5, 4, 3, 2, 1 #oklaed blog challenge

A challenge was issued by Anthony Purcell over at Random Teacher Thoughts, with five simple questions we all should consider.  I’ve been mulling over my answers for a week and here’s what I came up with!

What has been your ONE biggest struggle during this school year?

Me!  My biggest struggle has been me!  I have such a type-A personality that I really struggle with not doing everything myself.  I hate asking for help and relying on others to get stuff done.  I’ve had two foot surgeries in the span of three months and I’ve had to make myself step back and accept help from others.  Trust me, this was a real struggle!  But through it all, I’ve learned that I need to let go, I can’t do everything!

Share TWO accomplishments that you are proud of from this school year.

  1. I’ve taken on the challenge of teaching Chemistry as an adjunct.  Essentially, I’m teaching a course that I’m not currently certified to teach, although I am certified in all other areas of science.  Why is this an accomplishment?  This opportunity is forcing me to work towards getting the final certification I want to add to my teaching license!
  2. I’ve been working on having a better work-life balance. I bring home work almost daily, but I don’t do it!  Instead, I use that time to spend with my husband and dog.

What are THREE things that you wish to accomplish before the end of the school year?

  1. Blog more consistently.  I keep on saying this, yet it hasn’t happened!  I read several #oklaed blogs and think that others write so well, and there’s no way I can even compare.
  2. Clean and organize my lab!  It may look clean and organized, but just don’t open a cabinet!  Who knows what could come crashing out!
  3. Take the Chemistry OSAT.

Give FOUR reasons why you remain in education in today’s rough culture.

As many teachers know, the world of education is not full of rainbows and unicorns and the light at the end of the tunnel has been turned off due to budget cuts!  I know I wrestle with this question almost daily!

  1. The kids!  It sounds so cliche, but it’s so true!  My kids give me purpose.
  2. For the most part, enjoy teaching!  You know those days, where every lesson is on point, the students are engaged, and you don’t leave at the end of the day feeling like you were mauled by a bear?  Yeah, I enjoy those days!
  3. I know I can make a difference.  I know I can’t change the world, but at least I’m in a position to help change the world for someone!
  4. I’m scared to leave and find out that I made a horrible mistake.

Which FIVE people do you hope will take the challenge of answering these questions?

  1. Amanda Smith at Running Through Elementary
  2. Coach Jacks at JetShack, since we challenged each other to blog more!
  3. Casey @caseydoyle9
  4. Tracey @MrsCoachScott
  5. Kelly @KellySueGleason

Many others have risen to the challenge! BlueCerealEducation is compiling a list of entries! 

 

Happy Thanksgiving!

“May our gratitude lead to action: May we express our gratitude. May we smile when we encounter each other on the path, may we seek opportunities to share our talents with others, may we express our love to one another, may we give with no expectation of receiving. May we seek to repair what is broken. May we end each day counting the day’s blessings, those we have received and those we have bestowed. May we be a blessing.” — Rabbi Maralee Gordon

Advice

As a teacher of Juniors and Seniors I am often asked for advice.  Sometimes it’s advice about how handle a work problem or how to handle a disagreement with a friend.  Other times it’s advice about applying for college or how to pass Algebra II.  More often than not, it’s relationship advice.  By no means am I Dr. Phil, nor do I always give the best advice (kind of like Dr. Phil), but I’m always as honest as I can be with them.

Here are some things I’d like to be able to tell my students:

  • I really try not to take sides! I’ve probably had both of you in my class at some point in time and I like both of you! 
  • High school is a tough time. Not only are you going to school, working, playing sports, in the marching band, and in every school club imaginable, but you’re also trying to navigate the gap between childhood and adulthood.
  • You don’t need a boyfriend/girlfriend to find value in yourself.  Sometimes you devalue yourself when you’re with the wrong person for the wrong reasons.
  • The time you spend with someone, whether 2 months or 2 years, is never a complete waste.  I’m sure you have some great memories, it just may take a while for you to remember them.  
  • You learn about yourself after a breakup.  You learn what qualities you want in a relationship and what you don’t.  You also learn what kind of person you need to be.
  • Don’t be in a relationship if you’re not going to be faithful to that person.  Do yourself a favor and end the relationship.  Regardless of your “reason” for cheating, you lose in the end.  You’ve lost the one you “love” and you’ve lost the trust of those who love you.
  • Not everyone meets their “forever” in high school! There is no rush!    Enjoy this time to be you!

#OklaEd Blog Challenge: Entrance Video

Some time ago, @BlueCerealEduc threw out a challenge to the #OklaEd peeps (HERE!)

What’s my Entrance Video?

This question reminds me of a fellow teacher who had her AP English class chose a theme song every year.  Everyday when they’d come strolling into class, their theme song would be playing!  I remember one year they chose “Unwritten” by Natasha Bedingfield.  It was perfect!

I was a little jealous, and since I taught freshmen at the time, I proclaimed that my theme song was going to be “Mission Impossible”!

Now that I’ve had time to actually think about it, I declare my theme song to be….

Perfect, right?  I teach Science! Makes complete sense to me!

Why Stay?

2015-05-16 21.11.26As a continuation of my last post Why Teach?, Why do I stay where I’m at?  With the Oklahoma teacher shortage, there are job opportunities everywhere? There are three job openings within 5 miles of my home.  So, why do I choose to drive 50 miles to my current job?  Why have I not jumped at the opportunity to make a move?  Why do I stay?  These are not really the easiest questions to answer!  Sure, I’d love to save money on fuel, It’d be an instant raise!  Yes, last year was challenging and I considered quitting more times than I’d care to admit.  But, something still keeps me there!  Deep down, I feel like this is where I belong, for now anyway.  I get to teach courses I enjoy, mostly how I want to teach them.  I have great students.  I like teaching in a small school.  I feel like I’m making a difference.  I know the answers don’t directly answer the questions, but I’m content with them!

