Tiny Treasures

The other day, week, or sometime in the past month or two, I cleaned my room. It was the good, “curiosity satisfying, going through old papers and stacks of things” cleaning. Ok, so maybe I’m the only one who lets it get that bad, but either way, I found something I had written back in my school teaching days, and I thought I’d share it on here, along with some changes/add-ons to make it sound better. Follow along if you dare! 🙂

“With a heavy sigh, I sank in my chair wishing with all my might for more dedicated students. Another failed quiz here, more studying of spelling words there. You see, today was a rough day. One particular student had to be worked with continuously on keeping the work up to total ability and had to be prodded so laziness didn’t become habitual.

This student was one I pushed hard, especially today. I made this one find all the answers, write and correct them all, and then study again to make sure he/she grasped the concepts. This student was the one who sighed (loudly), but was taught to obey, and, knowing I was the authority at school, went and ‘did’.

Recess came and went, and I was discouraged. Discouraged with the day, with the student, with everything that went wrong that day. If I were completely honest, I would say I was discouraged with myself. Was I too harsh? Am I expecting too much or not enough? What is a way I could have handled it better? How can I prepare myself if and when it happens again?

Story-time was soon upon us, and I soon became lost in the story as I read it aloud. After story, the student I’d treated so ‘harshly’ came up to my desk, and with a sweet smile said, ‘This is for you, Katie’, shyly laying a note on my desk. Listening as the numerous, unrecognizable misspelled words were explained, (still need to work on that spelling!) it settled in what was happening. I was humbled. Oh, to have the resiliency of a child. The note was simple, but it’s meaning was clear. ‘Katie, you’re a good teacher, and you make us happy and you give us prizes and you give us candy and you’re a good teacher and you give crafts for us, and you give us ideas and you’re perfect.’ (run-on sentences, too 🙂 )

My worst fears were unfounded. I hadn’t estranged this student. If anything, it built our relationship stronger. At dismissal, she/he asked, ‘Did you like the note?’ And in all honesty, I could say, ‘Yes, I liked it!!’, when in truth, my heart was overflowing with love!

You see, God has given me 13 ‘tiny treasures’ to teach and instruct in more than knowledge of Math, English, and Reading. He gave me them to teach important life lessons. That day, I believe I learned more than they did. That day, one of my tiny treasures gave of themselves in complete honesty a part of who they are. This tiny treasure, a child and a note, puts a smile on my face, as I think about the time God said, ‘Katie let me teach you a thing or two about Tiny Treasures’.”

God still gives us Tiny Treasures daily. Are our eyes open to them? (And, yes, I still have a picture of that note) 🙂

 

Field Trips and Things

When you take a field trip with kids, you wind up with a lot of fun, adventure, and random, fleeting moments of questioning whether your sanity will remain with you through to the end of the day.

This week, I had the delightful privilege of going along to Kentucky to the Ark Encounter with our school. Vanessa and I were given this group of girls into our charge and I can’t tell you how many times I counted…1-2-3-4-5-6-7, to make sure the heads were all there.

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Well-behaved to be sure, and old enough to kinda take care of themselves, we waded through the waves of the 156,659,123,678,257 people. Seriously, for the introvert like me, the crowds were exhausting!! It. Was. Overwhelming. We talked to one staff member who told us their record day they had about 9,000 people. Yeah, see what I mean? That’s why by the end of the day, I looked slightly bewildered and exhausted (or maybe even on the verge of going crazy)

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We walked and walked…..Over 6 football fields we were told, we took cool selfies, we had funny moments, we saw some pretty awesome things, we touched a scaly reptile, we traveled long distances and lived to tell about it, we corralled 40+ kids through a pizza buffet, we entered the gift shop, and most walked out with nothing!, we drank some fresh lemonade, and the pictures can tell the rest…….Enjoy!

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Crazy Girls…

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Do we look tired?? Cause I definitely was!! 🙂

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Resting and eating food after going through the Ark

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Bus rides can make us crazy…

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See what I mean?? 🙂

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He honestly wasn’t as grumpy as he looks 🙂

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Petting a skink is seriously going to be one of the coolest/weirdest things you will ever experience!!

