Thursday, September 3, 2015

I Failed Today

I failed today.

I removed a student from my room. Not that the removal wasn't warranted in most cases.

But I know this kid. Know him well. I know that when the insubordinate, defiant voice comes out he is hurting. I know something happened in his world that added a few more bricks to his wall.

I intended to find him a quiet spot where he could be alone, but one sentence changed all that.

"Good. I need to meet the new principal anyway."

Fine I thought Let me introduce you.

That was my failure. I let him goad me into something I had no intention of doing. He pushed a button and I reacted.

And it wasn't what he needed.

He needed a spot away from others to nurse whatever wounds had been opened. He needed me to understand, to be a sounding board, to be a safe place.

I had one job today and I failed.

Saturday, August 29, 2015

A Good Kind of Tired

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We've just finished our first full week of school--with kids. If you teach, you understand how I fell back to sleep for another hour this morning when I really intended to just close my eyes and cuddle Chloe for a few minutes.

If you teach, you'll understand why I slept most of the way to the lake last night. And that when we got to the cabin, I put my pjs on and wrapped up in a blanket for the rest of the night.

It's a good kind of tired.

It's the tired of learning new names and making sure to talk and connect with every single kid that walks in my room.

It's the tired of creating family with a group of strangers


Of making my room a safe place to land.

It's the tired of finding the right book for the right kid and learning why 42 kids took creative writing.

It's the tired of welcoming a student into speech class for the 3rd time and then two class periods later welcoming him to drama.  After five days, it's seeing insecurity in that student you'e never seen before.

It's convincing boys that they can write and then wondering if you'll ever get to peek at the magic being written in a girl's notebook during every break in the action.

It's the tired of planning for the next week and making sure it's rigorous and worthy of their time, but not so difficult that students give up before they start.

It's the tired of wishing you were a month into school and already enjoying those relationships you are busy cultivating now.

It's the tired of a teacher after the first five days of school.

Saturday, August 1, 2015

Celebrating Summer: Part 2

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It's like the fastest month ever. One minute it's the 4th of July, and the next minute you're turning the page to August. Yikes.

20 days until teachers report back.

But who's counting?

The 4th was a quiet one for us this year (and I'm not complaining). We didn't even leave the resort and I loved every minute of it.

We went to several concerts--but a special one was with our son and daughter-in-law. For Father's Day and my husband's birthday they bought him tickets to see The Marshall Tucker Band in a town not far from the lake.  It was also their fifth wedding anniversary, so they went along with us.  It was a great night!

I geared myself up for an event that I had been looking forward to (and been a little anxious about) for over a year.

My 40th high school class reunion--

I don't know why I was anxious--wait! Yes, I do. I hadn't seen these people in 40 years!  But, with some, it was as if we had never left the comfort of school.  I had a smile on my face all night. At times, I would stand off by myself and watch my classmates and think about what amazing people they have all become.

A week or so later found us traveling again, although this time a little closer to home. We again met with our favorite traveling companions and spent a few days in LaCrosse, Wisconsin. Although we only live an hour or so away, it's not a place my husband and I have really explored.  Our favorite things a great little retro jazz bar.  It felt like we had stepped back in time.

Our other favorite thing was the riverboat dinner cruise we took.  Good food, great view.

Those were the major events...there was also lake time with kids and grandkids. Great moments with friends. A little quiet alone time. And lots of planning for our next trip


Maybe Chloe will have to share some adventures.

Friday, July 31, 2015

Celebrating Summer: Part 1

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I'm back celebrating on Saturdays! You should dust off your blog and join the celebration, too!

I think I've enjoyed this summer more than most in recent memory. I quit telling myself what I should do and just enjoyed things as they happened. It meant less writing, less reading, less online connecting, but I sure have had a good time! I also took LOTS of pictures....

Here's what I celebrated in June...

My first two weeks of summer break found me reading and sleeping, with a little golf thrown in for good measure.  Our sons and their families were frequent visitors, so we got lots of time with the six grandkids.

After a couple of weeks of relaxation, it was time for a little work (and fun). Roomie, ArtTeach and I presented our flipped classrooms at the Iowa Technology conference.  We worried that no one would come. It was standing room only.  We worried we weren't giving people what they wanted. Several stayed after our presentation to ask questions. We need to quit worrying :)

A trip to Door County, Wisconsin highlighted June.  We traveled with my husband's sister and her husband (our Hawaii traveling companions). Our home base was Sturgeon Bay and we explored each day from there.  We visited lighthouses, wineries, restaurants, etc.  So fun!

