Weekend Coffee Share. BE YOU!

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Welcome to my Weekend Coffee Share, hosted by Allison at eclecticali.wordpress.com.  It has been a good week, but I am going to be somber for a moment.  I want to share my sorrow and respect for those killed and/or wounded in Jacksonville, Florida at the shooting last weekend.  A place I have frequented for art shows, music concerts, or just river gazing was shot up and turned into a danger zone.  It is a sad day and age when a sick individual can ruin a fun day over a video game tournament.  That others had to lose their lives or run in fear to safety saddens and maddens me.  It also fuels me as an educator.  Trainers and Admin. have been reinforcing that we need to establish relationship with students, and it has never been more important than in this day and age.  Just asking if they are okay when you sense something is off could make a difference.  I truly believe this, and I am trying to infuse it into my daily practice.  It starts young.  I can understand a child’s belief that society sucks, especially when hearing of such news events, but I never want a kid to think that there is no one at all who cares. It is a scary world we live in, and that means, even more, that we need to be a light in this dark world for others.

Dancegiphy You are beautiful.  Be you.

I do not intend for this focus of this week’s coffee share to be a shooting, or the village’s responsibility for an individual child, including our lone wolves.   I’ve previously written on this subject due to my experience with the lone wolf in my family whom I am still trying to encourage to be an active member of society and to develop bonds with those other than myself.  I am seeing hope there, though.  🙂  I want to say that “Lone wolf” does not mean a sick mind.  It could mean so many other things, besides the autistic or MI spectrums.  We are all individuals, and everyone deserves respect.  They also need love, whether they show it or not.

Having said all that, let’s come up for air.  I attended our middle school’s dance last night and was amazed and inspired by the diversity of attendees and the smiles on their faces.  Little sixth grade girls with pretty dresses, eighth grade girls with army fatigue pants or skinny jeans, dyed hair, braided or plated hair, hair brushed perfectly straight, kinky hair, me with 5 o’clock tired hair,  hoppers, dancers, chasers, and observors.  Booty-shakers and twisty dancers.  It was wonderful, because everyone that was there belonged there.

I look back to my youth and remember that I did not attend a single school dance in high school, though I wanted to.  Something kept me from going; I thought I didn’t belong.  I think I was depressed.  I also wanted to try out for cheerleading, baton, and something else, but I never did.  Somehow, I talked myself out of it just as I did with applying for jobs until one day I took a terrifying drive (that I almost talked myself out of) to my first job interview for my first job.  Things were hard for me at times.  I don’t know if I just needed to kick myself more often or if I needed a voice, a mentor, to guide me and push me, tell me I could do it, and if I didn’t make the team or squad, I could try for something else.  I joined a Pep Club and didn’t really speak up or participate much.  I just know what it is like to be growing up and to feel so terribly awkward.  I wrote poetry, which helped, but I hid it away from everyone.

I have also had a rough time in the last 5 years, dealing with family events.  Until one day, something wonderful happened and I got to see my favorite poet of twenty-five years speak in front of a group.  I felt special.  I thought, “Why did this happen?  Will I win the lottery now, win a trip to Italy?”  Was it a sudden stroke of luck?  No, it was God speaking to me right in the most special corner of my heart, where my love for Literature resides.  I was inspired to write, to produce, to enter contests, and ultimately to self-publish.  This was my route to feeling better about life, in addition to a lifelong reading obsession.  If I lost a contest, I kept writing and entered others or found another way to share my writing.  God gave me this, and sometimes the only reason I do it is to keep my mind and my heart whole, as the use of my imagination is the greatest high-on-life experience ever, but I can do a lot better for the world when I am in that state of mind.  My hope and prayer today is that those out there feeling lost will find that one thing that erases all of the negativity and embrace it.

Thank you for reading this far!  If you want to know more about my writing, please visit My Published Books which also contains a link to my Amazon author site.  You may also want to join the Weekend Coffee Share or see other shares: Coffee Share at Eclectic Ali , 9/01

 

 

 

 

Weekend Coffee Share, Back to School for Teachers

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Welcome to my Weekend Coffee Share, hosted by Allison at eclecticali.wordpress.com!  Teachers are back at work, so that has been my life this week.  I crashed early every night, sometimes on the couch.  I even skipped yoga Weds. night, but at least I got in 20 minutes on the Gazelle last night.

In addition to teaching English Language Arts this school year, I will teach one elective class of 7th and 8th grade Journalism.  It will be an introductory class.  I have a few ideas, such as showing clips of newscasts and having students detect any bias in the reporter, as well as, overtime, having them produce a newsletter.  Most students did not get this class by choice, so it will be my challenge to keep them interested, I suppose.  I will be teaching more Gifted students in my Language Arts classes as well, and I think that will be interesting.  In fact, I will likely take another course on teaching Gifted students this fall.

Along with what I am teaching, there are the extra things they want us to do.  A blogger wrote about this phenomenon at jaxkidsmatter.blogspot.com.  He urges teachers to not work beyond contract time (4:25 each day).  Others responded to him that our CAST (teacher performance rubric) actually consists of all the extra things that one has to work beyond contract time to fulfill.  Being a member of a professional learning community, committees, etc. are some of the ways a teacher works beyond their “teaching” day.  Staying within contract time for some means bringing more work home.  It also means not participating in some of these committees or extracurricular activities.  I have volunteered for one or two things so far and am being asked to do more.  I’ve said “I don’t think I can,” or simply “No.”  I have to really think before taking on anymore.  Taking on nothing can mean a lower teacher eval score, which means, when that test score (VAM) number for the last 3 years comes from the state, it could even lower my teacher evaluation more.    This VAM number consists of a mysterious high level formula that I don’t think many of our brightest Math teachers even understand.

I love inspiring young people, but I hate the politics of this job.  This is why I stay in the Union.  Case in point: this one week of teacher planning is sooooo overwhelming, I have not even written a thing this week.  This is the first writing I have done.  I imagine it will be like this for a few weeks, though I’ll try to participate in a flash fiction challenge.  So, in some way, a teacher’s right to say no to taking on one more club, committee, or responsibility needs to be protected by SOMEONE!  I constantly seek balance. I’ve already said yes to a few things, and I’m making it a point to reach out to new teachers and make their transition smoother.

I have received some devotions books from fellow blogger, Rick Christensen at https://discoveringandsharinggrace.com/, and they are delightful!  They are all about Gentle Witnessing, which is something I am trying to do more.  Not just keeping to myself, I want to share my strengths with those it may help.  Right now, my strength is that I have taught for 18 years under 6 different principals with 5 different schedule cofigurations.  I can be of help to a brand new teacher.  Two years ago, an emotional storm in my life and family made me what I feel to be the weakest link in my school for a period of months.  I still did my job, but I was a shell of what I actually could be.  I plan to do much better this year, but again, I need to balance it and rest while at home, write when I am moved, give time to my family and faith community, and have fun with friends and the boyfriend.  Sunday I plan to go to church and afterward, see a movie with my son, since he is off.  Balance.  I will try!

Please visit https://discoveringandsharinggrace.com/ and read a little of it.  If the message resonates with you, follow his blog and/or check out his devotionals!

Bloggers, feel free to join and share in the Weekend Coffee Share conversation at Weekend Coffee Share 8/10/18

 

 

 

 

 

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