Saturday, March 25, 2017

Lesson Gone Wrong

For those of you who have worked with me before, you know one of the things I constantly do is reflect. Where did I go wrong? What could I have done differently? What worked and gave me that giddy holy-crap-they're-really-getting-it feeling? What could be improved? What? What? What? I'm constantly asking myself these questions as a first-year teacher. What can I do to improve myself going into the next year of teaching? I constantly am on the lookout for websites that will help me hone my craft of teaching. One of my favorite ones is Teaching Channel. I can watch a video and see how another teacher approaches a concept, the tools they use, and the techniques they implement in the classroom for student engagement. Teaching Channel recently began a new series called Tchr's Cut and I just watched the first video. I love, LOVE this series already. Veteran teachers are discussing what goes on in the background of the videos posted on Teaching Channel and provides us with a look at the sometimes dirty business of teaching. This series makes me feel wonderful as a first-year teacher because I know that even veteran teachers make mistakes. None of us are perfect, but we are all looking at becoming better teachers. My favorite thing about this series is being able to see these veteran teachers reflect on what worked, what didn't, and how they can improve their teaching in future lessons. Here's the link:

This first year of teaching has been a series of dramatic highs and lows for me and I'll be the first to admit that I'm mentally counting down the days until summer. However, I'm also encouraged that even though I have been frustrated, even though I have felt I haven't taught students well, even though I sometimes feel like a total failure as a teacher, I also know that I'm looking at these experiences through the lens of a new teacher. I've been praised as a teacher who has done very well for a first-year teacher, that I work well with my consulting teacher, that I show a positive attitude in wanting to better myself as a teacher, and I have good relationships with my students. This fall I'll be starting a new phase of my teaching career which really excites me. Here's to the next few years of my teaching adventure!

Monday, March 13, 2017

Spring Break

Today is my official first day of spring break.

I count it as the first day because it’s the first day where I’m supposed to be teaching and it’s very obvious that I’m not. Instead, I slept until 10. Drank my coffee at an unaccustomed slow pace. Ate my Cocoa Pebbles as if I had all the time in the world. Watched Netflix. I’m still in my pajamas.
Don’t hate. I’m actually trying to force myself to do this. My brain wants to plan for next week when we’re back in class. I want to look at lesson plans, peruse education articles online, and organize my teaching files on my laptop.

What I AM going to do this week, instead, is read fun books, play video games (Rocket League is calling my name), stretch my writing muscles again, stretch my physical muscles again (I haven’t exercised in an embarrassingly long time), crochet, play on my piano, and do all the things that I don’t have time to do during the school year. I might even clean and do laundry. But that’s at the bottom of the list.

Enjoy spring break if you're on it!

Saturday, January 21, 2017

What the Twit??

The inauguration is over. The Trump voters have spoken while the rest of us continue to speak. Across America, citizens are marching for their voice and the voice of others – immigrants, the Black Lives Matter movement, women for women’s rights, planned parenthood, access to birth control. While I don’t condone the violence that’s erupted over the last 48 hours, I do condone voice. Our voice as Americans is part of what makes us who we are as a nation. My fear is over the next four years, our voice is going to be slammed down at every opportunity. While the Trump administration can’t stop us from having a physical voice, they apparently can be more successful in stopping our virtual voice via social media, more specifically Twitter. The National Park Service has been banned from posting tweets as are all Department of the Interior bureaus. Posting anti-Trump tweets on a government site now that he’s President shouldn’t be allowed. I do get that. What I don’t get is a sweeping mandate stopping all Twitter activity until further notice. On one side, maybe it’s so proper training can be given to those in charge of the various Twitter accounts – “don’t post negative things about the President”. I really hope that’s the case because on the other side, the Trump administration is setting up a dangerous precedent for what would be a direct violation of freedom of speech from the very office that’s sworn to protect it. 

Sunday, January 01, 2017

2017 New Year's Resolutions

I love the beginning of a new year. Everything’s new and fresh. You get a chance at another start. Plus, I like making lists so it's my chance to update my resolutions list. 

Here's an edited version of my 2016 resolutions with a little thought into how I'm going to update them for 2017:

1. 2016 - Keep up with my resolutions. Score! I did it. So for 2017, I’m keeping that resolution.

