FEELIN' THE LOVE!!!

I have spent most of today relaxing with Jay. I was in motion a lot this weekend, so it was good to sit and relax. As I relaxed, I sent out messages to friends seeing if I could pull off a trip to Joplin this weekend. While it's still in the planning stages, it is coming together.

I follow a lot of information regarding Joplin on Facebook. I have wondered the past few days if the creators of Facebook ever knew how much their website would be used to HELP people in disaster situations. I saw on 20/20 that the original site wasn't to be what it is today. I'm SO glad that it is, because I wouldn't know how well my friends are doing without it. Nor would I know what the current needs are in the area. There's a JOPLIN TORNADO INFORMATION page on FB that is very informative, and I have learned a lot through that one page. It's updated several times through the day, so from my seat here in KC, it's good to see what the needs are at the time.

I sent messages to several friends separately to see if I could bring things for them. I mean, if a person is homeless, what exactly do you bring them? I've never known so many homeless people to know how to help them. What I got in a response moved me to tears.

One of my FAVORITE little people wound up homeless in the tornado. In fact, on Monday after the tornado, I woke up with him & his family on my heart, so I checked on them via FB. I mean, phone lines down, FB was the only way I knew to check on them. I knew right away that they were okay, but lost their home. It broke my heart, but I knew from here the best thing I could do was to pray. So, each day, I have prayed for them. Today I sent a message offering to bring them items that they needed, and what I got in response touched my heart.

My former student is struggling a little bit. They have a roof over their heads, as they are staying with friends, but he's struggling. The Mother asked if I could make some time and come see the young man. My heart grew about 5 times the moment I read that! Of course I will make time for the young man! (If I could, I would go find each of my former students and hug them and help them.)

She also stated that right after the storm she had to explain to the young student of mine that the storm didn't hit KC! He was worried about me, even in his own devastation! *grin* That brought a *tear* to my eyes!

Yep, I can't wait to see him! I felt the love from him, without him even knowing it. *grin*

Now it's time for me to go show him that Ms. Springer still cares about him!

LIFE.
IS.
GREAT!!!

p.s.

i'm working on making my blog pretty...one small step at a time.

blogworld's #1 fan...

i just wanted to let you all know i appreciate the discussions we have in blogworld...and the advice...and the support. despite not knowing one another face-to-face, i feel like i've got a support system all over the place.

i was talking to another teacher today, and i realized why i'm such a big fan of the blogworld: i love to teach, and i love to talk about teaching. i know others at my school, when they leave the building, they want nothing to do with education...but i'm the opposite: i could talk about my job and my kids and what i'm doing until the cows come home. and this blog gives me an outlet for it. and you all give me a responsive audience.
whether through advice or criticism or just general discussion, i've learned a lot about myself and what kind of teacher i want to be through this blog...

so, on to the purpose of all this hallmark stuff: for my junior composition class next year, i'm asking them to keep a blog. i have to find a more manly way of putting this, but basically i'd like them to keep a record of their feelings...and i'm not talking mushy, kodak type stuff. but their feelings on what they read, what they see, what they know, etc. this is still an idea in the works, but i think it's a good one. i'd be incorporating technology and writing and also reading.

any ideas or helpful hints on making this successful? (it's for a lower-tracked, junior composition class. there will be mainly boys in the class, and a lot of them will have learning or behavior problems).

FEELING NOTHING AND SOMETHING ALL AT ONCE

I have felt numb, in a way. Have you ever felt that? That's the closest thing I can describe to how I have felt the past week. I haven't posted because of that. I haven't known what to say or how to say it. I'm not depressed. I'm not fighting tears. I'm just...here...

That has made me think about my Joplin friends who are in the midst of the hardest season of their lives. The other night a former student posted on my wall that he was sleeping in his car at night, but (Thankfully) that student and his siblings are now in another state with Grandma and Grandpa until there's a stable home (a/c, water, power, etc) for him to return to with his siblings. He also wrote on my wall that if he was in Joplin & I was there, he would like a hug. Gosh, that sums up what I'd like to do with each former student that I know that are currently homeless there.

It has made me want to do something, anything. I pray all the time, but I want to be practical. I have three messages out to people offering my services this coming weekend, as I would love to go down and help in any way possible. I also realize that just showing up without an organization or church to join, I'd be in the way instead of help. We will see how it pans out. I have tutoring this week, as well as a couple of other plans this week so I can't go until Friday anyway.

So, I do the best thing I can from here. I pray. I know that He moves at the sound of my voice.

To my knowledge, everyone I know that lives in the area, is alive.

That little fact has made me think about life. I guess any event like this one leads people to ponder that. I know in the past week I have pondered how much I care for my former students & staff members. I knew early on that all my former staff members were okay. I am still wondering about a few kids, but am confident that they are okay since I haven't heard otherwise. That being said, I have realized what a gift life is this side of Heaven. No, it's not easy, and yes, it's hard at times, but it's a gift.

I realize that losing 100+ people is not a small thing. At the same time, I ponder how it could have been so much worse. I don't mean to minimize the destruction and devastation that has occurred. I recognize (as much as I can from my living room two hours away) that it's going to take a long time to re-build Joplin. That being said, so many more lives could have been lost. Yet, they weren't. Not a day has gone by that I haven't thanked God for saving the lives of my friends and family.