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All-in-all, it was a very fun and enjoyable experience. From the moments of stomach-ache (thankfully, no throwing up!), to the giggles of a small one who told me the hand sanitizer fell in the bus bathroom toilet. (umm, yeah, not much I’m gonna do about that!), to the constant noise and chatter of little ones needing this or that. Filling our faces with pizza and then playing in the arcade game room afterward. Being ‘oh, so borrrreeeddd’ on the trip, and playing games with your friends. These are the moments we treasure and these are the memories we make. I’m so glad for the moments like this that I can share with these kiddos…I miss them more than I ever dreamed! (this got suddenly sentimental). A great day indeed!

A Bunch of Nothing

20170315_203318Have you ever heard of writer’s block? I have, and never before the last couple of days did I realize how real it can be. Imagine the blockiest block, and that’s how blocked my writing brain has felt.

I can’t begin to tell you how many times I’ve tried to get myself to write something, and I’m just stuck! (Who knows if I will actually ever get this one published?) If you could only see the number of drafts I’ve started and haven’t finished… :/

I feel like my life is literally on hold right now. It feels like I go to work, finish one job, go the next, eat, sleep, and begin a new day. I don’t feel like my life is accomplishing much and I feel like I have nothing worthwhile to say to the world, so I just shut down completely.

I could tell you all about how my Dr. recommended I wear compression socks to raise my blood pressure (I HATE socks!!) But, because I’m trying to be good, I wear them..even if it does almost drive me nuts at times!

I could tell you that yes, I still miss school, and the kiddos in it, but those of you who truly know me, know that fact already.

I could complain and whine about the fact that it’s literally been months since I did any vacation or traveling to speak of…just for fun, just for the harry of it. But really, that’s what life is, A constant battle between work and vacation, so we all face that at times.

Somedays, it feels like nothing goes right….ever!! and mornings when you step inside your shoes, only to realize, after 15 years of putting shoes on…by yourself…every single day!!…you’ve slid them on the wrong foot. (how does that even happen??)

I could tell you about the time I got many, many, many papers ready to send out to different cities for the city income taxes. What’s frustrating is when you have to write out small $1 checks to individual cities…AND the total cost to send all this paperwork almost blows your mind away.

You know, when you work with people every day, you truly begin to find your true self/character. I’m discovering more and more what an introvert I am….The way to recharge my batteries is just some alone, quiet time at home with nothing but the hum of the refrigerators and the buzz of the furnace to keep me company. Have you ever taken a personality test before?? I highly encourage it, if you’ve ever thought you’re the only one who thinks a certain way…try this right here. You’ll be amazed.

Winter finally hit us. My body is sooo not used to this cold, and I almost can’t stand it. When I get the heavy coats out, you know it’s got to be cold!! But, spring is coming, I can hold on that much longer….I hope.

Yes, life is good, it keeps going. I try to keep up, but sometimes I trip and need a little help. I realize there is more to life than the rituals people (including myself) go through, but by God’s grace I will see a little sunshine in every day.

This was my laugh for one of these past few days that sorta all run together: “I need a kleenex. My nose is coming off.” 🙂 Happy Wednesday, you all.

 

Christmas Poem

Twas the week before Christmas, and all through the school; seemed everyone around was losing their cool.

The students– practicing hard for a Christmas play, while…alas! all the teachers’ hair were fast turning gray.

Everything and anything was fuss, fuss this, and not a wrong that a student did, the others did miss.

This wears quite heavily on the dear teachers’ mind, so day after day this she did sigh.

“Tests coming up…….. Will they pass them or fail? 4 o’clock’s here…now on home I do sail!”

It’s hurry, hurry here, and rush, rush there. Christmas and teacher-hood make quite a scary pair.

Home to wrap presents, back to school to decorate. It’s only Christmas for so long, we musn’t wait!

Tis’ the weekend before Christmas, it just doesn’t seem right. Any teacher deserves to relax with all their might.

The buttons the students find on their teacher to push..The only words she remembers is “Be quiet and shush!”

A party to plan, games to play, all the while hoping she can remain sane.

Tempers are short, and arguments flare, the stories she could tell, but instead, she’ll say a prayer!