We did have a severe storm this summer that reminded all of us to be thankful and celebrate each day.  Underneath this huge tree is the remains of our friend's mobile home at the south end of our resort.  Really. There's a mobile home there.  The little green trailer on the left escaped, but the mobile home, a camper in front of it and a car were totaled as a couple of old large cottonwood trees blew over during some 90 mph winds.  The scariest part of this, is it happened early in the morning and people were in those trailers.  Their guardian angels were watching over them and woke them in time to  move before the trees fell. No one was hurt!

So many things to celebrate, Chloe, grandkids, family and friends, concerts, quiet moments, observing nature.....

I'll be back tomorrow with a little about July!

Saturday, June 13, 2015

Celebrating The Lazy Days of Summer

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I've been done with school since the 28th of May.

TWO weeks already.

I haven't written
I haven't started planning for next year
I haven't thought about students
I haven't even thought about my presentation at a conference next week (YIKES)
And I really haven't accomplished much of anything.

I've spent them at the lake, surrounded by friends and family, and enjoying every minute of it.

And food, of course, always lots of food

I've taken time to notice the beauty around me

And the ways of nature (who knew turtle could move so fast?)


I've read THREE adult books! I may have to do a little review of two of them, but trust me on Stephen King's new trilogy (Mr. Mercedes and Finder's Keepers are the first two). This is not horror fiction, more detective/crime novels and truly good reads.

And I promised myself all of this on that last day. Because I felt out of BALANCE, you see. Those last weeks of school are crazy and I had to let it take over. It seemed only fair that I let the teeter totter fall to the other side for awhile.

But now I am back. Ready to learn and plan this summer, ready to take off at a moments notice and enjoy myself and my family and friends, ready for anything.

But first, I better take a look at that presentation---we present on Tuesday!

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Celebrate the Lake

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This week, I'm celebrating the lake.

My happy place.

I seldom leave school as quickly as I did Friday. My husband couldn't believe it when I pulled in the driveway....and I already had half the car packed since I loaded a few things before school. That of course, got Chloe all worked up. She knew something was going on.

We arrived about 7 and had plenty of time to turn on the water and check for leaks before I went down to the beach to catch my first sunset of the season.

Sunset is almost a sacred time at Sandbar. Most of us stop whatever we are doing and just breathe it in.

Then, it was enough with the chores that could be done later (or even tomorrow), we headed out to find the friends we have missed all winter. We spent a couple of weekends with them since we closed last fall, but it's not the same as just sitting and enjoying each other, even if we don't talk.

As we sat on a friend's deck and watched the last of the sun, I just smiled, thinking how lucky I am to have this.

Saturday was warm, but cloudy. Chloe and I took advantage of the nice morning and walked with a friend up the "lake road" as I call it. It's a beautiful walk along the lake with lots for Chloe to check out. We spent a little time before we headed out watching this guy fish along the shore in front of the cabins.

Our oldest and his family came out during the afternoon (we weren't the only ones anxious for us to open the cabin). It rained off and on, but even that didn't dampen our spirits.  It was good to be together.

All in all, it was a day to celebrate. Chloe agrees!

Saturday, April 4, 2015

Celebrating Balance

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This week I'm celebrating FAILURE, of a sort...
  • I didn't finish the March blogging challenge
  • I didn't write a celebration last week
  • I didn't clean my house until yesterday
  • I didn't walk every day
  • I didn't do a lot of things I probably should have
But really. I'm celebrating balance, which of course is my OLW for 2015

I'm celebrating the student I wrote about yesterday. The balance between technology and "old school" is a delicate one. You have to meet students where they are. Once I got him off his computer and just got him to think about his writing, he soared. 

I'm celebrating myself. Learning the difference between the "I really have to have this done tomorrow" and "This isn't a priority and I can do it later".  I'm celebrating myself making time for family and friends and not using school work as an excuse for not getting together and enjoying their company.

I'm celebrating Chloe. Who makes me walk and get outside and enjoy moments of breathing as we head into the last few weeks of school.

I'm celebrating my speech kids, who gave me an amazing day at All-State speech on Monday. A day full of celebrating what we do and how far we have come. And silly reasons to laugh.

I'm celebrating grandkids
and a husband
and friends
all those people who need more me.
Who have gently nudged me into this balancing act.

And I want to share this link to the Huffington Post. Because it reminded me of the BALANCE I need in my life. I love the combination of photos and writing and how they celebrate life.  I think I'm going to try this. Once a week. A picture and some writing. And it might go along with Christy's 30 day challenge (which I haven't started yet, but I'm going to)

And what are you celebrating this week?