I was thinking yesterday about how much I take life for granted. How much I take this home for granted. I have prayed through feelings of guilt as I have continued my daily life, while my former students are homeless. I think that's normal, when you know that people you love are going through tough stuff.

Ultimately, I know that praying for Joplin is the right thing, and the best thing I can do from here. If God opens a door, I'm going to go help my friends and family re-build their community. I'm praying I get to go more than once too! My tutoring gig may just fund my Joplin trips this Summer. It just seems like the right thing to do.

*grin*
LIFE.
IS.
GREAT!!!

comment response.

Dennis Fermoyle said...

The second difference is that I teach high school, and I set up my classes so that any student who makes an honest effort will probably do quite well, but the kids who don't try won't even come close to passing. By the second half of the year, some of my most apathetic kids have figured out that they're not going to make it in my classes, so they ask to be sent to our Alternative Learning Center. Sometimes these are kids who behave poorly, and to be honest, I'm never sorry to see them go. I know that it is politcally incorrect to say this, but getting rid of just a few kids who don't try and don't behave really helps because the classes become better, the students who remain start learning more, teaching becomes more manageable for me, and the chemistry of the classes gets better and better. Usually, as the year goes on, my classes and I like each other more and more.

7:59 PM

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Ms. H said...

Yes, AT, we have been going about it all wrong. Rather than investing our hearts and souls into not only the education of these children, but also their souls...we should figure out how to run them off so our job gets easier as our class dynamics improve over the course of the year.
I'm sorry...but I don't remember taking any classes in college that told me running kids off was the secret to being a successful teacher. I also don't remember them telling me it would be easy.
I always thought if it was easy, that meant I wasn't doing my job....which is educating ALL of the kids. Especially the ones who appear to be apathetic and/or behavior problems. My experience (and I've been in the education field 12 years) has been that the "problem" kids are exactly who I'm here to teach. It's these kids that will be the difference in our society...better to have reached them in grades K-12 than to finance their lifelong lodging in a maximum security prison.

I truly hope that I never become as jaded as public education's self-proclaimed "defender". Keep fighting the good fight, AT, it's worth it.

9:59 PM

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Dennis Fermoyle said...

Ms. H, saying that you will learn to structure things at the end of the year to make things more manageable for yourself is hardly telling someone that they've been "going about it all wrong."

I would challenge anyone to find any student I've had, any parent who knows me, or any teacher I've worked with who would describe me as "jaded" in the job I do. Obviously, we have different philosophies, but I'm not going to describe yours as evil in some way, and if you worked with me, I don't think you'd describe mine that way, either. You believe you need to reach every student, and I admire your effort to do that. I'm sorry, but I don't think that's practical, and I'm afraid that when we try to do that, we're hurting kids who are truly interested in getting an education. I also believe that at the high school level, when we try to hang on to kids who have absolutely no interest in getting educated, that they sometimes influence other kids to adopt their self-destructive ways. In other words, instead of losing just one, we end up losing two, or three, or four.

I believe public education is about giving opportunities to kids. I try to set my class up in such a way so that every student can be successful. I've never been more proud than when a young man who was classified as EMH earned a straight A by scoring 98 percent on a rather long American history final I gave to a basic class a few years ago.

But while I want every kid to have the opportunity to be successful, I can't MAKE them choose to do that. I can encourage them, I can try to motivate them, and I can do everything I can to make my class as interesting as possible. I'll talk to the kids, I'll send letters home to the parents, and I'll meet with them. Sometimes it works. I've had students fail the first quarter, make the decision to start trying, and end up getting Bs later in the year. But I've also had my share of students who never decided to make that effort. When that happens, I'm sorry, but I'm not going to pass them. And when those students head for our ALC, it does make their classes better, and it does make things easier for me, and I'm not going to apologize for that either. They've made a choice--I don't think it's the best one--but I'm going to respect it.

...

You and I have very different approaches, but I wouldn't ever presume to tell you that you need to do things my way. If after twelve years, you honestly believe you can reach every kid, and if you're having success at that, I've got nothing but admiration for you. Any teacher who tries their hardest at their job, like you do, and believe it or not, like I do is a public education defender.

6:12 AM

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since it's my blog, i'm going to share my views on this. i'm not trying to offend anyone. i'm also not saying that what anyone else is doing is wrong. there are many ways of being a good teacher. this is simply what i think and practice.

i worked parttime in an alternative school setting while i was in college. for three hours every monday, wednesday and friday, i had twelve students who either got kicked out or dropped out of their traditional high school. some of them were there because they wanted to be: they were trying to get their g.e.d. there were others who had to be there: the school was forcing them to make up credits while they were out of school. i had two who were kicked out because of violence against a teacher. i had several who had chosen not to do the work, and the high school refused to put up with it anymore. i had a pregnant teen who chose to drop out and get her g.e.d. so that she could start college sooner. it was a motley crew...and, dear lord, i was terrified my first day...and my first week...and, really, if i'm being completely honest, my first month. this experience created who i am as a teacher, though.
through my coursework, i worked with those students who wanted to learn...or who at least participated in class and did their homework. they were fun. i loved their enthusiasm. i loved that i didn't have to ask them multiple times to do their homework. i loved that i could take them to the computer lab and not have to worry about a paper airplane being shoved in a disk drive. i really loved that i didn't have to worry about some sort of behavioral outburst.
i was working with both student populations at around the same time. days i didn't have to work at the alternative school, i was going into the traditional high school for observations and practicum experiences. working with the different student dynamics like this let me really compare the two.

