Tag Archives: life

The Week It Happened

Moi @ 47. 48 around the corner.


It took almost an entire semester, but when we returned from break I felt like me in the classroom.

How weird.

I would have never guessed I would have a mini identity crisis as an adviser after all these years, but setting matters. (The writer in me should have known that.)

I still have so much to learn about teaching, about journalism, about life in general.

At almost 50 it’s easy to just go through life’s motions instead of really living. I don’t want to do that. I want to be like Auntie Mame minus the Great Depression and those boots.ūüėä

Live, Live, Live!

The World Turns…

When I started this blog, I didn’t have Facebook or twitter or Pinterest. My daughter was in junior high. I’d lost a lot of weight on WW (and then gained and lost and gained and lost…). It was super bowl time and I talked about strawberries a lot. I wrote a lot. I read a lot. I posted crazy photos. I dreamed about traveling. I was a cat mom and never thought about owning a dog. I ate carbs all the time (thus the weight gain and loss, gain and loss). My grandparents were alive and I went to stay with them every once in a while, usually with my daughter. My grandma sang all the time. She and her best friend my Aunt Helen let me take their photo at family reunion, I belonged to a yahoo group called catarom and spent a god-awful amount of time reading emails. I hadn’t ever heard of education reform or the WFISD Leadership Cohort.

It’s crazy how much has changed.

Those changes are why I love this blog. It’s so amazing to walk back through life and see how I’ve grown. It’s also awesome to connect with readers and writers and just say hey.

Today I wrote 7k words. I still write a lot.

I’m up to chapter 7 in a Karen Templeton book. I still read a lot.

I deleted twenty emails and kept about 50 I need to read. I might get to 10 of them. I rarely read email now.

I checked in on facebook and twitter for what was supposed to be a second but that turned into an hour. Facebook and twitter consume time if I let them.

I was grumpy about some things and then a friend posted asking for prayers for a family member and it was like God smacked me with some perspective. I still learn a lot.

Happy reading and writing.

Hopefully I finish a book draft tomorrow before lesson plans.

 

THANKFUL #mywana

The British Museum always makes me think of Harrison Ford. Another thing to be thankful for.

The British Museum always makes me think of Harrison Ford. Another thing to be thankful for.

Things I’m excited about September edition: Survivor, cooler temperatures, the Colonial Marriage Ministry Sacred Marriage class, teaching InDesign to kids after school, watching the freshmen become Raiders, first amendment memorization, watching new editors learn to make lists, revising Sharlene book 3, more dominoes with Mom and Dad, kisses, decorating the living room of the new house, watching DD transform from a kid into a woman ready to take on the world, seeing Pam B on Wednesdays if only for a minute, remembering the freedom of an empty nest during deadlines but also remembering the newsroom is not life, orange, learning new low carb recipes that rock, CS6, gearing up for NaNo, high school football, hockey, halftime shows. Funny, when I started this, I thought the list would be small enough for a Facebook status update. Goal this year: start every day thankful.

For Those Considering a Career in #Education

Me last year talking to my editor from my desk.

Me last year talking to my editor from my desk.

In the last two weeks I’ve taught classes with former students at workshops, gone out for margaritas with a former student and talked about everything from higher ed and linguistics to which hockey players to follow on twitter, chatted with a former student about her soon to be released by Entangled Publishing novel and finally tonight, laughed at the photos two former editors posted on Facebook for #tbt.

If you’re thinking about going into education know this: you’ll never be paid what you’re worth, you’ll always be the “bad guy” politicians can point to as wanting too much when all you want is job security and a decent paycheck, you’ll spend money on your classroom and the kids and you’ll never get that money back. You’ll work crazy ridiculous hours and drive your non-teacher friends nuts when you start talking about “education reform” and NCLB. You’ll go to the grocery store and see kids slinking away hoping to God you don’t see them AND kids who run up to you, give you a hug and introduce you to their grandmother who’s visiting as “My favorite teacher.”

You’ll be cussed at, laughed at, ignored and loved. You’ll attend trainings that don’t seem to serve a purpose during time you could be setting up your classroom. You’ll learn a million different acronyms for the Next Best Thing in education and those acronyms will change often.

You’ll meet amazing people dedicated to changing the world and then watch them thrive…or burn out…or decide it’s just not worth it to teach. You’ll have friends join admin…even DOWNTOWN admin, and then you’ll wonder if they’re still “friends” or if they’ve crossed over to the Dark Side. If you stick around long enough, you’ll learn it takes a village and the Dark Side is a myth…usually.

You’ll have classes without enough desks, without enough books, without enough super secret codes to unlock the sparkly new technology you’re provided. You’ll run into proxies that render said technology useless on a regular basis even though you used the website the week before to teach your classes.

