Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Gearing Up for A New Year

I can already feel the excitement in the air as I await my new students and classroom set up time. I am ready for this year to be better than the last, as every year should. I was even perusing and stumbled back into my Vista Print obsession! I love being able to be creative and help my classroom at the same time. I have gotten my class list, seen my room again (which now has tables!!!), bought many things over the summer for the room, set up my website, edited my beginning of the year letter, and on and on the list could go. There is so much prep work for school, but I know that the more I do now, the less stressful my job will be later. God showed me that as I prepare for my class, He is preparing me spiritually for the battle at hand. I am so grateful for a God that cares about me, is patient with me, and sees my needs. This was very evident at high school camp this year. I digress...

...I was appreciative of the opportunity to minister to my 10th (make that 11th grade) girls this year. However, similar to my previous post, God is still teaching me. I love that I can still go to camp and learn along with my girls! Anyays, during one of my quiet times, I decided to commit to God that I would read my Bible all the way through this year. As I had finished praying and started to read in Genesis I saw something flying by my leg. I moved frantically thinking it was a bug! When I looked back at the unidentified flying object, I saw a feather slowly floating to the ground. This however was no ordinary feather. It was a baby feather. How cool is that?!? I had just prayed that I would mature in my faith by reading my entire Bible, and I felt like the feather represented that maturation process. Just as birds slough of feathers as they get bigger, I was getting rid of my old immature christianity and trading it in for a life even more wrapped up in Christ. Again, I am so grateful for a God that cares about me, is patient with me, and sees my needs...

...Originally, I was just going to post about my Vista Print creations, but as always God has shown me that He has more to share. Gearing up this year has been so much more relaxing with my perspectives in the right place. My goal this year is to first of all put God first at everything. I have already had the urge to think I know all I need to know or that I am prepared on my own, and thankfully God is very patient and keeps bringing me back. My other goal is that I can get a handle on organization and time management. I know that may come as a shock to some, but as organized as I thought I was last year...I wasn't :) Well without further adieu, here are my VP creations! God bless!

Sunday, July 10, 2011

HE is still teaching me.

So...I didn't post at all over my past year of teaching. :) I never would've guessed how time consuming and just plain exhausting it was to teach. But even with all of the work, God used this time to grow me as a teacher and continued molding my philosophies, prayer life and PATIENCE. 1 Corinthians 13 says that "love is patient, love is kind," these are words that I had to pray continually. Believe me, satan wanted nothing more than for me to snap at the kids, get angry, and lose control. However, God has called me to live a different life. To choose God over the attacks of the devil is never easy and I wasn't perfect. Just because I was tired, or sick or in a bad mood did not mean that I was able to slack off. I would even tell the kids. "Remember, I do not have patience naturally and I have to pray for it." That usually helped them and me regain focus. After struggling for a month to adjust I quickly realized that I had not given my classroom fully over to God. I was still trying to maintain some control. Just as a double minded man will fall, I could tell that having a double minded classroom would not work either. I could not handle all of the variables of my job on my own. He is in control of my classroom just as much as He is in control of my life and to hold anything back from Him is like a slap in the face. I wanted Him to use me and get all of the glory. I didn't know that there was a test looming. Shortly after getting a grasp on my classroom and getting used to a schedule, I was called into an emergency meeting about budget cuts. I was informed that I would no longer have my job after this year. God is so good and the first words out of my mouth were "I'm going to enjoy what I have now." Trust me, that is not an easy thing for me to say. My insides were screaming (I JUST FIGURED OUT HOW TO JUGGLE ALL OF THIS WITH GOD AND NOW ITS ONLY TEMPORARY?). But the great thing about God is that He can give us a peace that surpasses all understanding, even that of my own. As time went on it took 3 months to hear whether or not I would have my job. I continued to pray over that time, that no matter where God wanted me I would go. Funny thing is, I think that all God wanted out of this was to recognize my life should always be that way. Just because I am a teacher, doesn't mean God's will for my life will never change. I need to always seek His will and never get complacent. I used a lot of bible verses to help my students and even got the opportunity to pray for one of my students whose mother was sick. I will never know the impact I had on these students but I will never forget the lessons God taught me and the wonderful students He chose to use. Since God has commissioned me for one more year of teaching, I will take everything I learned to impact the next bunch of God's children positively for Christ.

Monday, January 24, 2011

The Adventure Continues...

Last week I was offered a 2nd grade position at a really great school. Ever since then my brain has been on hyper-speed as I am trying to get everything ready. God is so amazing and I am so thankful that He decided to allow me to use my gifts and serve Him in this way! I figured I would start posting again, since that is how I will track myself for professional development (and I just think it will be cool to look back on later). I am feeling a ton of different emotions: excitement, nervousness, excitement, creativity, excitement, stress :) but really I am just plain excited! I cannot wait to start teaching these students and am so blessed that God will allow me to witness to them through my worship of Him. Classroom pictures will come with my next post. Until then it is: 1. first day schedule, 2. first week schedule, 3. classroom layout, 4. parent letter, 5. classroom organization, and the list goes on and on.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Scissors, Markers, and Glue, Oh my!

Whew! I just finished my last week of kindergarten. Sorry for no new posts, but when I started teaching all day, I realized very quickly how little time I actually had. I meant to post about kindergarten many times and even had a few titles worked out like:

'Kindergartners say the funniest things' 
"The pilgrims came over on the Cauliflower, right?"

