Sunday, March 23, 2014

Just Do Your Job

We [educators, legislatures, and basically everyone with an opinion] have spent the better part of this school year discussing [aka arguing, complaining, fussing, etc.] teacher pay and teacher tenure.  For the most part [and honestly, I don't read too many of the articles that circulate on Facebook] I believe those that bring up these issues are well informed and knowledgable.  By all accounts [and again, this is strictly my opinion] I believe the folks that are bringing up these arguments are good teachers who do their jobs and then some. 

Its the other people I am referring to in this post.  [And I hope that I step on a few toes.]

I love teaching [even through the struggles this year] and I was well aware that when I became a teacher that the pay wasn't superb.  I think if you become a teacher and are not aware of this little news nugget then you must live under a rock.  That's not to say that I wouldn't take a pay raise but I just am not going to hold my breath waiting for one.  [I realize this may be a juxtaposition to a previous post I made before school started.  Its not that I don't believe in those things anymore but I concede that its probably not going to happen.]

Want to know what I think the problem truly is in all of this?  


[I am not sure how many fellow educators read my stuff but, before you blow up like a toad, please read the rest of the story.]

There are way too many teachers out there that are on cruise control when it comes to doing their jobs.  

There are way too many teachers out there with their own agendas instead of just doing their jobs.

There are way too many teachers that complain about simply doing their jobs.

I am a teacher.  

Am I the world's best teacher?  Absolutely not. 
Are there things I can learn to do better in my classroom and for the kids I teach?  Absolutely
Do I know everything about education?  Absolutely not.
Have I done my fair share of complaining?  I am ashamed to say yes.

But what I do know is that if you do your job, to the best of your ability [We are commanded in Colossians 3:23 to "Work at it with all your heart as if working for the Lord and not for men"] then that means that you have to 

  • Stay after hours.
  • Get to know students and what is going on in their lives.
  • Go to workshops [even in the summer] that show you are making an investment to be a lifelong learner.
  • Be a team member.
  • LEARN TO USE TECHNOLOGY EFFECTIVELY [in case you haven't noticed it is 2014 and the kids you are teaching know how to use technology and are begging for us to use it when we teach].
  • Let the petty stuff go.
  • Stop making the year all about the test at the end.
  • And for goodness sake, please realize the world does NOT revolve around you.  
I mean I've been doing this for 17 years so I do have some knowledge of what a teacher should do in his/her classroom.  

I understand frustration over students that are pickles.  I've also had my eyes open to some serious situations that students deal with...things I couldn't even begin to understand.  Is this a free ticket for a student to be a turd?  Heck no, but maybe it gives me an opportunity to give a little more than I think I have left. I am as guilty as the next for getting super frustrated, especially this year. But as I type this, God is piercing my heart and whispering, "Don't you give up. Faithful endurance.  Finish the race."  It's not about me.   

I understand frustration over constant changes [been there, done that, and bought the T-shirt] to curriculum. Its really kind of comical but, after all these years, I've learned to go with the flow.  Its not conforming or giving in but just taking it in stride and learning to adapt.  There are bigger fish to fry in this world.  Trust me. 

I understand working more than one job to make ends meet. I am married to a teacher and we have four kids [what were we thinking?] and we haven't yet won the lottery.  Yes, we could use a raise, but in this economy, I am truly thankful to have a job.  No, I don't get paid over time to stay and help with a sporting event or for conferences.  But I never have, in 17 years. 

My answer?
Do your job.  

Teach. Worksheets and random assignments not related to what you are supposed to be teaching [aka curriculum] do not count as teaching.

Be willing to go just a little further, even when you think you cannot.  

Help others, even when you think you can't or don't have time or any of the other thousands of reasons you can think of for not helping.

Learn from your students.  Be willing to admit when you don't know the answer.

Get over yourself.  We're all stretched to capacity and beyond.  We are all tired and worn out and overworked and under are not the exception. 

I can say all of these things, with confidence, because I have lived them. I don't say them to be judgmental or call out others because these statements came from my own experiences in my classroom. 

God is working on my heart in a way that I cannot explain.  No, I don't get some things that have happened this year but it isn't about me. I often tell Craig that I cannot change what someone says but only how I react to what is said.  I should really practice what I preach :)  James 1:2-4 says, "Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, 
because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. 

It is time for ALL educators to be part of the solution.  

Until we, in education, hold everyone in education accountable for teaching then nothing will change.  There is no place for teachers on cruise control in any classroom, anywhere.  There is no place for selfish motives and "doing what you've always done"  - that is just apathy. There is no place for teachers that are not willing to support school events because they live outside of the community.  There is no place for those that don't want to follow the rules because they "don't like" the rules.  There is no place for people, anywhere in education, that don't like children [please, find another job]. There is no place for complaining about what you didn't get because you chose not to attend required training.  

Simply put, everyone needs to do their job.


Thursday, March 20, 2014

My Sweet Girl

**Remember that one time, when your son sent your husband the wrong testimony and instead sent his sister's work because it had the same file name?  Oh wait...that happened to me today.  This is not Cooper's is Molly's.  I must be losing my ever lovin' mind.