Evenings are spent at home, with a book. Don’t make her leave her quiet little nook.

Each eve of peace, is oh such sweet bliss…. knowing the next day, when duty calls, her children she’ll miss.

So this next week or two, when she seems to have disappeared…don’t despair, she’ll be back, without *too* much a tear.

Give her time, room, and plenty of space. This is Christmas vacation on a teacher’s pace.

Then back to the classroom, after the New Year, with faces aglow, and minds all in gear.

She’ll begin her rituals all over again…..When you love what you do, everyone wins!

Discoveries of A *Once-Upon-A-Time* Teacher

First of all, let me begin by saying I know that the title above is longer than a title is supposed to be. I’m horrible at naming my posts, and being that this was the first thing that popped into my head, and it sounded remotely decent, you will just have to deal with the lengthy, out-of-breath type of title. (how’s that for a run-on sentence?)

It’s been well over a month now that school has been going on without me, and I’m still not exactly sure how to express how I feel about it. In the meantime though, I’ve discovered some things about myself and teaching that I thought I would try to share with you.

#1. You can take the teacher out of school, but you can’t take the school out of the teacher. This is proven simply by how my thoughts are drawn almost daily to school at least once…..or twice…..or thrice. It is proven even more, knowing that if you ask me randomly at any time of the school day, I could give you a general idea of what is happening just by glancing at the clock.

#2. It is not the same, nor will it ever be. The relationships you had with those delightful kids–yes, they will still mostly be there, but not seeing them every day, and not knowing what is going on in their life, they will at times treat you like a total stranger–Just because, “It’s different.”

#3. Stress levels go WAY down when you don’t teach school. I’ll just leave it at that 😀

#4. School CAN go on without you. As hard as it is to accept sometimes, and even harder to admit to anyone, there ARE wonderful teachers out there who can do just as good or even better than you. Just get over yourself, and accept it.

#5. I honestly don’t believe I will ever find a job or career as rewarding as teaching. (I’m open right now for options though, if you want me to give it a chance! 😉 yes, this is me, searching for a more full-time job on my blog..any takers?? 🙂 …..) As much work that goes into it, and time and energy it zaps right out of you, the rewards it gives you are way worth the effort.

#6. My writing material literally is non-existent! If you remember, back in the days of the classroom, lots of my writing was based on what happened there….Funny stories, sobering moments, great times of learning, or art projects we did together. Now, if I’d write about my life-work, it would be something like this..”sliced meat and cheese today”, “opened 5 new emails, and deleted the spam”, “customer drove me literally batty”, “created new bills, and paid the old”, “made a mistake on payroll, now I have to fix it”….See? Told you it’d be boring!

#7. No matter how “OK” you think you’ll be with giving it up, there will always be a little tug at your heart when you hear “school talk” being discussed.

#8. No matter how “OK” you are with someone taking over “your” kids, secretly, deep down inside, you will always look at them as yours. (SHHHH, don’t tell anyone!)

#9. There are things you will NOT miss. The permanent tired, exhausted feeling, the stress, the schedule, tears of a child who has just ‘had it’ with school, the dread of failure, behavior problems….

#10. You get excited when asked to substitute, even when it’s not “your” kids, or “your” class. Just the thought of being in the school atmosphere is invigorating for you, and it feels good to be back, especially when someone comments that it looks so normal to see you here! (The sudden popularity you get doesn’t hurt either 😉 )

#11. You will see teacher memes from all over the web, and you will still feel like you can identify with them, even though it’s been a really long time since you were in the classroom.

#12. You will never, ever lose the ‘teacher look/glare’. I’m a bossy one (strong leadership skills 🙂 ?) to begin with (just ask my little/younger, not-so-little brother), so perfecting the ‘teacher look’ was something I had practiced my whole life! I have it down to a ‘T’ now, so why should I lose it?!

#13. You lose your avenue of family stories. No one to tell you updates on their families. Something funny that happened at their house or something scary….On my recent substituting adventure, I was told a story of a hero boy who saved his dad from burning a house down. 😀

#14. Nobody says it as bluntly as kids! (thank goodness they kinda grow out of that!)

