the weight of term papers on my shoulders...

Right now I'm blogging instead of grading, and I don't feel guilty...because, for once, all my grading is finished...done...gone...finito. And I feel like the weight of the world is lifted of my little anonymous shoulders because I'm not one of those teachers who can "aim at the next class period to give back exams and two weeks for feedback on papers" (Dr. Kirk). Let me take that back, I can aim all I want, but it's virtually pointless and simply makes me feel guilty when I don't.

Recently on Are We Doing Anything Today? there was a post about being inundated with grading. Now, I said earlier that I'm able to type guilt-free because I don't have any grading; however, that's only because I spent four hours yesterday finishing essays I'd had for nearly a month.

I really do try to get it back in a "timely fashion," but then I get caught up in planning and life...and grading falls to the wayside, despite the fact that I think feedback is one of the most important parts of the writing process, but teachers are people, not grading machines as some people seem to think.

Next semester will begin, I'll be on top of my grading for about a month....then all of a sudden, I'll look back, and my collection trays (what my students call the trays where I keep their homework) will be spilling over with essays...and I'll walk into class every day to a chorus of, "You don't have them graded yet?! Are we ever going to get them back?"

Creative Juices Flowing

I gave my freshmen a writing assignment to test how well they'd picked up on the elements that made up an epic. I knew they could recite the characteristics of an epic to me, but I wanted them to show me that they'd learned what makes an epic by writing one of their own. While I'd hoped they'd do well on this assignment, they've demonstrated their lack of writing abilities before, so I was nervous.

But what I got back was excellent.

The kids not only followed the guidelines of the assignment, demonstrating they understand the concept of what makes an epic, but they were also so creative. I'm in Panera right now grading, and I'm enjoying reading their assignments. They are riddled with grammatical errors, but they're so creative and entertaining, I've adjusted my rubric to make grammar less important.

Yay, freshmen!! Way to make my grading time fun!

Punish in public?

In one of my first education classes I took, my teacher shared this idea with us: "Praise in public, punish in private". I've always thought this is the way it should be, and as a teacher, I've really tried to follow that rule. I can't say I'm always successful, as it's difficult to not lose it occasionally; however, the other day, I actually broke this rule intentionally...and the more I think about it, the more I realize it may not have been the best choice.

Last week we had women from China who are studying to be teachers visit out school, and I had a group in one of my classes. During the lesson, one woman raised her hand and held out a sheet of paper. I walked over, and she showed me the paper and asked if it was a student's essay. I skimmed it over and realized it was a note.

I told her that, but she didn't quite understand and asked me if it was in French. This made me laugh because she was pointing at words like "ur" and "bc," then she points to "bitch." I just say that yes, it's a French essay and take it from her. I read a little further and notice that I'm the one who's a bitch because I won't let a student paint her nails in class or talk to her friend during speeches.

The note made me slightly annoyed, and I wanted to let the girls know that first off, the note was unacceptable, and second off, whispering in class is unacceptable. So, during lunch I told the story to the rest of my department and asked for their advice. One of the older teachers told me to call the girls out on it in it in a somewhat joking way, but embarrass them so they won't do it again. I left lunch thinking this was a good idea.

So, the next day during the last two minutes of class, I sit down on one of the desks and tell my kids, "Guys, I have a really funny story for you..." Then I tell them about the Chinese teachers and the note, the entire time looking at the two young girls who wrote it. I end the story by saying, "First off, I don't know that it's bitchy to ask you to show some respect to your peers and not paint your nails or talk during speeches, and second off, if you're going to think that, don't make the dumb move of writing it down and leaving it on the floor for me to find."

By this time, the rest of the class was up in arms or laughing at the two girls. One of the girls was bright red, and the other looked as if she was about to cry. These girls don't fit the social norm, and I think I may've made it worse for, now I've got a case of the guilty conscience, and I'm wondering if I did the right thing.

Thursday Thirteen #3

Thirteen Things I Hope to Do Before I Turn 30:

1. Summit Longs Peak.

2. Get my M.A.

3. Complete a triathalon.

4. Finish my foreign language certification.

5. Backpack across Europe.

6. Crochet a whole hat.

7. Watch the whole entire 24 hours of a 24 hour Christmas Story marathon. (I've almost made this one.)

8. Learn to manage my money better.

9. Move to Colorado.

10. Learn to bake my gram's chocolate chip cookies.

11. Buy a new car (hope to do this in the next several months).

12. Read Crime and Punishment and Anna Karenina.

13. Build a dark room to develop my own photos.

Get the Thursday Thirteen code here!

The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others comments. It’s easy, and fun! Be sure to update your Thirteen with links that are left for you, as well! I will link to everyone who participates and leaves a link to their 13 things. Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted!

a very hateful, very cowardly comment.

The other day I received a comment that actually made me cry. I opened my email, read it, re-read it to make sure I'd read it correctly the first time, then I cried. Boyfriend head couldn't figure out what made me so upset. All I could do was point at the screen and cry when he asked me.

This is what had upset me so much: *Link to original post*

Concerned - said...


I couldn't believe anyone could write something that hateful. Once I got over the initial shock, I was angry. I wanted to know who could be mean-spirited enough to say something like that. I went straight to my sitemeter. Obviously it couldn't tell me who this person was, but I do know that s/he found my blog by searching "bad teacher blog" on Google. But because of the anonimity of the internet, this is all I know.

I think if someone feels this strongly about something, the s/he would at least sign a name...leave an email address? Something to allow me to respond to his/her allegations. So, I'm doing it in the only way I can...Right here:

Dear Hateful, Cowardly Commentor,
  • I think just about everyone at some point or another complains about his/her job. Teachers are human, too. We have our bad days the same as anyone else, and I think we deserve to complain occasionally. Teenagers and their parents aren't the easiest to deal with sometimes. I apologize if this offends you, but my advice then is don't read my blog...or any others that may offend you.
  • I love my job. Yes, it is at times overwhelming, and the parent/teacher conferences I had were a nightmare...but I wouldn't give up my job for anything. I love working with my kids. My students tell me how much they appreciate my positive attitude and my smiles, so I'm pretty sure my "lousy bitching attitude" isn't shining through to anyone except for possibly the rude parents I was referring to in my blog post...and to be honest, with some of them, I hope it did...because their rude, disrespectful, condescending attitude came shining through to me.
  • If you think you have enough "patience and kindness" to be an effective teacher, then go ahead. We need more teachers who possess those qualities, and despite what you may think, those are two things we have in abundance in my classroom.
  • If you were referring to the other teachers who'd commented on that particular post, then shame on you for using my blog as a place to insult my visitors.
  • If you were attempting to make a point, it was lost on me. What I gathered from what you wrote is that you're a hateful person who has entirely too much time on your hands. If you'd like me to take your opinion seriously, then I suggest you be less insulting and actually attempt to say something...because all I see in that comment is nastiness, and why should anyone take someone so nasty seriously?
  • The next time you want to post a nasty comment on my blog, do two things for me, please: 1.) Grow some balls and leave some sort of identification (name, email, etc.)--pardon my crudeness. and 2.) When commenting on an English teacher's blog, at least attempt to show some sort of grasp of grammar and mechanics. As I tell my students, it's very difficult to take someone's opinion seriously when it's riddled with grammatical and syntactical errors.

Thursday Thirteen #2

Thirteen random Anonymous Teacher facts...

  1. I love the color green. It is, in fact, my absolute favorite color.
  2. I love to cook...mainly because I love to eat, but with school and all that jazz, I don't have time to cook as often as I'd like.
  3. I love skirts and heels. I really feel under-dressed if I don't wear a skirt and heels to work.
  4. Riding in a car always makes me fall asleep...doesn't matter what time it is or how much sleep I've had.
  5. Spring is my favorite season, but I really like winter because I get to wear a hat, gloves and scarves. (In other words, I like cold-weather gear.)
  6. When my cat died, I cried like a member of my family had passed.
  7. I can't stand it when people read over my shoulder as I'm typing, reading, writing, etc. (And I include that one because boyfriend head is looking over my shoulder as I write this.)
  8. I enjoy crocheting, but I always start projects and never finish them.
  9. Panera for breakfast is my guilty pleasure (bacon and egg souffle and icy mocha)...Jesus Pete it has a boatload of calories, but I can't help myself.
  10. I can listen to Christmas music year round.
  11. My feet are ridiculously ticklish.
  12. I can't lie to save my face turns all red, and I stutter.
  13. This is so gross and immature, but I'll share anyways...when I really want to annoy boyfriend head, I chew up food and show it to him.
Get the Thursday Thirteen code here!

The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others comments. It’s easy, and fun! Be sure to update your Thirteen with links that are left for you, as well! I will link to everyone who participates and leaves a link to their 13 things. Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted!


