The Long, Weary Walk

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This is my countdown!

It’s that time of year. There are no more holiday breaks. There are no more long weekends. There is only the long, weary walk of every teacher trying to make it to the last day of school. We must endure the testing, the field trips, the play days, and the rambunctious apathy of students that know the end is near. We begin countdowns on our boards that we say are for our students, but really those countdowns are just another lifeline to sanity.

Teacher friends, I feel you, and I’m here for you.

My biggest problem this time of year is that my current school year brain shuts down while my next school year brain wakes up. I begin to feel that all the changes I imagined making while I was teaching this year need to be made before I begin to teach next year. I begin to make list after list, create YAGs, do CPGs, worry about novel justifications, and align TEKS. I start to panic at the amount of self-inflicted studying that is piling up in the form of books I have assigned myself for the summer. The summer that is EXACTLY 2 months from start to finish. *sigh*

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My awesome new planner. I can’t wait to write in it!

My precious students from this year wonder why I sometimes have a far away look on my face. Little do they know that I am rearranging furniture in my new classroom. The one with white walls and bigger windows that I will move into next year. Anything to remove myself from the portable/paneled cave that I currently inhabit.

One of the beautiful things about being a teacher is what I like to call THE RESET BUTTON. Remember that lesson that went south on you? You get a redo next year. How about that book you thought the kids would love that they loathed? Pick another one to takes its place. You know that kid that always has to have the last word? Another teacher gets to educate him in the next grade. We get to reinvent ourselves every year if we so choose, and that is such a heady proposition. Many people never get to try again in their profession, but we get that every year! For me, it’s such a blessing because I mess up. A lot. However, I hope that I learn from my mistakes and strive to do a better job the next time around.

Next year I get to try again in a bigger classroom. With bigger windows. 🙂

You should never tell anyone…

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…that you can sew. Seriously. My friend Christa can probably attest to this better than I can because she is actually a bona fide seamstress. I can just sew straight lines pretty well. Curtains, pillows, that kind of thing. Even so, this is becoming a lost art, people. So when someone finds out you can sew, saaaaayyy the coordinator for your school’s fundraising auction, this happens-

Yep, those are t-shirt quilts made out of school shirts.

My original plan when I asked for the shirt donations was to make lap quilts for my classroom (I like it cold in my room). But when you end up with a bunch of shirts, it makes people curious. I’m okay with it because I was trying to figure out how to contribute to the auction anyway, but I felt PRESSURE because they weren’t just for my students to use during my class. Someone is going to buy those. Yikes.

I’m already pushing my entrepreneurial spirit to the limit considering I have a full time job, so I definitely won’t be adding t-shirt quilt maker to my list of money-making adventures. I don’t even think I’m going to make the lap quilts I originally set out to make! I’ll stick with the endeavors I’ve already started for now. I’m sure it will preserve what sanity I have left.

Maybe. 🙂

I hope everyone has a blessed Easter weekend. Have fun with your family and enjoy the lives that the Lord has so lovingly given you.

Oh So Grateful

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Oh So Grateful

You know what sucks? Admitting your faults to yourself. Yep. I’m not perfect. *gasp* As a matter of fact, there are so many things that I need to work on, it would take several blogs to list them all. In the interest of my self esteem, we’re just going to focus on one- complaining.

I am the all-time champ at complaining. Traffic on the way home? Complain. Lady in front of me in line takes too long? Complain. Waitress doesn’t hoof it to our table fast enough? Complain. I can suck the joy out of almost any event, just give me a minute and I’ll find something to complain about.

The worst thing about this is that it becomes a habit. A horrible, miles-deep rut that you get stuck in. Unless you start to consciously combat the negativity, you’re going to be stuck forever. Well friends, I was STUCK. Stuck like Chuck. For yeeeaarrss. Ask anyone who knows me, and they can attest. So what to do?

What’s that old saying? The first step is admitting you have a problem. OK, I have a problem. Great, now what?  Well, writing has always been a catalyst for me, so let’s start there.  Enter this little gem-

https://www.amazon.com/Little-Gratitude-Journal-gold-dots/dp/1519127138/ref=sr_1_15?ie=UTF8&qid=1491827962&sr=8-15&keywords=gratitude+journal

I started writing in this every time that nasty urge to complain would rear its ugly head. It was hard at first to know what to write. Sometimes, I could only think to say “Thank you for my family” or “I’m grateful that I have a job to go to”. Gradually, I began to feel that angry, negative complaining urge was going away. I wouldn’t blow up as quickly when something didn’t go my way. I wouldn’t freak out in traffic and wish I had a brush guard on my Mazda.

Now, let’s not get it twisted, I still have my moments. And they can be doozies (just ask my hubby or my girls), but they are fewer and farther between. I still want to take people’s heads off sometimes, but I can say that the monkey on my back doesn’t have the hold he once had.

Eventually, I’ll shake that monkey off completely.

Haven’t done this in a while!

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I’ve been thinking about writing for some time, but I haven’t been sure what I wanted to say. What direction do I want this to take? Do I want to talk about teaching? Do I want  to talk about my family? Do I want to talk about my weight loss journey? Do I just want to make snarky comments about life in general?

Decisions, decisions.

So maybe we’ll start with a little bit of each and ease back into this blogging thing.

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Teaching: I’m on the downward slope of my 18th year of being a secondary English teacher, and I have to say, I finally found my way back to my love of this job. I don’t know if it is the school I work at, the people I work with, or medication, but whatever it is, it’s workin’ for me! I have a renewed sense of purpose, and I’m actually writing my own curriculum again. It’s been such a long time since I could muster up the interest in my subject to create a lesson for my students. Call it burnout, call it laziness, call it whatever you want, I’m just glad it’s finally gone. Like a cloud lifting. I even started implementing flexible, alternative seating options in my classroom thanks to generous donations from the parents of my students and my husband’s ability to fix anything. My classroom looks amazing, and I can’t wait until we move out of the portables and into the main building next year!

My family: My husband is AWESOME, and we are going to celebrate our 20th wedding anniversary this summer. He has had to travel quite a bit for work lately, but hopefully that will settle down soon enough. Our girls are 17 and 13, so we always have teenage girl drama at the house, but both make good grades, and are generally OK people to hang out with, so we feel like we haven’t completely messed them up. The oldest will be a senior next year, and she hates any mention of anything having to do with or resembling adulting. She hates driving as well. Apparently this is a common thing with kids her age. Weird. I couldn’t wait to get my license! The 13 year old will be trying out for the high school dance team at the end of this month, so pray for us all.

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Weight loss: On May 9th on last year, I decided to cut carbs in my diet. I have hypoglycemia, so carbs make me super tired anyway. I wanted to see if I could manage my low energy levels and tendency toward depression by changing my diet. I will tell you, I have tried EVERYTHING and the kitchen sink to lose weight in the past, but this time I was doing it for something else, and the weight loss was just a nice side effect. What a difference! When I started looking at the food as either fuel or poison, it finally clicked in my brain that I could eat whatever I wanted, but that didn’t mean I should. To date, I have lost 40 pounds, and I am thinner than I’ve been since before I had children, and I think thinner than I was in high school. It’s very cool to be able to buy new, smaller clothes, but it’s even better to feel good and awake at the end of the day.

I’m in such a good mood that I don’t have any snarky comments, but I’m sure I’ll come up with something soon, and I’ll be sure to share. 🙂