i realized about halfway through the semester that the kids in the traditional school would make it without me. they may not have enjoyed school, but they were involved in their education. they would make it where they wanted to be with or without my help because they cared.
my alternative school kids were the ones who need a teacher...some sort of help in life. this is one of the many things i've taken with me from that experience. i want to teach those students who need a teacher. i know i can't reach them all, but i can give it my best effort.

i feel like this has become somewhat after school special-ish...and i apologize for that. i just feel very passionately about my delinquents. i've found my calling, i suppose.

i feel like i was grounded.

i am aware that it's been ten days. i haven't abandoned this blog, but it's the end of the school year. all of you know what that means...grading, cleaning, and just tying up general loose ends.

all but one of of my little delinquents earned an "a" or "b". the one who didn't chose not to turn in a major project just to be a pain.

i'm already starting to plan for next year. i want to be on top of the game...ready to go come august.

i'm sure i have stories from the hiatus i took, but for the life of me, i can't think of any. my mind is gone.

May 22, 2011

It's a date no one will forget. Okay, well, not a date most people I love will forget. I will admit, I can't tell you the date of Hurricane Katrina. I didn't know anyone in Hurricane Katrina. The recent Joplin Tornado is an ENTIRELY different story for me.

If you're new to my little corner of the world, I will tell you that I spent eleven years of my life as an educator in the Joplin Public Schools. By all accounts, it is honestly what I still consider home, even as I'm carving out a new home in L.S. I lived there, worked there, and went to church there. (I also attended church in a small community right outside of Joplin for the last few years prior to my move here.)

I know that out of situations like the tornado in Joplin there are thousands of stories. I don't know that I have a story, so much as ramblings in my head, and prayers to God.

On Sunday Night I was surfing the internet, and was enjoying some time on Facebook when I saw a friend post that she & her family had lost their house, but everyone was okay. It was actually the mother of a former student of the school I taught at. I said a prayer and moved on. Before I knew it, I realized it wasn't a small thing, it was HUGE. My prayers continued to increase. My heart leapt for those in need...for homes destroyed. Then it hit me...are my loved ones okay?

I spent A LOT of time Sunday Night watching FB just to see who posted status updates to see who was okay. One former student (THANKS NICK!) didn't just return my text, he called me to tell me he was okay. I watched and prayed. I talked on the phone to a couple friends, turned on THE WEATHER CHANNEL and saw the beginning of the current footage we see on TV.

Throughout the night, I was thankful to find out that my family members were okay. Slowly but surely, former students were posting they were okay too. I was giving thanks to God at the same time praying for those who were still missing...those I didn't even know.

Yesterday afternoon I hadn't heard back from two people, and they hadn't posted on FB, and that was the only real time that God wasn't giving me peace in the midst of it. I sat in my classroom after school and stopped and prayed. I started to wonder about one of my friends specifically. I started to realize how much everyone there means to me. So, I sent a text to another teacher friend who took a while to respond. I will admit, I let my mind go to the worst in those few minutes, so I logged into Facebook from my phone. (Shhhhh, don't tell anyone, that's a no-no at work!) Sure enough, on my friend's wall was a post from his daughter saying they were fine. I stopped and thanked God. About 30 minutes later my phone rang. It was him! I don't think that I've ever been so excited to hear a voice in my entire life! I heard his story and thanked God again for saving his life!

This post isn't about me, but then again it is, I guess. I mean, in the midst of wondering about Mr. C., as well as everyone else, I can only imagine what the people living there have gone through. I keep watching footage, and looking at the community that I know, and it breaks my heart.

I have more in my head that I want to say, but as I have written this, I have realized who I HAVEN'T heard from on FB. I'm going to put on my detective hat and see what I can find.

By the way, May 22, that's my Birthday.

For me it will have a whole new meaning, for the rest of my life.

PRAYING FOR YOU JOPLIN!!!

*grin*
LIFE.
IS.
GREAT!!!

A Small, Yet Meaningful Prayer Answered

This week Forerunner Christian Fellowship (My church) hosted a guest speaker all week. I was on the shuttles team all week for the evening services, so I had the chance to hear the speaker as well. I went in on Monday & Wednesday. Tuesday I took Jay so he wouldn't have to be in the box (We had a great time walking around outside, as it was really nice!) and Thursday I went to the Prayer Room to get some work done. So, I'm stating upfront that I only went to two of the sessions.

That being said, in the sermon Wednesday night there were A LOT of things I didn't agree with. One topic in particular left me praying off and on the rest of the week, trying to decide if it was me or if it was just me not wanting to see something within the scriptures. What I came to was that it was something I just didn't agree with, and it was something that I was just going to have to pray through and let go of, even if FCF (my church) agreed with it. I haven't dwelled on it, but I have prayed over it, as it's something that mattered to me.