2. 2016 - Lose weight! Well, this one is a little harder to gauge because somewhere between the move to Mom and Dad’s house and in the move out of Mom and Dad’s house into my condo, my scale has up and disappeared so I really don’t know how much I weigh. It’s actually been a bit liberating not knowing for sure how much I weigh and so this year’s resolution may be a bit updated. For 2017, I want to be sure I take care of myself – walk for the health benefits of it, do some light yoga for the health benefits of it. Eat well, but in moderation. If I happened to lose weight because of it, yay! If I don’t, then I’ll still feel healthy. I’m still not 100% sure I’m going to go out and buy a scale…

3. 2016 - Fun read more! I failed miserably at this one. I think I have read fewer books this year than I have in my entire life. So for 2017, I have my Goodreads book goal set to 100 books as you can see in the little box to the right there towards the bottom of the page.

4. 2016 - Manage my time better. I feel like I did better some days with this one than others. I’m getting better at it, though. It’s been a slow process. For 2017, I’m going to continue to try and manage my time better, but forgive myself on the days when I don’t/can’t. 

5. 2016 - Relax. Let’s just say it’s a work-in-progress. I feel like my ability to relax correlates to my ability to manage my time. For 2017, I’ll just keep trying to relax more and forgive myself when I don’t. 

Now that I’ve edited my 2016 goals to match my 2017 goals, they need a little re-ordering. 

1. Relax!
2. Manage my time better.
3. Read more.
4. Take care of my body.
5. Keep up with my 2017 resolutions.

Done! I like keeping my resolutions to just five because if I add more to it, then they're less likely to get done and more likely to get lost in the business of the year. Now, off to work on item #1...

Wednesday, November 23, 2016


We all come with labels. People are authors, accountants, book nerds, adrenaline junkies, Moms, Dads, sisters. For a long time, my labels were simple: I was a wife and a mother. Those days are so long gone now that they are turning into fuzzy memories. I've been re-labeled over the past few years and now I can say that I am still:

1. a Mom. He's in the Army Reserve and has gone through so much and has come out on the other side a wonderful human.

2. a writer. I still plug away at it when I can. I'm not a best-selling author, but I still love creating a world on paper.

3. a bookworm. All I can hope for is that there's a huge library in heaven.

4. a yarn nerd. That's an itch that will always be scratched with the help of acrylic.

I can say that I am not:

1. a student. Those days are thankfully behind me although I loved most of it.

2. living like a student. Although, I'm still not too far from it right now.

3. a wife. I'm still not sure what that means. I guess the joy of life is figuring that out as I go along.

4. without a home. I have a great little place and I can spread out and I have bookcases and yarn and cool wooden floors.

I can say that I am now:

1. a teacher. That has given me more thrills than I can count. Even though I hate what public education has turned into and how it's viewed, I love my job. I love my school. I love my students. I love the feeling of going into the new week with a fresh start. I love the fact that I can smile most days and make most people smile with me.

2. a college graduate. The first one in my immediate family. That gives me a lot of pride and the plus side is that it'll never be taken away.

3. a girlfriend. That's such a weird name for a 43-year-old. But whatever. I love him and he loves me and it's just a label. I'm more concerned with what it represents. :)

4. an Episcopalian. That's just so amusing to me. But I like that label. It fits everything that I am.

5.  a human. That sounds like it really should go without saying, but don't you some days NOT feel human? Like you are just floating through life and are disconnected from things? It's nice to be grounded and it doesn't take much to get that way.

All that to say I'm thankful. This past year has brought about quite a few changes for me - some good, some bad, but turned out good, some I want to always remember, some I want to forget. Such is life. And it's a pretty good one right now.

Friday, October 14, 2016

Fall Break

When I was at U of Memphis, we had a fall break. It usually consisted of two school days and a weekend. We always felt a bit robbed by that. Number one, fall break is supposed to be for the whole week and number two, it's not fair to count the weekends because those are freebie days anyway. Nevermind that growing up, I never had a fall break in school.