When I was a child, I never would've thought that the teachers were watching the news and hoping for a snow day just like the students. The thought simply never crossed my mind. But there I was last night, ice pelting my window, wind blowing and howling, little old me cuddled in a blanket on my couch scanning the news for "Anonymous Teacher School" to scroll across the bottom while I was watching Grey's Anatomy (yes, my new addiction).
It didn't happen last night. In fact, I woke up at 4:45 this morning when my power went off. My apartment was cold and dark, so I figured I'd go workout (even though I'd planned on taking the morning off). I started to get my work out clothes together, then I decided to take a peek out my window...and my poor little car was no longer a car but a mound of snow with green spots.
At this point, it was around 5:00, it was colder...and still dark, and I hadn't heard anything about, I did what any adult woman would do: I called my mommy.
I had obviously woken her up, but she wasn't too annoyed with me. She turned on the tv and waited patiently for a.) the phone number for the power company and b.) to see if my school was closed. Got the power company's number and found out about school closing from morning news, then the mother told me to call Boyfriend Head and see if he had power.
Boyfriend Head is not a morning person by any means. In fact, if he's coherent enough to mumble an answer to a question, I'm, I wasn't even expecting him to answer his phone. The first time I got voicemail, but the second time, he called while I was leaving him a message. Apparently Puppybutt was barking at the phone and woke him up.
My hero not only had power, but also agreed to come pick me up at my apartment so I didn't have to dig my car out of its pile of snow. The roads were messy...not horrible. We saw several stupid people, driving like morons, as some people will do when it snows. But we made it home safely.
Played in the snow for a bit with puppybutt. He was hesitant at first, but he loves the stuff...even if it is cold. He really likes eating it when we track it in on our shoes.
I had hoped for the snow day so that I could get some extra work finished....but I can't say I've done a lot of anything. Right now I'm obviously playing in blogworld instead of doing the grading I should be working on. Oh, well. The work will get finished. It always does.

If only my students know that I was wishing for the snow day as much as they were...

p.s. My evaluation went very well!! The vice-principal even told me, "Your at-risk students are very fortunate to have a teacher with your enthusiasm and compassion." I like to think I'm a good teacher, but it's nice to hear someone else notice it once in a while.

Thursday Thirteen!! #1

Thirteen Things I'd Wish If I Had Magic Lamp:

  1. to see "Anonymous Teacher's School" scrolling across the bottom of the television, letting me know that school will be closed tomorrow so that I could have an extra day of grading term papers and finishing worksheet creating.
  2. a giftcard for an unlimited amount of money to spend on i-tunes.
  3. the metabolism of my puppy!!
  4. to be able to visit Hogwarts...just once.
  5. for a magic pen to do my grading...I set the pen on top of the stack of papers (essays even), and the pen grades, making the exact same comments I would.
  6. a really good masseur to live in my spare bedroom (and a spare bedroom for the masseur to live in).
  7. enough money to support my shoe and pencil skirt addiction.
  8. for victoria's secret to just lose my balance and somehow owe me in unlimited victoria's secret spending.
  9. green pens!! lots and lots and lots of green pens!!
  10. for barnes and noble to become 24 hours...and become like a library where you can check out books at your leisure.
  11. become my ideal weight and stay there...while still eating all the panera breakfast I please.
  12. for perfect hair...or at least for mine to stop hating my head.
  13. and I suppose the obligatory world peace...
How was that for my first Thursday Thirteen??

addendum: I just read this...and man, do I sound superficial. Boyfriend Head's response when I asked if I sounded this way: Well, you did ask for world peace...

Get the Thursday Thirteen code here!

The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others comments. It’s easy, and fun! Be sure to update your Thirteen with links that are left for you, as well! I will link to everyone who participates and leaves a link to their 13 things. Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted!


at least in some cases. I know you all are thinking it isn't mathmatically possible, but I promise you it is in this situation.

I have three students...let's call them A, B, and C. They like to disrupt class...frequently; however, according to their I.E.P.'s there isn't a whole lot I can do about them. So:


I emailed guidance with this issue and received an email back the other day. Student B is being moved to another section!! So:

A+(B-B)+C=good class(+)

Okay. This is precisely why I'm not a math teacher, but I tried to be witty. The gist of the story is, I'm excited to be breaking up this trio of nonsense, and I'm counting down the 17 days until I can actually teach again!!

Thanksgiving Break

I've said this before, but I'm going to say it again...students think we have no life.

My freshmen took tests the day break started, fill-in-the-blank and two essays...50 of them. I had four days off for Thanksgiving. I had 25 junior term papers to grade, two weeks of lesson planning to do for four classes, and a lot of random grading; plus, like my students, I wanted some vacation time as well. So, I didn't even bother taking the tests home.

I got back to school yesterday, and a student asked if I'd graded them. I told him no. I hear another student lean over and whisper, "She had four days." I may've made him wish he hadn't said that.

My response: Would you like to take the 25 five to seven page junior essays home with you and get those finished? Did you want to grade the tests that my other classes took? Or how about those worksheets you all did? Do you want to read Oedipus and figure out what you're going to do to teach it to a bunch of freshmen? Or possibly you can figure out what my other classes are doing for me as well? Wanna give all your time over break, so I can grade your tests?

His face turned about five shades of red. He was quite embarassed, as he should be.

I was a little stressed out yesterday...had my evaluation...and I wasn't taking kindly to any nonsense.

Introducing...Mrs. Anonymous!!

Yes, folks, the wedding is over!! I'm officially a Mrs....although none of my students have quite figured it out yet--at least not if you go by the fact that they're still calling me Miss Anonymous. Oh, well.

I'm in a state of disgustingly wedded bliss...I couldn't be happier with my husband. He's wonderful...makes a good Mr. Anonymous. He's got the teacher's husband thing down already--smile whenever a student runs up screaming in public, and quickly say that we have somewhere to be when I get that oh-dear-it's-that-one look.

The kids haven't adjusted yet, but I suppose it's only been a week.

More later.

Mental Health Day

I've cried nearly every night for the past two weeks...most of the time for no reason whatsoever. The other night I drank a bottle of wine...yes, a whole de-stress. I'm just over-whelmed with all that's going on. I've got some really needy kids, special ed. issues, and departmental issues to boot.

Thus, I took a mental health day today. I had a conference yesterday and am off today, and I feel a little guilty. I had something for my kids to do, but still. I'm just a control freak and hate leaving my room to someone else.

Oh, the parents....

I had this very insightful post ready about how my mood affects my kids and blahblahblah...but it disappeared, and I don't have the energy to re-write, I'm going to complain for a minute...or two...

I have a parent who took issue with her son's teachers, myself included. Instead of emailing us with her concerns, however, she waited until two days before the end of the quarter and emailed our superintendent and principal. They told her she needed to discuss her concerns with his teachers, so I got a nasty email from her and a visit from the principal.
Her issue was (and still is) that her son is failing. For the first half of the quarter, he didn't turn any homework in to me. He missed several days and didn't make up the work...never even asked me about it. I notified our freshmen intervention coordinator. I sent a progress report home to get signed by the parent (it came back signed). And I talked to the student's case managers (he has an I.E.P.). At that point in time, out of the fifty freshmen I have, twenty were failing. I couldn't call all those parents, hence the signed progress report. We were also told that case managers contacted parents in those cases (while they were told it was up to the regular ed. teacher).
Any student who didn't return the progress report got a phone call home, but because his was returned, I assumed she knew what his grade was. This cut down significantly on the number of phone calls I had to make, and my students began turning in homework, which was the main reason for poor grades.
After recieving this nasty email, I attempted to call her and never got a call back. A couple days later, I emailed her, letting her know I did attempt to contact her through the progress report and that her son had gotten better about turning in assignments. She didn't reply.
This mother was nasty to me and also to the student's other teachers and especially his case manager, so I decided if she wanted contact, I'd give her contact. I've now emailed her four times and called twice to date. I have recieved one nasty reply to my email where she asked if there was anything further to discuss. I told her that yes, there was.
I told her in no uncertain terms that her son is doing poorly because of his own actions. I told her that I'm holding up my end of the bargain by following the I.E.P., while she and her son aren't. I told her he's lazy and wastes time, and if he wants to earn a passing grade in my class, he better get his act together.
I have yet to hear from her.

What bothers me about the whole thing is that I feel like I'm treating the son differently. Normally when a student sits and does nothing when given class-time to work, I'll say something once. After that, it's a choice the student is making. But with this kid, I'm constantly on his back. He's been diagnosed ADHD and does not take meds, so this is a frequent thing. I don't lash out at the student, but I am watching him more closely...and I email what I see to his mother. If he sits for twenty minutes and stares at the wall, then I let her know that. I know I shouldn't be on him because of his mother, but no matter how hard I try, I do. It's very difficult not to...

a creative Halloween costume...

Imagine the copy room...before school...on Halloween...

VCVB: Where's your costume?

Me: I'm going on a field trip this afternoon...didn't think I should go to the library dressed up. What about you?

VCVB: Well, I was going to wear a low-cut shirt and be Miss Anonymous, but...

I just stared at her. Dumbfounded. She did the awkward, joking laugh. I walked away, biting my tounge to keep from saying something really nasty.

Of course I couldn't let it go...the next day I wore a tighter, lower-cut sweater and my knee-high boots. It was a lovely time.

"eating crow..."

I love the imagery of that saying...

Anyway, apologized to the boy from yesterday and made a deal with him...I'm calling his parents Monday; however, what I say to them is still to be determined. If he can show me that he's willing to try to work with me, then I'll let them know that he had a bad quarter, but we're working to do better. If he doesn't, then I'll let them know that. It's on him now, and he knows it. He also knows that he can come to me if he needs a break...let's see if he does it.
We also discussed his classroom behavior. I let him know that he can have one outburst each class period, so he'd better use it wisely. Today he had one, I let him know that was it, and we didn't have a problem for the rest of the hour...He's also let me know that he will be getting a glowing note from the sub since the last one wasn't very good for him.
I was also ecstatic (although I didn't show it) to see him taking notes as I discussed the test they'd be taking tomorrow.