#15. You will have some regrets about the way you did things. Looking back, you realize maybe you focused too much on insignificant things and not enough on what is really important, all the while knowing that you did what you did and at the time it was your very best!

#16. Life moves on, and if you don’t move with it, it will trample you. Keeping busy, hearing school stories, and showing up randomly at school are all things that help you move on. The things that happen, happen for a reason, whether you understand them or not, whether you agree with what’s happening or not. Trust, faith, and strong determination help keep you together. Tears are necessary for healing, as well as many substitute days! 😉

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When Farewell Parties are Needed

Time/life moves on..we have a choice whether to move with it or stop and focus on all that’s going wrong. Several weeks ago, I realized as hard as it was, this job needed to be done. I grabbed up bags and boxes and drove over to clean out ‘my’ classroom. It seriously was one of the hardest things about this whole decision. The finality of it all. Knowing this was for real, and still wondering why it had to be me, and why I couldn’t have the best of both worlds. As I packed up and left, tears streaming down my face, I drove home, feeling absolutely like life as I knew it was over. No more school. No more of the daily stories and ready grins from the children as they came in each morning. No more teaching them and seeing them develop their individual personalities.

It’s hard. This is gloomy, so let’s move on to the main reason for this post. 🙂

I thought it absolutely wasn’t fair for me (or them) that we didn’t have a farewell party, so one day I loaded them all up (separate trips actually) to spend a day of fun with them.

I took the 3rd graders first. We got ice cream and then headed to the dollar store to get some true treasures. I had to grin at one boy’s comment, “I really want to get that, but I know my mom wouldn’t like it.” Hmm, they must know their moms pretty well. 🙂 Then we headed to a park. I couldn’t find the one I wanted, so we went to Arial Foundation Park. I think they liked that just as much. Then on the way home, we stopped and got popsicles yet too! (It was hot, what can I say?)

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The tower that takes your breath away….literally!

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Boys and their toys..

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They spent alot of time running around there, exploring every nook and cranny that they could.

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They wanted to walk down to this bridge, even though we had to fight through geese to get there…(ok, not really, but kind of!)

Then several days later, I took the 4th and 5th graders. We got rained on that day, so part of the day was spent in the pavilion playing scatter ball, and spraying silly string on unsuspecting victims. It was interesting to see the difference in what the different age levels bought. I also had to grin at this…One girl said, “I don’t think my mom would like all the noise that would make.”….she bought it anyway 🙂 Thankfully, the sun shone again, and we were able to do things outside..basically the same things the 3rd graders did.

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We got this idea (ok, ok, I might’ve been an instigator in this one) 🙂  to climb the tower, and throw a bouncy ball down and try to catch it…Amazingly, it actually worked! and the ball was caught at least once or twice! 🙂

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See the ball on its way down… at the top of the picture..really close to the sidewalk..

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The view from the top is amazing!

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Rain, rain, rain,

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Silly string!! 🙂

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One young one grabbed my camera and started snapping pictures. I’m not photogenic by a long shot, so this is my immediate reaction when a camera is aimed at me!

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I loved that river of glass!! It’s sooo pretty!

All-in-all we had a fun day(s), I was so thankful that I was able to make it to the top. I had been really low on energy, dizzy, and not feeling myself, so I felt quite blessed that I made it all the way up and down without something major happening. My legs were shaking like a reed in the wind, but I think it was mostly from being out of shape! :/ Kudos to those who do it every day!! I overheard this from another girl on the way up, (not from our group) “my legs are out of breath!” Yes, dear one, if there was a way that could be, I’m sure mine were gasping for air!!

Life moves on all the time, and sometimes we’re left with only the memories.

Unexpected Plans

What did you think of when you read that title? Did you wonder at the sanity of the blog writer? (How can plans be unexpected? Plans are planned, Duh!) Did your mind jump to the last time things didn’t go your way? Did you think of a time when you had to change your plans because something else came up? Or did you, like me, think of all of these and more? (I’m a deep thinker, and a wide imagine-er.  😀 )

Lately, I’ve been thinking of plans. I’ve had my life planned out for the last 2 years–in a very broad, generalized way. I teach school during the school year, and then get a summer job that has a very lenient time schedule to recuperate for the next year. I was well on my way to accomplishing that plan, when suddenly life was shook up for me again.

