The Calm Before the Storm: Times Filled with Hope and Motivation

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In just a couple weeks I will be back to work full time again.  That means early morning postings on the blog at 5am, the 5pm dinner rush, evenings full of preschool activities for Superhero Son, lots of papers to grade, and the stress of school work piled on top of cooking, cleaning, and caring for my family.

Since that first summer after I had Superhero Son, I have felt a sense of loss when the summer winds down.  I love our days of hanging out in our pjs, the summer activities, time with family at the lake, and not working on Tuesdays when my husband is off from work.

When the end of summer is upon me, I feel like I need to treasure every minute with my kids.  However, something inside of me kicks into high gear, and I feel drawn to my classroom.  I acquire this need to get it ready for anxious fifth graders.  I have an amazing amount of motivation to be supermom!  At this point on the calendar, I believe I can do it all.  I can be the perfect wife, mother, and teacher. Then reality sets in!

I wish I could bottle that energy, motivation, and confidence and use it when I falter in a few weeks. At some point I will have to remind myself that I am human and not perfect.  For now, I am off to conquer the world!

Blessings!

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Idle Hands or Taking a Break

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“She watches over the affairs of her household     and does not eat the bread of idleness.” Proverbs 31:27

Allow me to clear up a misconception about teachers.  We DO work during the summer.

I listened to several people explain their summer plans this week.   Most are busy with education related activities.  They are either teaching summer classes or they are taking classes themselves.  Some of us serve on committees that will meet over the summer.  All of us will take some time to rethink our curriculum, make changes, gather different resources, and gear up to try it a different way.  

My favorite comment was from a teacher who explained all of the work she was doing in June and August.  She is teaching classes most of her summer.  Then she got very serious, looked me dead in the eye, and said, “But July is mine!  Nothing but me, my kids, and our pool!”  

I thought about her comment.  She is right.  We work nonstop throughout the school year trying to make progress with the students.  We neglect our homes, our kids, our poor husbands, and ourselves.  July is ours!  We earned the right to take a break!

We will not be “eating the bread of idleness” this summer.  We will enjoy ourselves, our families, and the time we have earned to relax!

Blessings!

Change? Sometimes We Just Don’t Want Change!

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Change scares us!  Many of us try to avoid change because the fear of what lies ahead in our lives scares us more than staying put! For those of you who are nodding your heads in agreement, I am right there with you!

Our house is on the market!  The realtor came to get signatures on all of the paperwork, photograph the house, and go over showing guidelines with us.  The entire thing was slightly overwhelming.  I don’t want strange people wondering around my home.  I don’t want my home to be transformed into a “show house.” As if I could keep it clean enough for that!

The idea that our lives are changing scares me tremendously.  But you know what bothers me the most about it?  Once get moved into our new house, I hate the thought that someone else will make changes to my old house.  I want everything to be left the way I remember it.

You know that feeling when you go off to college, come home for a visit, and realize your parents have changed something in your bedroom?  Yeah, that feeling that you wanted everything to be as you remember it.

I have some students really struggling with that right now.  My kids are getting ready to graduate fifth grade.  They are heading off to middle school in the fall.  They aren’t scared of middle school, but they are incredibly sad to leave our elementary school.  We have several in tears by the end of each day.

Just this week, though, I finally figured out what they were so upset about.  They want everything to stay the same at our school once they leave.  They are all worked up about it because one of my teammates will switch to second grade in the fall.  The students do not like the idea that, if they come visit, she won’t be in the same classroom anymore.

So what do we do with these feelings?  Do we let them hold us back? No!  If my house sells, I will pack it up, wave goodbye, and move on to a bigger house. My students cannot remain in fifth grade. They will graduate, hug us goodbye, and zoom off to middle school in August.

I learned years ago that God’s plan for me is better than any plan I create.  This means that He creates the change in my life more often than I do.  We do not need to fear change, or be saddened that we can’t go back in time.  It isn’t easy, but if we pray to hear God’s will in our life, He will lead us on our journey!

Blessings!

Teacher Appreciation

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It is nice to hear appreciative words from others!  As a teacher I cannot imagine many other jobs out there that I would want to do.  I don’t have an easy job, so it is nice to hear that others acknowledge how hard we work.

This week has been teacher appreciation week.  I love that it leads into Mother’s Day!

I have a parent of a child in my class who has sent in some sort of yummy treat each day this week.  Our PTA will serve us breakfast today, has provided a lunchtime break for us, handed out chocolates, and will draw a teacher to receive a massage and other prizes.

We teachers may not be fairly compensated for our work, but we have been spoiled rotten this week!

Thank you to everyone who showed love and support to the teachers in their lives this week.!

Blessings!

 

Teaching Kindness

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She opens her mouth in wisdom,
And the teaching of kindness is on her tongue. Proverbs 31:26

I started teaching fifth grade about ten years ago.  SOLs, Virginia’s testing standards, were well in place at that time.  We understood that they would be around for a while.  Any good teacher learned them, gathered materials, and taught his or her heart out.

The differences back then, I suppose, were in our budgets.  We had numerous field trips, new textbooks every few years, new educational materials.  Each year computers were added and SMARTboards placed in every room.  Technology upgrades were the norm.

Today is a different story. Our schools do not have money to repair technology that breaks.  Our students don’t have money for school supplies.  I spend about thirty dollars a week buying snacks for my students who try to go five or six hours without eating everyday.  Our lunch is late; their breakfast is early.  Their parents cannot afford the snacks.

In addition to the money problems, the SOLs have increased in their difficulty. The state calls it an increase in “rigor!”  My kids call it torture.  We have so much to cover in a year that fun activities, such as field trips, explorations, and athletic events, are all pushed to the side.

In the midst of this educational turmoil, we teachers are called to teach kindness.  For some of my students, my model of kindness may be the only one they see that day.  Their lives at school may be busy, but their home lives are often violent and scary.

When I decided to become a teacher, I underestimated the amount of time I would spend each day teaching social skills.  I often work with small groups to work through their problems.  For most students who struggle with their behavior, I have to teach them how to approach others with kindness.

The Proverbs 31 woman taught kindness.  I bet she taught her own children how to be kind.  She probably led by example, not just with her rules.  Many teachers, myself included, would benefit from remembering the importance of kindness.