New school year brings new fun and a new level of busyness. I am still teaching 5th grade, but with a new team so that always brings new challenges. This looks to be the first year in three that we might be in school the entire year! I cannot teach virtually ever again so praying we survive the winter! I finally have my joy back in teaching after Covid took it away! This year I am a coach for Battle of the Books, UIL, mentor teacher and Webmaster (ha!). You know I feel good when I choose to add more roles (and work) to an already busy life as mom and teacher.
Hard to believe, but my son is in 3rd grade. I hate how STAAR affects our SPED kids, so I have been dreading this year. Also praying that ridiculous HB4545 disappears because it is doing nothing but making a hard job harder. Hopefully, we can find a place for this test that saves education until then I will advocate as a mom and continue to push through as a teacher.
I count having my first child in my mid-thirties a blessing because I had a lot of time to think about cool things I wanted to do as a parent. One cool thing is dressing a baby up like a man.
That hat was my grandfather’s so that look is extra special to my heart.
Another fave thing was taking the month to month pics the first year. This process was super hard and only got harder each month but love looking at the 12 months all together.
Poor kid endured big dress ups on every holiday! Here are some faves:
But two more cool things that I only do because I had lots of time to think about kids is….1. I have a Dr Seuss book that each of his teachers sign and I will give it to him at graduation. It is a great reminder of all the teachers that poured into him each year. I keep a school picture from each year so we can see how he grows. 2. Keep a frame with those school pictures as art on the wall.
I want this to be a daily reminder the time goes fast so make the memories and track them for the future. Thankfully I started these early so I have the keepsakes needed.
I am sure there are so many other ways to track the memories. Do you have any special ones you do?
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.
Covid hit the educational world hard. Overnight, learning moved to the virtual world and the stability of the classroom was gone. I never knew how traumatic it was until summer hit and I rested. My body and mind were exhausted.
Returning in person has had challenges, but there is some consistency in our routines, face to face checkins and the smiles and connection to keep us all going. We were required to take Trauma Informed Care for staff development and I needed it!
I needed to learn to take care of myself. I needed the reminder to have empathy for those still in virtual learning. I need to rely on my coworkers more. I need to speak up when I am struggling. Thankful for Crandall ISD that cares about our mental health and gives us time to learn more about the trauma we have all experienced.
One thing is for sure, I have never looked at my face so much as when I have been a virtual teacher in quarantine. Virtual conferences, my pic on a million teaching apps, recording my teaching, having to post pics of me to document I am working…I see me a lot and I am only looking quarantine cute.
My house looks like a hot mess!
I stare at this all day or constantly check my cell phone to respond in a timely manner.
I have heard the background noise of other people's houses more than I ever care to hear. There are some loud homes out there, America!
The codes, the codes, the codes. All the codes to get into all the things! Managing my class and my son’s classes just add to all the codes, new apps downloaded, new accounts created and all this technology makes me want to do my next topic…
Work out, walk, stand outside, put my headphones in and be by myself. I look forward to a workout every day now that there is time. Something about being still in nature and with God is special right now more than ever.
The hardest part is explaining it to a child that truly cannot get it. No words can explain it and it is hard to say no friends, no school, no going to parks. God is good and we will be stronger from this. Pastor Steven Furtick says it is not a matter of if this will end it is a matter of when it ends will you be better from it??
My campus was on Spring Break last week, so online learning started for us this week. Last week, I struggled to wrap my brain around what it looks like and this week I have been busy executing the plan. Crandall ISD has stepped up to give us a united vision of consistency and leadership. Today the first day of school at home begins!
It started with lots of online conference meetings which sound way more fun than they are. A great way to bridge the distance another tech tool that I can now use for the future.
Later came two days of connecting to the families, creating assignments for the Google Classrooms, creating videos to teach parents and forgetful students how to access those classrooms and lots of extra things to put the plan in place. I have a 7 year old that has really had to fill his time (un) wisely while I work 9+ hour days sorting it all out. Again, thankful the vision was already in place so I could execute my part.
Just when I thought I had had enough the Flipgrids started rolling in with their sweet faces and voices and then my first video call to try out the class. Breathe. This is worth it. The kids need the interactions as much as I do and it reminds me why I teach. Their faces remind me why I went back to the classroom after leaving it for leadership and more money. Their smiles are my why and their need for something normal is my motivation. For them the work is worth it.
God is doing something big in all this that I know will be missed when it is all over. Families are reconnecting, educators are innovating, kids are really learning for life not a test, and we are appreciating the roles we all serve and sometimes take for granted. God is moving in this stop and slow down moment in history. I believe in his promises!
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.