Category Archives: teachers

Be the Church

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One of my favorite things to do is work in the preschool at church. I get to love on babies, play with toddlers, tell little ones about Jesus and SHOW them God’s love on display. Tell each kid that Jesus knows his or her by name.

I get to give parents an hour to worship undistracted by little ones. My time with their children help ls them to feed their souls. Is it loud and crazy…oh yes. But is it important?

Nothing else matters.

The kingdom belongs to these littles. We must be careful to train up the next generation so the church carries on until He returns.

Be the church wherever you fit in using whatever gift He bestowed upon you.

It is everything right now.

Mentors

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One of the best parts about teaching is building relationships. When you have to be with your work family more than your real family then you better like them. I was thankful to work at a place for 15 years where I enjoyed the people. An added bonus is finding a leader that pours into 7 years after she has retired.

Tonight we celebrated this mentor as we caught up and looked back at the good, the bad and the beautiful of education. Thankful she still laughs and cries with us all these years later. Whenever we need her, she is there. Find that mentor or be that mentor; they are more precious than gold!

The Trauma I Never Knew I Had…

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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

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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!

Re-Teaching and other School Stuff

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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.

Teaching Sadness

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Teaching is my joy and passion. It is really hard, but this profession impacts lives for a lifetime, so when a former or current student dies it should not be a surprise it is devastating.

Homerooms become a family. We check in every day together. Go to lunch. Travel to other classes.  Share our triumphs and struggles. Class parties, awards, field trip lines, class pics, yearbook pages….your homeroom in elementary school is life..good or bad-there is a bond.

15 years later, I still have stories of this group…

Funny stories. Sad stories.  Stories of growing as a teacher. This group is now 23 to 24. They are graduates, parents, coworkers, college students, soldiers…they are grown, but I will forever see them as this age right here. My kids in 2008.

So when I learned one died it shook me. When I learned it was due to gun violence it broke me. A young person gone too soon. A flood of memories rushed back…the time I ran into him at the store a couple of years ago…the time he came up to share a hug and hello. Once a student, always a student.

Teaching is hard in moments like these. Teaching sadness is real. Seeing these young people hurt is painful. Knowing it is part of the job to love so big that when you lose one it hurts bad.

But we go back each year and build those relationships and families because that is how we learn. We learn in love and we learn in loss.

RIP A’Daireon. You made me a better teacher. God put us together in 5th grade for a reason. God brought our paths together. I am blessed by you. You will never be forgotten.

This is a teacher’s heart.

Mental Health and Teaching

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Summer time is here! As a teacher, these two months (calendars keep changing) are the reason the other 8 months are worth it. Time for family. Time for rest. Time for recharging and reflecting. Time for ALL the appointments.

The temptation may be to do more. More studying. More planning. More getting ready for next year. I say, “Stop!”

Use this time for self care and strengthening your personal wellness and health. Focus on the you that gets forgotten 10 months of the year as you focus on the duties and unwritten contract hours that you never get paid to do. Do not feel guilty for just being.

Teachers are dropping this profession daily so celebrate you are still here, still teaching and commit to the summer “off” before returning. Of course we do our professional development and other areas to grow…but let it be okay to not do that every day as well!

You are worthy to take time for you.

Trauma Informed Staff Development for Educators

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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.

Real Talk with Teaching Time in Quarantine

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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??