Tonight I went to FCF and Mike Bickle (Main leader of FCF) got up and stated that FCF leadership doesn't agree with the specific statement that had me pondering all week. I WAS SO STINKIN' EXCITED!!! He did state (and I agree with this statement) that he has a deep respect for that speaker but there were a few things that he didn't agree with. Honestly, I felt a weight lifted when he said that because that was how I felt. I felt that the speaker had some good points, but he also had some that didn't line up with my knowledge of God.

In my walk with God, I have found that there are some things that you have to let go of and agree to disagree on things because we're all human, and there isn't a perfect church. (Trust me, I tried to find one! *grin*) At the same time, sometimes it just stinkin' rocks when someone else confirms what you are thinking and feeling about something. That's what happened for me tonight. *grin*

LIFE.
IS.
GREAT!!!

Pin Blast, Birthday Gifts, Shuttles, and the Prayer Room

This week has been BUSY. I can't remember a week this busy in years, with the exception of camp! I would go to work with little people, tutor, come home, let the little furry kid out, eat, go drive shuttles, come home, crash, and do it all over again the next day. It was an AMAZING week, but I am tired tonight. Very, very, very tired. I have a few highlights to share from the week! *grin*

The first highlight in the week was learning the game PIN BLAST. One of the advantages to moving here is that I get to learn all sorts of new games that the kids play in P.E. Honestly, they probably played this game in Joplin, but since I never went in to P.E., I wouldn't know that. I was asked to substitute in P.E. on Monday, and I was told the kids would be playing PIN BLAST. This is a game that the kids have talked about a lot! I went in to observe the game early in the day, as I was only covering the last class period of the day. It was a game that immediately made me think of Mr. C. at my old school. He would LOVE this game. Basically it's the game "Guard the Pin", multiplied by 26 kids! It was AMAZING! The kids did a GREAT job when I substituted in class for them! I couldn't play the game, of course, since I was teaching, but I hope to one day. That was a game I would have enjoyed as a kid. I'm hoping to one day enjoy it as an adult! *grin*

Today at school, ROCKSTARPARA gave me my birthday gift. My birthday isn't until Sunday, but she wanted to give it to me early. She gave me the neatest FAITH plaque. I have placed it on my entertainment center. I LOVE it! It meant more to me than she'll ever know! It's not surprising she gave me such a cool gift though...she's cool like that! *grin* Not to mention that Hebrews 11:1 is one of my favorite scriptures!

Every night (Mon-Thurs) I drove shuttles for the seminar held at FCF. There were three of us that were on the team every night, with one floater. It was SO MUCH FUN! It honestly reminded me of the season I was on the Sunday Night Team. We laughed a lot!!! Last night Papa Bear named himself "5" and I was "1". You had to be there to get it, but needless to say, it was time well spent. *grin*

Finally, the highest part of my week occurred last night. I had schoolwork I wanted to do, so instead of going in for the seminar, I went to the Prayer Room! Misty led the first set, and Jaye led the second set. I LOVED every single second of my time in there! I didn't know it beforehand, but I needed time in there. It felt good to be in my favorite room on the PLANET. I felt at peace. I felt...at home. *grin*

It was an exhausting week, but a good one. I'm ready for some time to rest. I also have some work to do too! For now, I think I'll rest. I have some shows to watch on DVR! *grin*

LIFE.
IS.
GREAT!

stick a fork in me...

it's almost summer vacation. my mind is gone.

my baseball boy is still doing well. he's smiling more and more every day. i'm going to his game tomorrow. they're playing a really good team, so he says i have to stay until the end this time.
i talked to guidance, and i've made sure they put him in my class next year. i told her that i can reach him.

on to the big news...there is a young girl at my school who has a genetic heart problem. over this past weekend, she had complications and needed a transplant. she recieved her heart after only three days of waiting.
now, obviously this is an expensive procedure, and the parents are swamped. so, her counselor decided to fundraise to donate money to the family...somehow (i still haven't figured out how) i got volunteered to head up this effort. i organized a change drive competition among all the classes. the counselor and i were thinking we'd make $1000 or so...in four days we've made over $5000!! it's amazing how the school is banding together.
i'm amazed by the amount of money students have donated and also by the generousity they've shown. it's so heart-warming to see the students behaving this way. sometimes i forget they're not little monsters all the time...
with the way things are going, we'll make several thousand dollars tomorrow...everyday we've doubled what we made the day before...

as great as it is to see, i'll be glad for tomorrow. raising five grand in four days is exhausting.

I SHOULD HAVE BEEN IN A WRECK TODAY

I should have been in a car wreck today.
A really bad one.
You've been there before, where you wind up INCHES from someone else's car.
That was me this morning at 8:25.
I was running late for work.
I was at the stop light.
Why I moved when I did, I will never know.
But I did.
And the truck stopped inches from my car.
My heart raced.
My palms sweated.
And I knew it should have happened.
And it would have been my fault.

I went on ahead because at that moment, I had stopped traffic completely.

As I drove off, I thanked God for saving me. For keeping me safe. For letting me have another day on this Earth.

All day today I have thought about that moment.

If it hadn't been for Him, I wouldn't be here typing on this little blog and headed to bed to get ready for another day tomorrow.
I wouldn't be able to cuddle with my favorite furry kid.
I wouldn't be able to teach some of my favorite little people.
I wouldn't get to be on the shuttles team like I was tonight.

