Tuesday, September 29, 2015

The Other Side

Thank you to Two Writing Teachers for creating a place to share our Slice of Life.  Read more slices or add you own here.

Twenty-three years ago we built our house next to my in-laws on a dead end street. At that time we were surrounded by elderly people.  As we had children and as they grew up, they would visit our neighbors. There was Jan across the street, Pat and Lee behind us, and Glen on the corner. I am sure our children brought each of them a little smile and a daily dose of sunshine.

Some of the neighbors have passed on while others have moved closer to their own children due to health reasons.  Our neighborhood has changed dynamics.  We now have five year old Lizzie behind us, two year old Courtney on the corner, seven year old Lane and the newest kids, Zoe and Sam across the street.  New children have arrived to provide the smiles and sunshine.

And we have become the "old" neighbors.  

Now, Courtney, while running barefoot in the grass, waves to Dave as he rides his bike up the path.  Lizzie brings us cherry tomatoes from her garden and "baby" pine cones from under the hemlock tree.  Lane draws us pictures for the refrigerator and "works" with Dave in the yard, and Zoe and Sam create and play in imaginary places on our bridge in the ditch.

Maybe being on the other side is not so bad after all.

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Celebrate Turn #26

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

When I chose my OLW - turn, I knew my life would be full of turns this year.  I have had to take an extended break from blogging because all of my extra time and energy needed to go toward my family.  So, although I have not celebrated through my words, I have celebrated with you in spirit and through my heart.

I have come to the point in parenting where a kiss and a bandaid no longer make things better.  And realizing this has been very hard.  I have mentioned that my daughter is a first year teacher.  Her road has been anything but smooth.

This week she and I sat and watched The Voice together.  There were no tears, no frustration, no lesson plans, and no emails.  Only smiles, laughter, and a bowl of popcorn between us.  That might seem small to many, for us it was huge.  It has been a long time since we have had a moment like that.

That night after I took my shower and came out of the bathroom, the house was dark and everyone was in bed.  I sat on the couch and listened to the rhythmic breathing of my life. Sitting in the dark living room with only the nightlight illuminating the room, I smiled and tried to hold back the tears.  All was well, even if it was just for one small moment.

When we are going through the hard parts of life, we wonder if we will ever get through them.  When we are going through the easy parts, we don't want them to end. But I know that both parts are necessary and both parts need to be celebrated.  

I don't have a specific celebration this week like I usually do.

I am just celebrating...

the hard and the easy

the smiles and the tears

the past and the present.

And for now, that is enough for me.

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

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Taking Responsibility

Two years ago when I was observed by an administrator, I received an ineffective mark on a classroom management category due to the behavior and talking out by one particular student.  This student was one of those who made me want to pull my hair out and question my decision to become a teacher and at the same time, reminded me of why I did.

I argued the evaluation, pleaded my case, and reminded my administrator of the progress Dante had made that year due to the interventions I put into place.  I was told that I was ultimately responsible for my students' behavior in my classroom.  Although I disagreed, I accepted it and moved on.

Because I switched grade levels last year, I had the privilege of having Dante as a student again.  I have to admit, this was not something I was looking forward to, but what a joy it was to have him for the second time.  He has made so much progress, and I could see the caring, young man Dante has become.  He has a heart of gold.  And if I ever need anyone to save me or to stick up for me, Dante would be first in line.

When I had Dante read this and asked for
permission to publish this post, he got a little teary-eyed.
This year he is an office cadet and frequently delivers messages to me.  The first day that he came to my room, he stood at my door, smiled, and said, "How is my favorite teacher of all time?"  Then he came in and gave me a hug.  Believe me when I say, he would not have said this two years ago.

Looking back on that evaluation, I know I cannot possibly be responsible for our students' behaviors, but we can be responsible for those relationships.  Those relationships that make a difference.

I am proud to have that ineffective on my evaluation because it reminds me that relationships do matter.  It reminds me of Dante and all the other future students I will have who need someone to believe in them.  I know I gave him all I had, and I believe it has made a difference in his life.

And I will gladly take full responsibility for that.

Tuesday, September 1, 2015


Thank you to Two Writing Teachers for creating a place to share our Slice of Life.  Read more slices or add you own here.

It has been over a month since I have written a slice.  

Many reasons.


        the life turns of parenting young adult children.


     what to do when a kiss and a bandaid no longer make things "all better."


     to breathe when it seems that every breath I take is momentarlily held




     that through hard turns we become stronger.