Category Archives: teacher

Dear Future Me

You don’t handle global pandemics well.

It’s okay to eat a donut.

It’s okay to watch hours of your new favorite show Schitt’s Creek.

It’s okay to not read because your brain can’t focus.

It’s okay to cry. And by sad and mad and mopey and self-centered. It’s okay.

Don’t beat yourself up over all that. It’s okay.

Expected But

Campuses are closed for the rest of the school year.

I knew that was coming. I agree with the governor’s decision. It’s the only right answer.

And still.

I can’t stop crying.

I can’t stop crying because I really love these kids and I can’t tell them. I can’t call on Teams and have a big mourning session for the end of the year.

I’ve learned I can’t write the words I want to say. Writing has always been the way I best communicate. But in a world where everything is in writing, I’ve lost my words.

I can’t hug the kids. I can’t fix this.

And we have to finish the yearbook.

My editors have worked so hard. Yearbook is fun at school. It’s not fun like this. It’s work with a purpose. It’s learning. But final deadline is not fun. It’s a necessity. And at school we get the payoff, the excitement, the other staffers, teacher support and kids support and admin support.

Now, these kids are doing all the hard without the payoff.

And it’s my job to fix that. It’s my job to find the fun. To figure out a way to celebrate and be a motivator and help them see the importance of what we do.

But I can’t because I can’t stop crying.

I don’t know how to do this.

I don’t want my beautiful editors to finish the year with a negative view of what we do. I don’t want to hurt them with my words. I want to build.

This really sucks.

That is all. Except

I miss school. This isn’t school. But it is what it has to be.

I miss peace and hope.

That’s gone too.

At least right now it is.

I was going to make some scones to eat my emotions, but the strawberries I planned on using are gone, so I can’t even do that.

I know I’ll get through this. I just wish I didn’t have to.

Time is Different

This is not normal. This is not okay. This is a crisis and we’re all dealing with it the best we can. Teachers, parents, kids, admin, counselors, all of us. We’re all in this together and it’s okay that it sucks. But we have to make the best of it because we have no choice. I learned this from a Facebook post this morning. Sometimes Facebook is a good thing.

Learned this week: Distance learning is NOT like regular class time. Time flies and everything takes longer than class time. The systems set up for my yearbook class have to be redundant. That’s not bad. It’s just time consuming.

I have to remember this because next week I have to MOVE. Breaks have to be planned or I won’t do them. I won’t even think about them until hours have passed because it doesn’t feel like hours until it’s over.

It’s Friday. I’m tired. More tired than I’ve ever been in my entire teaching career. I miss my kids and my teacher friends. I’m a strong believer in protecting your personal time, but there’s no time for personal time right now.

I can’t imagine doing this with kids at home. But I see a lot of people doing it and doing it well. That’s amazing.

Comparison is a Joy Thief

If you would have told me social media was going to make me hurt over teaching in the time of Corona, I would have said you were crazy.

But it’s happening.

I’m a mess and there are all these videos and ideas and lessons and shout outs and “We Did Its” and rah-rah-yay! moments and all I can think is WTF?!?! And then I’m in the guilt spiral of why can’t I just be happy for people instead of self-critical about my lack of Yay! And then I’m in a guilt spiral over the guilt spiral over the guilt spiral.

I’m a mess.

But it will get better.

I love you yay people. I’m just not there. I hope I will be. I like being a yay person. This has been a year of non-yay, and that was before Corona. Dang menopause.

Meditation Trial and Error: Tales From the Classroom

When I reach the end of my Calm session and the coach says “okay, now if you’re ready, open your eyes…” I’m never ready.

I have a giant class this semester smack dab in the middle of the day. The class that follows is not big, but they are loud and excited about life all the time.

I asked if they wanted to try breathing with the Calm app and they were all in.

So we sat in a circle and closed our eyes and focused on breathing.

About half the class broke after a minute. They couldn’t stop the laughter.

It does feel awkward to sit silently breathing the first few times you meditate. It’s just weird when we’re so used to constant bombardment from a million different directions. So I get it.

A few of us kept breathing, but the kids who laughed got busy working.

We’ve tried a few more times with the same level of success.

Then yesterday hit and the kids sat in a circle breathing, no laughter, no anything other than breath and peace. When I stopped they said “Nooooooo! That was like a minute.”

Nope. 2 minutes 48 seconds.

We made it to 4 minutes and started work.

Y’all, those four minutes were everything.

The stress of the day was gone for me AND for the class. They were so much more focused in their work. And they could not believe how much time had passed.

We don’t meditate every day, and it’s completely optional. The kids said they wished we would make it an everyday exercise.

Maybe we will.

I just really like this new leggings print.

Zoom!

Last night we got home from the show so fast.

I couldn’t believe we made it out of the parking garage and to the apartment in less than 20 minutes. That’s crazy good time. We’ve been stuck in that garage forever after a Bass Hall show.

DH aka super driver.

Anyway we got home and I grabbed a cup of coffee to warm up. An entire cup. No thought.

