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??