I have been searching for words to write for a while now.  I still have nothing fantastic to give you until I read this testimony from my sweet girl.  

Romans 1:16 
Since I was little, I have always been a Christian, believed in God, and attended church on a regular basis. I gave my life to the Lord when I was seven years old, which is the age that my relationship with the Lord began. Believing has never been something that I have struggled with and knowing that the Lord was watching over me has always come naturally. However, it was not until the summer of my tenth grade year of high school that I truly began to encounter God in a powerful way. I’ve never been troublesome, but I am still a human and I still sin. While attending an M-Fuge summer camp at North Greenville University I was impacted by the message and burden of God. At that moment, it occurred to me that my sin was keeping me from experiencing all that the Savior had for my life. The main verse of the week was Ephesians 3:20 that, “God can do immeasurably more than we could ever ask or imagine.” Those words spoke so clearly to my heart that week, and this particular verse has continued to be one that I hold dear to my heart to this day. Since leaving the camp that summer, I have continued to hear God speaking to my heart on the plans He has for my life and have become very passionate about missionary work, especially in the area of human trafficking. My plan for college is to study to become a missionary and turn this calling into something great for the Kingdom of the Lord. My life is not perfect, but I find peace in knowing that God is always there for me and has been since the moment He created my innermost being.

Wow.  Molly wrote this for a scholarship. She is amazing :)   

Yes.  God can and will do immeasureably more than we could ever hope or imagine.  

Thank you Lord for this sweet girl of mine..thank you. 

[Yes. It is confirmed that this testimony, in fact, came from Molly. Talk about egg on my face....] 


Sunday, March 2, 2014

My Kitchen Smells Like a Garden

Short and I finally bit the bullet [actually, we bought one of those crazy infomercial Nutribullet blenders that pulverizes all your food] and decided that we need to eat better.  Today was day one.  My first meal of the day was spinach, blueberries, strawberries and a banana all blended together in a nifty little "blast".  For lunch, we have cauliflower "mashed potatoes", quinoa, and kale chips for lunch with our grilled chicken. [I will be completely honest in saying that I could seriously use a huge order of French fries right about now.]  

We bought this handy, dandy blend-it-all-up yesterday at Sam's. [It was $10 cheaper than Wal Mart and prevented me from falling into the I-buy-things-from-infomercials club.]  Craig wanted me to read the instructions and recipes on the way home.  My first question was where is the page that tells us how to blend up a Krispy Kreme donut.  Seriously, that was my first question. 

So let me get this straight....I put spinach, bananas, strawberries, a handful of almonds, and some water and then I eat it?  Yep.  We couldn't wait to try it out last night.  Our first concoction's color was a cross between vomit and well, vomit.  All four of us [that would be me, Short, and the older two because the younger two ain't eating anything that isn't scattered, covered, smothered and chunked] took turns smelling it [yes, like animals] and then we tried it [well, we made Coop go first]. It wasn't bad....even though it looked like straight vomit in a cup.  Amazing that I didn't taste any spinach or the handful of seeds we used.  
This morning Molly created a berry flavored one and it was dang good.  

We are currently in Phase 1.  [I feel like I'm a lab rat. Or a big fat lab rat.] This means we eat 1 "blast" a day for the next two weeks while we begin to change our eating habits.  I can imagine that my cells, today, were like, "Whoa dude!  What's going on here?  Is she sick?  Have aliens taken over?  Did she just eat spinach?"  

Of course, some of my children [that would be 1, 3, and 4] snarled their noses at the thought of eating something that didn't come from a can [or Blackwoods or McDonalds or Mi Pueblitos].  Molly polished off her meal with some cucumber and ranch dressing, Emma ate cereal, and Gabe stayed with the old reliable, PB & J.  I am pretty sure I heard the comment, "Does this mean we all have to eat healthy?"

I mean, what kind of mother am I anyway to just stop, cold turkey, and not feed my children crap anymore?  Certainly not Mother of the year according to them.

They'll get over it. 

So here's to nothing [or something I hope when it comes to losing weight and getting healthy] and attempting to live a  life without refined sugars, processed food, and junk food.  

The book suggested giving up coffee so that I'm only drinking one cup a day. [The book obviously doesn't realize that I teach middle school, have four kids, two jobs, and a mighty crazy and irrational side without my coffee fix.]  

Lent begins Wednesday.  I was thinking of throwing down the gauntlet [and letting the Sundrop guy down easy because I am 100% sure that he will need another job and another way to supplement his college fund] Sundrop. 

I have a plan actually.  I teach middle schoolers.  They will take up a challenge anytime, any day. [Usually, they are saying, "Hey watch this!" just before they do something really stupid or impulsive or stupidly impulsive.]  I am going to employ their help in my efforts to stop drinking DSD.  

[Shameful plug:  I won't be absent so long next time.  There has been a lot going on in my life and in my head.  Trust me, it was all better left unsaid. Today is a new day.  Time for some changes.]

As always, life as a Short couldn't be any sweeter. [Because we threw away the sugar.]