I need some catharsis

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What to do, what to do. I had a pretty horrid experience last night that is making me wonder if I have truly gone over the edge. Maybe my 3 readers can help me decide if I’m nuts. Last night, my youngest daughter had freshman orientation at the high school she will start next week. My older daughter will be a senior. A bit of backstory, this is the high school that I used to work at. I was there for 3 years teaching English and coaching cheerleading. When the second high school in our town was full, they needed to shift some people around to accommodate changing student populations, and they sent me back down to the middle school I had worked at previously. I was CRUSHED. I had worked for 10 years to finally get the job there, and I would have happily worked there until retirement. I questioned my worth as a teacher, and even as a person, when all of this went down.

So try to imagine going back up there with both of my kids to enroll them in the school that, in my view, threw me away. It SUCKS. I didn’t have to do much for my oldest because she isn’t a school spirit kind of girl. Don’t get me wrong, she’s in varsity choir and did yearbook for two years, so she is involved, just not in things I need to be up at the school for very often. Enter my little one. She made the dance team her freshman year. Which ROCKS. It will give her an immediate identity in that school, which is so important. It also means that I have be up at the school quite a bit more often than I have in the past.

It hurts.

It makes no logical sense. I love my job now more than I ever thought I could love a job, and I know I am where I am meant to be. But the resentment runs deep, my friends. When the AP that helped get rid of me pretended not to know me last night, when my daughter’s schedule wasn’t right and the counselor was kind of a jerk, when I realized we had waited all this time for her schedule, and she still wasn’t going to know where her classes were, well I just lost it. Full on tears of complete frustration. I despise that school, and it’s where my kids go. I know it hurts me more than it hurts anyone at that school, and I know it’s not right for my girls. I know all the logical things, but my darn emotions don’t care about logic, no matter how loudly I yell at them.

I’m hoping that writing about this brings me some catharsis about this topic. It can’t hurt, right?

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Summers off? Ha!

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Have you ever dared to say these words- “You’re lucky you’re a teacher. You get the summers off”?  If so, you should be throat punched. Or maybe you need to know what most, not all, teachers do during the summer.

For the first week, we try to sleep in, but our internal clocks won’t let us, so we still wake up at the butt crack of dawn. We try to relax on the couch to un-fray our nerves from the last week of school, but we can’t really sit on the couch without feeling guilty about all the things we “should be doing”. Like cleaning, grocery shopping, entertaining our kids who are also on summer break. You know, parental stuff. Or, we should be planning the curriculum for next year because we won’t be teaching what we have taught for the last ten years, instead, we will be teaching two new classes, so we have get ready. Oh, and we’re moving classrooms, so we had to bring home all of our “school junk”- as my hubby likes to call it- so we really need to go through that and purge some of the materials we have had for 157 years and never touched. But do you know what we think when we contemplate doing any of this?

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No, no, no, no, no…

So, of the 8 weeks we get for summer break, a couple are probably spent in some sort of professional development, maybe we go on a vacation with our family, and the other time is spent prepping, and planning, and combining, and curating, so that when we return, we have a chance to maintain our sanity.

Now, let me clarify. I LOVE my school. I am PUMPED to be teaching new classes because I get tired of hearing myself talk about the same things over and over. I am OVER THE MOON about my new room, and I have probably spent WAY too much on my vision for the new space- think flexible seating, coffee shop atmosphere, black/gold/silver/gray- it’s going to be so beautiful…I hope. So I have assigned many (okay all) of these tasks to myself. I could wait until we return to work on July 31st, but that is NOT how I roll. I am a planner extraordinaire, and I DO NOT fly by the seat of my pants if I can help it.

I guess I’m just trying to say that most teaching professionals that I know never stop working, they just aren’t in front of students for 9 weeks in a row. Instead they are anticipating the time when they will be in front of students again, and they want to make it as smooth a transition back into the school year as possible.

So if you see a teacher, please don’t utter that phrase. It’s insulting. It’s false. And it’s rude. Just say thank you, and maybe buy them a cocktail.