Men in blue standing over me in MY bedroom. Umm, excccuussee me!! Where’s my right of  privacy??! Soon after, they left, and I was left with sore muscles, and a bewildered feeling of trying to figure out what in the world was happening! Memory that morning was fuzzy, but with the help of mom and dad, I was able to piece a little bit together.

That week was an emotional roller coaster for me. (seriously, imagine the most up and down roller coaster, and I was one step up from that yet) One moment, I was determined not to let it get to me, and the next, I wanted to throw in the towel, gauntlet, and everything and anyone else in my path at the moment.

Something was decided that we NEED to do something!! I mean, no normal 20 yr old should have to deal with this, right? Was it stress, emotions, etc.,  or rather something bigger going on in my brain?? MRI and CT scans were done, and now it was time to wait. Wait, wait, wait, and PRAY. Oh, how the prayers (and tears) flowed that week. I’ll be honest, the prayers weren’t for anyone else’s benefit this time. They were for me. I was searching and yearning for answers and peace about the decisions I was trying to make. The struggle was real folks.

You see, my plans were being shattered to pieces. My plans of teaching were being questioned as I prayed and searched for what was the wisest thing to do for my health (and for the sake of the kids..who wants a teacher that is non-energetic, and has Dr.’s visits every other week?) The more I prayed, the more I realized, that this was probably for the best, and I was to let this slip from my grasp.

(This post is not going the way that I planned.) Ironic, isn’t it? My thoughts have been floating (no, racing is a better word) far and wide lately, and I began to think about the absurdity of it all.

We are humans. We are finite. We have limits. We have boundaries. Why do we think we have the right to take charge? So often it seems, I pray, and I try to nudge God to the direction I want.” God, you know it’s always been my dream to do this. Please give me an answer” (all the while whispering under my breath: Do what you know I want.)

And then I look at God. He is God. He is infinite. He is limitless, with no boundaries. Because of Him, we are. Because of His plan, we sometimes get the unexpected. No matter what we tell him, He has the final say, and we’d do well to listen.


So I want to leave a challenge to you as well as to myself. When God places his plan in front of us, are we going to look at it as an unexpected stumbling block? Or when God places his plan in front of us, can we grab His hand, climb over it, and come out stronger in the end because we faced it with Him?

Yes, that means the big and the little. It can mean the cow getting out in the morning, and needing to be chased back in before leaving for work.

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It can mean an unexpected death in the family.

It can mean terminal illness when you thought all was fine and dandy.

It can mean you were speeding in a no-cop zone (or so you thought) and got pulled over for it.

It can mean vacation plans got cancelled because of not enough funds to cover it.

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It can mean your child doesn’t take a long enough nap, leaving you stranded with a lot more work than you wished, and supper STILL not started.

It can mean the loss of a child you never got to know, snuggle, and love.

It can mean the simple thing of getting lost while going somewhere and ending up 30 minutes late.

It can mean having a flat tire in the middle of nowhere and temperatures rising rapidly, when all you wanted to do was run to pick up a couple things and race back to the coolness of your home.

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It can mean having to wait to get to an appointment, even several months, when all you wanted is to do it NOW!

It can mean a change in a job, no matter how hard it is to let go. (If you think about it, pray for me on this one. It’s seriously going to be way tougher than I ever dreamed to let someone take over “my kids”)

It can mean not being accepted as an applicant for a job somewhere that you really wanted.

You hear the saying, “Expect the unexpected.” I’m just glad the unexpected for me is still always in the plan-book for God. Isn’t it awesome no matter what we face, He’s got it!! No matter what would take us by surprise, He is giving it to us at just the exact moment He had planned. It brings me to a feeling of awe and humility, knowing how Sovereign He is and how human I am, and yet…

He still loves you and me so much that He died for us.

And not only that, but the same God who created this beauty in the world, created and cares for you and me. IMG_2906.JPG

(For lack of a better way to end, I will stop here. Allow these words to penetrate your thoughts.)