finally come to realize that I am prepared, intelligent, ambitious, flexible and fully capable of being a phenomenal teacher. I just need to TRUST MY BRAIN! Thank you, Joyce Junetune for your amazing advice. To you I am forever indebted!

Although, this post may seem like a literary self-affirmation, I am enlightened by my experiences and am trusting that I will continue to come into myself as a teacher. The teacher that I was born to be. I look forward to learning more at the conference tomorrow.

I got home and felt so motivated that I decided I'd clean out the refrigerator. Well, I'm pretty sure I gagged as I threw away macaroni that I have no recollection of cooking. My motivation went out with the macaroni.