March 23

I have seen quite a few 6 word memoirs lately, and I was wondering what this type of writing was all about.  I did a little research and was inspired by what I read.  The following stuck out to me as 6 word memoirs I could have used in the last few weeks.

Never give up the struggle.

Irving Jones

Change what you are complaining about.

Doug Beach

ask me again in a month

Jessica Lowenthal

What the hell is going on?

Daniel Melamed

Have yet to figure it out!

Cami Potter

I’ve tried to come up with a few of my own to sum up the day…

This momma don’t play like that.

Barking makes me feel so annoyed

who is responsible for this mess?

Hey, you are done, stop now!

Why are you yelling at me?

Why don’t they listen to me?

The winner is…

I am exhausted, need to sleep.

March 22

“There is no one I’d rather be than me.” Ralph, from Wreck it Ralph.

Lately, I’ve been a part of many conversations with children, adults, and family members where the topic of being like someone else or wishing that a different choice or career had been made at some point in a person’s life has been the topic of conversation.  Sometimes during those conversations I’m frustrated for those people.  Most days I’m pretty happy being me.  Sure, I’d like to lose weight, have a little more money, travel more, have more time to do as I please.  But, I’d like those things while still remaining me.  I like me.  I feel good when I am kind, helpful, friendly, trustworthy, and loving.

I have noticed the messages received from TV, social media, and peers are that you have to be the best, the prettiest, the richest the most talented, the most liked, or the happiest to matter in the world.  There is so much pressure and competitiveness in the world.  And I don’t really understand it.  Sometimes I am the recipient of the , “Mom, you are so in your own world” look from my oldest daughter, and my husband just plainly disagrees with me.  But, I keep being who I am proudly.

In my classroom, my job is to expend knowledge to children, but another job I take very seriously (and probably spend too much time on) is to build self-esteem and self-awareness.  I think it is just as important to help kids learn to be kind and thoughtful to others and themselves as it is to teach them academics.

Maybe I need to thank my parents once again for instilling in me the idea that I can be anything I want, if I want something, then I need to try hard until I get it, and it’s not important to be THE best, but to try my best. These are life lessons that have served me well, and I hope to pass them on to those who I am surrounded by.

 

March 21

“The first to apologize is the bravest.  The first to forgive is the strongest.  The first to forget is the happiest.”

There has been friend drama in my class in the last few days.  Not your normal friend drama, this was some downright, mean spirited, grudge holding kind of drama. It was the kind of drama that leaves a teacher exasperated when she thinks she has gotten through and taught an amazing life lesson, only to be told later that as soon as she was looking the other way the meanness continued.

I have read books about being friends, being assertive, being different, and today one about magic words.  You know the magic words I’m talking about:  please, thank you, bon voyage, be careful, I am sorry.  Why is “I am sorry” so hard to say with meaning?  When we got to the “I’m sorry” page in this book today, we had a lively discussion about the different ways someone could say sorry, or should I say the different tones of voice and attitude someone could have when saying sorry.  Students let me know about the truly, meaningful apologies they had from their siblings, they let me know about the apologies that weren’t sincere and then someone mentioned “the bribe” apology which is the one where someone tells you they are sorry so that you won’t tell on them, and they are just saying sorry so that they won’t get into trouble.  It was a great conversation, and possibly opened a few eyes and‎ consciences, giving some a different perspective to think about.

I love the sincerity that one student had when sharing his thoughts on why a real apology is a tough thing to do.  It renewed my hope!  We will keep working on forgiveness and the forgetting or letting things go because happiness matters!

 

March 20

Today started off okay, but the day took it’s toll on me and the evening brought some emails that were the icing on the cake.  So tonight I’m posting things that cheer me up!

That dog…  he really does let you know that you are loved, and on days like today, I’m very thankful to have a faithful friend like him!

The hammock on a nice day…  This hammock belonged to my husband when we was young.  It’s a high quality hammock and has been taken care of so well, so now our family gets to enjoy it.  It especially brought me joy on a warm February day when it was 70 degrees outside.  I had the flu, and was so sad that I couldn’t go outside and do something to enjoy the weather.  My husband suggested that I take a nap in the hammock so I could at least enjoy the weather a little.  And of course, my loyal friend joined me.  Definitely made a bad day a little better!