Day one goes down in the books as a success.

"waste of my time..."

I lost my temper yesterday with a student. I told him that he was wasting my time by being in my class when he refuses to do homework or even crack open his book. This occurred after I asked him to read the last four chapters of To Kill a Mockingbird, and his response to me was, "What's the point? I haven't read the first 27?" We've been reading the novel for four weeks now. I've given them time in class, and they haven't had much homework besides reading. But this kid hasn't done anything.
The thing that frustrates me is that he's such a bright kid. He has a crappy home life, and works 40+ hours a week. I get that, as I've told him countless times. But he also has to understand that I can't stop the class and not give homework because of him. I can work with him, if he'll work with me. But he won't. He just wants to act like a jackass and disrupt my class and refuse to do work. So, I finally snapped.
And I know this isn't the way to get this kid to work. He gets yelled at at home. He gets told how crappy he is at home. He doesn't need it from me. So he just shut down. He became a smart ass and ignored what I was attempting to get through his head. I realized it was a mistake as soon as I saw him shut down, but I'd lost him at that point. I'm going to pull him in the hallway and apologize to him today. I'm also going to attempt to reason with him. I don't know how reasonable he'll be feeling, but we'll see.

I'm really well aware of my temper....I just always realize too late to stop it. Gr!


This weekend I was almost in Houston with friends at a Women's Conference. I REALLY, REALLY wanted to go. The Lord kept speaking to me the past month about not going, and I kept fighting Him on it. I REALLY miss my friends that are in Houston right now, and I REALLY wanted to get away for a weekend. HOWEVER, I learned long ago not to fight what He tells me, and to just do what He says. Tonight I understood why.

I went into Forerunner Christian Fellowship feeling a little sad tonight. I thought it was because I wasn't in Houston, but I'm not completely sure that that was it. I think I just needed a touch from Him. And, He met me.

Misty led worship, who is ALWAYS a favorite leader of mine. She leads in such a way that it's not about her, it's about Jesus. I LOVED it. God had her do songs that were favorites of mine, and I just grinned. I could go into it all, but basically tonight was a night for me and Him. I LOVED it, and felt at home. I stayed past service, and into the PRAYER ROOM.

The Prayer Room continues to be my favorite place on the planet. I doubt it makes sense to anyone who hasn't experienced it, or understands the depth of worship and prayer combined, but for me, it's HOME. Tonight was AMAZING.

I'll be honest, there are still things between me and Him that I'm still praying through, but tonight was something that I enjoyed AND needed. I LOVED IT.

I should crash. I get to do shuttles in the morning, and I will spend some time in the PRAYER ROOM after that.

I know that there will be other weekend conferences with Karen. For this weekend though, I know I'm where I'm supposed to be.

I'm home.


Greetings from Jay!!!


Jay here. It's been a while since I have been on here. Shannon is ALWAYS on here and it drives me nuts, so I thought I'd write while she's baking in the kitchen. She said she has a staff bonfire and hayride tonight that she's excited about! I'm happy for her, as she's been BUSY this week, I hope she gets to relax and have fun tonight.

There was a bonus to her being at work so late two nights this Grandma and Grandpa came to see me! I love it when they come! We go on walks, and they are REALLY nice to me! It got me out of the box when I would have been in the box for a LONG time! It was a lot of fun having them here!

Today Shannon had the day off, and we had Uncle Jeff come over! It was so much fun having him here! Jeff said that he has big dogs, not little ones, so it was okay that I jumped on him and licked his face!

Shannon is really good to me, as she takes me on a lot of walks, and gives me a treat every night. We also cuddle as she watches that box that seems to entertain her as she gets her homework done each night. She said the other day that being a teacher means you have homework every night, but she doesn't mind it because she LOVES her job.

I guess I should go. Her cookies are baked and she may want to get on here before she leaves. Do me a favor, don't tell her I was on here, okay? I'm pretty sure I might be in trouble if she knew! *grin*

Your friend,


I absolutely LOVED getting to know the parents of my AMAZING students during conferences yesterday and today. I learned a lot about some of the kids that I didn't know at all that made me grin ear-to-ear. I am blessed to work with some of the coolest kids on the planet.

At the same time, I'm SO EXCITED about a FOUR-DAY WEEKEND. I LOVE the way we do conferences here, as we have TWO marathon days at work, and get Friday off! COMPLETELY off. Jay and I will sleep in tomorrow! I'm so excited! On Monday I'm in Joplin speaking at MSSU!!! I'm SO EXCITED!

I love my job. My last post showed how much I LOVE my job.

I am also in need of a break.

Something tells me that this weekend will be exactly what I need. *grin*


I'm going to...

Lunch today...

An older teacher shared with us that one of his students referred to a "love muscle" during a speech. Shocked, I asked if he gave the student credit for the speech. He answered that, in fact, he did. I told him I wasn't sure I'd feel comfortable doing that, and I probably would've sent him out of the room.

Very conservative (very bitchy) teacher: Why wouldn't he give credit for that?

Me: with a dumbfounded look Do you know to what the student was referring??

VCVB: Well, yes. His heart.

Me: Um. No. His penis.

At which VCVB got up and left the table in a huff. That's what she gets for thinking I'm a whore because I wear knee-length boots with my skirts.


This week is going much better. It's the end of the quarter, and I've been putting off grading I'm a bit tired. But I'm nearly finished with them, and the squirrels seem to have put effort into them.

A colleague pointed me to this website today. I found the way it was marketed to be brilliant really. To an unsuspecting (read: desperate) high school student, this really doesn't sound like plagiarism:

Our service is tailored to High School, College and University students who need expert assistance with their daily writing tasks. Hence, we assist with all types of academic writing assignments including, but not limited to, basic 5 paragraph essays, argumentative essays, cause-and-effect essays, critical essays, descriptive essays, compare-and-contrast essays, expository essays, narrative papers, process essays, etc. term papers or research papers on all subjects and disciplines in all citation styles (MLA, APA, Turabian, Chicago, Harvard, AMA, etc.),book reports, movie reviews, article critiques, applications and admission essays, speeches, grant proposals, theses and dissertations.
We even did the price can get a dissertation for around $2000. In a couple years, it would pay for itself...

Another Lesson Learned *grin*

Today I had the BEST time at work. While my students already miss the student teacher that left us to go to the middle school, it felt great for them to have their regular teacher back! Honestly, it was great for me to TEACH again. I felt like I was back to my usual self!!! It was AMAZING.

As I have pondered things tonight, it wasn't that I hated having a student teacher. Honestly, I learned a LOT through having someone else do my job, and she did a good job. That being said, God taught me something incredible in the midst of it. I love my job. Period.

Sometimes being a teacher is the toughest job in the world, I really believe that. At the same time, I was reminded in the past nine weeks how much I enjoy the challenges as well as the easier parts of the job. This school year has brought it's fair share of both experiences. *grin*

Today as I entered the room, I felt at home. I'll be honest, I did miss the gal who was with us, but I felt at home again. Having her in our room was God's way of teaching me how much I love what I do, and that He created me to do this job. It felt great to stand in front of the young people and teach them again. It was also great to sit and chat with a friend at work in a way we haven't talked since school started. *grin*

I find it amazing how God brings us people and situations that teach us more than we could have learned just by someone saying something. I couldn't have gained the perspective on teaching that I have now without having a student teacher come in and do my job. He knew it would lead me to my conclusion....I FORGOT HOW MUCH I LOVE MY JOB!!! *grin*


baseball fanatic...

I'm very ambivalent when it comes to the post-season, especially this year. You see some of the most exciting games of the year during the post-season (the Detroit ALCS win, for example), but it also means the end of baseball for another year.
I love baseball...have since I was a kid. I'd watch games with my dad, quality time. I can remember sitting next to him on the couch watching the game, wearing our matching Cardinals t-shirts. He'd take me to as many games as he could, and I'd stuff myself with hotdogs and nachos, cheering whenever my dad did. I loved the entire atmosphere of the ballpark, even as a kid. I liked the smells and the people. Everything about baseball appealed to me.
Still does.
While I love seeing my Cards in the championship, I'm disappointed baseball will be over soon. I'm going to miss it.
But...Let's go, Cardi-nals!

the angels...

I had a conference on Friday (which I won't even dignify by telling you what it was about), and my friend subbed for me. I had a couple classes I was nervous about, my lowest level freshmen class, to begin with.
Sub told me all my classes were angelic, but she had an interesting experience with my freshmen class. ED girl came in and said to her, "I'm only being nice to you right now because you're friends with Miss Anon, and she asked me to be nice. Otherwise I'd be mean right now." I'm not sure whether to be happy that she was nice or bothered by the comment...or both??

A Silent Touching Moment *grin*

Tonight was our annual school carnival. While I'm exhausted at the moment, I had quite a touching "silent" moment while I was there. I have to say, our PTA is AMAZING! They worked SO HARD to prepare for our HUGE school carnival. The kids had so many different activities that it was quite a busy school night! Our PTA does an AMAZING job!

