You have heard Thought not Often enough That what you Do every day Matters Teaching little minds Touching little hearts Guiding little souls Influencing the next Generation for The better- But today I want to say It is you who matters Your mind Your heart Your soul Whether shouted From the rooftops Or whispered On the breeze My hope is that On this day This truth Covers your Every fear Every hope And renews Your heart
Yesterday was my last day at school. My heart is overflowing. So many sweet notes and hugs. There remains much to reflect on after teaching these many years. Time…
I wrote this as a goodbye and an encouragement for my school friends and colleagues. Maybe someone else needs to hear the same message. ❤️
Even when needed and sought, change can be challenging. Tears over making the right decision. A lot of emotions to process. And when it means leaving the classroom…a whole new layer is added. Colleagues become friends. Students wiggle their way into your heart.
I have cried a lot over the past few weeks. Just ask my patient husband. 😉 But last week, things fell into place. And although saying goodbyes is hard, I’m excited about new opportunities. I will be sharing more in the coming weeks.
For now, I want to say Thank you! and I love you! to my Union Public School and Ochoa Elementary families. I will miss you! ❤️
I know that face It’s a year older But, still, the face Of a child The smile A bit more Confident You were one of my favorites that year Yes I remember Kind Hard-working Friendly Artistic Your face Why could I not remember your name? Hours later And miles away My mind clears A name appears That’s it! Remembering Makes me smile
Last night was meet the teacher time at school. Former students often return with their younger siblings to say hello. One stopped by my table. I was so glad to see him. We talked about the previous school year. I asked if he was taking an art class. Yes! He smiled.
Tomorrow is the first day of this school year. There will be so many faces, old and new. And though it may take a while to remember their names, connections will begin with their smiles.
I love Colorado! Our family has taken many vacations to this beautiful state. We are currently here with our adult children. We have been relaxing and enjoying the cooler temps and beautiful surroundings.
Today was a family hike. And it affected me in a way I had not expected.
I knew this hike would be challenging. 6.2 miles with an elevation gain of 941.6 ft., beginning at an elevation of 8,913 ft. But the thought of family time witnessing mountain scenery, wildflowers, and a waterfall was motivating. The views did not disappoint! But that was not what consumed my thoughts as we trekked up and back down this mountain trail.
No doubt, my hiking pace would be the slowest of the group. All the kids are in their twenties. And Gart is in a little better shape, stronger. This truth was quickly realized as we headed down, or should I say, up the trail.
I am at a disadvantage, I thought.
I was bringing up the rear. Keeping my own pace. Telling myself that was ok. But also falling behind. And we were just getting started. And then this thought popped into my head.
Is this how some students feel at school? Ones facing a disadvantage? Whether in ability, family support, or resources. How do they feel when they sense they are falling behind? Are they, like I was, afraid of not reaching their goal?
My family slowed down and waited for me to catch up. After a short break, I was placed in the middle of the pack. No one seemed to mind the slower pace. They encouraged me.
You can do this, mom! Remember, take smaller steps. Breathe and relax your shoulders.
And even though still afraid, I kept going. Even picked up my pace just a little. At our next stop, Gart suggested I take the lead. They would follow me. Of course, he remained close behind. Constantly saying I was doing great. Reminding me that I am strong.
I still had doubts, but my determination was growing. I wanted to reach the top of the trail and gaze at that majestic waterfall with my family.
We told the kids to go on ahead. They needed to move a little faster. We would see them at the top! It felt good to let them go ahead of us. Gave me even more reason to keep going. Even though my body hurt. It was hard to catch my breath. And it would take every drop of energy and willpower I could muster.
Gart and I continued together. I asked him to take a picture of an unusual flower for me. We walked over log bridges across the flowing creek several times. The water flowed underneath from the waterfall that would soon be in sight.
I was going to make it! I struggled not to cry. Needed to keep breathing. As we rounded the last corner, I saw our daughter, Rachel. Smiling, hands up in the air. You made it! A big hug and tears came. I felt so proud.
Our son, Robert, and his wife, Erin, had hiked above the falls. They waved and smiled. Ryan, our youngest, was sitting nearby on a rock and soon walked over. You made it!
The waterfall was mesmerizing. A roaring cascade of water flowed over the edge to the stream below. I sat and had a snack and some water. We took pictures. And then the inevitable. We had to go back down.
Yes, most of it was downhill, but my body was exhausted. Some spots required careful steps. But thanks to the continuing encouragement of my husband and some light, cooling rain showers, I made it back to the car.
I can’t believe I did it! Pretty sure I said that at least ten times.
In all my relief at completing this six-mile hike, I couldn’t shake those earlier thoughts about students who are at a disadvantage.
What if they had someone to pull them from behind to the middle of the pack? What if their confidence grew enough to take the lead? What if they fluctuated back and forth, working hard, supported, and encouraged until reaching their goal?
I guess today’s hike made me focus on the beauty of humanity over nature. Realizing the ability each of us has to make a difference in the lives of others. Grateful that today, I was on the receiving end. ❤️
There are times we all need to hear-You can do it! Don’t give up! You will not be disappointed when you look back at the journey and see how far you’ve traveled.
I wish I knew the whole story. How your life began. The circumstances surrounding your birth. How your big sister played with you. What you were like as a toddler.
When we first met, you were bossy and tall for your age. But you had a big smile and beautiful long, dark hair. You loved flying high on the playground swings. I’m glad for those moments of joy in your life.
Schoolwork did not come easy. You worked so hard. No matter what we tried, letters and numbers couldn’t find their way into your memory banks. Not long-term, anyway.
You enjoyed listening to stories and spending time playing pretend with your friends. Somehow, unphased by the lack of remembering academic details.