Are they ready?

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As of next Thursday, my husband and I will have a senior and a freshman in high school. What? When did this happen?

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Celebrating the tiny one’s 14th birthday

I’ve been thinking about this craziness for some time. My husband and I have talked extensively about the fact that we only have a couple more years with our girls under our roof. It’s TERRIFYING.

Have we prepared them? Have we sheltered them? Have we given them too much? Have we not given them enough? Can they make it in this crazy world, or should we move somewhere that lets you have basements in your house? Texas bedrock doesn’t allow for basements, and my hubby and I aren’t moving to another state, so that’s out. Let me just say, our girls are wonderful in many ways. They make good grades, they don’t do crazy stuff (that we know of), they like to spend time with us…and all of that is great. But have we instilled common sense? Do they have a good work ethic? Can they keep themselves safe? Is this world going to be harsh to them? I can’t answer those questions with any certainty, and it is maddening.

Our oldest hyperventilates at the thought of anything resembling adulting and HATES driving. Our youngest is convinced that she wants to move far away for college, and she is ready to drive NOW, even though she’s got a couple of years before that’s an option. Polar opposites, as usual. Sometimes I wonder how they could grow up in the same house with the same parents and end up so vastly different.

All of that aside, I’m not confident that either one of them will be okay because this world is MESSED UP. Have we given them the strength of character to make rational decisions in the face of pressure from others? Can they keep their living space clean enough to avoid contracting a flesh-eating virus? Can they navigate the grocery store and keep themselves fed? You think I’m kidding. I’m not.

And I did this. I guided them to this, right? Well, my husband and I. So WE, we did this. Did we cripple them by giving them too much of this and not enough of that? It’s keeping me up at night, this anxiety. And I can’t fix whatever I should fix because, number one, I don’t know what to fix, and number two, I only have a year to do that for the oldest. Not enough time. Never enough time.

You know what I can and will do? I will LOVE them. Fiercely. And if that means pushing them outside the comfort zone we have created so they can start to make their own decisions, then so be it. If it means that they get mad at me because I’m making them do things they don’t want to do, fine. I have to do this. I have to give them everything I can before they go out in the big, bad world.

I wish parenting came with a manual.

Happy Anniversary to me!

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It’s been ONE YEAR! That is nothing short of amazing, my friends. 365 days that I have stuck with something. Ask my husband. It’s a freakin’ miracle.

The past couple of weeks my body has been rebelling and insisting that I eat sugar. Ice cream, chips, cookies…BAD, BAD, and more BAD. So I’m trying to reset, but I don’t want to lose anymore weight (mostly because I can’t afford new clothes). So I’m trying to make sure I don’t eat that stuff, but I am failing. Miserably. Last night, I ate three Girl Scout cookies that a well-meaning student gave me during Teacher Appreciation Week. I should have given them back. I ate three. Then I had a Drumstick ice cream treat about 15 minutes later. Did I mention the sugar cravings were bad?

Ugh. All those diet and lifestyle gurus who tell you, “It’s not a diet, it’s a lifestyle change”. Psh. I always thought that was “new age bunk” (to quote my grandmother). Sadly, it seems to be true. So I will celebrate this momentous anniversary with my breakfast of egg muffins- not to be confused with delicious English muffins- and my lunch of baby food meat sticks, cheese, pickles, and Atkins chocolate. Be jealous.

I hope my kids know better than to get me chocolate for Mother’s Day.

Go home, you’re drunk.

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Anyone from Texas knows that old saying, “If you don’t like the weather, wait 10 minutes, it will change.” Well, I understand that, but this is ridiculous. Go home, weather. You’re drunk. I think I’ve had a runny nose for 139 days now because our weather is so jacked up. And it makes the students I teach CRAZY. For example, if it starts raining, they act like they’ve never seen rain before, or they purposely run around in it, and then come into class dripping, and say “Oh my gosh! I can’t believe I got soaked!” Really, you can’t? Added to that, we only have 23 more school days left, and these kids are WIRED. And all my energy? Gone. Kaput. Nada.

