Saturday, January 21, 2017

A New Adventure

I've always wanted to be a teacher.

I've spent the last eight years in the classroom teaching kids. I feel teaching has been a calling for me, something that I was led to and find great fulfillment from doing.

But this week, I began work on another life dream -- teaching other people who want to be teachers.

The university where I did my certification and master's work has hired me as an adjunct instructor in their teacher prep program.  I am teaching Classroom Management, one of my favorite courses while I was in their program.

Tuesday night was my first class.


Being able to share what I have learned so far about teaching, building student connections, growth mindset, classroom community, doing what's right for kids, research, how to handle challenging students, team building, remaining a lifelong learner and more was like .... coming full circle.

Ten years ago, I sat where these students sat. And now I am teaching them. I am continuing to learn along with them. I will learn from them just as they (hopefully) will learn from me.
I feel an enormous sense of responsibility.
And excitement.
And hope.

For this opportunity, I celebrate.

Saturday, January 14, 2017

The Things We Say

In last week's Celebrate post, Ruth Ayres encouraged us to think about those sayings or phrases that are often repeated like mantras by those around us. Her friend Kim was known for the line, "It's all good," a simple way to show love, trust, and forgiveness.

As I went through my week, I thought a lot about Ruth's call to listen for the repeated words in our lives. I realized that phrases like "It's all good" are abundant in my life, either coming from those around me or from my own mouth:

"It is what it is." This is a favorite of mine. I use it as a way to accept things as they are and let go of the need to control.

"You can't tell from where you sit, how you stand." My stepdad would always say this. To me, it means that I shouldn't assume anything.

"Life is short. Eat dessert first." Another favorite from my stepdad. Ruth would like this's about not putting off celebration and enjoyment for later.

There are also a few not-so-positive mantras that popped into my mind:

"Hit your mother and your hand will fall off." No surprise that this one came from my mom. It means to always be kind and respectful to your parents.

"Beauty is pain." I'm not sure of the origin of this one, but I remember it from when my mom would brush my long hair that was often snarled and out of control.  I heard it a lot, and so has my daughter.

What is interesting to me as that these phrases are often said without even thinking about them, yet they are so woven into the fabric of our lives that effortlessly present themselves on our lips at a moment's notice.

If you stop to think about it, these phrases are a kind of storytelling, a way of passing wisdom down through the generations. I remember these things being said (often) around me as I grew up, and my kids will do the same.

I think that's pretty cool.

Saturday, January 7, 2017

Celebrating the Star

Happy new year, friends!

Tuesday morning brought the return of my morning drive back to school. There's really only one way for me to take to school, After turning off my street, I turn onto a county highway that takes me toward school. I travel the same way every day.

The sun was just about to come up so it was still quite dark. Most of the homes have turned off their holiday lights by this time in January, leaving my ride lit only by the headlights of my car.

But on Tuesday morning, as I traveled down that very familiar county highway, I saw a giant lit star on top of a silo of one of the farms.

This struck me as odd.

I haven't ever seen this star before, even though I travel this road every day.

How could I have missed it?

What made me notice it that morning?

I liked this star. A lot. It was big and bright and lit up its little part of the world on this cold January morning. It made me happy.

That got me thinking -- what other joys have been right in front of me that I have been missing?

I think a lot.

So I went on a mission this week to be on the look out for little joys and gratitudes that may have otherwise slipped by me.  And you know what?  There were quite a few:

* The scent of brewed coffee when I come out of my room in the morning, thanks to the timer on my coffee pot.

* The little first graders at school who wait for me to walk with them during walking club before school starts.

* Sweet strawberries from the grocery store, even during winter.

* Cozy turtleneck sweaters on freezing cold days.

* A friend who calls me on the way to school just to chat

* My husband who makes the bed every morning

I'm sure little joys are still slipping past me, but I'm trying to be more aware, to be on the lookout for those bright stars that might have been there all along, just waiting to be noticed.

And for this, I celebrate.

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Having Faith {SOL 1.03.17}

A new year means a new opportunity to choose a new One Little Word (OLW). I start thinking about my new OLW around October and reflecting on some questions:

What direction do I want to head next year?
In what area of my life do I need help?
What's important to me?
Where am I being called?

Choosing just one word is tough. There's a lot of pressure to get it right. Some years, I hit it dead on. Others, not so much. After coming off of a year with a word that didn't quite fit (CHOOSE), I wanted to make sure my OLW for 2017 was a good one.

I think I found it. Or rather, I think it found me.

My OLW for 2017 is...
2017 will be a year of BIG changes for me. Some of these changes I know about already. Others are still waiting to be revealed. Either way, I have faith that it will all work out the way it should. I am giving up control. All will be good in the end.

I know it will.