Mondays are rough! On Friday nights, I usually crash because I'm so tired. Saturdays are spent catching up on everything that didn't get done throughout the week (laundry, cleaning, calling my mom). Sundays are spent at church and with family, but there is very little time to really rest and regroup for the week ahead.
Monday is my least favorite day of the week. I try to get to school SUPER early on Mondays just to make sure that I have everything prepared for the week. So, when my tire was flat this morning, it was just another Monday morning ball of joy. It's not the first or even the second time this has happened lately. My tires are pretty much shot and I need new ones badly. (But I'm cheap and tires are super expensive y'all!)
A lot of people would let that ruin their day. Did I get mad? A little bit. I don't like being inconvenienced any more than anyone else does. But on the way to work, I was reminded of how much I have to be thankful for.
1. I am thankful for a caring husband who checks my car every morning. He turns my car around so that I don't have to back out of the driveway and happened to notice a flat tire. I could have driven off with it flat and ended up on the side of the road.
2. I am thankful that we have an extra vehicle to drive. It's almost as old as me, but it cranked right up and got me where I needed to go. If we didn't have the extra truck, I would have been late to work.
3. I am thankful to have a job to drive to. Not only do I have a job, I have a job that I LOVE, working with people who are like family, and teaching kids that I absolutely adore. Teaching is my passion and I am thankful that I get to do it every day and make enough to somehow keep a roof over my head and food on our table.
Oh, and that flat tire...my husband fixed it and delivered my car to me by the end of the school day. And, I'm getting NEW tires on Wednesday! I still don't like Mondays, but this has been a good one.
I like to think of myself as a relatively smart person. I am very capable of many things technology, but I am starting to really feel my age. This week, Apple announced the new iPhone X and the internet went crazy. Water and dust resistant, FaceId, 5.8 inch display, TrueDepth camera, A!! Bionic, and wireless charging are just a few of the features of this new phone.
Call me old fashioned, but I don't get it. It seems like a lot of great features, but I just need a simple phone that will make and recieve calls, take decent pictures, and let me send a simple text. My phone is not the newest, latest model, but even it has more features than I will ever use. It seems like every few months, a new phone comes out with amazing features everyone wants so they rush out and get one. I won't be in any of those lines for the new iPhone.
Believe it or not, I LOVE technology. I love the way it has completely changed education in the 18 years that I have been teaching. I can't imagine teaching without my laptop, Promethean Board, visual presenter, iPads, and yes....even my iPhone. I was a teenager when the internet was born and in college when I learned how to email for the first time. It was a big deal at that time to even know how to operate a basic computer. By the way, I learned keyboarding on a typewriter. (Am I showing my age now?)
Many of the things I use every day to teach with were not even invented at the beginning of my teaching career. Many of children I currently teach will have jobs in the future that don't even exist yet. I can't wait to see what the world has in store for my children, what new technology will come along, and what careers will be formed as a result. Technology is important. It changes the way the world operates, locally, nationally, and globally. It's exciting to see. Just don't expect me to wait in a long line for that new phone! You all can have that fun without me. :)
I was around 10 years old when I first experienced a hurricane. I had heard of them before, but really didn't understand what they were. My family had just moved to South Carolina. My dad was stationed at Charleston Air Force Base. School had just started and I was loving life in the south.
That September, Hurricane Hugo hit Charleston. I don't remember seeing a lot of hurricane coverage on the news. I remember everyone talking about who was leaving and who was hunkering down and staying. My dad stayed, but my mom and us three children evacuated to the upstate to stay with family in Greenwood. I remember being terribly upset that I couldn't stay at home. I wanted to stay with my dad and experience the hurricane. We went home a few days later. As a child, I could not understand the magnitude of what was happening.
I have never witnessed such destruction in person as what we saw when we came home. Our house had 5 trees fall on it. The fence was gone and the shed in the backyard was smashed to bits. We were fortunate compared to many. The neighborhood was a mess. The sound of chainsaws was heard from dawn to dusk. Neighbors jokingly placed signs in their yards that said "Landscaping by H. Hugo Inc."
Our schools were closed for weeks due to the extensive damage they sustained. There was little fresh water to drink. Big trucks brought in food and water and families waited in line for hours to get the essential items they needed to survive. We were fortunate enough to have what we needed. I'll never forget the faces of the the families that stood in those lines for food, water, and clothing. It was heartbreaking.
Our country has been rocked by many devestating hurricanes the past few years. Just this week, Irma completely pounded the Caribbean, Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, and many more areas. I haven't seen any lines for food or water here, but that's not the case for families in the Bahamas, Virgin Islands, and the Florida Keys. Although many of us lost power, we have our homes. We have each other. We have so much to be thankful for.
Our kids have a story to tell when they get older about surviving a hurricane. Thankfullly, their stories are mostly about wind, rain, and power loss rather than homelessness, hunger, and uncertainty of the future. Please be in prayer for those whose lives have been forever changed by Hurrican Irma.
What is summer reading loss and why is it important to me and my child?
Summer reading loss is a decline in a child's academic ability from the time they left their previous grade to their new grade in the fall. For us, it is the gap of knowledge from when your child left kindergarten to when they entered my first grade classroom. Not every child will experience summer reading loss, but it is very common.
Many children who left kindergarten at grade level will suddenly find themselves below grade level upon entering first grade. This can be attributed to the summer reading loss. It can be very frustrating for students, as well as parents to know that something they could do before they can no longer do easily.