'Kindergartners draw the funniest things' 
in case you did not know that this little boys' pilgrim was a boy, he made sure to add the boy part onto the pants...

'The Chronicles of Crying' - (no, I did not make any of the kindergartners pee their pants like I did in 2nd grade, haha) but kindergarten is hard work for these friends

All in all kindergarten was a wonderful learning experience. It was hard to change my patience level over initially, but God kept reminding me just how patient He is with me. I had to repeat myself many times, but how many times does God feel the same way? My first week, I was amazed at the amount of glue and markers all over my hands and clothes. However, over the course of my 6 weeks, I was able to watch a little boy go from knowing only 1 sound and a few of his letters to knowing 50+ sounds and all of his letters! I watched another student who struggled with writing begin to write sentences and feel successful at sounding out words. Another boy could not write his name and by the 4th week, he finally got it and was eager to show me every time he wrote it. It was these moments that have shown me how rewarding teaching can be. My first 3 weeks I kept thinking, I will never be able to teach kindergarten, they are too baby, they need to much support...boy has that changed. Watching those light bulb moments was so rewarding and if I do end up getting this newly opened kindergarten position, I cannot wait to witness more of these successes. I consider it an honor to teach kindergarten, to tie their shoes, and to be their first positive glimpse into school. I was also surprised at how much God was able to show me each day as I taught. Some of the circumstances these students are in is tragic, but I was able to be a light. The kindergartners definitely grew on me and to my amazement, I miss them dearly. 

God chose to bless me with 2 great teams of teachers that modeled teamwork and dedication to the job. I was fortunate enough for these teachers to even berate the principal and kindergarten teachers at another elementary school and get me an interview for a job. God blessed me with an interview, the peace to get through the interview, and the words to say. I am extremely grateful and give all of the praise to my Father, the God who sees me! What He sees in me, I do not know, but His plan is being revealed to me more and more. Teaching is my passion and whether I get this job or not, I will continue to pursue teaching and the perfect job God has for me.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Food For Thought

I got lucky enough to go to dinner with the Kindergarten team tonight and I loved getting to hear their stories and how their classrooms are going. I know that teachers have to vent their frustrations and I do not think that these teachers did anything wrong. But the more they kept talking about problem children the more my mind kept wandering. The whole night I just kept thinking, "Lord, what is going on in these kids' lives to cause all of these behaviors in Kindergarten?" I mean a lot of the students they were telling me about either had behavior issues or low academic levels and these are some wealthy students. Then it hit me that many parents are not spending the time with their child to help them be successful. It is not the job of the school to teach students to say please and thank you...but they can reinforce it. It is not the job of the school to teach right decisions from wrong decisions...but they can reinforce it. It is not the job of the school to instill values in these students...but they can reinforce it. How tragic will this society become if public school is the only place these students hear about morals, politics, or Jesus and His saving grace (and I know they don't get to hear about that from teachers)? I believe that these children deserve to have teachers that can love on them in the name of the Lord. They deserve teachers that care what the underlying issues are instead of judging them on their behaviors. And they definitely deserve a family supporting them. Some teachers talk about students with Autism in a negative light, but they too need love and support, like any other child. It pains me to think that one day, I might forget that there is a little child behind all of those antics that desperately needs the Lord. I pray that I can hold on to this compassion as a teacher and try to help students deal with life. I heard a song playing on the radio on my way home, and it just summed all of my feelings up: "Hope is here, What a joyful noise we'll make, As we join with heaven's song...To let all the world know that Jesus saves. Raise a shout, To let all the world know that Jesus saves. Free at last, Every debt has been repaid, Broken hearts can be remade, Jesus saves, See above the storms of life, See it through the darkest nights, Jesus saves." <3 God bless!

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

A little bummed....

Last week I was shocked to hear a teacher tell me, "You can pretty much forget about everything they taught you in college." Sadly, in most school districts this statement is completely true. Last week I came to the realization that I will most likely not get to teach exactly the way I was taught. It is hard to sit and watch students who are indeed learning, however, see where what I was taught in college could be beneficial. Even more shocking was when another teacher told me she was having to attend classes for foundations of reading and foundations of math. HOLD ON A SECOND....back up! Yes she is having to take foundational courses....sounds a lot like courses I have already worked hard in and paid for! What was the point of going to college and attaining my degree if I have to be taught how to teach reading and math? Hopefully I will be able to find a district that allows me some freedom in the way I teach mathematics and other subjects as I have first hand knowledge of the effectiveness of writing workshop, reading workshop and math workshop. Another thing I have come to realize this week is that all of these workshops look different in other teachers' classrooms. Workshop is a very broad term and is used in that same sense. After discussing this issue with my husband he gently replied, "Every company trains their employees." Trust me, I have a lot to learn, but my husbands insight really helped me to turn my perspective. Instead of being doom and gloom, I need to work hard and implement what I have been taught at the right moments. I also have A LOT to learn. I can admit that :) I see the value in team work and cooperating with fellow teachers in planning lessons. I see students learning. I see teachers desiring for their students to improve in attitude and in aptitude. Maybe this is a school I could teach at. And maybe one day I will be able to share some of my experiences and slowly evoke change.

P.S. My mother in law suggested I look into having an SFA charter school in Houston....I can dream!