Being in Lake Champlain, Vt watching the sun set over the Adirondack Mountains…. Such a beautiful, peaceful sight.  Remembering the fun, relaxing time I spent there two summers ago is a great way to forget about the frustrations of this day!

Funny how a few photos from special times can improve a mood…

March 19

Today I’ve been wondering why time seems to pass by so much faster as my kids get older.  The days go by faster, the weekends go by faster, and the summers definitely go by faster.

I wonder if it is because as my children get older, they sleep in more, and our days seem shorter than the days when they would wake me at the crack of dawn?

Is it that as they get older, there are more things to do, and when I’m busy, time seems to pass my much quicker than when I am not so scheduled?

I decided to do some research on this topic, and I found out something very interesting.

Our early years are full of firsts, things like our first date, the birth of our first child, our first big vacation, first job.  First occasions are really special events,  and we tend to make more detailed memories of them because it is the first time we have experienced them.   When we repeat an event,  it is less exciting and it doesn’t leave a lasting impression.   This idea also applies to things like vacations.  For example, the first few days seem to be so relaxing and long possibly because it’s the first time we are there and we are making new memories.  But, before we know it, vacations are coming to an end, and the anxiety or stress associated with normal life start jumping in and taking over where memories were being made.

This makes me understand and think about my need to visit different places for vacations every year, not returning to the same place.  And why I sometimes get annoyed when my husband suggests the same restaurant for dinner that we’ve been to a million times.   Time passes to fast if I’ve already made memories there, and I’m always so sad that it’s already over!  I’m craving some new memories.

Hmmm…  So how can I make time slow down a little?  It seems like if time slows when I’m making new memories, then I better start making a list of things that I want to do, see and experience.

Camping for spring break at the beach?  I haven’t done that yet.  Exploring California during the summer?  Definitely haven’t done that yet!  New morning meeting activities?  Yes, that would make my mornings more memorable in a good way!  Planning something new for my family to try or do each week or at least each month?  I’m on it!  I want the next few years to slow down a bit…  my daughters are growing up too fast.  Watch out time!  I’m planning on outsmarting you!

March 18

“Set a goal that makes you want to jump out of bed in the morning.”  -Anonymous

I am not a morning person.  I have always wondered what it would be like to be one.  I think about being the kind of person who wakes up the first time the alarm goes off, and jumps out of bed, happy to be awake.  I envision  being someone like the princess Giselle from the movie Enchanted, waking up, singing, dancing, and basking in the glory of the new day!

In reality, I’m the kind of person who sets three alarms and snoozes each of them at least twice.  I fall back asleep between snoozes.  I hate to leave my warm covers in the morning.  I wake up because I know my students will be counting on me, or because my family has plans and I know someone is counting on me.

Some of my best thinking and work happens between 9pm and 1 am.  So maybe I just have a reverse morning person kind of time clock.  I seem to work hard all day, come home take a break, then start working on my goals and finally go to sleep so I’ll have energy to put my goals and plans to work!

Even though I’m not a morning person…  I guess my goals do get me out of bed in the morning!

March 17

Unlike seeing, where one can look away, one cannot ‘hear away’
but must listen … hearing implies already belonging together in
such a manner that one is claimed by what is being said.

–  Hans-Georg Gadamer

I’m sitting in my living room with my husband, dog, younger daughter, older daughter and her boyfriend.  We have just finished a yummy dinner…. together…. on a Friday night.

I realize that this evening with two 15 year olds mostly enjoying our company is not something that will always happen, but for this moment I’m going to enjoy it.

I was thinking about the words, sounds, and thoughts I’m hearing and was inspired to find a quote that was matching my thoughts on what was happening in my house.  And I found today’s quote.  It made really think about how you can’t ‘hear away’ and how sometimes teenagers don’t want you to hear anything, and go behind closed doors with quiet voices, and other times, like tonight, they let you in on so much.  I’m feeling very thankful for these moments.