At 9 p.m.

Once upon a time that was no big deal. These days? Oh man.

No sleep. Which would be okay except we’re at school until 8 tonight.

😴😴😴

The words aren’t working today. That’s for sure!

Not the coffee I drank. This is the newsroom coffee.

What I’m Loving: this year’s yearbook, my new socks, chicken

What I’m Writing: So Much For Happily Ever After

Doubt Demons

I passed out doubt demons in class today. I started class showing off mine. His name is Freddy.

I told the kids I write novels and love words and help edit others’ work, and still there are times I sit at the computer and hate everything about everything. I hate the way the words look, they way they feel when I say them, the scene they’re part of. I hate the commas and periods and pronouns. I hate it all. And if I let it, that feeling will consume me and the work and it’s so bad I just want to trash it all and start something shiny and new and fun. Something I can LOVE. But with my doubt demon around, I can pick him up, put him on my finger and say, “Not today, Freddy. Not today.”

After I told my story, I broke out the demons and invited the kids to choose their own. No one had to, but if they wanted one, they could take one, name it and have it out at their workstations while they work the rest of the year.

I thought I’d been pretty open about my writing, but as I told my story today my kids sat there listening and nodding their heads and even saying “Yes!” at times. They’re halfway through the year and they’ve faced all the doubt struggles that come with interviewing and writing and designing and photo stories. They know their work is going to be published and it lasts forever and the pressure is real. Some of them write creatively outside our class. They understand doubt. But until today I don’t think it ever really connected that I know doubt too.

I hope the doubt demons help us all banish the negativity and embrace the reality that the doubt is just part of the process.

*I ordered my doubt demons at Archie McPhee.

I’m thankful to Angelique L’Amour who introduced me to Doubt Demons at last year’s DFW Writers Conference. If you get a chance, definitely take her classes!

What I’m Loving: Brené Brown’s Dare to Lead, LCHF, Finals!, Saginaw Night Writers, Quest nacho cheese flavored chips

What I’m Writing: So Much For Happily Ever After

Books I’ve Loved This Year: Atomic Habits, Dumplin’

Teenagers, Teenagers

Spent today with teenagers who chose to give up their Saturday to compete in UIL Academics.

People trash talk teenagers all the time. But you know what? Young people make me happy.

They believe absolutely that they can do almost anything unless that belief has been sucked out of them. They will defend their beliefs with research and a well thought out argument. They are kind and caring and considerate, and they often reach out when they see someone hurting or alone. Even if they don’t know that someone.

They are smart! When I was in school we had to take math. Not Algebra. Math. And science? Physical Science and Biology. Social studies and English weren’t even required four years. Sure, some kids did more. But you didn’t have to to graduate. These kids take tons of tough classes and still work and juggle busy electives AND give up their weekends for UIL.

People talk about teen attitudes, and yeah, they can roll their eyes so far into the backs of their heads I wonder about their health. But you know what? Go hang out on twitter for more than five minutes. You’ll see they’re just in training.

Teenagers are great. Glad I got to spend my Saturday with a few.

Tales From the Classroom

She didn’t have her photos.

Easy photos.

20 photos that tell the story of our classroom.

But nope. No photos.

Why?

Her phone had no storage.

No problem. I gave her a little point and shoot to take her photos.

Excited, she took the camera, started walking around pressing the display screen in frustration.

Wait. What?

“Miss, how does this work? How do I get pictures?”

That’s when I realized I’d made a world of assumptions. When I handed her that camera, I assumed she would know how to use it because it was a simple point and shoot.

But that simple camera was completely foreign to her. She’s 14. She’s grown up pushing a button on a screen to take photos.

Fortunately, she wasn’t afraid to speak up when doing that didn’t work.

I showed her how to snap the pictures and she quickly took care of the assignment.

She learned how to use a point and shoot. I learned a whole lot more.

So often I think I’m assigning something super easy, but it’s only easy if the students have had specific life experiences.

I’ve got a lot more to learn.

On to the next assignment.

What I’m loving: The Young and the Restless, the train running from Fort Worth to the airport, DoTERRA On Guard, Quest snickerdoodles, Spark People, teaching

What I’m writing: So Much For Happily Ever After

Great Week

I loved this week so much. A big part of that was two Dallas Stars games, but it was more than that.

The Calm app is so helpful. I can’t wait to see the positive influence on my attitude during a work week.

Moving more, breathing deeper, seeing the light at the end of the tunnel of DH splitting time between here and Wichita Falls. All of that added up to making a good week.

I’ve lost 11 pounds since Thanksgiving. LCHF works when you love it instead of playing at it. That also made a good week.

We took the train to the second Stars game this week, and I LOVE the train. That made for a good week.

I wrote more and read more and played more. It was the perfect way to spend the second week of winter break.

Looking forward to Monday!

What I’m Loving: The TRE from Fort Worth to AAC, Sundance Square, the Dallas Stars, Sweatin’ to the Oldies, LCHF

What I’m writing: So Much For Happily Ever After