You’ll spend hours on snazzy lessons with everything from rock songs to movie clips to pictures of places you’ve visited while on the quest to become a better teacher…AND someone in your class will try to sleep anyway.

You’ll be told you only work 9 months a year so quit your dang complaining…all the time. You’ll hear “We don’t need to pay teachers all this money. We can do school on the computers. Let the kids learn it all online.”

You’ll wake up some mornings feeling like a rockstar and go to bed feeling like a rock.

You’ll need to invest in super-dee-duper vitamins because schools are germ factories.

You’ll cry with your kids who lose boyfriends, parents, babies. You’ll want to smack them when you see their names in the paper on crime beats. You’ll want to call them up and say congrats when you see they’ve finished in the top of their class at UT. You’ll ask them if they’re sure they want to teach when they tell you they’ve decided to pursue a degree in education. And you’ll feel like crying again when they say they want to be just like you.

So think long and hard before you go into education. Starbucks gives full benefits, including a matching 401k for 20 hours a week. There are easier paychecks.

BUT nothing beats waking up in the morning excited to go to work. Nothing beats being a teacher when you love it.

Dead Girl Walking

Countdown

I’ve loved this year at school, but this break has been amazing. I’ve slept in, cleaned closets, found photos that made me laugh (on my Facebook if you want to see). I’ve spent time with family, lost Phase 10, eaten too much low carb food and created a “lowish” carb almond butter mousse to die for that’s now reserved for holidays only (recipe at end of post). I’ve spent hours with Emmie on my lap, survived another blizzard, and I’ve shared a million and twelve funny memes on Facebook, the best of which remains Grumpy Cat Star Wars. I’ve written (not enough) and read and read and read. I caught up to the end of the GRR Martin Game of Thrones series (SOOOOOOOOO GOOD!!!!!!), I finished Peggy Browning’s Fifty Odd book (SOOOOOOOOO GOOD!!!!), read Ally Carter’s Uncommon Criminals (Sooooooooooo Good!!!!!!!) and started the latest Dresden, which so far is….Soooooo good!!!

See a theme? That’s been this break. Sooooo Good.

###

Recipe for Deadly “Lowish Carb” Almond Mousse

1.5 cups heavy whipping cream, splenda (I used four packets), a little vanilla: Whip it up

In a separate bowl combine 1 box cream cheese, 1/4 C almond butter (or more), sugar free chocolate syrup..just a little–maybe 2 TBSP, half that amount of sugar free carmel syrup.

TASTE that mix and see if it’s yummy. If it needs a little more sweet, add some¬†splenda, one packet at a time. It doesn’t need to be super sweet because it’s rich, rich, rich.

 

Once it’s perfect, fold in the whipping cream you’ve already whipped up.

Top with dollop of whipped cream and a tiny bit of sugar free chocolate syrup.

OMG soooooooo good and sooooooooo bad.

Emmie Afghan

Even the Acknowledgments Made Me Laugh

by Peggy Browning

by Peggy Browning

I’m a follower of Peggy Browning’s Fifty Odd blog, so buying the book was an easy decision. I knew I’d laugh. I knew Browning would make me think and make me thankful for what I have. I had no idea I’d experience the full spectrum of emotions as I read. I took my time with the book, savoring each chapter like a weekly treat. It’s a collection of columns much like Sharon Randall writes, so Fifty Odd lends itself to leisurely reading; however, the deeper I got into the book, the more I found myself wanting to know more. Those weekly treats weren’t enough. I ended up reading the last half of the book in two days. Browning shares so many truths in this story. From love to loss to body image to motherhood to grandmotherhood to bucket lists, Browning delivers vignettes that touch the heart. It’s definitely a collection I’ll return to again and again. When you get to the end of the book, don’t forget to read the acknowledgments. Don’t read them first! Get through the book so you understand. When you close the book you’ll smile to yourself and you’ll cheer for Browning who chose the road less traveled.

I highly recommend this book, especially for women. In fact, I think I’ll buy another few copies for gifts.

Fifty Odd: Viewing Life After 50 Through Rose-Colored Bifocals by Peggy Browning available on Amazon.

My Life mottos

(Cross posted)

I have the Mrs. Lee’s 10 Rules for a successful life in my classroom. None of them are original. All of them are sort of mini-mottos for me.

Mrs. Lee’s Rules for Life Success

10. Remember, everyone is just as busy as you are.
9. You can’t fix a blank page.
8. Treat everyone like you want to be treated.
7. Whether you think you can or you think you can’t, you’re right.
6. If you’re not having a good time, look at yourself first.
5. Do or do not, there is no try.
4. Don’t Freak Out!
3. If you think you’ll have time to do it later, you’re wrong. Do it Now!
2. Event + Reaction = Outcome ALWAYS!
1. If you commit to something, follow through, so be careful not to over-commit.