Traveling between Mexico and Oklahoma seemed to be the pattern. You, your mother, and your older sister. That must have been stressful and scary. Not knowing how long you would stay in one place or where you belonged.
I wish I knew the whole story. Why the older you grew, the less care you seemed to receive. Understanding there must have been challenges in raising a child with disabilities. But still, you deserved to be cared for and loved.
What love there was somehow faded with the birth of a new baby. Slowly turning to neglect and abuse. My heart breaks over what I do know.
You are unable to tell me your whole story. Only bits and pieces. Maybe I shouldn’t wish to know it. One thing I do know is you will always wear the scars. Yet, you still manage to smile. You give and receive love. And just maybe, that is the whole story. ❤️
Another School day Filled with Laughter Learning Love Shattered By sounds Gunshots Impact Screams Cries for help Violent deaths Followed by Silence- Children Teachers Hiding, frightened Training put Into action Training That should never Have been necessary For actions That should never Have occurred
When will we decide enough is enough? When will we choose love instead of hate? When will we weep instead of arguing?
Mourn for Innocent lives Left lying On the floor Of the very place They should have been safe
Today was our last day of school. Smiles, tears, good-byes. Ready for summer break. I drove home, exhausted. And then, I heard the news of another school shooting at an elementary school.
Listening to the reports was heartbreaking. And then there was a comment about training. The fact that students and teachers were hiding as they practiced. The same drills I have had to discuss or practice with students. It should not be this way. 💔
Twenty to one. Twenty-five to one. Thirty to one. No, not betting odds, teacher-student ratios. What happens when that one is changed to a two?
First-grade music class had a visitor today. My teacher friend, Mrs. Eakes. Angela, a former classroom teacher, is now an EL coach, passionate about all-things literacy and education.
Angela recently shared some articles with me about the benefit of echo songs. Particularly in helping students strengthen literacy skills. Echo is a big part of teaching music, and I was excited to incorporate the specific songs shared in the articles.
My kindergarten, first grade, and second grade classes have been singing the songs over the past few weeks. Some with motions, all a little silly. All a lot of fun! Most of the time…
Confession…even with our current curriculum and these engaging songs, sometimes I struggle.
It is challenging to simultaneously stay calm, focused, and energized. Keeping students engaged while also settling disagreements or drying tears. I know I’m not the only teacher who sometimes feels this way…outnumbered.
When Mrs. Eakes joined our class, the difference was immediate. Not only for me but also for the students. Yes, one plus one equals two. But in music class, today, one plus one equaled ten!
Schools are failing Some would like You to believe Wisdom says Otherwise One only Needs To look To listen Hundreds of lives Working together In community Not simply teachers Teaching students But people, both Young and old Connecting on Common ground One that seeks To meet needs Heal wounds Tell stories Solve problems- So, what are schools? They are not failures But holders of the future- Take a minute To stop To look To listen Not at the ones Talking about Schools But the ones Walking inside Every Single Day
As a teacher, listening to political rhetoric can quickly become discouraging. Especially when I truly stop and think about all of the stories. And I am only one of many. So, I only hear some of the many.
I watch as students take home extra food. Listen as concerns are shared among staff. Notice when students receive much-needed services. And this is in addition to the love and care received from their teachers.
Each day there are tears of joy and sadness, screams of excitement and frustration. But isn’t that life? Don’t miss the bigger picture because of the voices attempting to drown it out.
The second poem was written for a recent school volunteer celebration. But it seemed fitting for my teacher friends as well. ❤️
Ready to Bloom
Imagine the Blooming daffodil Magically captured In time-lapse Photography Instant joy in Sunshine yellow If only you could see The results Of your work In this manner- Nurturing hands Thoughtful words Freely planting Seeds of confidence Gently watering Pulling weeds Re-planting when Necessary Always shining Your light… So much light Tending to Each new stem Each new bud Each precious child With love and patience As they emerge At their own pace Right alongside you Ready to bloom
Unwelcome thoughts interrupted my morning. In those early moments when it was unclear if I was awake or still dreaming. Images that made my heart sink.
An image of me trying to secure a class of elementary students in my storage closet. Was there enough room for everyone? Wait, there is a glass view window in the classroom door. Can I lock the closet door from the inside?
Next, my daughter is in a similar scene. Except hers is a high school special education classroom.
I know why these thoughts appeared today.
A result of the news yesterday.
Another school shooting…
There have been so many in our country, it is impossible to keep track. That statement makes me sad. And while I know I cannot live in that sadness, it must be acknowledged.
I choose not to live my life in the what if’s. Yet, as an educator, these stories are troubling. As a spouse and parent of educators, they are personal. For all of us, they are heartbreaking.
I do not write to offer a solution. Only to express my heart. The heart of a teacher who loves her students and would do anything to protect them. A teacher, like many others, who are tired of the ugly truths that bring these intrusive thoughts.
I am thankful for all the smiling faces that greeted me as they entered our beautiful school this morning. Those smiles helped push the sadness away.
Bath towel Pillowcase Bedsheet Any material will do A giant eagle Flying free Surveying The yard Before perching On the porch Superman Wearing His cape Ready To swoop in And save the day Or maybe A friendly ghost Playing A game of Hide-n-seek Shaking with Silly giggles Any material will do When paired with The wild imagination Each child holds Once they feel free To let it run away
Why is it our imaginations seem to shrink as we get older? As a child, I could always see objects in the clouds. It still happens sometimes, but I often second-guess myself.
Dress-up clothes, imaginary friends, playing pretend. Crucial elements of childhood. Sadly, it is not so simple these days. I was reminded of this while talking to a crying student this morning.
Oh, to be able to help them feel safe. Safe enough to let imaginations run wild!