My favorite moment came right before I left. The staff donated items for the silent auction to raise money for the school. Those items were mainly activities that they can do WITH the students. I donated time at the dog park with my furry kid and me (parent has to be present, of course.). I thought it was an original idea until I saw the staff donation list, apparently several of us had the same idea. The main difference between me and the other staff members though is that I have JAY! *grin*

I arrived at the carnival and took pictures before I went to work my shift in the Redemption Center. I am already getting pictures for the end-of-year slideshow! It was neat to walk around and see all the activities the kids could do. And of course, you put a camera in front of them and the love it!

I went and worked in the Redemption Center which was fun too. I wore the snake hat, like usual, which made everyone smile. I LOVED IT. It was fun joking with the kids as they came in and out of the room. It was a lot of fun!

Afterward I walked around and took more pictures. I also talked to a lot of students and parents, which is ALWAYS fun.

As I was leaving, I checked in on the Silent Auction and I was BLESSED by what I saw. I looked at the tables and saw the typical Silent Auction wage wars going on for the Regular Education Teacher's Activities. My page was near the end of the table, and three different families had bid on me. I was blessed. To me that is a blessing beyond words when someone wants to SPEND MONEY to spend time with me. Well, that's what spoke to me anyway. I stood there and grinned. I have no idea who won because I was so tired I left before it was over, but who won isn't the point. I felt love just because they bid on me on a piece of paper. *grin*

It was silent...not a word was said...but it spoke volumes to me.

VERY COOL. *grin*


the monkeys.

The students have had two four-day weekends in a row. They are bouncing off the walls this week. We (the teachers) have all decided that there is such a thing as too much time off. They've completely gotten out of the routine. I have an odd feeling it's going to take the next several weeks to get them back in the routine.

Also, the assistant principal bulldog has caught me being a bad teacher twice this week. I'll admit that I'm still feeling emotional and slightly apathetic as a result of my experience last week. But I'm trying. Anyway, at one point a.p.b. came in while the class and I were discussing Homecoming. Oops. At another point I left the room to use the restroom. Of course, he came in at that point. I wanted to tell him that it was either go to the restroom or have to go home and change...he didn't ask though. Gah!! Twice in one week...lucky me. I suppose I'll have to be on my best behavior for a bit.

I'm just really having one of those I'm-a-bad-teacher weeks.


Welcome to Anonymous Teacher Blog

The Quote That I've Said for Years

Tonight I came across a quote on FB that sums of something I've said for YEARS. While it hasn't always made this season easier, it has kept my eyes on what's important. I wanted to post it tonight, for me more than anyone else.

Being single doesn't mean you're weak, it means you're strong enough to wait for what you deserve. ♥


Parent/Teacher Conferences...


I had some not-so-nice parents meet with me. I'll just share the highlights...

  • The woman whose daughter isn't turning in homework in my class...she told me that her daughter has always loved language arts, so it must be me. She proceeded to tell me how I should teach...because apparently I didn't go to school to learn that.
  • "I know you're not paid enough to go above and beyond..." I wanted to say, "Well, I did become a teacher for the money, so that's kind of an issue."
  • The woman who implied that one of my students has a bad home life because his lesbian mother and her partner are the ones raising him. Apparently students like this can go one of two ways: they can emulate behavior and become effeminate or become loud and obnoxious.
  • The parent who asked why I didn't assign more homework...Well, I'm pretty sure I'm swamped with grading as it is, so I don't know that I'll be assigning any more than the assignment per night.
  • The 6'10" military man who told me that I'm young and attractive and his son can be very, he wouldn't want his son to charm his way into getting away with anything. Are you kidding?? I'm 24 years old. Does he seriously think I can be charmed by a 15 year old??
  • The woman who told me she knows her son is disrespectful and that he's the same way at home, and she simply does not know what to do with him....I've got a lovely idea...Punish him!
  • Smiling and attempting to be sympathetic throughout all this....
Needless to say, I'm glad they're over.


Every once in a while, I come across a book that is AMAZING and one that I would recommend for EVERYONE to read. I just finished an AMAZING book, and I give it five out of five stars. In fact I could give it six stars, I would! *grin*

The book, Invisible Lines by Mary Amato, is nominated for the Truman Award, and is worthy of the nomination. This book was written by an AMAZING author, who captured me from the first page through the very end of the book. It even kept me up past my bedtime almost every night this week, and that's saying a lot because I LOVE sleep! It was also one of those books that I didn't want to end because it was SO good! The author, Mary Amato, is a very talented writer who knows how to write from the main character's point-of-view, and I could really feel what the main characte, Trevor, was thinking and feeling. IT WAS AMAZING!

In the story, Trevor is a boy from a low-income home, who goes to a school that is primarily made up of rich kids. Various situations arise in which Trevor has to rise above and do the right thing, even when that's the hardest thing for a young man to do.

I don't want to say much more than that, as I don't want to give away the entire story, but I HIGHLY recommend you run to your nearest library or bookstore and get this book! It will touch your heart in the most unexpected ways, and leave you wanting more.


Feelin' Blessed

After my post on Tuesday, I have really been talking to the Lord about the people I have in my life. A few realizations came to me since I posted on Tuesday.

The first thing that the Lord showed me is that there are more people I could share the journey this side of Heaven with (and pray with) than the people I listed the other night. And I can honestly say that I was pleasantly surprised as we talked about that this week. As I pondered that, I became more and more excited.

For example, the people I work with are incredible. When I moved here two years ago, I embarked on quite an adventure, as I left some of the coolest people on the planet (I still miss my fourth grade teacher friends like you wouldn't believe!) to begin the new chapter in my life here. As I've looked around my world at work, I thanked God this week for everyone he's put in my life. Especially the people I share my pod with! We laugh DAILY as we share our lives together. Everyone has kids, so there is ALWAYS story to tell! I know, I don't have a child, but I have Jay and I share those stories with the kids so it all works out! *grin*

In addition to the staff here, I have my new lifegroup from church. While I'm still getting to know people there, I have a prayer base there that is AWESOME, and we pray weekly as we share our lives in Christ. To me, that is PRICELESS.

And, I was reminded of the SHUTTLE MINISTRY that I LOOK FORWARD TO every Sunday! Slim & Papa Bear & crew are SO MUCH FUN. And, I can text any of them prayer requests throughout the week and they are faithful to pray. That is also priceless to me.

There are also several people in Joplin that I still stay in touch with on a regular basis. Kim and her family are still close to me, even though we live 2.5 hours away from each other. Kim and her husband have been such a blessing to me in so many different ways that it amazes me. Kim shares her boys with me, and I feel as if I'm part of the family! I miss them more than they know since I moved here, but the AMAZINGLY cool thing is that every time we get together, I feel like we just pick up where we left off. Kim prayed for me this week, and was a blessing in a way that can't be expressed in words. I'm a blessed gal.

There are so many in Joplin that I may not talk to regularly anymore, but thanks to Facebook, we're still friends. For that, I am blessed. I don't take ANY of my Joplin friends for granted, especially in light of last May. God gave me some incredible friends, and I don't take one of them for granted. And while they are not a part of my daily life anymore, I have MANY I could call and pick up where we left off. Not everyone has that, but I am blessed to have that. Thank You, Lord!

God also showed me the Barnabas Family that I'm blessed to have in my life. Via Facebook I stay in touch with MANY incredible young people. It's hard to put into words, but once you experience Barnabas, you have a bond with people that you don't have anywhere else. It's amazing.

And, of course, the Lord showed me the KIDS in my life. He clearly created me to serve kids during my days here on Earth. I ENJOY teaching AND serving out at camp more than you can possibly imagine. I was sitting in my classroom today, laughing with kids and making memories that will last a lifetime. In fact, I have a fun little quote book, and the students love it when they say something and I say, "That needs to go in the quote book!" A little thing, but a big thing to my students. Everyday the kids teach me something as I teach them. I'm a blessed gal, I'm doing what God created me to do. I thank God for creating me as He did daily, as I wake up everyday and look forward to going to work. I'm blessed.

It would be wrong of me not to mention my parents and brothers too. While they may not necessarily be seekers of the Word like I am, they have the unconditional love thing down better than some Christians I have met, and I wouldn't trade one of them for all the money in the world! *grin*

So, I guess God and I have been talking a lot this week. I like that. I love weeks where God shows me how blessed I am. That helps me on days I am having a rough day. (We all have those!) Tonight I feel blessed. I don't have a handful of people I could call and share life with and/or ask for prayer, I have (literally) hundreds! I. Am. Blessed.



Tonight on my walk with Jay I got to thinking about several things. Well, really, I started out praying about some things, and God started talking to me about various things. In the process, I enjoyed just letting myself meditate on what He was showing me and telling me. Tonight I think I want to share some of it.

I started the walk with Jay going backwards. See, each night we walk the same route so that I can be prepared for dogs on the route. (This helps decrease the possibility of falling during the walk! *grin*) I was praying over a particular situation, and wanted a new perspective on it. God reminded me of a quote.

If you are close to me, you know that I LOVE QUOTES. I even have a journal book on my end table so that any time I hear a good quote I can write it down. I've done this for YEARS. I do the same thing in my classroom as well, I have a quote book on my desk that I write down the things the students say as well. It's been a really neat thing to do!

