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Showing posts from August, 2015

New Year...New students...refurbished me

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If you are not a teacher, the fall may not hold any special meaning other than changing weather, pumpkin spice lattes, and the start of fires in the fireplace. For teachers, August means something else...the beginning of a new year.

Each year, a new group of students enters the classroom with varying sets of baggage. Some are excited at the opportunity, others are already feeling grouchy over the new beginnings.

I teach math, not everyone's favorite subject, and often students come into my room with a predetermined set of ideas of how the year is going to go. I have to audition for them, gain their trust. In the first few days, students will decide what they believe about their own success in the upcoming year. I need to convince them that I am on their team, that I have their success in my mind.

Not every teacher feels this way...not everyone feels that the first days of school is an audition. Especially at high school, some teachers feel that their job is to instruct, deliver the…

The waning of summer...

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It is the time of year when most teachers (and students) are trying to squeeze the last few moments of summer out before the long walk back to school. I look over my so called summer and realize that not only did my summer fly by, but I am not really sure it could be called summer in the sense that ultimate relaxation happened!

This was a summer of busy...I really thought at the beginning that I was taking this summer off and yet, that's not really what happened. I taught our ninth grade program, which was great, then did some school/personal traveling and am not back to work. Technically we don't go back until Monday but I have a lot to do and not much time to do it!

I am working on some curriculum, our after school program, and generally trying to get my life together...let me tell you...it doesn't get any easier with time.

Forever the student and the teacher...I guess I'll just enjoy these last days of summer.

I teach...

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I am a teacher...

you need to know this about me because everything about what I love involves teaching...

I love that I am changing lives, I love that I am building relationships, I love that I am being an example of someone who struggled and achieved success...

This year I am having my first Teacher Grandchild (TG). That means a former student's child will be in high school. I'm not sure how that happened. Years ago, sassy, opinionated this young woman who, I might add was not afraid to fight for what she believed in (or just if you pissed her off) was trying to graduate after having a child during high school. Her son would crawl across the floor of the principal's office, we would hold him...he was one of the school babies...ones that we helped to move forward with their dreams.

Over the years I watched her grow into the most incredible woman...she has attended (and graduated) college, suffered through the death of her best friend and raised her friend's girls as h…

Math Camp Part Duex

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Right now some of you read the title of this blog and you thought, "Math Camp? What the hell is that?" Years ago I was involved in a five year math grant. We went to Oregon State for three weeks for three summers and did a lot of math! It was actually the beginning of what concluded with my Masters degree in Math. We used to joke that it was "Math Camp" because it made it sound more fun! We actually did have some fun times and I learned a lot during those summers so that brings us to tomorrow...

Tomorrow I will be attending Curriculum Camp with three of my math friends from work. It will be like Math Camp part Duex.  We are working on rewriting curriculum...working towards making it more accessible for all students. Increasing the math knowledge, the deeper thinking, the literacy work that will move our students to the next level. I am excited to continue this work. Last year a lot got accomplished. Students gave very positive feedback about their learning.

I am ho…

Butterfly wings and angel songs...

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So many time in the last few years this blog has been my place to process, write, purge things from my brain. So, today, I ask myself..."What if what needs to be purged feels too big, too crushing to your soul, that it almost physically hurts to write down?"

I don't have the answer to this...I just am going to write.

Yesterday I went to a sweet girl's funeral...another child, another loss. Sometimes it just makes me want to climb to the top of a mountain and scream...other times I want to crawl in a hole. It doesn't matter where I am...I hear the sweet angels sing...

I have always been the strong one...the one who can "handle it." I am not sure what it was in my upbringing that gave me this oh-so-special ability, but sometimes I am over it.

Standing and holding a young mother's hand...having her tell me that she never wants me to feel the pain associated with losing a child, knowing that I, too, never want to experience this loss. My heart keeps bre…

Education, Friends, and the depth of relationships...

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Warning: There will be opinions about the education system, opinions about friendship, and generally, my opinion, which you may or may not agree with. If not...I'm not sorry. This is my blog after all!

Most people would say that I am a friendly person...maybe even that I have a lot of friends. Sadly...this is not really true. I know a lot of people, I talk to a lot of people, I am comfortable in setting where there are a lot of people, but friends...real friends? I have only a few.

I have been doing a great deal of research for a class my coworker and I are putting together. Part of this research involves looking at how children in poverty react in education and ways to help the education system adapt for all.

The education system is not really set up so that our children in poverty can reach their fullest potential. After all, many feel that due to their gaps in knowledge or experience, these students are not expected to rise to the highest heights, not because they aren't ca…

More angel wings...

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I had a blog that was almost finished but yesterday morning I received news that one of our sweet girls, Allie, had passed away at the age of ten. Just one week ago our community gathered together in Chicago with joy. As a community, we sent well wishes and messages of strength to Allie and her family. These messages haven’t even reached her parents yet.
This disease makes me angry…I am tired of children dying. There is nothing that prepares one for the death of a child. I have dear friends that struggle to put their lives together after the loss of their child. Each new loss in our community ripping the bandage off the freshly healed wound.If this only happened occasionally, then wounds would heal, but it doesn’t…it happens more than it should…more than one hundred times over the last eleven years.
I love our community…people rally around one another in both good times and times of sorrow.We celebrate the smallest of victories, the smallest of improvements and bring perspective and…