Monthly Archives: August 2015

The Next Chapter

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It happened late last week. I got my schedule of students and my classroom assignments. I never really thought about it until this point, but I have officially made it through my second year of teaching, my first of being full-time. I honestly never thought that I would get so far or be so able to succeed in this environment. Looking back on how I was in school as a student, I never would have thought that entering a school building was one of the best feelings in the entire world. It’s amazing how much I love to teach and inspire others but how scared and fearful I used to feel in the setting where most learning and inspiration takes place.

This year might be a little rough for a couple of reasons. As I count down the hours in my last week of “freedom”, I feel excited for the start of this next year, but anxious about all of the changes and adaptations that I will go through within just the first few weeks back. I know in my heart that I will survive, just as I’ve survived the past few years. But for now, I am fine feeling slightly nervous and unable to put my full level of excitement into the upcoming orientations, trips, and classes.

I guess one of the biggest changes will be positive. I’ve been through this entire process before, so I will be spending more time helping out the new teachers than I will trying to figure my own way through the chaos. I also get my own classroom, though I’m unsure if that will be a positive or negative when I have to share it with at least two other people… I tried setting up the room the other day, only to realize that once all of the tables have been set in their perfect spot for the first day of school, the administration will come in and move them anyway for our first day of teacher orientation meetings. Seems like there should be a law against that! (Just kidding!!)

I’m not so much looking forward to the changing of my students. I am excited to get to know new kids, but I am not so excited to realize that the seniors from last year won’t be roaming the halls as usual. They were truly like my siblings in so many senses of the word, particularly towards the end of the year. I’m praying that it won’t feel like the relationships we’ve built will no longer exist simply because they don’t spend their days in my room anymore.

I’ll just have to put my whole heart into this year and pray that things work out. But for now, I feel like there is one thing that I can do to help. So below is the list of at least ten things that every teacher should remember in order to succeed throughout any school year. Just, please, remember that I made this list and it might not make sense to everyone.

  1. Remember that you have the ability to change people’s lives. Never stop trying even if you have the worst day in the world. One day, even those students who say they hate you may turn around and be happy to know that you were there to support them through anything.
  2. Allow the creativity to flow. I’ve decorated my bulletin board with sayings that don’t even pertain to Math (well one does). Instead, I’ve made a sign saying “Please excuse the mess, my children are making memories.” Yes, I stole the quote from somewhere else, but I truly believe that having a relaxed atmosphere will make any class or day better in the end. I know I need to work more on sticking to the rules in my syllabi but I also see the huge advantages of treating the classroom like a home.
  3. Find a group of supportive teachers who will make your life easier and will listen to you as you talk out your bad moments and exult in the good. My support system somewhat fell apart from last year since so many teachers moved on, but I feel like I can make a support system again just as easily as I did last year. I just hope that I don’t have to do all of the supporting since I’m no longer the newbie.
  4. When in doubt, grade. If you don’t have anything to grade, then organize. These are the two things that will keep you distracted from drama and politics of schooling. You’ll also get brownie points from the parents and the students if you grade quickly and keep in contact with them to make sure things stay organized.
  5. Rely on your students to help carry the load. Allow them to make decisions (within reason), ask them for help when grading or recreating your bulletin board. I’m particularly lucky with my students; most of them seek ways to help rather than dreading to be asked.
  6. When your students make goals at the beginning of the year, make your own. If your kids don’t already do something along the lines of goal setting, make sure they start.
  7. Bring parts of your life into your work day. Don’t tell everyone your deepest, darkest secrets, and be careful who you tell what to, but letting your students into little tidbits about your life will make them more comfortable approaching you for help and advice. Just don’t give out any advice that you don’t truly believe in. And never down talk any of your coworkers, parents, etc. within the school system (not that you should ever talk that way at all).
  8. Eat healthy and take the stairs as often as possible. Sometimes it’s ridiculous how fast you can gain weight or get exhausted from standing on your feet all day; you stand ALL day but you don’t necessarily move around! Don’t overcompensate by eating too much. I’m going to try not to eat such unhealthy foods this year either.
  9. Don’t do it unless you love it. Make sure that you are in it for the kids, for the love of teaching, and for the chance to change the world for the better. If you’re in this career for the money, the “fame”, or any other selfish reason, get out and get out now. (I know, a little too late considering most schools start next week, but oh well…)
  10. Finally, don’t forget you have your own life to live. Making your job an enjoyable part of your life is extremely important, but it’s hard to realize that you are leaving your family and friends behind when the job gets too busy. Try not to let it happen. I myself know that I am super nervous about the lesser amount of time that I will have to see my boyfriend, my sister, my parents, and my pup once school returns. I’m not sure why I’m so nervous about that now, but I am. Last year at this time I was single. Now I wonder how my boyfriend will feel once it seems like I am “leaving him out” because of my lack of time. And I hope my family won’t suffer from that as well because now I am sharing my time with them and work AND my man.

I’m praying everything works out. I guess we will start to find out on Monday when all of this school year nonsense comes to be reality.

~Me

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Church of Drama

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I haven’t written in a while about anything religious. For that, I apologize. I know some of my followers like the posts when I talk directly about my beliefs and my opinions. Unfortunately, the reason that I have not been writing about these topics is because they have fallen a little bit to the wayside in my life lately. No, I have not stopped believing in God or praying throughout my days. I have just taken more of a backseat in my church lately and have been very frustrated with the organization that we call church.