Back to my walk...tonight on my walk, the Lord reminded me of a quote from the movie STAND BY ME. (I LOVE how God can use ANYTHING to speak to us!) In it, the two boys are walking at the end of their journey and the narrator says, " happens sometimes, people come in and out of your life like busboys in a restaurant." Honestly, that quote has stuck with me since I was fourteen and saw that movie.

Tonight as I walked, the Lord showed me specific people who have come and gone out of my life, and EVERY one of them taught me something. He also showed me the people in my life, and how blessed I am to have them running beside me during this season of my life. We talk DAILY about those people, and I had to *grin* as we went through the list. I am one blessed gal. Of course, that led to the list of people who have been in my life and left, either by their choice, my choice, or simply God moving us on to something else. I'm in awe of how AWESOME He is at orchestrating what needs to happen and when it needs to happen.

Some people have hurt me in the past, and I know that's true of everyone. Tonight on my walk, He brought to mind the song "Blessings" by Laura Story, where she sings:

When friends betray us
When darkness seems to win
We know that pain reminds this heart
That this is not, this is not our home
It's not our home

He reminded me that this isn't my home. This is temporary. That makes me *grin* as well.

I think about the Laura's, Karen's, Alicia's, Diedra's, and Tricia's that God has placed in my life and I am in awe of how blessed I am. Any of those ladies I could call and say, "I need prayer tonight." They would stop and pray with me. I told God a HUGE Thank You tonight.

Part of my job requires kids to come and go out of my life, but I told God tonight that that was okay. That used to REALLY bother me in the beginning. You pour your heart into teaching kids how to read, write, do math, and be a person of character, and then they're gone. I missed them greatly. But, I know that having them grow up and move on is part of the gig. And, every once in a while, one comes back and says, "Thanks."

You won't be surprised to hear that I ended my walk by checking the mail and I had mail from a former student, thanking me for all the support in the past. *grin* God always knows exactly what we need and when we need it.


A New Book!!!

Every once in a while I find a book that I REALLY, REALLY like. I am currently wrapped up in a new book that I have wanted to read all day long. I even wanted to take it to work, but I knew it was better if I didn't because I am paid to work, not sit and read a book. *grin*

You're dying to know the title, aren't ya? Don't worry, I'll have a full review for you soon. For now, I have a book to read.


1,000 POST!!!

This is my 1,000 post for my blog. Wowowowowowowowowowow! It seems almost unreal to me that I've written that many short pieces from my life onto this blog. I knew last night that tonight would be number 1,000 and all day I have thought about what to write. On March 21, 2006 I began writing on my blog. I did it because a friend of mine was writing one and I just thought it would be a fun thing to do.

Over the past five years, I can look back on the different seasons of my life and see the highs and lows that have occurred. I can honestly say I've enjoyed this more than I thought I would. I have had spurts where I've written less and more, depending on the season and the topic. Some topics I can't share with the world due to the nature of my job, but ultimately, I try and live my life as openly as possible. I figure if I do that, it keeps me young and hopeful in those areas of my life where I wrestle with God in the depths of my heart.

As for tonight, I wanted to post a few things that are currently on my heart. Perhaps by my 2,000 post some of these things will be answered. *grin*

1. I wonder if the road construction behind my house will be done by my 2,000th post. I'm tired of taking the two detours provided. Just when I think it's about done, they do something else to it. Hum...

2. I wonder if Jay will ever figure out how to really play fetch. He's so smart in other ways, but to bring back a toy I've thrown is too difficult for him. *grin*

3. For the first time in my life I weigh more than I should. I'm not fat, but I'm no longer the thin gal that everyone was worried about. On one hand, I say who cares, life's too short, let's eat and enjoy life. On the other hand, I want to stay healthy and live for YEARS to come. I wonder what that means to me by my 2,000th post.

4. I LOVE my job. While there are rough days, there are also good days. In the past week I witnessed a boy read in a way I've never heard him read, and a separate kid could count change in a way he couldn't one year ago. There is absolutely NO DOUBT in my mind that God created me to teach Special Education Students.

5. I love God. I slip and fall daily, but He's faithful to help me up and tell me each day that I can do it, OVER AND OVER again. Not a day goes by that I don't thank Him for that. I hope I never stop realizing that.

6. The most obvious one is that I wonder if I'll be married by my 2,000th post. I obviously don't think I need a man to make me happy, as I'm happy now. However, this gal does have dreams that God and I discuss daily. *grin*

7. Jay better still be with me on my 2,000th post. He's the COOLEST DOG IN THE WORLD!


Dear Grandma Springer

Dear Grandma Springer,

I realize you're in Heaven having a BLAST, but I thought of you tonight as I made chocolate chip cookies. It reminded me of all the times I was in your kitchen as you made the BEST cookies ever, and you'd let us eat them for breakfast, or as a late-night dessert. You also let us eat them after they had cooled just enough to not burn our fingers or mouths, but also warm enough to be AMAZING.

I'm sure you're enjoying yourself in Heaven, but I want you to know I miss you here. I will always think of you when I eat a chocolate chip cookie!



I don't know if I'm cut out for this...

Something happened today that's making me wonder if I'm cut out to be a teacher. It has nothing to do with my knowledge of my subject matter or my ability to manage a classroom. Those things are easy compared with what I had to deal with today. I think I become too emotionally invested to be a teacher. I can't deal with what some of these kids have to deal with.

One of my girls was raped over the weekend, and I'm the only person besides her foster mother and hospital staff that she told. I don't know how to comfort her. I know I can't comfort her. I don't know how to speak to her because I don't want her to think that my crying for her is because I think less of her, but instead because I can't believe how strong she is for having the courage to not only report what happened, but to also name her attacker and press charges. And that I'm crying for her loss because she'll never have that childhood back. And there will be a part of her that will never get over this. But I can't say this to her. She called, and I was helpless.

And I can't deal with that helplessness. I know if this is something I'm going to do for the rest of my life, I'm going to be helpless.

Piercing the Heart...MY Heart....

What I'm about to share is something REAL within me. I've debated about sharing this, as it's pretty personal, but I believe that when someone is transparent, God's kids can pray for that person. Perhaps that's what I need now. I'm not really sure. These are some thoughts that I'm still processing through...

I'm a fan of the show JUDGING AMY. It went off the air several years ago, and I've been searching for it to be on DVD for years. Fortunately about a month ago, a friend told me it's on in re-runs again. So, I went to my trusty DVR and searched. Sure enough, it's on daily! I was, and still am, excited about this! It's a show that gives me hope in ways I can't even express in the form of words. So, I set my DVR to tape it whenever it's on, and I watch it whenever I can in the evenings.

One evening last week I was watching an episode, and one of the main characters (Maxine) was there to remove a child from a foster home. The Foster Mother was silently upset. Maxine said, "SoandSo, you will make it through this, you're a strong woman." To which the Foster Mother said something that I have felt for years, she said, "Yes, I am strong. But, when is it my turn to be weak, and have someone else hold me, hug me, love me?"

I have told that to God repeatedly over the years, to which I haven't gotten a response. Typically when God does that with me, it means there's something else for me to learn before I hear an answer. He isn't being mean, He just knows where I'm headed and I don't.

I will admit, I have asked Him why He gave me desires for a spouse and kids, if that hasn't come to fruition yet. Then I remember that just because it hasn't happened yet, it doesn't mean it won't happen. It just means He has other things in store for me for this season of my life.

Please don't hear a "poor me" spirit here. That's NOT my heart. If you know me, REALLY know me, you know that's not my heart. I just thought I'd share something that pierced my heart last week.

Every once in a while I hear a quote (And I LOVE quotes!) that sums up what I've been thinking and/or feeling. And honestly, that one did just that! I know that God will continue to encourage me and guide me through this season of my life. He has so far, and He hasn't let me down once! *grin*



Today was a really good day! Okay, it had a rough spot, but I REFUSE to let a rough spot ruin my entire day! *grin* My highlights include:

1. I was in a meeting this morning and a parent let me know how much she appreciates me. While there were tears, they were actually good tears, and God gave me a gift of a blessing in the form of that parent's tears. That was highlight #1.

2. This afternoon a student wanted to read THE GIVING TREE with me. The student, READINGKID, has a tough time reading. I typically do a reading series with him, but I agreed to the book. I was absolutely blown away by how well he read! I sat there and fought back tears as he read in a way I have never heard him read. Yes, he knew the story, and most of the words were sight words, but he did it! I was probably the most proud I've ever been of a student in that moment! It was AMAZING!

3. My third highlight came after school. I'm now tutoring SIBLINGKID, and am LOVING it. He's not Special Education, so I'm getting to teach a student that can pick up on things right away. That is different for me. Don't get me wrong, it's AWESOME being with my little people day in and day out, but SIBLINGKID is a bright spot for me too! *grin* As I drove home tonight I thanked God for SIBLINGKID'S family. Two years ago I had his brother, and now the family has invited me back into their lives with SIBLINGKID. I count that as an honor. THANK YOU, GOD!


What a long, strange trip it's been....

I have a student in my lowest-tracked freshmen class. Her IEP is thicker than some of the dictionaries in my room...and I'm talking real Webster's dictionaries. She is bipolar, ADHD and has defiant disorder (and these are just the highlights of her IEP).

