We need to find God, and he cannot be found in noise and restlessness. God is the friend of silence. See how nature--trees, flowers, grass--grows in silence; see the stars, the moon and the sun, how they move in silence...We need silence to be able to touch souls. --Mother Teresa

Friday, May 31, 2013

12 First Years

I just closed the door on my 18th year of teaching kids.  It was my 12th first year.  Make sense?  No.  Not at all.

Let me try to explain it:

When I started teaching in 1992, I thought I was hired to teach 7th and 8th grade English.  Turns out, I was hired to teach 7th and 8th grade communications--which were semester classes--and 7th grade English.  End of first year number one.

The next school year, 1993-94, we did away with communications and I taught 7th grade English,7th grade Math and 8th grade science.  We were building a new middle school, which wasn't ready for us at the beginning of the school year, so we moved in at the end of the first quarter.  So I started the year in a packed up room that stayed packed up until we FINALLY moved to the new building at the end of October.  Crazy.  And I was pregnant.  End of first year number two.

For the 1994-95 school year, I had the same subjects BUT we had gotten new math books, which meant all new math lessons.  And we also had a brand new science lab--which I was expected to use.  We had never had a lab before and I had to design experiments to be done in the lab.  End of first year number three.

At this point, I retired.  One year old twins, a five year old and a teaching career weren't mixing so well.  My husband drove one way to work, I drove another way to work and it just wasn't working.  He took Frick and Frack with him and I took College Girl with me and it just wasn't working.  Retirement worked.

Coming out of retirement in 1998, I was hired to teach at one of our outlying schools (we no longer have any outlying schools).  A combination 5th and 6th grade classroom.  This was an amazing experience.  At the end of the year, it was determined 6th grade would no longer be attending 6th grade in that building.  The 6th grade would go to town for middle school.  The building would become a K-5 building with K-1-2 in a classroom and 3-4-5 in a classroom.  This meant I was going somewhere else.  End of first year number four.

That somewhere else was another outlying school.  For the 1999-00 year, I taught 3rd and 4th grade.   End of first year number five.

An amazing thing happened for the 2000-01 school year:  I taught the same thing for the first time ever.  When school started, I was teaching 3rd and 4th grade again!  This meant that the 10 kids who had had me for 3rd grade, had me for 4th grade.  That was an amazing experience.  It was like we picked up in August where we had left off in May and there was none of that 'transitioning' for me or them.  It was awesome.

Lest I get comfortable teaching the same thing, I was asked to teach K-1 for the 2001-02 school year.  We had moved the 6th grade out of this outlying school and reconfigured to a K-1, 2-3, and a 4-5 classroom.  Interestingly enough, the fire marshall deemed the room where I was teaching K-1,  inappropriate for Kindergartners because there wasn't a second exit.  At the end of the first quarter, we moved my room upstairs to a room that had a second exit.  Crazy, but true.  End of my sixth first year.

Again, changes were made to our outlying schools.  This time we needed to reduce teaching staff, so we became a K-1-2 classroom and a 3-4-5 classroom.  For the 2002-03, I was the K-1-2 teacher.

Hold onto your hats......In the 7th week of the first quarter, important people show up right before morning recess.  I think I can tell you what everyone was wearing that day--that's the impact the day had on me.  The important people send the kids to recess with the recess supervisor and call the rest of us into a meeting.  And they close the doors.  Mmmmmmm.....yep.  At this point they announce that they need to reconfigure the 6th grade in town and the need for an additional teacher is evident.  That additional teacher would be me.  A replacement would be brought in from another outlying school for me and I would begin teaching 6th grade reading second quarter. Which was 2 weeks away.  I stopped teaching K-1-2 on a Friday in October and started teaching 6th grade reading on Monday.  So that year I had my seventh and eight first years.

I taught 6th grade reading for the 2003-04 school year, but for the whole year for the first time.  It was a crazy time because my appendix burst in March of 2004 and I missed 6 weeks of school.  End of my 9th first year.

I had a wonderful opportunity for the 2004-05 school year.  I could move up to 7th grade Reading with the kids I had the year before--basically creating a looping situation.  It was a wonderful transition--we had a wonderful 7th grade team--two of us who had been with them as 6th grade teachers went with them to 7th grade and we added two new-to-the-students teachers.  End of my 10th first year.

For the 2005-06 school year, I was able to teach 7th grade reading again.  Fun kids, great year.  I am thinking I got this--and literally--the night before school is out--they tell me they are moving me to 3rd grade for the 2006-07 school year.

I move my stuff to 3rd grade for the 2006-07 school year.  It was great.  It was my 11th first year.

And you know what?  I stayed there for 6 years.  And then the phone call came.  Last year on this exact day.  Could I help them out?  Could I teach 9th grade English and health?  They needed to fill a late resignation and I had that combo of endorsements.  Seriously.  Who else but me would even have that combination of endorsements?  I could say no, but not really.

Thus I began my 18th year of teaching with my 12th first year.

I tell you all of that to leave you with this piece of advice....

Change is inevitable.
Life changes.  People change.  Places change.  Time changes.  Times change.  We change.  Underwear changes.  Stuff just changes.
It's how we accept those changes that make a difference in the world.
Go make a difference in the world.

Just sayin'.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Another Last Day

Today is the last day of my first year as a Freshman English and Health teacher.  At times it was the fastest year of my life and at times it was the longest year of my life.

Never fear.  I am alive.  Freshman are amazing and wonderful--they let me live.  Some days they ate my lunch and some days....I ate, well Pringles and more Pringles.  Chased by a Dr. Pepper.  With a side of humility.

This song seems appropriate for a theme to the year....

One.  More.  Day.

Just sayin'.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

10 Days and Counting......

So I took a little break from writing.....OK.  That's a big, fat lie.  I took a big break.  I have a gazillion excuses--none of them anything anybody wants or needs to hear.

But then I read THIS......and yep.  I am not promising you'll see what I write everyday, but I do promise to write everyday.

Back in the fall, when all 5 of us had 'stuff' going on.....2 kids starting college, 1 kid student teaching, new jobs for the parents, new routines, new schedules, new relationships, new ways of seeing my children as grown-ups but not really....I had no idea that I would even live through August, let alone be breathing in May.  But here we are in May, and I am still alive.

Breathe in.  Breathe out.  

And just like my mom always says:  It will be fine.
She's smart.  But don't tell her I said that because I don't want her to get a big head.
Just sayin'.

Your own soul is nourished when you are kind, but you destroy yourself when you are cruel. -Proverbs 11: 17