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Showing posts from October, 2013

True test of Character...

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Tonight I had one of those moments...you know, the ones where you have stood high judging others about their behaviors when, all of the sudden, you realize that you have exhibited something in this behavior realm too...

I have been feeling very frustrated in an attempt to make my world right...make it balanced...feel like myself and nothing is working. There are areas where I am making excellent progress...with my students, in their knowledge, with some people in my life, but there are others where I am feeling aimless and unfocused. Ironically, I have always felt that I am pretty capable of dealing with other adults in my life although, these last few months, I feel like an utter failure in that area. I don't trust my judgement, where I used to see trust, I have become a cynic. I feel like I am floating about, helpless. It is disconcerting and, frankly, scary...

There are areas where I have become a cynic or passive-aggressive, even if I am not speaking my cynicism or anger out l…

Appreciating what happened...

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Events happen in your life...this we have no control over. What we do control is our response to these events...we can either hide or appreciate what has happened.

I find myself thoughtful about life. I guess that as time passes, it is easy to get reflective. Knowing that we actually have no control over events in our lives, is a humbling thing for control freaks like me. One begins to wonder...what should our responses be.

Finding the space to appreciate what has happened rather than mourn that something is over is a difficult thing. After all, we are human...it is sometimes difficult to see the rainbow through the clouds.

So celebrate, appreciate, smile...it is better to have been part of the experience than to not have had it at all...

Soul Mates...

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I have loved three men in my life...At some time in each of these relationships, there has been passionate love...love that fit the times, love that was all encompassing.

I feel that I have been lucky. I have enjoyed the love of my youth, love that spoke deep to my soul, and a love that is comfortable and safe. The idea of a "soul mate" has often made me wonder...what does that truly mean...

Is a soul mate one who makes your heart sing with the laughter of youth? Is it one you cannot live without, each beat of your heart deep and shattering? Is is one who makes you feel warm, like sitting in front of a crackling fire? Each of these responses is true...I have loved in each of these ways. This makes me ponder the idea of having more than one soul mate.

I will not lie...only one man in my life has shook the ground I stand on...does that mean he was my soul mate? Is the "soul mate" requirement that the love involved be earth shattering or can love feel like a level of …

I am a Teacher...

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I am a Teacher...

I bring a vast amount of knowledge to my job
I care about the success of my students
I want them to learn

I am a Teacher
I try not to worry about Politics
I remember that this isn't for everyone
I want my students to be observant

I am a Teacher
I watch as we struggle
Fighting against Common Core
Wondering how to keep students motivated
and wondeing how to keep them egaged...

I am a Teacher...
Caring about my students
Wanting them to be successful
I am a Teacher...

Hear me Roar!

Strength...

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These last few weeks have been ones of self examination and starting over..Not starting over in the grand scheme, but really looking deep within. Some things are not as they seem, while others are exactly as they seem. People show their true nature when under stress and pressure and how we treat one another during these times is the truest sense of character. Taking responsibility for one's action and finding common ground is the goal of truth and trust.

I am trying to be one that others can count on...one that can be considered reliable and true. I want to be strong. I am struggling to find my center. I am, at times, being overrun with anxiety. Deep breathing, counting, finding my place of peace. I have been seeking out the comfort of others, friends that are seeking the same peace..

Laying a foundation of trust and acceptance...rebuilding the house that is broken in my heart...finding the strength to start over...with the ones I love...

Champions...

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Today I had one of those teaching moments that you can't make up, nor can you believe when it's happening. Let me lay the foundation a bit...

I currently teach two 8th grade Advanced Math classes and they are pretty full, but recently a student moved into my class and has been successful, although he has only been in the US for about five weeks. Yesterday I made the decision that he should be moved to the Advanced Class, even with his very limited English skills. He is literate in Vietnamese and is eager to learn, two things that make this move more possible. This brings many things to mind...complex curriculum, wordy vocabulary, limited English skills, yet a student who clearly has the skills to be there. Let me also mention that in the last few days I have had two sixth graders move into my class as well as another new student who comes from Africa, although has excellent English skills.

I had to do some moving around of students, primarily due to my new student. He needed t…

Superheroes...