Above all else, I wouldn't get the JOY of life this side of Heaven.

Hum...

THANK YOU GOD!!!

*grin*
LIFE.
IS.
THEBESTEVER! *grin*

It ALWAYS Comes Back to Perspective...

Today has been a series of experiences that made me think, "Yep, life is still all about perspective." Let me share a few of those experiences from today.

I got up and went to serve on the Shuttles Team for church. This week we have David Pawson speaking at church, so it was CRAZY BUSY. On one hand, a person could have complained, saying, "This is too busy!" Then there's the team I'm on that LOVED IT! We had a BLAST delivering people to and from the services!!! It was definitely a highlight of my day! My favorite part was cheering on Slim as he parked the bus, but you had to be there to get the joy in the moment! (I wasn't even there, I was cheering via the radio!) *grin* See you really had to be there!

I came home to meet the cable man to get internet and phone service turned back on. For the majority of my weekend the little red light has been flashing on my router, which means NO INTERNET. Long story short, due to the house construction, wires had been cut where they shouldn't have been. On one hand, this has made for a LONG weekend. A tough weekend. The toughest weekend yet here in L.S. On the other hand, I have had the coolest furry kid on the planet to hang with, and a LONG LIST of DVR shows to watch. Talk about perspective. God spoke to me this afternoon as the cable guy was outside about my attitude regarding the whole internet deal. Life goes on without the internet. I was mad because I didn't have the internet and because of all the silly remodeling being done that has interrupted my service. God (very gently) reminded me that this was minor, and that it was my attitude that needed adjustment. Hum. It's all about perspective... *grin*

I came home from the store tonight to see the neighborhood kids playing up the street in the dumpster full of scrap from all the construction going on. I immediately kicked into teacher mode and wanted to run up the hill and tell them to all get off the dumpster. I didn't though. First off, it wasn't my place to do so. Second, I prayed like crazy that no one would get hurt. Third, if I had known where each kid lived, I would have let their parents know, but I don't know where they all live. I watched them for a while, and they eventually got off of it and went to do something else.

It made me think, "Crud, where are their parents? Why aren't they watching them?" Then it hit me. I did the same thing as a kid. One time I was spanked for playing at a site where a house was being built when I had specifically been told not to do so. As I walked Jay tonight, I came upon the dumpster, and the kids were back by it but wouldn't get on it while I was there. They stood by it, but not on it. After I walked on, I walked slowly to hear what they were saying, and I heard one say, "Look, there's the cops, get away." When in reality, there weren't any officers around.

In reality, the kids knew that it was wrong, just as I knew it was wrong when I was a kid. But, from a kid's point of view, you don't think of getting hurt, or needing a tetanus shot, or any of that at the time. All you think is, "Oh cool! A dumpster that's high in the air!" I prayed for the kids tonight. I really, really prayed. I didn't get hurt. They probably won't get hurt either.

It makes you think though, doesn't it? Each perspective has logic. Kinda makes a person go "Hum..."

As for me, it's past ten and this week is going to be crazy busy. That is good for me, I do better when I'm busy than when I'm bored.

See, it's all about perspective.

*grin*
LIFE.
IS.
GREAT!!!

God Knows Best!!!

Lately I've been pondering the depth of God's heart. I love how He knows the fullness of time, so He knows the purpose of today for tomorrow's greater good. Sometimes I get frustrated, and I tell Him that, because I can't see the whole picture. I've shared before, and will say it again, that I often tell him, "Can I have the Fast Forward Button just for a minute?" Over and over again God shows me that He knows best. HE ALWAYS knows best! So, while I sit in the "here and now", He knows what's ahead of me tomorrow, the next day, and the ext day, etc.

Earlier in the semester, we had some staff changes that made me sad initially. Here I sit more than ten weeks later, and I already see a little bit of what God was doing. I know I've had a couple of posts about this exact thing, but I'm going somewhere with this. *grin*

I started praying for a Smartboard after I accepted the job here. I was told in my initial interview that there was not enough money in the start up budget for the school to have a Smartboard for me, but it would be a priority in the next few years. And, I was fine with that. I was told upfront I wouldn't have one, so I have done my best without one.

After the staff change, life moved forward and (in my humble opinion) our staff is better than ever! We have put students first and I am proud to be a part of the staff that I'm on. So, I was recently in a committee meeting and politely shared the desire for a classroom with a Smartboard.

I found out yesterday that I get to move to a classroom that has one!!! I am SO EXCITED!!! Not so excited about the actual moving part, but excited about the Smartboard!!! Truthfully, I probably wouldn't have gotten this room without the staff change.

I really pondered that yesterday when I found out what room I was moving into for the SmartBoard. If the change hadn't been made, that room wouldn't be available for me. So, something that I wasn't happy about at first, has turned out to be a blessing for me.

Going even further than a Smartboard, I have watched a staff become a family. People hang out in each other's rooms, and laughter can be heard throughout the building before and after school hours. What was once a quiet place, is now a healthy place full of laughter and love.

God knew. I cried the morning of the change. I felt sad that whole next week. But God knew.

Ya know, I still miss my Joplin friends in a way I can't even put into words, but this place is FINALLY beginning to feel like home.