Here is a little snippet of words in my house tonight:

“Oh, here are our first texts to each other.  Let’s read them aloud.  ‘Hey. who is this?’ ‘ It’s me.  ‘What are you doing?’ ‘I just got home from practice.’ ‘What practice?’ ‘Dive, I’ve been doing since I was 7 years old.’ ‘Cool’

“Wow…  that’s funny.”

“Remember today at school….”

“Can I braid your hair?” (said to the teenage boy) “Okay, but don’t hurt me.”

“My mom bought a smooshed pie today and we made fun of her.” (teenage boy)

“Why?  She was nice enough to buy you a pie.”(my older daughter)

“Yeah, she told us we should appreciate it.” (teenage boy)

“Grrr…. come on Tanner.” (teenage boy to dog who is happy to have extra company)

“Do you guys want to hear a story I wrote today?” (11 year old to the teens)

“Nice, that was really suspenseful.” (teenagers complimenting instead of tormenting 11 year old)

“Oh, I know her dad, what is she like?” (husband to teenagers looking and commenting at phone.”

“She isn’t a very nice girl.”

“Did you know that in the 1700’s pineapples were really expensive, so people would rent them and walk around with them at parties to look wealthy.” (teenage boy to me)

“Yeah, someone posted on their social media.”

“That was such a fun weekend even though those guys on the other team were annoying.  I met some really nice people.” (teenage boy to older daughter)

some whispers… “really?” “yeah, she brags about it.” “That’s stupid”

Everyone is happy, everyone is enjoying themselves, there is a sense of belonging and it’s nice to hear tonight.

March 16

“If at first you don’t succeed, Try, try, try again.”

 

This proverb has been traced back to the writings of Thomas H. Palmer in his Teacher’s Manual.

Hmmm…  Interesting, a teacher in the 1830’s was thinking about how to keep people motivated when they didn’t succeed the first time.  He was probably thinking this was good growth mindset type of advice for his students, but I’m going to say this is perfect growth mindset advice for this teacher!!!

For those who are back to hear how my day was after yesterday’s post, well it’s not all sunshine, rainbows, and happiness.  But there are some good things to share.

 

Yesterday

Very few listened

Today

through musical transitions, I had a captive audience at the beginning of my lessons.

Yesterday

I was interrupted while trying to teach at least 542,938 times.

Today

there was still interrupting, but somewhat less.

Yesterday

I felt like I had tried every trick I knew

Today

I discovered that I had a few more tricks up my sleeve and some of them worked

Yesterday

My patience was completely tested.

Today

It was tested again.

This morning

I got two emails that added more to my overfull plate, I cried, but had two awesome colleagues who listened and didn’t judge.

This afternoon

I felt better.  There is still lots of work to do, still lots of things to try, and I know that there are going to be some tough days, but I also know I can handle it!

So I’m just going to keep on trying!

PS The smoothie was replaced with a lovely dinner with my kind, loving, and  encouraging parents!  loving parents power > smoothie power !

 

 

 

March 15

“A good teacher, like a good entertainer, first must hold the audience’s attention, then he can teach his lesson.”

This year I have felt like the biggest struggle is keeping my student’s attention.  This is my 20th year of teaching.  I taught first grade for 14 years, I have lots of tricks up my sleeve.  But this year, I seem to be searching hi and low for better tricks and new ideas.

I have pondered why I seem to be struggling in this area this year.  Is it that I am teaching in a very affluent school, and these kids aren’t impressed by my meager normal teacher tricks?  Is it that we have 1:1 devices and they provide a distraction and I didn’t have a strong routine prepared for how we would handle having these devices at the beginning of the year, instead I let the students help me create the routines and protocols? (I thought by including them in the decision making, I was using a best practice, pro-responsive classroom approach) Is it that I’m learning a new reading program and teaching a writing program  at a new grade level, so maybe I’m not coming off as confident and interesting?  Is it because I have an extremely impulsive student in my class who is very bright, and loves to interject into each and everyone of my lessons about what he knows or how I’m wrong (even when I’m not) and he commands an audience because of his confidence?

I don’t know if it is any of these things or all of these things put together, but on days like today, I’m one tired and frustrated teacher.  I have been told that I have the patience of a Saint, but my patience is running low these days.  I’m feeling a little empty.