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"When you think of a hero, you think of someone better than yourself. If you are your own hero, you can live in the image of yourself." ~Alex Banks, Student

Yesterday, I went to the second day of the Teaching with Purpose Conference and during lunch there was a conversation regarding Hip Hop and music as a form of self-expression. They played the song, "Superheroes" by Mic Crenshaw and then had a student reflect on what they learned from the song. The song is amazing (look it up on YouTube), but the young man, Alex, had a response far more profound. (see above)

Many of my students have heroes, some who do not deserve the adulation that they receive at the hands of the youth. These heroes might be athletes or music artists. Many of the athletes of today are powered by money and fueled by their popularity. Their desire to be a good example to young people is often not on their minds. Being famous and having a name that brings traffic to a stop. The music that is bein…

If all else fails, hold the baby...

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Today I spent my Statewide Inservice Day at a Teaching with Purpose Conference. There is a need to have more culturally inclusive curriculum and teaching happening in the Portland-Metro area. The dynamics of the school district where I teach has changed dramatically over the last 20 years and we are trying to respond in an appropriate and culturally aware fashion.

One of the guest speakers told a story of a trip she took to an African village. She was with the Chieftess and on a walk outside of her hut had taken a picture of a group of men babysitting.

Upon taking the picture, one of the men walked over to her, wordlessly, handed her a baby, then walked away. She held the baby for hours, not sure what to do. The baby fell asleep and was eventually retrieved by a teenaged young woman. The lesson here is that the man was not worried about the baby...he had seen the house she came from, he knew that the baby was well cared for. At that moment, she was part of the village and being part o…

Connections...

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The feeling of being connected is something that is often underestimated. This last few weeks have been a blur of both feeling and not feeling connected. For me, connection is a crucial piece of my sanity. As a child who struggled to make real connection with my mother, making deep and true connections with others has been difficult. When I think about my life, I often wonder if I have a swiss cheese brain, giant gaps where I don't remember events or people. This type of memory has made it difficult to maintain long and lasting relationships with others. I have had to learn to make connections with others and work hard to maintain them.

So, what happens when the chords of connection are broken? The tethers that hold one from floating away are severed. There are many areas of my life where deep connections occur; family, friends, and within my MTM family. Each of these areas bring a deep richness and a sense of belonging. When one area is murky, others provide clarity.

This is a ti…

The power of healing...

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I have struggled to blog this week...it has been an extremely difficult week. A week of loss and a week of gifts. My dear friends lost their son and, yet, during this most difficult time, they wrote the most beautiful updates on Facebook and shared what was happening during this time. It was a window into their life as they were losing their son. Each song, bath time, and tear was documented. It was a gift to those of us who knew this family, knew their son, was mourning with them. It gave us an opportunity to be there and support them...it was their gift to us. During those last days, they discovered that they were able to donate their precious son's organs to help others...in their unselfishness, they gave this gift to others.

In the last ten years, we have lost over one hundred children...none have been easy, but some have struck in the depth of my heart...this boy was one of those. My heart was shattered. Sometimes a child speaks to your heart in a deep and personal way. This …

No words...

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I am a verbal processor...I talk sometimes when I shouldn't but there are times when there are no words to describe a situation.

How people react to heartache is very different...some draw close to others, some "hibernate." Difficult times bring out our deepest fears and concerns. When you have to say goodbye to someone you love, there are no words.

No amount of time will make the pain go away. The hole left in your heart will remain. The lines will blur and there will be times of aching, but then there will be others when the pain is almost unbearable.

Although we all know that we are only given one life, it seems unfair when a child is taken. Somehow we see that they weren't given their full shot, their chance to make their mark.

Ironically, these children are often the most powerful, halting a crown, prompting tears, warming heart.

Their tiny footprints walk across your heart, but, unfortunately, our mouths still have no words...



Living life fully...

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"He didn't get to live a full life, but he did live life fully...," said my friend today as we cried on the phone together over the unfairness of another beautiful life lost. It was the most beautiful statement that has been said to me in two days. I am in a deep state of mourning...I want a miracle, I want life to be fair...but, sadly, it isn't.  I need to look at this from another perspective, another view to put a salve over my broken heart...I need to move away and look at the fullness of the life rather than whether it was a full life.
So many of the children who have gone to the Playground were not given the luxury of a full life, but each of them have lived life fully. Each has reached out and grasped the life ahead of them, enjoying experiences as they are placed before them Some have traveled across the country, taking in the sights, others created non-profits touching others they have met. For some of the tiniest angels, making the trip home is the greatest…