When we started out the year, her case manager and I wondered if she'd even make it past the first week. We were petitioning to send her to a facility better equipped to handle her. I had to remove her from class at least three times a week. She was rude and disruptive. She was hateful and said very nasty things in such a nasty tone. I was at my wits end.

Her case manager and I tried several different ways to get her to behave. We simply had no idea what to do because no one had ever really tried before. They simply said, "Oh, that's ED." CM and I decided we would/could not put up with that behavior.

I'm not sure what finally changed her behavior, whether she realized she wouldn't get away with it or what, but she's a new student. To walk into my classroom, you'd never know that she was kicked out on a regular basis at the beginning of the year. She's even helping me plan a unit for next semester.

I've recieved several compliments from teachers who knew this girl over at the middle school. They've said she's changed completely, and they're convinced a lot of it has to do with me. I'm not saying I haven't gone above and beyond what was asked of me with this girl because I know I have. I go down on my prep to visit her (because half her day is spent in a contained classroom with CM). We sit and just talk. I've convinced her to join the Speech team, as I'm an assistant coach. I eat lunch with her occasionally and such. But I can't take credit for her behavior. She's learning to make better choices.

Anyways, the point of this post is, she wrote me a letter the other day...left it on my desk for me to find. (She likes to leave notes on my desk for me for whatever reason). It's not so much what the note says, as who it's from. But it's something I plan to treasure. I was shocked to recieve it and even more shocked to note who it was from. I had tears in my eyes when I read her signature in the bottom because I simply cannot believe how far she's come. I could not possibly be more proud of this girl.


This past summer, Chase got me hooked on the channel ANIMAL PLANET. I am amazed at how much there is to learn about animals, and sometimes people who wind up with the animals in the most unexpected ways. There are two shows that I REALLY like, I SHOULDN'T BE ALIVE and ANIMAL HOARDERS. Both of them leave me pondering things on so many different levels.

When Chase was here, he introduced me to I SHOULDN'T BE ALIVE. In case you're unfamiliar with the show, it is a documentary show on people who have real-life accounts of time out in the wilderness with various elements and their account of survival. They have the actual people who survived re-living the story, while a narrator also adds to it. While the survivor and narrator re-count the story, there is a re-enactment of the event with actors. To me it's not as much of a documentary as the ones I remember as a kid. There's definitely an element of a "story" to it. My recollection of documentaries as a kid in class made me want to poke my eyes out in class because they were so boring. This show is the exact opposite! It has me on the edge of my seat on most episodes, and I'm constantly amazed at what these people have survived! God made us to be amazing, courageous creatures and this show does an amazing job of showing that. I highly recommend this show if you like adventure in a very different form of entertainment!

My second favorite show on ANIMAL PLANET is ANIMAL HOARDERS. This show grosses me out on a weekly basis, but it also reminds me how NORMAL I am. *grin* This show features two or three individual stories of people who have an abnormal amount of pets living in their home. At first I was intrigued to the point of judgement. As I have watched the show over the past few months, my heart has actually grown for people who are stuck in the Hoarding Cycle. Over and over again, it's made clear that hoarding is a symptom of an even bigger issue that hasn't been dealt with yet in that person's life. So, by the end of the show I say a prayer for each person, regardless of whether or not they gave up the pets. Then I turn to Jay (true story, not a joke!) and say, "Yeah, you're it, buddy. I couldn't handle more than one dog!" *grin* He typically cuddles up to me in that moment and my heart melts. *grin*

There are other shows I watch on ANIMAL PLANET but those are the only two I record on a regular basis. I will admit, an added bonus is that I can work on schoolwork and watch it at the same time without much effort. *grin* I like both of these shows a lot. Who knows, maybe you'll try one of them. If not, that's okay. I have found two new shows, thanks to Chase. Just another reason my life is blessed by that young man. *grin*



I am one blessed gal. I grew up in a home where my parents LOVED to read and from my earliest memories of my childhood, I can remember reading books with them before I went to sleep at night. To this day, they still enjoy reading a good book. My younger (Taller, but younger) brother also loves to read too. I'm glad that I come from a family of readers. While our interests all vary quite a bit in the books we read, it's a gift that I don't take for granted.

Tonight I want to share about a book that I really enjoyed. While I have several favorite genres, one of my FAVORITES is Children's Literature. I should clarify that I like books written for kids grades 4th through 12th. I also REALLY enjoy reading award nominee books. Lately, I've been working my way through the Truman Readers Nominee List. The Truman Award is for Grades 6-8. I'm on my third book from the list!

The book I finished last night was JANE IN BLOOM by Deborah Lytton. This book was one that REALLY pulled at my heartstrings. I am not sure how to give a good summary of the book without giving the whole thing away. I found myself looking forward to reading the book each evening (although it was a quick read) to see what happened next. I also wondered throughout my day what was going to happen next in the book. I LOVED IT!

I recommend this book for kids of ALL ages! I will admit, it has teary moments, so if you don't like sad moments in books, this may not be the book for you. *grin* I do recommend it though. It was a touching story about a girl growing up.

I plan on adding this book to my five-star list! *grin*


Is this the way to go?

Windows HS: Microsoft designs a school system

After three years of planning, the Microsoft Corp.-designed "School of the Future" opened its doors Thursday, a gleaming white modern facility looking out of place amid rows of ramshackle homes in a working-class West Philadelphia neighborhood.

I'm not sure how I feel about this. In fact, I think I'm frightened by it. While I like the idea of a digital school, I think students today are entirely too dependent on technology, and this will only be fostering that dependence.

The school is being touted as unlike any in the world, with not only a high-tech building -- students have digital lockers and teachers use interactive "smart boards" -- but also a learning process modeled on Microsoft's management techniques.

Students -- who are called "learners" -- use smart cards to register attendance, open their digital lockers and track calories they consume. They carry laptops, not books, and the entire campus has wireless Internet access.

Teachers, or "educators," rather than using blackboards, have interactive "smart boards" that allow teachers to zoom in and out, write or draw, and even link to the Internet.

There's no library, but an "interactive learning center" where information is all digital and a "multimedia specialist" will help out students.

Call me old fashioned, but I think computers are simply unreliable....maybe not always, but enough that an entire school of computers will create problems. But I suppose they will have the best tech-support team on the planet...

They're modeling this school after the Microsoft corporation. They're starting school later because studies have shown students learn better (and it's more like real-world hours), which I'm not opposed to, but they're also using "a learning process modeled on Microsoft's management techniques". I'm not quite sure what this means, but from what I gather from the school is being treated similar to the workplace. Again, not completely opposed to this, but when do kids get to be kids?? Why do we have to get them used to a workplace when they're in high school??

As you can probably tell, I have mixed views on this new school. And my thoughts aren't completely organized, as I'm shocked, I supposed.

What do you think?? School of the future? Or one of those education trends that comes and goes?

a compliment...from a teenager...

I was in a ridiculously good mood last night because of a really small thing a student did. But it meant so much to me.

I worked last night at the bar. Saw a teacher I know from another school. She also coaches volleyball for that school. She met one of my little delinquents (one from my lowest-tracked class) because his girlfriend plays volleyball on her team. She asks if he knows me, and he tells her that he has me for English. She asks if he likes having me or not, and his reply, "Yea, she's cool. She does fun stuff to make us pay attention, and she won't let me sleep. And she calls me out on my bull without being mean about it."
That I do. He acts like it's awful when I do it when we're in class...but apparently he actually enjoys it. Anyways, put me in a good mood.

Tutoring FUN

Today I had a NEW student enter my life. Last week I had a parent of a former student call and ask me if I would be willing to tutor a sibling of PASTSTUDENT. I was EXCITED to hear from them and said, "yes" immediately! This was clearly an answer to prayer, as I had just been talking to the Lord about missing the extra tutoring money. God always knows what we need, and who He has for us to fulfill that desire. *grin*

Today was my first day with TutoringKid, and I will admit that it was the HIGHLIGHT of my day. (Okay, the highest highlight was the email we received tonight saying we get a slight pay raise. *grin*) TutoringKid is a Regular Education Student, and we had SO MUCH FUN working on his project! I think it's good for me to occasionally spend time with kids that can learn without difficulties. I enjoyed my time after school in a very unexpected way. The student had his project almost completely finished by the time he left my classroom, and I had so much fun that when I looked at the clock time had flown by faster than it had all day long! *grin*

Thank You, Lord. I can tell this student is an answer to prayer.



I have been praying for a small group to join since I moved here two years ago. I had gone to a few groups, but none of them were where I was supposed to be. I just knew it. So, in July when a friend from church invited me to a group, I figured "why not?" The first night I went, there was swimming and Apples to Apples. It was a lot of fun. An added bonus was that I knew several people since I am part of the Shuttles Ministry. It was very encouraging to me.

Over the past few Tuesday nights, I have really come to love the group of people God has put in my life, and an added bonus has been that we're doing the EXCELLENCIES OF CHRIST Bible Study! For those of you that don't know it, the study was written by Allen Hood, who is my FAVORITE speaker/preacher on the Base! He isn't teaching my actual Bible Study, but the book we're using is one he wrote.