Kinda makes me wonder what else God has in store for me, in ways I don't see right now. *grin*

*grin*
LIFE.
IS.
GREAT.

...

i went to visit my gram's grave for the first time since she passed away.
it's cold outside, so today wasn't the best day to go. and i don't know what possessed me to stop. but i was driving by, and i just had to see her...or what i've got left of her. it's not much.
they haven't even added the date of her death to her headstone. grass hasn't even started to grow over her. no one has put flowers on her. she was always the one who remembered to do those things.
that might be my mother's day present for her...i'm going to steal a tulip plant from her garden and plant it for her.
i just wish she could see me now. and i wish i could go to her when things were rough. i never knew how difficult this would be, and i know she'd understand.
i sat there for an hour talking to her. it was strange talking to a headstone and dirt. and i kept saying that. i felt like a nutjob, but i had to talk to her. even if she can't hear me.

i just had to remind myself that i do what i do because of her because sometimes that gets lost in all the mess that goes along with teaching.

a post interrupted.

i miss blog-time. i haven't had a lot of free time this week...and when i've had time, i haven't had my computer.
i've decided to continue looking for a job. i tried to explain this to the boyfriend earlier, and he didn't really get it. i suppose unless you're there, you wouldn't.
i started to attempt, but it's pointless. just know i'm unhappy. i love teaching, but i dread going in to work. so, i'm once again on the job market...however, this time i have a definite job in case i don't get anything else.

question for blog-world...is it better to stay at a job where you know the pitfalls or go somewhere new with the hopes of it being better?

Unexpected Blessing

You ever have one of those days that ends and you think, "Wow, thanks God, there is NO WAY I could have set that up!" Today was one of those days for me. It wasn't anything huge. I mean, it wasn't like I got engaged or am expecting a kid, but it was something that mattered to me. And God knew it.

Prior to my move here, I taught Summer School EVERY Summer. It was how I padded my account for the year. (Living single=being creative with finances year round!) Last Summer I took a Summer off. The first one in my career as an educator. And honestly, I loved it. I spent A LOT of time in the Prayer Room, went swimming, and hit Worlds of Fun a few times. It was GREAT.

This Summer I applied for Summer School, but applied to be an aide. At this point, we don't even know if we're having Summer School, and that's fine. I made it fine last year, and I knew God would take care of it this year too. He's never let me down!

Today I had TWO families contact me to tutor their children this Summer! One of the families is wanting to pay MORE than I typically charge for tutoring! I hung up from talking to one of the families tonight and I just grinned and thanked God. I couldn't have set that up. There's no way. God on the other hand, knew what I desired and what I needed. And he gave me more than I could have asked for. *grin*

Thank You, God.

*grin*
LIFE.
IS.
SPIFFY!!!

Hard Work

One of my FAVORITE things in life is WORKING HARD. Seems odd to admit, doesn't it? Well, it's true. I LOVE working hard. It makes me feel like I'm earning my keep...doing what's right...and at the end of my day I know I've given 100% throughout my day. It's a good, healthy feeling. I like it a lot!

One of the highlights of my day is at 2:00. I have a student who is working SO HARD to learn how to count change. It's hard for him, REALLY HARD. My favorite moments are when he says, "Wait a minute..." and he works it out. Sometimes that means he uses paper and pencil to figure out what I give him, and other times it means he's counting in his head. My goal is to have him be able to count it in his head. After all, he can't be on a date years from now and get out paper and pencil to figure out how much money he needs! *grin* This kid has worked SO HARD! Just in the past 6 days he's really made some real progress. He's still got room to grow, but he's getting there.

It is my prayer that this kid can learn two things in the midst of all the time we're putting into this task. First, I pray I can teach him to count the change in his head, no matter what coins he has in his hand. Fortunately he's in my class one more year, so that is possible. Second, I pray he learns that HARD WORK is fun. We really are having fun as we working on counting the coins. I have him one-on-one and he is laughing and smiling as he works. I pray he learns how to appreciate hard work and to intrinsically care about learning. If I can teach him both of those things, he can do ANYTHING this side of Heaven. *grin*

As for me, this day has been long enough, I have worked hard all day, and I have a book to read. *grin*

LIFE.
IS.
GREAT!!!

My Mind Won't Turn Off! *grin*

My mind has been on overdrive lately. Have you ever felt like that? As if you want to stop thinking about various things, but your mind just keeps going on and on like the energizer bunny? So, I'm not 100% sure how this post is going to go, but I think I need to just ramble tonight. Read on, flip to another website, doesn't matter. Tonight's post may just be for me. *grin*

I've been sucked into INPLAINSIGHT again this season. I love USA shows because they run some Summer Series shows, so I'm not stuck with just re-runs all summer. Last night's episode completely spoke to me. On one hand, it spoke to me because of various things that have happened this school year. The main witness on the show was paranoid to the point of an unhealthy spot in his life. It reminded me how much I should be praying for someone that was in my life that was sucked into a situation that may not have been quite that intense on the outside, but definitely was on the inside. It broke my heart on one hand, and then reminded me how God is in control, and that person doesn't have to remain in that place anymore. My prayers for that person will increase in the days to come. Life's to short to be stuck like that. It also spoke to me because Mary Shannon, the main character, says what she thinks out loud. Due to the nature of my job and various roles in the community, I use my filter A LOT. Which is the right thing to do. I tell ya what though, I live vicariously through Mary Shannon's character though. I realize it's on TV and not real life, but at least somewhere people get away with saying what they think. *grin*

