Showing posts from May, 2014

Patience is a virtue...

The end of this year has been difficult...well, realistically, my first period class has been difficult all year, they are just becoming increasingly so. The end of the year for students that struggle might as well be their time to fly big, make their name the final fish in their little pond. I can't say that I have been the most patient...I mostly want to throttle them. Sometimes teaching is a much bigger job than actually is coaching, instructing,'s not always about the content. It seems, more than often, I am coaching behavior, encouraging brave academic risk-taking, instructing about volume and tone, defining success and the route to get there. Sometimes I feel frustrated...I am frustrated that I can't get through to some...frustrated that I can't convince others of their value and worth... This year my frustrations seem bigger...maybe this is because I know that I, too, am moving. I am leaving the familiarity of my hom

I know why the caged bird sings...

Maya Angelou, at the age of 86, has passed away. An amazing author who has challenged racism and sexual assault, through incredible poetry and writing. There will never be another like her. She has joined writers at the Poetry Slam in the sky...writing, singing, making a difference. The caged bird...why does he sing? Not for pleasure of the listener, not to celebrate...the caged bird is trapped, torn, wanting freedom. Representative of so many, trying to move in a new direction, the caged bird sings deep from it's soul. I have been the caged bird...I know other caged birds longing to be free. Longing to spread our wings to a place of peace and joy.  The Universe can do funny things sometimes. The idea of a window opening when a door closes is often thought of as a "nice sentiment" yet, for me, windows seem to be flying open everywhere...I almost can't keep up! Recent highlights...job offer at the HS (turned down), transfer to the HS (to assist with

Cutting me open...

I have often told my students, in my introduction for the year, that I don't remember truly wanting to be something other than being a teacher. Mr. Eli Jiminez, my 7th grade science teacher, taught me that life can be filled with more...I could expect more, want more, be more. Mr. Randy Bethke, my 9th grade Algebra teacher, introduced me to math. Mr. Paul Boring, my high school Biology teacher, pushed me beyond the limits that I thought possible, and finally, Mr. John Baker, my high school choir teacher, gave me structure and truth...expanded my love of music, and through the choir program, probably changed the course of my life. Deep inside, if you cut me open, I believe that there is a little teacher.  A very small, red haired, teacher, standing inside like a little person controlling my large human body. Throughout my career and life, I have been obsessed with controlling my life around me...No one would be able to keep pace with it all and, surprisingly, there have been failu

Losing and Winning...

Here I am...a mere 12 (student) days away from the end of my twenty-second year of teaching. I find it hard to believe that a) I am old enough to have actually have been teaching for 22 years, and b) I am getting ready to pack my room (yet again) and move. Maybe I have a seven year itch. I have taught in this district for fourteen of my twenty-two years, seven at one school, seven at another. I'd like to think that I am constantly learning, and, although this year has been difficult, I have been inspired to truly find my inspiration. That may sound strange, that I'm inspired to find what inspires me, but what I have learned over the last few years, is that I have been stuck. One of my best girlfriends keeps reminding me that "We work for the kids..." I want to reach down and feel that again. Having kids that I have taught before tell me that they've heard I am coming, that "this will be the best year ever with you there," "It can be like old t

What Teachers Make...

There has been a lack of writing in my life this year...similar to the mess in my bedroom (which, I might say has been great), the lack of writing reflects my struggle. As many know, the last two years have been the hardest of my career for a variety of reasons, personal and professional. I have been confronted with the worst...lying, betrayal, complete disregard for others.... All the things I love about teaching, the camaraderie, working together toward a common goal, opening the minds of children was replaced by pettiness, undercutting, and gossip. I made one of the most difficult decisions of my career to leave the school I love and transfer...go to a place where I know very few people, but I can (hope to) make a difference. I am moving to the high school, where I have always felt the the ball was being dropped. In my own attempt to blame the lack of success of my beloved students, I jumped to blame others. Now I am going to try to become part of the solution. I am moving to he

One girl and the Quadratic Equation...

When my daughter was eleven, she walked into the kitchen to share something, "Mom," she said. "When I am feeling overwhelmed, I just take parts of my life and assign each a number value, then I put them into the Quadratic Equation. I use my answer to tell me what to do." I remember standing there, thinking, "I wonder where that came from...I can't believe she just said that...what does the answer tell her?" As I think about my life and the complexities of decisions that need to be made, wouldn't it be nice to just be able to look at the numbers, plug them to an equation, and viola`, the answer is revealed to you?? This has been a year of opening up, listening to the Universe, being open for anything. Looking at opening doors as possibilities, open windows as gift. Looking around at the things that around, believing that what is meant to be will be. Being open to that possibility is more difficult that one might think. The tapes we play in o