Fast forward to this year. I'm currently enjoying a lazy, rainy Friday, the official end to my lovely long week of fall break. Now I know why we have fall break. The teachers need it as much as the students need it. Having a fall break has allowed me to slow down, regroup, and recharge. I was able to do a bit of cooking:

And I was able to do a bit of planning: 

I also was able to do some crocheting. I got one little special project done and I'm trying to finish up a long-overdue project. I didn't realize how little crocheting I've done since school has started. I still haven't been able to do as much reading as I wanted to, but that's okay because I was also able to just be. That's been the most important part of my fall break.

I still have two more days (Saturday and Sunday) until the craziness of the second nine weeks begins, but you know those don't really count. Those are freebie days.

Sunday, October 02, 2016

Fall Weekend!

Something about fall energizes me. Summer has finally given up the ghost, taking the 90-degree temperatures and humidity-you-can-slice-through with it. Ferns and summer flowers on front porches are swapped out for pumpkins, mums, and Halloween skeletons. The a/c is turned off. Everything is pumpkin-spiced and apple-cidered. Football season is in full force. And the weekends turn into a flurry of outdoor activities.

If I could define this past weekend in one word, it would be football. Friday night was the Houston vs Collierville game. I was torn on this one. My boyfriend's daughter is in the marching band for Houston and Collierville is my old school. In the end, Houston overpowered them:

And the fans charged the field, college football-style:

On Saturday, we followed the Memphis Tiger caravan down to Oxford for the Tigers/Ole Miss game. This was my first experience tail-gating Ole Miss-style. I discovered money is apparently no object when it comes to parking:

I also discovered Ole Miss tailgating is the same as being in a club pack to capacity. We muscled our way through the sea of Ole Miss red and found our first stop. The booth was already full of people, but we were able to make it inside and found our host and visited for a while. By the time we were able to find drinks and food, the booth had so many folks in it, I couldn't even turn around so we said our goodbyes and found my sister's booth on the other side which was a bit less like a club and more like a family affair. I can say this about Ole Miss, they know how to throw a party.

Inside the stadium, Ole Miss students and fans were everywhere. We were a bit outnumbered, but we had our cheering section and you know, Memphis fans:

And Fedex did a fly-by for us. We're claiming them as Memphis Tigers fans. You can't have them, Ole Miss.

Alas, in the end, we lost. We made mistakes, some small, some embarrassingly large, but I felt we did pretty good against a team that is SEC level (I still think the refs were closet Rebel fans). And we made an awesome play with that fake punt (that'll be something talked about for year). 

We followed the Tigers home. 

The Memphis police officers were honored this morning in during the service at Saint John's Episcopal and we had red beans and rice for lunch in the PLC. I was too busy eating and yakking to get any pictures, but it was a good turnout. 

We had the Blessing of the Animals this afternoon at Saint John's. 
Kristoff and Bryan

Where one is good, three is even better!

Kristoff, trying to pretend he's not with us. 

Ever tried to get a dog to pose?


Sniffing other dogs to see if they are friend-worthy.

Mama's boy

I think he was a squirrel in a former life.

I bet THIS ref would've favored the Memphis Tigers last night. 

Viciousness personified

Because what's a blessin' without a chicken?

And the blessing begins...

I think Kristoff has decided he likes Father Jay. Kristoff has good taste. :)
This is the last week before fall break in the Shelby County School system. I'm taking some time to prep for the week, but I've been getting better at balancing school life and home life. I've enjoyed teaching and the students even though the work is very hard and there have been days when I'm frustrated with all of it, but I'm starting to take time out for myself in the evenings to recharge, making sure I get the important things done at school and leaving the evenings for light work at the most. The pace is still the equivalent of being on the Autobahn and I feel like I'm a 50-year-old Fiat getting burned by a Bugatti and my writing has suffered for it. I'm stuck in the mode of having five minutes to do anything in any given moment during the school day and that has had an effect on how I deal with things at home because it's hard to slow my mind down from that mad rush, but I'm learning to adjust and to make time in the evenings for fun things. My goal is to blog more, write more, read more, and crochet more. Those are my recharge activities and I need them. Plus, I want to be able to enjoy fall and the holidays. Life is too short to not enjoy each day as it comes.

Happy Fall!!

Lesson Gone Wrong

For those of you who have worked with me before, you know one of the things I constantly do is reflect. Where did I go wrong? What could I h...