My backyard has changed tremendously. I have already shared about the road construction going on behind my house. I really wish I had taken a picture of it to show what has happened to my backyard. I'll be honest, and state that the backyard is the one thing about this place that I wasn't thrilled about. I had a swamp-type area in my back yard, and well, it was more of an eye-sore than anything. In the past 3 or 4 days, I no longer have the trees, the swamp, or the fence. At the moment, I have a flat, open area. It looks COMPLETELY different. I realize it won't remain like that. They're widening the street back there, and I was told when I rented the place that I will have a fence and lose half the back yard. (Which wasn't much to begin with since I had the swamp area!) Tonight when I got home, I took Jay out there to do his business and just stood there. It looks SO different. All of the sudden, I can now see the traffic directly from my back porch. I stood there this evening and wondered if I was that transformed by God in my life. It's sort of what I've been pondering tonight. I have definitely changed in some deep ways in the move here, the changes, etc. I can also say, I am closer to God now than I ever have been. I just wonder if that is evident in my everyday life. I hope so. Finally, I'm praying that the construction going on RIGHT behind my house is done in the next 13.5 days. Otherwise, I'm gonna be doing a lot of praying to God about my lack of sleep during my SUMMER BREAK. *grin* Jay started barking right at 7 am today. That's not gonna work for me starting May 28th.

I've been on a hunt. Have you ever been on a hunt for something and not been successful? I had this neat little necklace that had become my FAVORITE. I bought it right before I moved here and it had a deep sentimental value to me for various reasons. I wore it everyday for almost the two years that I've lived here. Week before last, I was at work and it broke. I was bummed. I mean BUMMED. I've been searching the web. OF COURSE, it's a retired Silpada necklace. I'm praying that I can find another one. While it won't have the exact same sentimental value, it is a neat little necklace!

13.5 days are left of school. I'm ready for the Summer Break. I will be tutoring, but that is fun stuff. Plus, I get to set my own hours, sleep in, and go to camp! *grin*

I had my summative meeting today. I wasn't as nervous as I thought I would be, but I am glad it's over with. It's clear that I'm in a healthy work environment now, which is an ENORMOUS answer to prayer. *grin* I've worked SO HARD this year, and I'm glad today went the way it did. It really did make me *grin*.

My favorite TV Show is back on TV for the Summer Season. FLASHPOINT is an incredible show! Last Season ended with an episode where someone came in to break up the main team. No one on the team would turn on each other. No one would talk bad about each other. It is my prayer that my current team will become like that. I will pray for that EVERY day.

Finally, I'm sucked into quite a book right now. I'm reading House Rules by Jodi Piccoult. It's (I know, you'll be shocked to hear this!) about a family with a child that's Autistic. Last night I was up past 11:00 reading! It made me look forward to Summer when I can read all night. *grin*

Time to go read. Maybe it will turn my mind off. At least for a little while. *grin*

LIFE.
IS.
GREAT!!!

KNOCKOUT!!!

Okay, before you go thinking something horrible...NO I DIDN'T KNOCKOUT A STUDENT! *grin*

Today my students had their FIRST pizza party of the school year with ROCKSTARPARA and me! The initial plan was to play the game "horse" outside on the basketball court after eating pizza. The kids asked me earlier in the day if we could play "Knockout" instead of "horse." I said that would be fine. I will openly admit, I had watched the game played before, but had never actually played it myself. I thought it would be easy. *grin*

After eating the pizza, we went outside to the basketball court. We all lined up to play and the sandyblondeheadedchild explained how to play. It seemed easy enough to me. The game was on!!! We started the game, and suddenly the game didn't make sense to me. Kids who I thought were "out" were in. (But, let the record show, I got MUKID out on my FIRST toss! For real!) So, ROCKSTARPARA and I stopped the game and listened to the directions again. As it turned out sandyblondeheadedkid knew the game, he just didn't know how to explain it to us very well. We played the next round, and there was another argument. I have to admit, but ROCKSTARPARA and myself were getting frustrated.

After it was all worked out, we played about three more rounds before the bell rang and we had a lot of fun. I have several students who could actually benefit from that sort of activity on a weekly basis because the social skills are lacking, as well as sportsmanship. Overall though, it was a lot of fun.

Speaking from my perspective, it was a blast. The kids cheered me on and I cheered them on as well. I am good at shooting, not good at running, but the kids were good at running after basketballs for me. It was a blast. Today was our first day ALL SCHOOL YEAR to do an activity like this one, so it was good for everyone. I liked it because it made me feel a little like I was at my old school playing a romping game of Four Square.

I say that, and in the span of this week my school feels more like home than it has since I moved here. A few GOOD things happened this week, and while I am looking forward to the upcoming Summer Break, I can see a shift in things and prayers are being answered! *grin*

Awesome.

