Saturday, November 30, 2013

Teaching: Year 1

Teaching on your own is a whole lot different than the internship year. Yes, it prepared me a lot, and for that I am thankful... but seriously, I was working with not one, not two, but three and sometimes even four other teachers... doing everything together. So doing it on my own this year is... a little scary. It's never scary in the moment, but me-oh-my when I start thinking about the education (and lives) of these 19 kids being in my hands alone for 7+ hours of the day... YIKES! I don't know if they've learned a thing... but we (or maybe it's just me) love every minute of it!

The sad thing is that the "teaching atmosphere" is so negative right now... people complaining, all. day. long. I get it- it's frustrating that we, as teachers, are scored on test scores and exhausting rubrics that don't allow us to be "good enough." BUT I am a brand new teacher, and I could use some encouragement. On my FIRST day, other teachers were telling me that I chose the wrong profession... that it is worse than it's ever been... that they cry every day... the list goes ON AND ON.

Thankfully, I was taught the TEAM rubric in school... it's all I've ever known. It pushes me to be a better teacher... but what really pushes me to be a better teacher is my students. Hopefully, that's why we all chose this profession in the first place. I am thankful for teachers that are speaking up and "revolting," as the Metro Pulse said, because they DO want the heart of the matter to be the students... but all this negativity in the school system HAS to be affecting these kids too. It is contagious. For the sake of our children, let's stop the complaining... at least in the school... while the kids are there. Save it for when they're not around because it affects your mood... and for at least 7 hours a day, these kids are affected by YOUR mood.

Do all things without grumbling or disputing, that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world, holding fast to the word of life, so that in the day of Christ I may be proud that I did not run in vain or labor in vain.
Philippians 2:14-16

Stay positive, fellow teachers. Remember why you chose this profession. It's for the kids... Let's not allow them to suffer because we are suffering. One of the best lessons we can teach them is to choose joy. 

Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.
James 1:2-4

I know that I am young and my thoughts carry little weight. I know that things need to be different. Most of all, though, I know that I just want to love my kids hard for 7 hours a day, 5 days a week... my hours are much longer than that, but those are the minutes (every one of them) that count. 

There is a lot that I am thankful for every day. Not just in this season of Thanksgiving. One being that I have this job. There is nothing else I would rather be doing. I am so thankful that God allowed me to see His calling for me early in life so that I could pursue it. I am thankful that He has given me such a passion for what I do. I am thankful for how obsessed I am with my kids. Thankful that I could not be any more in love with what I do...

I am thankful for a boyfriend that supports me in putting my kids first, even when it means he doesn't get much of my attention. Thankful that he loves my kids (almost) as much as I do (only because it's not possible for anyone to quite reach my level of love for them). I am thankful for a supportive family that encourages me not to get frustrated with the system.

Thankful for the chosen few teachers that are still staying positive.


Monday, May 13, 2013

"What we have loved, others will love, and we will teach them how."

I found the above quote in a book I was reading about teaching kids to love to read... which is perhaps one of the top five most important things that I hope my students will learn in my classroom. More than that, though, I want them to learn that they are dearly loved. They will be dearly loved by me, undoubtedly, but most importantly, they are perfectly loved by Jesus. I want them to see how much Jesus loves them through me, and if that is the only thing they learn during a year in my classroom, that is okay. (I probably won't keep a job for very long if that is the only thing they learn, but that's okay too...) My duty as a teacher is to teach them the state standards, but my duty as a person is to teach them how to live and make decisions, and my duty as a disciple is to show them God's love and grace and mercy. Maybe the title of this post is a quote about reading, but I want to teach my students how to have a relationship with and love Jesus by living my life in a way that glorifies Him.

I graduated... from UT... for the second time. This time I walked, so I have some pictures to show for it! Maybe this Master's Degree will get me a job so I can love on some kiddos of my own this fall! It's scary how fast the time goes... and it's scary that I am entering "THE REAL WORLD." I'm just trusting the Lord to provide, like He always does, and looking forward to seeing what He has in store for me! I think He is a more sturdy, trustworthy foundation for me to count on than that degree! :)

Here's to some of the people who helped me survive this year!