I am enjoying it, as it's challenging me, and teaching me SO MUCH from His word. Honestly, it has gripped me with how much I DON'T know in the Word. Last night I realized how little I know about various things in scripture. This doesn't sadden me though, it just makes me even more excited that God put me in this home group. I have NO doubt that God put me right where I'm supposed to be for this season of my life. *grin*

Just one more reason I know, I AM HOME.


Dinner with Friends

Not a day goes by that I don't thank God for the people he's put in my life. Tonight I was invited out to eat with some friends who are some of my FAVORITE people EVER! It was a blessing to spend some time with people who share the love for the Lord that I do, and truly "get" me.

I'm blessed. Not a day goes by that I don't realize that.

Thank You, Lord.

Learning a Lesson the Hard Way *grin*

I'll never forget one week when I was a kid, staying at Grandma and Grandpa Springer's House in Clinton, Missouri. I loved that home, and I pretty much grew up in that house over the years. My brother and I would spend a week there in the summer, and always looked forward to it.

Today I was reminded of one day in particular on one of those trips. We were hanging out in the family room, still in our pj's, and it was late morning. I remember the room was a mess (We must have been having a grand time!) and Grandma walked in the room. She wasn't mad that the room was a mess, she just simply stated, "Let's get this room straightened and get you guys dressed. You never know who might drop by." At the time, I remember being a typical kid and thinking, "What? But we're having fun." I did it though. Grandma and Grandpa were good people, and I remember cleaning up. I had no idea who might drop by. But, for them, guests dropped by fairly regularly, I guess.

As it turns out, that was REALLY good wisdom. Today I was hanging out with a friend from IHOP-KC, and we were slated to go to a gathering here in my neighborhood. Yesterday I was a complete bum and didn't do a lick of cleaning. Now, I'm not a hoarder or anything, but will admit that the mail had piled up and you really couldn't see the top of my kitchen table. As luck would have it, the gathering was slated for later in the day, and we wound up over here for a little over an hour.

Yep, Grandma was right, you never know who might drop by. *grin*

Tonight I spent the evening cleaning the place up. While I know there are people coming over tomorrow, that isn't an excuse. My Grandma was right, I should keep a house in such a way that anyone can drop over at any time.

Lesson Learned. Thanks, Grandma!


Reading with SmilingKid *grin*

Today the highlight of my day came from one of the younger students on my caseload. I have been busy everyday during the time he comes in, so I haven't been able to read with him. (I have a student teacher, so my responsibilities have shifted slightly for a brief period of time.) Today I was excited because I didn't have ANY meetings scheduled for today. So today when SmilingKid came in, I was REALLY excited!

After our tornado drill, SmilingKid and I went to the library to get another copy of a Diary of Wimpy Kid book. (We had started the green book before the drill.) While we were walking to the library, he said something about a car. He was talking so quietly I didn't understand him. Once we got to the library, he asked the librarian about a car book. At that point, I felt like a dork because I hadn't understood what we wanted. *grin* He was an INCREDIBLY good sport though!

Upon arriving back in my classroom, we started the new book we acquired at the library. One of my FAVORITE parts of being a teacher is sitting down and reading with kids. Reading with SmilingKid was a lot of fun! The book we checked out was on trucks and I learned A LOT! We had a lot of fun, and put a bookmark in the book and will continue with it on Monday.

To be honest, I can't wait! Don't get me wrong, I'm REALLY glad the weekend is upon us. At the same time, I'm REALLY looking forward to reading with SmilingKid on Monday! *grin*



This week is turning out to be better than it was when it started. My week started really out on a stressful note, and Monday ended with me on the couch with a migraine. Fortunately, this week has gotten better each day.

Today I had TWO highlights of my day.

The first one came on email from a student's parent who has stated what an encouragement I have been to them and how they would like me to move on to middle school and high school with them. *grin* I needed that. God knew I needed that. It made me *grin* like I haven't all week.

My second highlight occurred after school. I had someone call and offer me a tutoring job! It also made me *grin* ear-to-ear as it's the sibling of a former student! I'm very excited to work with this student! I was just telling God the other day how I was missing the extra cash that comes with tutoring! *grin* Awesome!

I have one big event tomorrow, and the rest of the week is all downhill!



Every LITTLE Choice I Make Moves You....

Tonight I went to FCF, and can honestly say I walked out a different person than the gal who walked in. I guess that's easy to say, and well, that's the point of church, isn't it? To walk out changed. *grin*

I had been in a season where I was going to church and (With the exception of two weeks ago tonight) was really working at connecting with the Lord in worship. This has been difficult to me, because worship is typically the EASIEST part for me. I wasn't hating it, it was just difficult to focus. Tonight, I had a breakthrough!

Misty led worship tonight, like usual, but it was almost like God was saying, "Here, let's sing all of Shan's favorites tonight." It was SO MUCH FUN! I was focused, and it was EASY again! I LOVED IT!

One of the choruses became a favorite of mine.

EVERY LITTLE CHOICE I MAKE MOVES YOU was my favorite line. I'll be pondering it all week. *grin*

It was exactly what I needed tonight. I LOVE LIVING HERE!!!



This week I have given a great deal of thought and prayer into the phrase "My Best Effort."

I remember being a child and hearing someone on TV ask someone, "Daddy, what happens when my best isn't good enough?" I'll be honest, I don't remember what the person on TV said back to that person, but I remember my exact thought at that time, "Your best is the best you can do."

I think as an adult, my own definition of that for myself changes on a regular basis. I'm one of those annoying people that is harder on myself than someone else ever could be. (Trust me, God and I talk a lot about that!) My BEST effort looks so different day-to-day, but there's not a day that I just sit around and twiddle my thumbs. There is paperwork to do, people to talk to, kids to work with, meetings to go to, gosh the list goes on and on. And please understand, I'M NOT COMPLAINING, I'm blessed beyond words that I'm here for a time such as this. That being said, by the time I get home to my couch, I haven't just sat around very much at all during the day. To me, that is AMAZINGLY cool. I don't want to be a slacker. I want to be the hardest worker that I know, giving 110% to all I do.

This week though, I wrestled with God on this very issue. I was going to work, coming home, and still feeling as if I wasn't getting anywhere. I wasn't getting anywhere, and I was GIVING MY BEST EFFORT. By last night, I was bummed by that statement.

God always meets me in those moments. At 4am, I awoke with so many things on my mind. This isn't normal for me, I usually sleep through the night peacefully. And for the first time in a long time, I just woke up, and prayed to God as I cuddled with Jay. Somewhere in there, peace occurred and I fell asleep. God had met me.

Today I had a different outlook on it all. My best is enough. My best just can't turn into something overwhelming. My best is not walking alone, but it's walking hand-in-hand with God, and together it's enough.

My theme song this week has been Strong Enough by Matthew West. Yep, I'm not strong enough, but with Him, I am.



I imagine I post more about Jay than anything else, but I think that's okay. After all, he is my best friend. *grin*

I am still amazed at how much this little furry person blesses me. Well, okay, I know he isn't a REAL person, but he has a personality that blesses me EVERY day. From the morning alarm where he helps me get up (I love sleep!) to the time he cuddles up in his blanket to sleep each night, he constantly cracks me up!

Today I had a decent day, but it was INCREDIBLY long due to Curriculum Night, and I came home to this furry kid who has been cuddling with me even as I type this post. In fact, this post has taken longer than it should have because he's cuddled with me so I've stopped to pet him. Without saying a word or knowing my thoughts, he knows what I need, and I feel unconditional love in a way that blesses me over and over and over again. *grin*

Tonight I am thankful for him. I prayed for Jay years ago when I read the book "Marley and Me" and God gave me more than I could have ever imagined in a dog. *grin*


AMAZING, with Jay in it! *grin*


I have a pile of essays with my name on them. My juniors keep bugging me to get them back. They aren't completely graded, despite the fact that I've had them a week...
I tried to explain to them that they have one to write; I have 25 to grade...didn't make much of an impact on them. I told them I'd give them until Monday to finish their next essay if they give me until Monday to finish grading them...

Anyways, on to my question for blogworld...How long does it usually take you to grade and hand back essays? (They're 2-4 page narratives...25 of them...and I'm a tough grader)


Some days in the classroom I sit there and think to myself "Thank you God for my parents." I am one blessed gal. If you've been a loyal reader of this blog for any amount of time, you know that I make this statement about once every six months.

I obviously didn't choose my parents, and they weren't perfect parents (Sorry, Mom & Dad!), but they provided me with boundaries that help me today as an adult. There were expectations in the Springer household, and while I didn't always enjoy them at the time, I am thankful for them today.

Without getting into specifics about my day today, I will say that walking out of the school building today I wanted to call my parents and (For the hundredth time since I've started teaching.) tell them THANK YOU! I was brought up in a healthy, loving home that helped shape me into a healthy adult today.

Thanks Mom & Dad. I know I was not an easy child to raise, but you did an AMAZING job! I LOVE YOU!


Listening to Little People Read!!!

Today I did something really amazing. Okay, well, I thought it was amazing. Some of you may think I need psychiatric help after I share with you what I did, AND the fact I ENJOYED IT. *grin*

Today I helped assess our entire building on their reading skills. That's right, ALL DAY I sat and listened to kids read passages that I gave them. Yes, I was tired by the end of it, but it was an AMAZING experience for me.

