Category Archives: teaching

Teacher Love

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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.

Mullet Vote

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Do you like voting? Do you like mullets? Do you have a Facebook?

Well, as a teacher, I support all things including bad haircuts. This is a student I will have this year, so if I have to see this haircut every day might as well help him win.

Just click the link at the top. Click the post. Count 29 mullets down. Like the pic that looks like this-he is a sweet kid!

We can discuss why mullets made a comeback and how to stop it on another day. 🤣

You never know where the story will go…

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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

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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.

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.