Tag Archives: education

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.

Teacher Struggle

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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…

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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.

Urban to Rural…year one done!

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Last year, I made a big career move by switching from Mesquite ISD to Crandall ISD. Big move meaning less pay, less resources, went from 34 elementary schools in the district to 4, went from a support role with less stress to the classroom which meant more preparation…a lot of change! Now that the year is over I can say it was the right move, but I still miss Mesquite greatly; it was my home and still where I feel the most me.

But looking back here is a list of some of the biggest changes:

1. Resources- no printer in my room, a rough curriculum that was new, no chart paper readily available, one person was the go to for all the curriculum needs vs having department heads. All of this obviously due to size…this district is growing, but some of these perks are not needed yet.

2. Freedom- freedom to make your plans as you see fit, to try new ideas, to leave on time, to focus on teaching and not testing. Returning to the classroom could have only been done if I could reduce the stress and this district was the answer.

3. Respect-at my campus families still respect the profession. Behavior was awesome because parents would punish if not. Parent phone calls made a difference; the student behavior was to blame and not the teacher. The community valued the profession…lots of respect for this passion I pursue.

4. Pride- Mesquite has pride, but with so many schools that pride is spread out. So many great schools leads for lots of ways to shine which Mesquite often will, but this small town vibe sends all their students to one high school which leads to one big ball of CHS pride. I will love this in the future when I want to see former students and know where to find them.

5. Purpose- there is purpose at both but in Mesquite I knew mine daily. There you are more than a teacher..you are life. More is expected of you emotionally and spiritually. Your coworkers are your soldiers fighting the urban education battle of poverty with you. I was emotionally fatigued daily but I was needed, changing lives and doing the impossible daily. 

6. Connection..this will be the last reflection, but the smaller district gets you connected quicker.  We meet as a whole district to cheer each other on, parades and pep rallies are attended by the town, Friday night lights is a thing, the admin knows you by name and make sure to address your concerns…the lack of Title One money means there is not as much stuff, but the relationship of knowing who you are is powerful.

The purpose one often has me question if I will return to Mesquite or at least a campus in this district that is more needy..maybe even middle school someday, but for now I am trying to remember I did my 14 years in the trenches and it is now time to see a different side. Still tough, still needed, still so much work but with some benefits so I do not get burnt out. 

I am especially excited because my son comes to school with me next year!

Hard to believe this baby is now five!

If you are thinking about switching districts, my advice is think about the location, money and then your health. Decide what you can balance.  I am fortunate we could take the pay cut. The new location limits us since my family and our activities are in Mesquite plus Crandall is limited on food and shopping. We drive a lot, but at least not in the morning like I used to do for two years commuting to work. Being in the classroom is long hours, but adding driving time means you are away from home even more.  For me, it came down to health. Even when I was crying because I missed my support system and school where I was known and loved…I knew I was healthier because I was less stressed and had help when I needed it. Lupus is a disease triggered by stress and I need the less stress possible. Being in the classroom filled my passion, but it also brought back work only a classroom teacher could know. 

Health won.

I encourage you to pray to God about where he can use you and then obey. When it is all happening then you will have peace if you are in his will. Even during the tough times then you will know God led you here and He is with you.