Before I share my thoughts on the day, I want to share that I LOVE MY LITTLE CORNER OF THE WORLD. I wake up every day and look forward to going to work and working with the little people God put in my life for this small portion of their lives. I am blessed to have EACH of my students in my life. They teach me just as much as I teach them on a daily basis. I really believe that.

That being said, today I had an AMAZING time working with ALL the students of my school. It was AMAZING to hear kids who can read REALLY well. I enjoyed listening to student after student breeze through the passages that were laid in front of them. Sure there were some that struggled, and you know what? I LOVED THAT TOO!

I will admit though, it was almost like I was reminded that there are kids who read without difficulty. Kids who read and LOVE IT. While that is true for most of my students too, it was just different today with the other kids. I had one student toward the end of the day read 200 words in one minute! I did my best not to let my jaw drop! It was amazing!

My last student of the day was actually a favorite of mine. He's not on my caseload, but he has been a favorite of mine since the building opened the first year I was here. I was SO EXCITED that he was on my list (We didn't pick who read to us, we had a list assigned to us!) and thought it was very appropriate that I ended my day with him!

I think it's okay to enjoy days like today. That's a healthy thing.

Don't get me wrong, come Tuesday (Love three-day weekends!) I'll be jazzed to be back in my little corner of the world.

Today sure was fun though! *grin*




...and breathe...

longest. two. weeks. ever.

school has started again. in fact, the first day was two weeks ago...and this is the first chance i've had to blog. tell you anything about my first two weeks of school?? it should. it's been insane, to say the very least.

  • our cafeteria is over capacity according to fire code during both lunches. there are freshmen sitting on the floor because there aren't enough tables. kids who get down to lunch later don't get food until five or so minutes before the end of lunch bell rings. we've also had several fights break out during lunch...can't necessarily attribute this to the overcrowding during lunch, but i'm sure it doesn't help.
  • one of the teachers decided to take a leave...and made this decision one week before school began, leaving an open position and very little chance of finding a quality teacher to fill it. we had a day-by-day substitute for the first week or so. we now have a permanent teacher...first year, english...flakey as hell. there is a reason she didn't have a job when called in for this position. but the department and the administration is behind her, so hopefully that's enough of a safety net to help her out.
  • the school paid several hundred-thousand dollars for an electronic gradebook program...that doesn't work. there are "bugs" that still need fixed...and no one has been trained to use it. i'll stick with my good ol' paper and pen, red gradebook and and free, online, engrade.
  • i have 90 students and 25 I.E.P.'s...lots of add/adhd, lots of specific l.d.'s and a handful of miscellaneous disabilities and disorders...including a severe depression, a bipolar, a defiant disorder...i'll be attending a heck of a lot of staffings this year...
how did everyone else's first couple weeks go??

Jay Talks in His Own Way *grin*

You may find it a tad ridiculous, but Jay sleeps on top of my bed comforter every night. He also chooses to sleep with a KU blanket on top of him. I guess he is cold at night, as I turn the thermostat down slightly every night. Or perhaps he wants to be like me, covered with quilts. *grin* He also does this in the morning while I'm getting ready for school. He's my constant source of entertainment!

It also amazes me how he can communicate with me, even though he can't talk.

Last night I was asleep, and I heard him scratching on the comforter. This is a common sound I hear, as he's typically moving the quilt back over him after sleeping for a period of time on top of it. Last night, it didn't stop though, and I remember waking up just to see what the problem was, and if he was okay. Sure enough, I sat up and noticed that he had knocked his quilt OFF the bed. Poor kid, he was trying to wake me so I would put the quilt back on the bed. I grabbed the quilt, saw his little tail start wagging, covered him, and went back to sleep.

He was a happy little guy and I was happy to go back to sleep. *grin*

It made me stop and think (today) about how much he communicates with me. From letting me know he needs to go outside, to telling me he wants a treat (I'm manipulated by the puppy face once each night!), to just wanting to cuddle, the kid talks a lot for not being able to say a word.

I think that's cool. My best friend is non-verbal, yet I know EXACTLY what he's trying to say, all the time.






a touching email.

I just received this email, and I wanted to share it. The context really is in the original email I sent:

Mr. Kotlowitz,
I am a second-year teacher at an affluent public high school **in the Midwest**. My class and I just finished reading your novel There Are No Children Here, and I am writing to let you know how much it meant to us.
While the majority of the school is very wealthy, I teach lower-tracked students, and my students are often living in poverty. So, many of them understood very well what the Riverses were going through, and I understood what you must have been going through watching them live that way.
I've struggled this year with this class. They are not readers, many because of home-life (or lack of), some because of disabilities and some simply because they don't want to be. I have had to work with them and find creative ways to get them to read everything this year...except your novel. And I want to thank you for that. While it may not have turned them into avid readers, it has, at least, taught them that reading can be enjoyable. And they have enjoyed reading this novel. For whatever reason it spoke to them. This helped to get me excited because I had students coming in to discuss the characters and their situations on their own time. Many of them were chapters ahead of what was assigned, and they were eager to discuss it with one another. I have never seen them that excited before, about anything. So, thank you for letting me see that in my students.
I'd also like to thank you for helping me to see what my students' lives are like. I am a second-year teacher, as I said, and I'm somewhat naive, I suppose. But in discussions with this novel, I learned so much about my students and the struggles they go through on a daily basis. Because I grew up in a middle class home, I take that for granted and forget that not everyone does. My students picked up on the title immediately, many because the idea is applicable to their own lives. While they don't deal with the violence outside their homes as the Riverses do, they understand the poverty, and some experience the violence inside their homes. So, they really did understand this novel.
I'm sure you get letters like this often, and in fact, I've seen some on websites, but I just wanted to let you know how much I appreciated you telling the children's stories. My children are so proud that they've read this novel from cover-to-cover, something many of them have never done before.
As a final assignment, they are writing letters to you to share their experiences with your novel; however, I wanted to send mine and share my appreciation.
**Anonymous Teacher**
**Anonymous High School**

The reply:
Dear **Anonymous**, A much belated thank you for your note -- and for your kind words. It's always good to hear from teachers whose students got engaged with Pharoah and Lafeyette, especially students whose only lives mirror their lives. I hope you can pass along my regards to your students from last year. best, alex kotlowitz
I was simply in awe that this author took the time to write a reply to my email. I never expected it. I can't wait to visit my kids on Tuesday and let them know that Alex Kotlowitz sends his regards. They'll be thrilled.

Also, sorry for the hiatus...beginning of the year business. I know you all understand. I'm taking a long weekend on top of my long weekend and visiting a friend in Oklahoma. I'm actually missing being in the classroom today, but I have a friend subbing, so I know that my classroom is safe from the monkeys.

I really hope the first few weeks have gone well for all of you!!


I've now done everything except what I'm supposed to be doing. I've got a ton of reading to do for my class (but luckily I don't have class tomorrow), and I've got several small assignments to grade from each of my classes. Clearly this is going to be a horribly disorganized post, as I'm really just typing to avoid work. I don't really have anything to say, as I haven't even gotten into my routine, let alone started analyzing my kids and my teaching. I'm also making lists of things I can do besides work while I type, which isn't helping my organizational skills at all. (p.s. The grocery store is pretty high on my to-do list. I'm trying to avoid cafeteria food this year by bringing my lunch.)

I was going to start the grading yesterday, but I really wasn't feeling well. I napped all afternoon instead while hubby cleaned and mowed. I'm still not feeling exceptionally great, but I could pop a few cold pills and do my grading if I really wanted to. The assignments I have to grade really don't take any sort of a brain to go over, but I'd rather veg on the couch and watch awful tv or even read some of my for-fun books. (I just finished The Black Tattoo this morning. Really good.)

I'm really having a difficult time getting into the swing of things this year. I think it's because I taught summer school. It took so much extra work that it really drained me. The kids were a rag-tag bunch...all those who failed the year before in one room. You can imagine the motivation they had. Plus, there was no administrator available. I had to handle all discipline problems myself...and boy, were there problems. To top it off, I didn't have access to the student information, so I couldn't get phone numbers to call or even send letters home. Even the extra padding in my paycheck didn't make it worth it. Unless they completely overhaul it for next summer, I think they'll find it difficult to staff it...but, we shall see.

I said in my last post that my kids are great, and for the most part they are. But I have a few I think will be challenging. They're just very moody kids. Some days are great and we get along well, then other days...I also had a student who refused to do an in-class assignment on the first day off class, but I think I scared him away. I gave the blank sheet back to him several times and told him I wouldn't give him a zero. He could either do it, spend lunch with me until he did it, or take it up with Assistant Principal Bulldog. He eventually decided to do the assignment, but he has since been moved to another class (or possibly another school). I can't decide whether it's a good or bad thing. (p.s. Another thing to add to the to-do list: paint my nails. I've actually stopped biting them, so I have nails to paint.)

I'm also not sure what to think of my co-teacher this year. This will be our second year together, and I adored her last year. But she's gotten in pretty thick with some people I can't really stand, people who are in it for themselves and promotions and not the kids. So far I haven't seen that in her, but they're the type of people that most of us avoid. I suppose we'll see.

Anyway, afternoon to-do list:

  • paint nails
  • grocery shop
  • make lunches for next week
  • grade (??)
  • get coffee
  • plan for next week
  • make brownies for hubby
  • straighten living room
  • veg on the couch like a lazy bum watching "I Love Money" and TLC