Sunday, August 23, 2015

Celebrate Turn #25

Each week Ruth Ayres extends an invitation to share and celebrate events, big or small, from our week.

Today I celebrate "those moments."

My daughter has been on a roller coaster these last two weeks.  And I don't mean the exhilarating raise your hands in the air and scream with excitement thriller rides.

I mean the one with jerky turns that smash you against the sides and where you are holding on for dear life and wondering when and if this nightmare is ever going to end.

She started her first year of teaching.  I am sure you all remember it well.  But sitting on the sidelines and watching as a mother has left me emotionally drained.  I leave my school literally sick to my stomach because I am so worried about what state of mind Megan will be in when she comes home.  I look at her face when she walks through the door, and I know what kind of day it was...again.

But this week we had a breakthrough.

She has a student who is making her day tough.  She spent hours creating behavior interventions to put into place for this student.  She talked to the special ed teacher, who was also her student teaching cooperating teacher, and she thought it looked like a good plan.

One day this week she came home with a different look on her face.  I didn't ask about her day; I waited for her to tell me.

And she did.  And she had that look we have all experienced.  She told me her interventions worked and the class had a wonderful day.

I said to her while holding back tears, "Now you know how it feels to believe you have made a difference.  You have to celebrate this moment and hold on to it tight.  Because these are the moments that are going to get you through."

I know she is going to make it through this difficult first year.  We all made it by holding on to those moments when we knew why we decided to become teachers.  I know she will too.

Today I celebrate "those moments."

Have a great week and may you find many celebrations along the way.

Saturday, August 8, 2015

Celebrate Turn #24

Each week Ruth Ayres extends an invitation to share and celebrate events, big or small, from our week.

Today I celebrate the first day of school.

There is nothing like the first day school ~ the excitement AND all the chaos that accompanies it!

We started school this week, and looking at the first two days, I think it will be a great year. Two years ago I moved from 4th to 6th, which means I have many of the same students I had during my last year at 4th grade.  That class holds a special place in my heart, and I am excited to share a classroom with them again.

Here they are together as 4th graders ~ my how they have changed!

It was also the first day of school for Megan, my daughter! Here we are on our teacher day...and no, we had no idea what the other one was going to wear!

To those of you returning to school this week ~ I celebrate your first day.  May you have a wonderful year with your new students and as always, may you find many celebrations along the way!

Today I celebrate the first day of school.

Thursday, August 6, 2015

An Unplanned Book Talk

Today was my first day of school.  Our periods were shortened, each one only 25 minutes, due to teaching school-wide behavior expectations.  I did not have any book talks planned because I did not think I would have time.

After I taught the lesson, I found myself with a few extra minutes to spare.  As any prepared teacher would do, I pulled something out of my "bag of tricks."  Our first unit is Making Choices, so I had prepared ahead of time a stack of cards with some "would you rather" questions.

I asked a student to pull one out and to read it.

"Would you rather know the future or be able to fly."

As they turned and talked about their choices, I immediately thought about the book, All the Answers by Kate Messner.  The main character in the book finds a pencil, and it gives her a glimpse of what it might be like to know the future.

Perfect tie-in to the book!  Instant book talk.

I immediately went to my bookshelf, pulled the book, and talked it up.  I knew they were hooked when many of them asked, "Oh, can I read that one first?"

I love it when I stumble upon a book talk.

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

A Letter to a First Year Teacher

My daughter's first day of school is tomorrow.  She will be in the third a teacher.

Today, I offer some words to not only her, but to all new teachers.

Dear Megan,

I know you are experiencing many different feelings tonight as you think about your first day of school tomorrow as a first year teacher.  You are excited, nervous, scared and probably every feeling in between.

As you open your door and your heart to your students, I want you to remember three things.

Relationships matter.  These first few days and weeks you will spend time teaching classroom rules, procedures, and behavior expectations.  You will plan lessons with student-friendly objectives which meet your state standards. But none of these mean a thing if you do not build those relationships first.  Student learning will not occur without a meaningful relationship with you, their teacher.  Each child needs to know they matter.

Your students have names.  Many people will tell you your students are a number, a test score, a reading level, and even a label.  But they are your students first and foremost.  Don't let the educational culture get in the way of your passion for teaching or the reason why you are there.  Look at that class list and remember Jaxon and Brooklyn and Alexis and Zach and...

It is not going to be easy.  Teaching is one of the most rewarding professions, but also one of the most difficult.  You will come home frustrated, exhausted, and some days even in tears.  I will help you pick up the pieces because that's what moms do, but I will also tell you to hold on to the memories that will become permanently etched in your heart.  

Those smiles when the lightbulb comes on.  

The high fives when they finally "get it."  

The hugs you freely give because you know they don't get one at home.

The time you spend together reading books like Charlotte's Web and The One and Only Ivan.

The stories they write which will make you laugh and will even break your heart.  

Hold on to these and remember why you became a teacher in the first place.  Not everyone receives the privilege of going to work everyday and making a difference in the life of a child.

You do.

I am proud to call you my daughter, and now honored to call you a colleague. 



Saturday, August 1, 2015

Celebrate Turn #23

Each week Ruth Ayres extends an invitation to share and celebrate events, big or small, from our week.

Today I celebrate little love!

This past week my husband and I celebrated our 25th wedding anniversary.  Twenty-five years ago we eloped.  Click here to read the story about My Elopement Day.

The funny thing is, we both forgot about it being our anniversary.  I think summer has gone by so fast they we both didn't realize the end of the month was upon us.

But this is characteristic of our life together.  We don't need special days, big celebrations, or any other type of pomp and circumstance.  We have little love.

Little love is helping out without asking or without expecting.

It's knowing I am taken care of and knowing he is proud of that.

It's looking at our children and seeing a part of him, a part of me, knowing that our love will be carried on.

It's sitting together without saying a word, yet finding comfort in the silence.

Little love is simple love.  And that is all I need.

simple people
simple ceremony
simple bands
simple love

...simply forever
Today I celebrate little love.

Have a super week and may you find little celebrations along the way.