My other motto is something I like to teach about at church. It’s easy really, and I stole it from Frances Chan, who “stole” it from the bible: You Can’t Be Good Enough. Jesus died on the cross for us. He was broken for us. There is nothing we can DO to make up for that ultimate sacrifice. We must Be instead. If you ever get a chance watch Frances Chan’s series Is Jesus Really Enough on youtube. It is beyond amazing and not “preachy”.

Bad Weeks Happen

I am so thankful this week is over and I sure hope next week is better!
It will be because I’m going to wake up every morning and give thanks for the good things, of which there are many.
I’ve been thinking a lot about the teacher who’s on paid administrative leave for her blog where she called students whiny and more. Her name wasn’t on the blog and she didn’t name any students. If the blog was personal, I’m afraid for teachers everywhere. If it was a school blog, shame on her. I don’t know which the case is. If she was blogging on duty, what they heck? How did she have time?!
The thing is, kids are whiny.
But adults are, too. Trust me on this one. I’m a huge whiner at times.
And kids are irresponsible.
But adults are, too. Again, trust me on this one. I can give you examples of my irresponsibility time and again, but I’m not doing it here in a public forum.
The list goes on and on.
KIds have changed. Either that or I’ve gotten older and become the dinosaur talking about “back in the day…”
But expectations on kids have changed.
My students for the most part are over-extended. They do too much. They’re in too many APs. They’re constantly focused on tests and passing them instead of real learning. They have TONS of opinions, but they often can’t defend those positions because they don’t know how. (It’s not on the test, so they don’t know.) Or they do know how because it’s part of the junior AP English test.
Then there’s the whole tech revolution. These kids are constantly plugged in. They don’t know the meaning of true peace and quiet and meditation and aloneness.
If I had been expected to perform on tests, take 4 or more APs, take all the credits needed to graduate, work, and stay in contact with my friends-boyfriend-mom-dad-grandma-aunt susie-teachers-college advisor-scholarship committee, I’m not sure HOW I would’ve done it.
I have a Master’s Degree in English. I loved college. I’d go back now if I could afford classes. But I’m not sure I would’ve survived freshman year without burnout if I were a teenager in today’s schools. That said, I was a solid student but I was NOT a top performer in any subject other than newspaper and writing. I know there are a few top performers in every class, and those kids can do EVERYTHING great. I’ve had those kids in my classes, too, and I love them. But they’re not the norm.
I was a big proponent of TAKS. I loved that it was supposed to be a tougher test that couldn’t be taught. Dumb me. Of course, it could be taught. The testing companies have to sell the test prep materials. I still think TAKS could be a good tool (EOCs too) if used correctly. Use the data. Kids don’t pass? FInd out why. Monitor and adjust constantly, and hold teachers accountable if they have multiple low performing years with kids who should have passed. By hold them accountable, I mean spot checks, portfolios, oversight. That last idea isn’t a big hit with teachers, I know. But we shouldn’t be able to close our doors, do our own thing and only worry about one or two times a year an admin visits to do evaluations. If teachers have great results year after year with students, get them out there teaching the new teachers how to get those results. There’s a teacher I know who gets 100% of her students who actually come to school where they need to be to pass the test even though they’re projected to fail. She’s had those results with these kids since I’ve known her (over 16 years). She should be teaching all of us how to reach at-risk kids.

It’s been a bad week, and I’m glad it’s over. But I still love my job, even the parts that drive me crazy. Today, I shot the Polar Plunge. My school’s Student Council raised around $900 for Special Olympics with a Polar Plunge fundraiser. Students and teachers voted for the faculty they wanted to jump in the pool and the student council had a student team as well. The people in the running and the student team volunteered for this when it was 3 degrees outside. That’s something special. (Crazy! But amazing at the same time.) One of our assistant principals won best costume. It’s times like this that make the bad weeks okay.

http://www.schooltube.com/embed/c7cbf9509d6cef008b05

Parenting 202

Parenting should get easier…
After potty training…no
After old enough to tie own shoes…no
After day care no longer necessary…no
After junior high…no
After first job…no
After first night out ’til midnight curfew…no
After first date…no
After first prom…no
After first heart break…no
After high school…no
After first weekend away from home…no
After first semester away from home…no
After first semester back home…no.
After first accident, minor as it was…no.

A long time ago my grandma told me it never gets easier. I thought she was joking.
I should’ve known better,

Friday…

Another week done, and I’m ready. This year is kicking my butt. Maybe it really is God’s way of reminding me I have a life outside the newsroom.