Category Archives: education

Teacher Love

Standard

I truly believe we are in the age of a teaching revolution where the spotlight will be how we can support education. Already seeing more reforms for stipends, better security and awareness of the teacher shortage and how the community can support us.

I love it. I feel valued and heard. It inspires me to keep going knowing I am seen. Teachers should be respected, but it starts with respecting ourselves.

Be the professionals we are in our dress, conduct and attitudes of what we do. I am not saying jeans are bad-but do not roll up like you are about to garden. In fact, I would prefer scrubs!

I am looking forward to a year where it is acknowledged that teachers have been leaving (and may continue to go) so embrace the ones that stayed. Value the extra confident ones while supporting and encouraging the ones that see the struggle.

We are in this together and there is room at the table for more educators ready to join together and speak truth of critical needs that should be addressed such as increasing veteran teacher pay. How many companies enter your best pay your first year (new and clueless) and after 20 years make about 8k more than when you started? 8% increase over 20 years?!? We can do better.

Creative Children

Standard

My son struggles in every subject academically. He is reading 3 grade levels below, struggles to do basic math, loves science-but often becomes confused on the reasonability of an experiment….and he is honest that he does not like school.

School is not his thing. He will likely go into a trade or my guess create a new business or invention.

He thinks outside the box and sees objects for what they can become not what they are actually suppose to be.

School does not promote this learning. In fact most schools stifle it with testing. One answer that everyone needs to figure out.

But this guy is creative and you cannot teach creativity. You provide opportunities to grow it then let them flourish. He has a beautiful mind and although I worry often about him getting a job and being a productive citizen with a high school diploma, I know Ephesians 2:10 promises me he is made for a purpose and God has created him to do specific things.

You never know where the story will go…

Standard

In education, you plant the seed, but you do not always see the result. I have been blessed and fortunate to be part of two big stories where teaching and growing come together. It is these stories that keep me going as a classroom teacher despite the rough season of mental health and school safety.

https://starlocalmedia.com/mesquitenews/west-mesquites-top-scholar-inspired-by-former-valedictorian/article_26ec7606-e69b-11ec-9448-0fc358cb2d82.html?utm_campaign=blox&utm_source=facebook&utm_medium=social&fbclid=IwAR0rfrgNTAejtROX5y5tB2tUbQfDVITmR1XNUgxBQ37_SpFJAfgjbZNZ5F0

This weekend I got to witness a former student give a graduation speech as valedictorian! A student that set the goal of top in her class in my classroom. What joy to see BOTH valedictorians in the same space!

Teaching is hard, but so fulfilling! My advice to all teachers is plant the seed and step back. It may take awhile, but it will grow! Even if you never see it, something was planted.

Teachers Cry

Standard

I live about 6 hours from Uvalde, Texas the place of a horrific school shooting. I cannot count the number of tears that have been shed over this senseless murder. Sadly, these shootings have become a new norm-but this one shook me hard.

The kids were around the age I teach.

The school was in Texas.

Teachers died trying to save their students.

They followed all the rules. Practiced all the drills and were left to take care of themselves. As teachers, we know our job is important, but it is now dangerous. We are expected to die protecting our students…even if it is not expected-we would do it. They are kids and we love them…it is how we are made and why we are called to teach.

But I am angry at our system.

Those kids had to save themselves. That should not have happened. So much went wrong that it makes me angry and afraid. As a teacher, do I need to defend myself and not rely on the protocols that they give us? The help stood outside the door while kids begged for help to arrive. Even parents were willing to go in…kids saved each other while adults stood outside the door.

Outside the door while multiple 911 calls came in from a room where they thought everyone had died.

I cannot imagine the trauma the survivors will endure the rest of their lives. What if that were my child? It makes me angry.

As teachers, we all relate because really we all experience the same thing. Teachers get teachers. The car lines, the absent parents, report cards, workrooms, low pay, summers, staff development…different school…different city but same experience. We can all relate.

So tonight I struggle because I can relate to Uvalde. Propping the door is never okay, but I have done it because I forgot my keys in my room. Awards assemblies always bring more people on campus which is more chaos, end of year is full of movies and chill time with friends, locked doors can be annoying because you hear knocking all day long. The kids love to lock their friends out or play at the window. I get it. All teachers do.