Here’s the thing: my church joined up with these other churches in town to form a group that is “run” by a board. I think of it sort of like a school district with a school board and superintendent. Anyway, I know that church attendance is going down all over the world, but joining up with these other churches has hurt my church in particular way more than just struggling for attendance on our own. For the past few years we have been sharing pastors with other churches in the area, have changed all of our hymnals to new books that some of our members cannot even read or follow, have amended the way that our services run, and have even changed the types of meals and items that we offer during our summer picnic.

Now I know that everything must change to adapt to the new parts of the world that arise over time. I’m not saying that I expected everything to stay the same forever. All I’m saying is that my church has become (at least in my eyes) more about politics than speaking of God or singing those songs that I grew up loving to sing with the choir. Now I go to church… pretty much never, and I try to participate as little as possible. After I volunteered one time to read the scriptures, the coordinator decided that I had elected to read scriptures for an entire month in a row at random intervals. I feel like the worst person in the world to admit this, but I was unable to attend church during some of those weekends. There were one or two when I would have been available, but even then I came up with something else to do simply because I was upset that I had not actually been asked to read. It’s nothing like thinking you are walking into a group of like-minded, kind, and understanding people only to find out that they don’t understand your schedule or priorities at all. I still stand by the fact that I fully believe attending church is not necessary to be able to believe in a God or higher power. I also don’t think that I need to attend church for God to forgive me when I make mistakes or that I need to attend so that he does not stop listening to my prayers.

In any case, I’m getting tired now and don’t have much else to say on the subject. Part of me feels like more people in the world need to believe in some source of good to make Earth a better place. The other part of me sees how much drama and politics are being brought into my church right now and I don’t understand at all why anyone would want to start going or go back to a religious service again. It’s going to take some convincing on my own part to get me back to a service. That, more than anything else right now, makes me sad.

The New Man in Town

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I keep thinking that I’ll write something new on here, but life has been so busy and so fun that I just have not had the time. From buying a new car and selling the old one to taking a trip to West Virginia to laze around in the woods by the river for a week, I haven’t had much time to sit own and write. These things of course are in addition to having been sick from a new medication I got, taking a weekend to the beach, decorating my first ever classroom at work, dealing with a puppy who is nearing his terrible twos, and falling in love for truly the first time in my life.

Here’s the thing: So many people say they are in love and will never leave their partner for any reason in the world. Everyone pretends to remain completely faithful to their boyfriend or girlfriend even though they have no idea what may happen in this world to rip them apart from one another. I myself am a romantic; I love the little sweet gestures that people who care about you will make just to show their love. I even get a kick out of sappy stories about people who found their true love and stayed together for years without divorce or problems. But since people have hurt me so many times, I don’t really believe in this whole promise me your whole world and forever thing like most other people think is so sweet.

I always liked that Sarah Evans song about the girl looking for her perfect match. I use to sing it all the time. Sitting here thinking about it, I never thought that I would find that “blue-eyed boy”, but now I see that he is in my present and not my future.

The real reason I am writing this post is because the girls in my family went away for a weekend and I stayed at home with the two men in my life. On Friday, my boyfriend and I went to the carnival. I felt so accomplished being able to walk in there and see people who have issues with me. I walked right by them as if they weren’t even near me. I’d like to say my new independence and confidence in my abilities (mostly at work) have improved my “no-care” attitude that I exhibited, but I know that some of it was also having that hand by my side and knowing that someone was supporting me even if they didn’t understand how much I needed them to overcome a horrible memory from my past.

Saturday we woke up and went to the Truck Nationals, which was great. I had more fun when we went a few years ago just because there was more to look at, but I had a ton of fun this year too. We got to see all kinds of vehicles and events, but I also got to buy LED lights for inside of my new car! I cannot wait to install them.

When we got home, I actually had the chance to take a cat nap, and then we went out to dinner at the brewing company. They were having a special event with musicians to support children with cancer. Let’s just say not all of the music was what you would normally want to listen to while you were eating your supper. Additionally, the music was way too loud for all of our tastes. But it was one of my favorite parts of the weekend simply because I got to see something that I never thought would happen. The two men that I had supper with reminded me so much of one another during our conversations. It was like eating dinner with two guys who were friends with each other rather than them having a relationship with me! And you know what? I loved every minute of it. Hearing one of them throw out a joke that was then enhanced by the other “comedian” was amazing. Seeing how similar their personalities and sense of humor are made me feel comforted and blessed to have them both in my life. I never thought that I would find someone with as good a heart and as great a personality and caring attitude as my dad, but if there was ever anyone who was similar to him, I believe I found it in my boyfriend. Don’t get me wrong, there are many, many differences between the two. But the similarities that I was able to see make me happy to know that at least my family can get along with one another. (Yes, I consider my boyfriend to be part of my family at this point.)

I keep remembering that saying that you hear all the time: most women will marry someone who reminds them of their father. I don’t normally put too much stock into cliches or quotes from random people in history, but I do know this; if my boyfriend has even one single trait similar to that of my dad, I know I’m on the right track to being with the person who makes my life complete. I hope my boyfriend knows that I don’t look at him like he is my father’s twin or something (ew gross!), but I do know that I’ve found a very, very good man when I see their similarities.

As we near our 6 month anniversary, I pray that everything will continue to go as smoothly as it has been. And for the heck of it, I figure I’ll throw one more cliche out there that I truly believe in. Marry the person who you love to talk to. As you grow older, the one thing that will always keep you together is the ability to communicate and interact with one another. Thanks hun, for being that guy for me. I hope you stick around for many, many more months. ❤