Life.
is.
GREAT!!!

you won the battle...but i will win the war.

took my student council kids on a field trip this weekend. it was state convention. my kids have taken on a lot of district responsibility for the up-coming year, which means i have to take on a lot of district responsibility in the up-coming year...because beginning my first full year of teaching isn't enough...

we had some fun on the trip. went to dinner last night. one of my students suggested a posh restaurant downtown. he made reservations for us and everything. when we got there, the kids were looking at the menu and realized nothing was under $20. they're in high school...most of them can't afford that. and even the ones who could really would prefer a cheeseburger. i didn't want to be rude and simply walk out of the restaurant, so i had one of my students fake sick. i told the waiter that we all had to go because i couldn't leave them downtown alone.
we went next door and had fondue. it was so fun. the kids and i both loved it. the food was good, and it was one of those things that are fun to eat.

what a good example i set for my kids, huh?

as a first-year teacher/advisor, i felt like some of the older advisors were kinda watching me...waiting for me to mess up. and one kid made it difficult not to give them a good show. he's a good kid...just likes to push boundaries.
we were in one meeting, and i noticed his shirt...

imagine something along these lines.

i told him he needed to go back to our hotel and change...so, he did...into one that said "Male Escort." *i couldn't find a picture of this one, as all that came up on google were for actual male escorts*. i again sent him back to the hotel to change. i told him if he didn't have an appropriate shirt in his bag that he needed to simply stay in the hotel room.
he came back. in a pink polo. i thought it was fine.
later, i happened to look at the little emblem on the left side (you know the one all polos have)...definitely humping alligators. yes, humping alligators. by this time we were getting ready for dinner, and he was changing anyway. but jesus pete!! i almost made him stay in the room while we went out to dinner, but i figure if i didn't notice...heck, if the kids didn't even notice, then there wasn't any point in getting upset about it.

choose your battles, grasshopper...

Donorschoose #2

I have often heard the phrase "Third time is a charm." It is my prayer that my SECOND attempt will be successful, and that I won't have to wait for a THIRD attempt. I know, you're sitting there thinking, WHAT IS SHE TALKING ABOUT?

Well, back in the fall of 2010, Borders did an amazing promotion with Donorschoose.org. If you purchased a book over a certain weekend, you got a Donorschoose gift card for FREE. So, I wound up getting TWO certificates! *grin* However, I didn't have any idea what that was for, or what the site was about. So, I used all the FABULOUS research skills that I was taught in my academic career and learned what it was all about!

This site is AMAZING! Teachers (And you have to be a full-time teacher, and meet certain criteria.) can submit proposals for supplies for their classrooms. After the proposal is approved, the site posts your project and people can donate to the project. I should add IT IS TAX DEDUCTIBLE!!!

My first project I went in with high hopes and wrote a proposal for a projector. The submission was approved, but I didn't raise enough funds. Which is fine. I learned a lot the first time around on the site.

I have now submitted a SECOND proposal. This year my students have fallen in love with reading! Okay, some more than others, but they are now ASKING for reading time instead of me having to encourage them to read! I am VERY excited about this! While we do have a reading series that I am using with the students, my 3:15-3:30 slot is for read-aloud time of other books. We finished a Big Nate book and the students have requested a couple of other books. SO my proposal is for 12 copies of each of the books! Not only will this affect this group of students, but it will help students in the years to come that I have in my classroom! (I'm a LONG way from retirement!)

Now that I have explained all of that, if you WANT to help give to this project, I only have $275 to raise for my students to have the books in their hands! *grin*

Here's the site:
http://www.donorschoose.org/shannon.springer

Thanks for reading! Speaking of which, I have a book to go read! *grin*

LIFE.
IS.
GREAT!!!

19.5 DAYS

Dear God,

Please guide me through the next four weeks. This time of year can be rough on students and teachers alike. Please guide my words and tame my tongue. Help me to be your vessel in the place You have placed me to be for a time such as this. My only goal is to be able to be your hands, ears, eyes, and lips. When moments come with thoughts and words that are not of You, I pray that you will replace them with words from You. I pray that in moments of weakness, You will be my strength. I pray that you will surround me with people that will encourage me, unconditionally...and see the best in me as I try my best in all I do.

Finally, I pray that Your Joy will be my strength.

I love you,
In Jesus' Name,
Amen.

19.5 days.

*grin*
LIfe.
Is.
GREAT!

and it's my day off!!

took the day off today. haven't had one all semester. i just needed a break. i would've been a waste of a teacher if i would've gone in today, so i simply didn't.

did get an email from guidance counselor about cheater...

Miss Anonymous,
Cheater's dad had left a message on my voicemail Friday regarding the email
that you sent him. He is saying that he doesn't think Cheater even
realized that what she did was wrong . . .
of course she knew what she did was wrong!! i only explained parenthetical citations every single day we worked on the essay. i only gave them the definition of plaigarism ten million times!! yes, she knew what she did was wrong. are you kidding me?!
guidance is in full support of me, as is a.p. bulldog. i just can't believe this parent would attempt to allow his daughter to get away with something like this. it's ridiculous.

but it's my day off, and i'm not dealing with him today. i emailed the details of the assignment to guidance. i also let her know the essay, the website it was copied from and the write-up are either with a.p. bulldog or in my mailbox. let them deal with it today. i'll have my hands full of it tomorrow, i'm sure.