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Life Lately

I spend 95% of my time either doing elementary school things or grad school things... I try to squeeze a little bit of a social life in there sometimes.
Zac Brown Band
Sweet birthday present from one of my YL girls who is going to LSU in the fall.
Hate thinking about it because I am going to miss her so so much.
My desk is always a huge cluttered mess of papers, etc.
So flowers are always a nice touch! :)
One of the many reasons I hate dog-sitting.
Gotta make use of him somehow...
He is wearing "the grading glove." What a goofball.
Camo on camo on camo. Everyday. Even the girls.
Jamie's 23rd

Tennessee weather is crazy... and Chelc is clumsy
Mom's birthday, but she refused to be in a picture. Of course.

Still have a beautiful drive to work!
When Butch said "Start your engines" at Bristol
Action Research...
(even though there is only one picture of this,
 it is actually where I spend most of my time)
Almost done!
Fancy dinner
We visited Christine for SBXIII
loves of my life

Christine's studio
Couldn't afford the Biltmore... so took a picture with a picture
My boyfriend is cooler than I am...
and he went to
the Grand Canyon,
Death Valley,
for spring break
and somehow managed to be on Conan O'Brien!

Thursday, March 28, 2013

[a post I started one day and finished much later...]

As I sit here and wait for my mentor teacher to get back to the school to pick up her kids (she had a meeting outside of the school), they are all playing on some website... communicating with each other somehow. They are all animals, telling each other to meet at so-and-so's den... I don't have a good segue, but... I can't even believe that I am 23 years old. When did this happen? Where did the time go? Where did this year go? I am about to graduate from grad school... with my master's. It all just seems so grown up. And it is kind of scary. When did I stop playing Jump Start 4th Grade and start applying for jobs? In the midst of job applications, I fear the unknown. I worry that I'm not making the right decisions. I know without a shadow of a doubt that God has called me to be a teacher, but where? What if I say yes to the wrong school? Or my even bigger fear... What if I am supposed to teach abroad this coming year? I know that I am being called back to Africa, but I don't know when I am supposed to go.

With the fear, doubts, and unknown comes great joy as God reminds me that I cannot mess up His plan. He reminds me that I have been confused before, but He has always made it clear in His time. I am thankful for a God that is full of forgiveness, grace, and second chances. I am thankful for a God who walks in front of me and beside me and in me all at the same time. I am thankful for a God that I cannot even begin to understand, and I cannot wait to see what all He has in store for me!

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Thankful to know I'm not the only one who feels worn down by the world and so thankful that I can find rest in Him even when life is so overwhelming/exhausting/stressful. Basically, I just have so much going on that all I want to do is sleep! But true rest can be found elsewhere... (of course sleep is good too!)

"Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest." - Matthew 11:28

"The LORD will fight for you; you need only to be still." - Exodus 14:14 [The LORD himself will fight for you. Just stay calm. NLT]

 "For the Lord God, the Holy One of Israel, has said: You will be delivered by returning and resting; your strength will lie in quiet confidence." Isaiah 30:15

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Although I have been on quite the blogging hiatus this year, now seems an appropriate time for an update- the beginning of a new year, a 6 day unexpected break from school (flood days, what?!), and a time of great busyness when I should be writing lesson plans...

I've said it before, I'll say it again, and hopefully I'll continue saying it for many years to come... but I LOVE hanging out with elementary schoolers all day long and attempting to teach them some things along the way.

Christmas break was a wonderful time well spent with family, friends, and the bugs in my hair. Yes, that's right... the kids have now given me the flu and lice. They are so generous and willing to share! Better get used it, I guess! It was such a season of thankfulness (a month late? I believe that every season should be a thankful season, though), love, and waiting.

School has been very stressful this year, and though that usually causes more blogging, this year I really haven't found the time. I had high hopes for this post, but here I am rambling as I search for words to type... so I will just revert back to my usual update of pictures. Soon hopefully I will have words. I want to write about my adventures of teaching third grade- the excitement, the humor, but mostly the faith and the trust that it has required and the joy that it brings.