Yet 2 teachers died along with 19 kids and I cannot wrap my head around the fact they were sitting ducks left for over an hour when every drill I have ever done they say they will get us. Remain quiet until we get you they say.

They did not get them. There is no excuse.

Teaching is one of the hardest professions and this May it just got harder. May God be with the families and city of Uvalde. You are light in the darkness and I pray the catalyst for much needed change and recognition.

Never Count out Creativity

Standard

My son has autism.

My son has ADHD.

My son has epilepsy.

My son’s IQ is too low to be considered having a learning disability.

True story. Too low to have a learning disability. If my son, did not have the other health impairment a public school system would not qualify him for special education because he does not have enough strengths to receive services.

Let that sink in. “Not enough strengths”. As a teacher this breaks my heart. My students that get this information are basically being told find a good trade or marry a rich spouse because according to the SPED system you are too low to receive our help. We cannot help you.

Low IQ is 70-79- my son has a 54. But if you ever met him then you would know something is different but 54 does not describe him- autism and distractedness make a difference on these tests. Combine that with lack of motivation and in his world “these tests suck”. STAAR is a joke for him-he cannot logically reason or read those words (mind you in a home with two parents with a masters degrees)…he is below grade level with an other health impairment. The test does not fit him.

The state should differentiate their testing. Supports are not enough for some kids.

But God.

God knew what this kid would need. God knew what our education and finances could offer that he was not born into. God knew what faith, hope, love, early intervention and stubbornness could provide. God chose us to adopt him…a hard calling, but an important one.

You see my child thinks outside the box. He sees things not for what they are, but what they can become. He sees a rinse cup and creates false teeth (it works). He sees a happy meal can be turned into a computer. He sees foil can create 101 different toys. He will make the world better….mark my words….by creating something so simple, but no one saw it.

Someday public education will rethink their testing and accountability but until then…

Never count out creativity.

Teacher Struggle

Standard

I want to start by saying that this year for me is WAY better than last year, so I am thankful. Last year juggling virtual teaching and student absences while trying to maintain a gradebook was intense. I will always be grateful for my mental health this year, however teachers across the country are abandoning education at a massive rate. I struggled to put into words why…but then a teacher I follow on Twitter said it perfectly…

The teaching game has changed, but the mindsets of those making the decisions and laws have not. They want to “catch up” kids to make them what they use to be and these kids are not what they use to be. Families have changed, education has changed and now laws need to change. The stress being put on teachers to test and perform is breaking our spirits as more hours of tutoring, documentation and building up their SEL is exhausting. I made this TikTok last year I think of one of my favorite Christian songs called Truth Be Known. It sums us up well…looking good, but feeling weak.

https://vm.tiktok.com/TTPdkM82sU/

God is my source of hope and strength so I know my foundation is firm. I have endured this business for 20 years so I know I can endure this valley, but those that do not know any different are walking out at an alarming rate. I get it. I hate it, but I get it.

On another note, wow how Lupus has changed my hair. No clue when my hair began to fall out and thin, but seeing my hair in this Tik Tok is shocking…long, full of volume…this is it today

Not without hope, but definitely not what it was. Crazy how a medicated auto immune disease can do that. My devo today said God has a purpose for my broken body and I am putting all my faith, hope and love that it is true.

The Trauma I Never Knew I Had…

Standard

Covid has wreaked havoc on education. Sub shortages, teachers leaving the profession, kids with anxiety and on medication…now even the leaders are retiring. So the big question is “Why?”

The short answer is apathy. In order to keep schools afloat and not ruin an academic future, schools required as little as possible. We took one grade per week, made most assignments optional, gave a choice to show up in person…we made learning easy and students got comfortable. However, what we were doing was hardly education. We were surviving.

When schools reopened, we again made many things optional and the virtual experience became a joke. Students got a year of very minimal learning as most teachers were forced to do a hybrid learning model. So now even though school was back in session, the learning struggled as teachers were overwhelmed balancing both. Later, Texas tested all of our kids while saying it did not count…was a baseline for the future. Wrong!

HB4545 is attempting to bridge the gaps of the horrific scores that “did not count” while frustrating teachers and making them feel defeated. Students have seen how minimal effort can bring a grade and failing is still nearly impossible so why put in more than the minimal? Then we got the sub issue.

