Sunday, November 18, 2012

Staying in the Game

Friday was a good day. I wrote a few weeks ago about a student who wants to do better than what he currently knows. I was able to connect this student with a friend of mine in the computer world. The picture is one I will treasure. I look forward to watching this young man grow and reach for his hopes, dreams and goals! 

I finally treated myself yesterday to a much needed massage. I have to laugh at myself. During the massage, I found it quite difficult to relax and not try to help the masseur with moving my arm or leg. He kept having to repeat- this is my job, relax, let me do this. Funny for the massage but not so funny when I stop to think how I am like this with students. I am the one directing them, trying to get them to understand that being in the computer lab is not about! Even the 1st graders ask to play this game. Old habits are hard to break. I feel like I am making progress in the rituals and routines department and for some classes with the blogging I've started. The 4th graders were excited to hear they could jump on the blogs if they have Internet access at home. This made my day! I had older students going to the younger student's blogs and giving them some comments. It was cool to hear them say, "I had a seventh grader comment on mine!" 

I was observed through our districts LEAP program week before last during the seventh grade class. The peer observer and I sat down a few days later to reflect upon what he saw. We talked about how the blogging is teaching them HOW to communicate. The group he watched are middle school students. These students want to be heard but honestly have no idea how to do it in a way that will give them positive results. The blogging they've done, at times, is less than what I expect and want but I have to realize it is a start. I reached out to the world via social media and was able to have them walk in the room last week and see they all had comments from other people. They were heard. I hope to continue this for just a bit longer and then get them on some digital storytelling. I won't completely abandon the blogging but need to keep it fresh and engaging in my room. 

I feel like I'm all over the place with this post but that's how I am these days with my thinking. I have a million ideas, thoughts and feelings that flow through me each moment and it's hard to organize and capture them at times. I woke this morning at the usual 5 AM (darn body clock) and was able to get to my Google Reader- came across this blog post by Vicki Davis- "You May be the walking wounded, but Teacher, stay in the game!" that made my morning!!! I love being reminded that I am not alone and even though I don't hear it said outright, I'm helping kids. The important lesson I'm now being reminded of (heard it from a friend on a personal level a couple weeks ago) - How people feel is sometimes better shown not directly said.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Which part of the roller coaster is this?

Seriously! My week could not have been more of a roller coaster. The ups downs and all arounds were quite the ordeal. Jumped on the ol' scale today and my stress diet is working- down 8 pounds since school started. Hmmm... not sure that's how I want to do it though.

I have to share a moment in a teaching career that only comes along every once in a blue moon. I started my students blogging. It has been an interesting adventure with the older students. Many aren't taking it seriously, some don't get it, others think it's boring. Well one student blew me away with what he posted. 
The Truth 
"I love to work with computers. I want to be able to work with computer hardware such as hard disk drives, ram, cpu, etc. So what if i’m not like other (not to be racists) black people running down the streets selling drugs and alcohol and other bad stuff. No one should be criticized for the good things they do. I like fried chicken and Kool-aid but that doesn’t mean you have to make fun of me. They say that black people are good at every sport. I’m not that good at every sport but I give it a try regardless how hard or easy it is. No I’m not a nerd I just want to be a good black person to be a good example of what a black person should do that are making us look bad. So what if like to work with computer a least I make tons of money. I’m not trying to be mean but I’m just telling you the truth."
 I didn't prompt him to write this in any way which makes it even more beautiful. I was beyond floored with it. I decided being a computer dork myself I realized I could try to connect him with a couple friends who were in the biz. One friend posted a comment to his blog offering words of wisdom. He even took it a step further with this email.


I was moved by this request. I’ve posted on the blog but I’d like to take this a step or two further.

I recently moved into a smaller place. I have 3 computers ( no monitors, but I might be able to find one ) I would like to donate to this to your student. I would even be willing to work with him and teach him a thing or two about building computers. Let me know if this is something your student would be interested in.

Thank you so much for this opportunity, I started just like him. The black sheep, with little or no friends due to my “nerd” like talents.

Simply amazing, thank you.

 A friend of mine put it perfectly, "It's moments like this where our passion, our love and our dreams collide."

If you've been reading my posts along the way you know my struggles and the experiences I've had fall a lot to being told that what I've asked them to do is F-in BS. So I have to say this event could not have come at a more perfect time. I shed a lot of tears and was questioning why I'm doing this A LOT this week but I have to say I would do it all again because of this one moment. 

So I'm not sure what part of the roller coaster this is but I'll take it! I will also take this weekend and smile from ear to ear because it will be spent being with amazing friends and eating an omelete my dad makes. 

Thursday, November 1, 2012

A little light is still flickering

I have to admit I am struggling with shaking it off (story reference) and stepping up at the moment. I feel like the shovels of things covering me and breaking me down are coming faster and weighing heavier than I can endure. I follow a teacher in Connecticut- Paul Bogush- via his blog. I came home yesterday frustrated, tired, sick (lovely cold has destroyed my voice which makes teaching the past 3 days a train wreck). I came across a recent post he did "Why I continue teaching..."
I really like what he says here: 
"I remember reading about how when tragedy strikes, people who knew peace and prosperity before the tragedy can recover from it quickly once it is over, and knowledge of how it once was allows them to persevere. Those who were born into it suffer, often lose hope, and quit.  All of those people who are searching for results on “leaving teaching…”  I wonder how long they have been teaching?  Do they remember what it was like to enter the profession at a time when there was hope?  When you could innovate without crushing federal and district policies?  Do they remember back to when if you needed to do something to help kids you just did it…there was no paperwork, committees, and six layers of bureaucracy to get through?"
And here:
"You can’t teach anyone anything other than facts.  In order for someone to learn something from you, you must be answering a question that they have.  Your role as a teacher then, is simply to get kids to ask questions.  No questions, no learning."
The part about getting kids to ask questions has always been important to me but such a tough thing to accomplish. Kids somewhere in the middle of Kindergarten seem to lose that wonder, that curiosity, that desire to learn more than what is presented to them. 

 I needed his words and thoughts yesterday and again today as I reread it and head off for another day at school. 
I also needed and appreciate a conversation I had with a mentor friend yesterday afternoon. I shed a lot of frustration tears and he just listened, empathized and then helped shine a light  on how I can shake a bit of IT off and step up. ~ Thank you MW- you always inspire me.
I also needed a text convo with another mentor friend who said, "You are not a failure. The job we have to do is not the one we prepared for." ~Thank you GP- you honestly have not wrecked my life, more so you are helping me grow.

So as I venture off for another day, I will look for the small successful moments to get me through right now.