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Today, tomorrow, and Friday some of our students are on a field trip. That means, for 5 of my 6 classes, 2 or 3 students might show up. What am I supposed to do with that? Maybe they can help me pack boxes for the big classroom move at the end of the year. Is that against child labor or something? It probably is. So they will sit in my room doing Think Through Math on Chromebooks because I can’t teach them stuff that the other kids don’t get. I hope they don’t ask me questions. I’m allergic to math. I am a good teacher, though. When they get back from the trip, we have one week to prep for the state test, and I have already made all these cool stations that they can rotate through with a partner so they don’t get bored. They’ll like it because they won’t be stuck at their desks. See, I haven’t totally checked out. 🙂 I also have this little gem up my sleeve, so I’m all ready!

https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Reading-STAAR-Review-Game-3038917

 

Feeling Entrepreneurial

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Teachers sometimes need extra money. Did you know that? I mean, I know everyone thinks we make the big bucks because we educate the youth of America, but sadly, we don’t. I can’t even begin to address the fact that people that throw or kick a ball around makes millions of dollars while teachers worry about paying their mortgage, but hey, whatever.

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Look at me, branding myself and stuff. 🙂

So to pad the old bank account, and to keep it from collecting cobwebs, I have a couple of part-time gigs. I just started selling curriculum that I have created on Teachers Pay Teachers. See my awesome store here:

https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Store/Johnstons-Ela-Gems

I also do the website and manage the social media for my dad and stepmom’s distillery in South Texas, Hill Country Distillers. You can visit their Facebook page here:

https://www.facebook.com/hillcountrydistillers/

So, yeah. I’m an entrepreneur. But sometimes I feel like I completely embody the old saying, “Jack of all trades, and master of none.” I guess that’s not entirely true because I feel like I’m a pretty awesome teacher, but the other stuff, I could stand to learn more. Maybe if I learned more, I could branch out and get out of education, but I’m having such a good experience at the school where I teach, I’m okay with being a teacher until retirement. For now. But I have options! Maybe I’ll be that older woman going back to get a second degree so that I can learn more about the website/social media stuff. I could get a marketing degree. I could do business photography. I don’t know! There is whole world out there!

I love that my girls are seeing me do new things. I love that I can contribute to our household budget because Chris works so freakin’ hard. I love that I can pay down debt with money that is truly extra.  I love that I can put the Zulily app back on my phone and not feel bad looking at it every once in a while!!

Maybe I’ll become the new Joanna Gaines and have a curriculum/media/photography empire. People will make t-shirts!

Hey, everyone has to have a dream, right?

Full Disclosure

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Many of you have shown an interest in beginning a journey to a healthier life. I applaud you! I must, however, be completely honest about what you may encounter. In the first three weeks of this journey, when you cannot have more than 20 carbs a day, no one and nothing with be safe from your wrath. 

I’m serious. 

About midway through the second week of induction, I was walking up the stairs in my house. I was not angry. No one had done anything to irritate me. I was calm. By the time I reached the top of the stairs, I was enraged. ENRAGED. I went into my bedroom and almost put our laundry basket through the wall. For no reason.

As you go through carb withdrawal, which is really sugar detox, your brain goes a little crazy. Maybe a lot crazy. Please do not kick your cat or scream at your spouse. The fact that they can still eat bread is not their fault. Just breathe, and redirect your energy/outrage. Clean the top floor of your house. Detail your car. Mow your neighbor’s lawn. Whatever. Just try to make it through without harming members of your inner circle.

That being said, I promise it gets better. By the end of the third week, you will have lost pounds, gained energy, and that crap will have left your system. Then the real work, of actually changing your diet, can begin. If it helps, you can be mad at me. I can take it, and I understand. Plus, I’m far enough away from most of you to be physically safe. 

Please don’t think I’m preaching to you. You will never know how many times in my life I tried to do this before it worked. Countless. I promise. No , really. Just get some Atkins chocolate, and hang in there.