I highly encourage you to have a talk with your child's first grade teacher. Have her/him pull your child's literacy folder and look at where your child was at the beginning, middle, and end of kindergarten. Compare their reading levels (a-z) to where they are now. Is there any loss? Are there any gains? Have a discussion with the teacher about strategies you can use at home to help your child catch up. It's like riding a bike. You just need to get back on it- reading, that is. The more you practice, the easier it gets!
A friend of mine kindly suggested that I invest in comfortable shoes last year. It was my first year in first grade and I wasn't sure exactly what she was talking about. I smiled, said ok, and then went about my day. At 2:45 that afternoon, I TOTALLY understood what she was talking about. My feet were killing me.
One of the biggest differences between teaching kindergarten and first grade is the amount of standing time on the hard concrete floors. I spent most of my kindergarten time on the floor at eye level with students or sitting at a small group table. Not so in first grade.
Over time, your feet kind of get used to it I guess. Or, you just are so super busy all day that you forget about the pain...kind of like the need to go to the bathroom (another thing I learned about being in first grade- not many bathroom breaks.) Your feet lose that toughness over the summer, having spent many days barefoot in the sand, lake, and pool, in the air while hanging in a hammock, under the covers in bed all day, or soaking in the tub because you have time for more than a three minute shower.
It's been a great first week back. I love my new room, my sweet little first grade students, and new coworkers. I am excited about the year to come. Only complaint- my feet hurt!
24 hours from now, I will be standing at my classroom door ready to put on a smile and meet my new students and their families. We will have so much to talk about, things to share, and questions to ask. One of the many things I am excited to talk to them about is the solar eclipse.
Here in the Belton/Honea Path community, we are in the path of totality. Although the path of the eclipse (amazing) will cross the whole country, we will be perfectly located for maximal viewing. Everyone around here already has their special glasses ready for the heavenly sight. I will be in my backyard with my husband and two daughters. We will lay in the hammock and stare up in to the sky to watch all the actions, with safety eclipse glasses on of course. No need to damage the eyes folks!
Is this really that rare of an event? It depends on your perspective. Eclipses happen every year or two, but they are only usually viewable from places you and I would never be able to go to. For us to be able to see this spectacle in our own backyard is very rare.
I hope that this event brings families together, spending time being amazed at the light show our creator decided to entertain us with. I also hope that there are young children (girls especially) that look up at the visible corona of the sun in the darkness tomorrow afternoon and become inspired. Inspired to learn more about space. Inspired to think of the possiblities of what lies beyond that moon and sun. I wonder how many future rocket scientists will say that they decided on their career when they just happened to find themselves in the path of totality on August 21, 2017. Just something to think about...
"Military Brat." This is a term used to describe children of service members. I am a military brat because my father was a Major in the United States Air Force. Most brats have traveled many places and been exposed to a wide variety of cultures, religions, ethnicities, etc. I am proud to say that I have been fortunate enough to have experienced all of the above. I believe it is what made me the person I am today.
When people ask me where I am from, the answer is complicated. I usually say "everywhere." I feel as if I have been everywhere. However, I was born in an especially awesome place. Guam. What's funny to me is that over the past 39 years, after people find out where I was born, 99% of people will have no clue what or where Guam is.
That's not the case anymore. With continued threats from North Korea, my tiny birthplace has become worldwide news. The amazing native Chamorro people, immigrants, and military personnel on this Pacific island face an enormous threat of nuclear proportions. I know that they will be safe. The systems in place are solid and can handle the current threat, but it makes me sad. It saddens me that the reason people are learning about my birthplace is because of an unhinged dictator in the region.
I want those of you who don't know about Guam, to know this...It is an American territory. 30% of those who reside there are military personnel. The Guamanians residing there are American citizens. The island is more than a strategic location in the Pacific and a base for submarines and bombers. It is BEAUTIFUL! The deepest part of the ocean, the Mariana Trench, is located there. The water is crystal clear. There are beaches, and mountains formed from extinct volcano. Waterfalls and wildlife are abundant. I have been to the Caribbean, Hawaii, and many other exotic locations. In my opinion, they can't compare to the beauty of my island home.
I am far from my beautiful birthplace right now, well removed from the imminent threat that Guamanians face, but my heart is with the people of Guam. I pray that tensions will deescalate and that the world will seek to know this Marianna island as more than a target of North Korea. The island is full of history, culture, ethnicities, amazing food, and more. My dream is to go back one day with my children to teach them about the beauty of Guam. I am proud to be a Guamanian!
New year, new classroom, new students...fall is a time for new beginnings in the life of a teacher. This is my favorite time of the year. Just as our kids get excited as summer break comes nearer, I get excited for the start of school. I still get butterflies after 18 years.
I get to start fresh every year. Looking around at all of the boxes and furniture stacked from floor to ceiling in a freshly waxed and painted room, I imagine all the possibilities. For a while, I just sit and think. What will my students be like this year? What relationships will I build with their families this year? What impact will I make in their lives?
In that solitary time in my empty classroom, I pray. I pray for each child and family that I have yet to meet. I pray to be the best teacher and mentor I can be. I know that eyes will be watching and ears will be listening and I want them to see HIM in me. I know I can't profess my faith openly to my students, but I can live it in front of them.
For all of those who think teachers have "summers off," please know that teachers have spent every moment possible in their classroom this summer preparing for the year ahead. I have spent countless hours in room 122 being a mover, interior designer, manager, janitor, painter, organizer, creator, web explorer, and yes..a teacher. I have done my best to make this environment a warm and friendly place before your child even walks through the door. All this, not for pay, but because I care. After 18 years, I still passionately care.
I am greatly looking forward to a year of new beginnings, new friendships, new insights, new technology, new readers, new writers, new memories, and more! Here's to a great new year everybody!