Posted in Life

2017-A Year of Change

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2017 was a year for the books.

I started the year unemployed, living 10 min away from my childhood home, with my son. I’m ending the year in a new career as a middle school teacher, in Texas, 1300 miles away from my son.

If I only had time to tell you everything that happened in between. But it’s not fully my story to tell at the moment…so it will have to wait.

I’ve learned of God’s grace and mercy over and over and over this year. I’ve been blessed to have an incredible support system that tells me the truth whether I like it or not, and loves on me even when I feel like I don’t deserve it.

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There’s alot I don’t know about what my life will look like when the dust settles. But I’m learning to embrace change, and to not fear it. I’m learning to love ALL parts of Dei…flaws and all. The unconventional parts. The parts that I think don’t deserve love…are the parts that need love the most.

In 2017 I:
Was unemployed, filed for divorce, applied for COUNTLESS jobs for MONTHS before finally landing one…in another state…I drove 20+ hrs to Houston with my godsis, began a new career as a middle school teacher and discovered…I love teaching middle school! Survived my first hurricane, hosted my first friend/visitor in Houston right afterwards, traveled to San Antonio and Galveston, met new sorors & friends, grew closer to line sisters. Found a new church home in Houston. The move to Houston itself was surely an adventure and I’m finally beginning to settle in here.

In 2018 I want to:

Learn to accept myself fully, complete my first year of teaching and return for a second, earn my teacher certification, travel more, restructure my finances to begin to chip away at debt and plan for the next phase of life after divorce, get fit and run a 5K, enjoy my first full summer in Houston. Continue to make new friends here and keep in touch with loved ones in Ohio.

Andddd with that being said…2017…it’s a wrap.
2018, I’m ready for you. ❤

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Posted in Education, Life

Adventures of a First Year Middle School Teacher-Semester 1 is DONE!

I still remember the first day I started teaching. I was naive. I didn’t think I needed to do routines and procedures practice with my kids. I thought I could just tell them and they’d remember.

Clearly, I’d never worked with kids before.

There were so many things I wanted to do as a first year teacher, during my first semester.

And then right after the eclipse in August, by that Wednesday, we’d gotten word that a hurricane was headed our way. By that Thursday it was predicted that it’d be a strong category 4, maybe even a category 5, possibly worse than Katrina. We joked that we’d still have school on Friday. But when they cancelled school, we knew it was serious.

I spent most of that next week, worried about my kids I’d just met but fallen in love with. Were they okay? Did any of them deal with flooding and lose valuable belongings? How many of them would return to my school or be forced to relocate due to the hurricane?

Fortunately most of them would return but a few of them had been affected by the hurricane. As soon as we returned we had to hit the ground running to make up for lost time.

And everything I wanted to do, went out the window, because, I had to prepare them for testing and cover lost ground. In the midst of all of that I had my own personal stuff going on. I moved immediately after Hurricane Harvey into a new spot and had to fly back and forth to Cleveland to take care of some business and see family, in the midst of me teaching.

To put it simply, I had ALOT going on my first semester of teaching. I struggled with classroom management and pacing and faced a steep learning curve of lesson design. I put in long days of lesson planning and procrastinated with grading. There’s SO much to juggle in teaching, it is truly a juggling act that takes lots of practice and preparation.

It is now the end of the first semester and I can honestly say, I’m proud of myself, I’m proud of my students. Gains are happening, even if they aren’t huge. Many of my kids came to me reading grades below the grade they are actually in and many of them are catching up or are caught up. I actually can make it through a lesson now (I couldn’t say that in September or even October)!

But the biggest lesson I learned, is grace. Grace with myself, and with my students. I look at my students when they ask me why I cant be more like Ms. ____________ or Mr. ______________.

But they’re not asking me to be JUST like the other teachers. They’re asking me to be more of myself. To find those parts deep down inside that my kids need. The humor they need in the midst of not so exciting material. The strictness and structure that provides not just boundaries, but safety. And most importantly…the love they need to grow not just academically but emotionally, and socially as well.

All in all, my first semester of teaching was an adventure. I learned alot. I have alot ahead of me for next semester, as I prepare my kiddos for state testing and moving on to the 7th grade. It’s TOUGH but…I love what I do.