Certain districts pay more than others so subs are really community members that love their community.

Watching the Amazing Race episode 3 when they shut down due to Covid, reminded me I have trauma. Trauma from life shutting down and my job closing. Trauma from sending kids home with one hug and a good bye. Trauma from virtual teaching. Trauma from homeschooling as a teacher. Trauma from learning new things and putting them to use quickly. Trauma from wanting to teach but realizing we are just giving a grade…most kids did as little as possible.

The teacher trauma is real!

Now we have schools with anxious students and teachers and leaders in very stressful situations. Balancing everyone’s mental health and not wanting anyone to break.

So here we are…brave educators digging in deep to ride this out. Kids are fragile so we all must walk carefully. No other job impacts children like teaching and I am here to stay…but things are challenging as you have to choose between scores and sanity.

It is what is, but the more support the better! Parents show you care. Teachers check on each other. Leaders show grace and compassion and serve your staff. Students come to school to learn. We can conquer this together. God is with us and suffering produces perseverance. The answers are complicated, but hope and love are strong and I believe in our business and system.

Staff Development from Abbott Elementary

Standard

I love a good teacher comedy! Something about sharing a teacher experience is refreshing. No matter where or what you teach…we are connected.

Our community is strong.

So when Abbott Elementary on ABC came on, I got excited because I love a good laugh especially when it involves my job. However as I started watching, it was more than laughter-I felt tears then heartache and surprisingly I learned something.

So here is my professional development from the first 3 episodes:

Episode one- The Pilot- Learn from others. Teaching is a humbling job and the best thing you can do is model your skills while learning from others. Love how the new teacher came in hot with energy, buy was humble to seek the wisdom of the veterans.

Episode 2- Avoid teacher burnout! The kids need all kinds of teachers and teachers need each other as well. Experience is priceless in this business so avoid the burnout by doing what you can do and letting go of the rest. Lesson 2- “say what you need to say and move on” Teaching has tough conversations, but do not be afraid to have them! Parents, admin, fellow teachers…speak up, but then move on. This takes practice!!

Episode 3-Drawings are love! It is so true that teachers get jealous when students love certain teachers more than others. I cannot count all the times I have grimaced when a student makes something for her, but not me. When a kid draws a picture or writes a note…that is love! Nothing warms your heart more especially when it is unexpected or from a “big kid”! Lesson 2-throw it away! Teachers hoard! We love to turn what is not into something that could be….it is the art of teaching. But trash is trash and sometimes we just need to throw it away! Moving rooms can be a blessing if you can be brave enough to throw it away! After 20 years, the crap I have is amazing…I need to be like Elsa and let it go!

Looking forward to episode 4 and what else I can learn from teacher comedy! Of course it is exaggerated and over the top…disinterested principal, grumpy janitor, fire hazard lights…but then again depending where you work maybe not. Either way support an educator…we need you right now!

The Creative Kid

Standard

I am a teacher and I worry often about the education of my son. He struggles academically with reading and math. He has documented disabilities and sensory issues. He has ADHD…but this kid is SO creative!

He is a kid that sees things not as what they are, but what they could be. He was created by God and gifted to us through adoption. I was made to parent him, but his academic struggles stress me out since creativity is not tested.

I wish they tested being awesome because he would score off the charts! I wish school would focus on the creative mind…the mind you cannot teach-it is just there and it is valuable and priceless and will change the world. Until then, I will be his biggest fan and prepare him for a education that is narrow focused, but he is more than that.

So.much.more.

Not Rocking this Mom Thing

Standard

I feel good at this mom thing about 85% of the time. I get him to school daily, we bathe daily, he eats every day, I get him his medicine and yearly appts. Overall, he is living large. But then school projects pop up or parent homework as I call it and this girl falls a part. Sure other parents think “Poor kid” as he carries his lunchables to school daily, or this mom shows up to parties late or forgets to sign the folder again. But school projects make them shout “Is she even trying!?” Exhibit A: 100th day of school shirt. The poor boy practically refused to wear it. It fell over him like cardboard and ruined one of his favorite shirts.

Exhibit B: That sad robot VDay box that was basically me saying “I am wrapping this box in foil, you figure out the rest.” Thankful this kid does not feel the need to compete because this mama is not helping his chances.