But, tomorrow I will go to school with my ideas and thoughts prepared!  I will sing to get their attention!  I will talk quietly until they quiet down to be able to hear me!  I will use wait time like a pro!  I will use my reminding and redirecting language!  I will stop rude behavior in it’s tracks!  I will pep talk myself through the day!  And it might just work!  If not, I’ll get to try something different the next day, and I might drown my sorrows in a peanut butter banana smoothie.

March 14

“Life would be tragic if it weren’t funny.” ~ Stephen Hawking

It’s so important to remember to laugh.  Sometimes I forget this.

Sometimes I’m overwhelmed by all of the responsibilities, and I forget to laugh.

Sometimes my husband is a source of some of my frustrations, and it turns my mood sour. He unloads his frustrations on me, he complains and forgets to say hello first.  He forgets to appreciate me.  And then I get frustrated and start to think that sometimes life is kind of rotten.

Just about that time,  he usually provides the laughter I need!  He is a funny guy!

I think I probably forget to tell him how funny he is and how much I appreciate it.  But, today when I laughed out loud so hard it brought tears to my face and my stomach hurt, I was really thankful for the funny things and people in my life!

March 13

“Suspense is worse than disappointment.”  -Robert Burns

First a county  that is south of us announces those blessed words “No school tomorrow.” Next a county west of us shares the same message.  Just now the county I used to work for, the one that shares a border line with my school district has announced that their students and teachers will have the day off tomorrow.

I look out the window, I am hopeful.  There is a dusting of snow on my car.  I start talking to the sky, “Keep it coming, cover the street, come on, you can do it.”  Each of my family members sporadically looks out the window.  The suspense is making us edgy.  We want it!  We haven’t had one this year!  This may be the last chance for this school year!

My students were a tough crowd today.  They were so distracted by the possibility of snow, convinced it was a sure thing even though I cautioned them that it might not happen.  I’ve kept the doubt in my brain all day to make sure that I could be happily surprised  tomorrow morning if we got to stay home.  But now, after hearing others have the day off, all of my pre-snow head games are not working.  The suspense is so frustrating.  I hope I don’t have to feel the disappointment tomorrow.

March 12

Part 2: “Some people talk to animals. Not many listen though. That’s the problem.” ― A.A. Milne

My dog is named Tanner.  He is an almost 4 year old Cockapoo.  He came to be a member of our family because one day my younger daughter, who was terrified of dogs, said to me,”Mommy, I’m ready to not be afraid of dogs.”  I replied, “Awesome, what do we need to do?”  She very seriously said,”We need to get a dog, and he should be small, and a puppy so I can learn to train him to listen to me.”  And then I asked, “You know if we get a dog, he will stay.  How much money did your sister tell you she’d give you if you asked for a dog?”  She answered me with the sweetest look on her face, “Mommy, I’m serious.  I think I won’t be afraid if I am with a dog everyday,  and I will learn how to be more comfortable around dogs.”

So, needless to say, we started our search for a small puppy to help her conquer her fears.  And we found Tanner.  Tanner who definitely listens to us when we talk about treats, food, or balls.  And lets us know he is listening when we say  or spell “W-A-L-K,:” by tilting his head this way and that showing us that he understands and is interested in this activity.

We listen to him too.  He scratches at the door to let us know that he wants to go outside, and if we don’t hear him, he scratches louder.  He also scratches to let us know he wants back in, sometimes he isn’t very patient about it.

He barks at those that pass by our window.  He barks when someone comes to the door.  He barks when people leave. If you are really listening, you can tell the difference in what he is saying.  Sometimes it’s, “Come inside and see me, I’m so excited you are here.” Other times it’s, “Hey, that’s my yard, stop smelling my grass.”  And many times it’s, “Oh, I haven’t seen you in so long, why haven’t you come to see me?  Do you know how much I love and miss you.”  And when we are walking out the door it’s, “I’m so mad at you!  Why are you leaving?  I don’t want to be here by myself.  Take me with you!”

He is a very special family member who gives the best snuggles and kisses, performs entertaining tricks, senses when we’ve had a bad day, and just wants to cheer us up, and makes us laugh.  He came along and cured one little girl’s fears and helped her learn to be brave.  We are honored to know him and will always try our best to listen.

 

 

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