#OklaEd Challenge: Why Teach?

Hand stamped necklace by The Vintage Pearl.
Teaching is much more than standing in front of a group of students and relaying a bunch of information they need to know in order to pass a test. To me, teaching has always been about the connections that I make with my students. Often times, teachers truly never learn about the impact that we make on those in our care. I have wanted to call it quits many times in my 11 years, but for some reason, the idea of leaving the profession saddens me more than the demands of the job stress me. When things get rough, I reflect back to the encouragement and reminders I’ve receive from my students.

One night a few years ago, I posted my rambling thoughts on Facebook, wondering if I still belonged in the classroom, or was I ready to take on a new challenge in my life. The next morning, I had the most heartwarming reminder waiting in my email inbox from a former student:

No matter what you decide or where you go, you’ll always be an important piece of anyone who walks through your door. It’s never too late to start an adventure, and I personally have found that adventure seldom resides in the comfort zone. The only constant in our world is change, good or bad. How we adapt to this is the true measure of who we are. This may or may not apply in this situation, but I once read “advice is what we ask for when we already know the answer…

Carpe the f-ing Diem Mrs. The Tempered Teacher (pardon my censored French). You’re an educated and very intelligent woman; whatever path you choose in life will be the right path, simply because you’re behind it. “Always be yourself, because everybody else is already taken.

Everyone’s wave of life will hold different crests and troughs. These forks in the road are set at different wavelengths for everyone, with varying amplitude. But every wave uses energy, and if it’s used efficiently, your wave can have a great effect. Bad waves disrupt; good waves harmonize. Some hold information, some are tools of destruction, and some are used to paint the beautiful picture we see every day when we open our eyes. I hope your wave is one transferred by many mediums, because not only does it hold mountains of knowledge; it also adds extravagant color to the blank canvas that many young people are carrying when they sit down in that desk.

…sometimes you meet someone (a coach, a peer, a neighbor, the mailman, the guy in line at the store, a teacher) that reminds you a difference can be made through the administration of tough love, blunt realism, great character, copious amounts of laughter, big cups of coffee, and an even bigger heart. Faith in humanity is restored.

The world we live in makes it a challenge to ask yourself certain questions that can’t be answered with rulers, calculators, marbles, weights, fun toy cars, and photogates; but I know you’ve been given the mental capacity to think not only outside of the box, but also inside the “heart box”, more appropriately the pericardium. Believe it or not, “Am I where I want to be?” and “Am I where I need to be?” are the easy ones.

When you find some time out of your busy day, perhaps during another late night contemplation, ask yourself:

  • “Do I harmonize with the waves of the young men and women as they grow?”
  • “Am I watering the seeds of knowledge I have given them, as well as expanding my own  garden?”
  • “Have I instilled myself in their mind, heart, and soul?”
  • “Do I only go where I take myself?”

I can say with certainty, you will survive your physical self in countless vessels carried by a generation containing many souls struggling to find themselves. You are taken places far beyond where you take yourself; I personally never leave home without you. I often find myself with the unique bit of knowledge pertinent to the situation, whether it be science related or not, and backtrack to find you at the source.

I can’t begin to imagine the number of lives you’ve changed in total. You might find it odd or even slightly ridiculous to find that someone who was, by an uninformed population, labeled to be “intelligent”, “self-sufficient”, “emotionally stable”, “popular”, and dare I say “happy with life”, could be writing something like this.

I had learned intellectually valuable material in your teachings, and could reproduce formulas and theorems left and right. Until the connection between us was strengthened to such a great degree though, I had only taken your teaching to brain, and not to heart. Do the literal lessons we covered pop up in my life regularly? Not often, but you gave me more than that. The level of interaction between you and students, the attitude you present to the room, your brilliant personality, the manner in which you present material, and the dominant but friendly position you give yourself all work together seamlessly. A “normal” teacher may disagree with one, some, or maybe all of your methods. “Normal” teachers don’t synchronize with the classroom to make the most of the limited time they have with a young person, not realizing that sometimes, a little time is all you need to make a huge difference.

To Conclude:
Sometimes, a person can be given a sturdy foundation, blueprints, tools, and the knowledge to use them all (or so I would like to believe). However, without a science lesson about the basic components of a wave, they may never hold the desire to construct a life in the interest of finding their natural frequency. Does the book teach the lesson? Maybe the lab? Tiny words stuck in a big fancy binding hold no value without an incredible individual to incorporate a life lesson.

Did all of this come from an hour-long lesson about waves? Of course it didn’t. It’s the sum of things: the positive attitude, the unorthodox approaches that engage lateral and critical evaluations, the reinforcement, and the life lessons spread throughout, that allow us to incorporate the classroom education to the real world. These are the things that make anywhere a certain person goes the right place for them to be. People such as these are in short supply, and I am most fortunate to have my path linked to the path of one of these hidden wonders of the world. As any science book tells us, when waves meet, as consistent with people in life, they create interference. Indubitably …in the case of a small town teacher’s impact on a small town kid, with small town roots, small town fame, a small town lifestyle, and a big city attitude to match his big city dreams… it is, completely devoid of doubt, a constructive interference indeed. 

(Shared with permission!)

So, there it is folks!  I teach because I want to make a difference!

Getting started….again

I “started” a blog two summers ago, thinking it would be fun.  That’s about as far as I got!  So, here goes round two!

What will I write about?  Who knows!  I’m sure my blog will be pretty random, but that’s just the way I am!  There will be a little bit of education, a dash of science, some feel-good heartwarming stuff, and probably a little ranting too!

So, thanks for reading and I look forward to where this endeavor leads!