Monday, August 30, 2010

A rocky start

I'm so glad to have the first couple of weeks of school "under my belt".  They are some of the toughest ones for me.  You have to work your way around that delicate balance of building relationships, showing your students you'll treat them with respect, teaching procedures and routines, and showing them that, yes, you actually mean what you say.

The first of school is always difficult for me.  I think it's mainly because I've just been off for ten weeks and getting back into such a strict routine often gives me whiplash.  It's also because I love my job because I love teaching.  Not much of this occurs during those first few weeks.

I was prepared for tears.  It happens every year the last and first weeks of school.  I was not, however, prepared for the emotional state I found myself in this time. 

We started school on a Monday.  It went fine.  Students were great.  I kept telling myself the uneasiness and trepidation were normal.  Nothing to be worried about.  I kept fighting.  Tuesday morning, I got up for my quiet time, but all I could do was cry.  I just couldn't get on top of it.  After 30 minutes, I finally texted a dear friend and asked her to pray.  I went to school and had a good day, but came home and cried much of the evening as well.  It was more than I could handle on my own.  I called my mom and asked her to come over and pray with me. 

After talking it out with her, I realized I was plagued with fear.  Fear that I couldn't do this job anymore.  Fear that I would hate it.  Fear that it would be another year like the past two.  I just didn't have it in me for another one.  They took more out of me than I'd realized.

Mom was sweet.  The Holy Spirit gave her wisdom and she said everything HE knew I needed to hear.  She assured me, listened to me, encouraged me, and prayed with me.  It was a turning point.

I have a great class!  (Not without their challenges, but a great class none-the-less.)  Things are really off to a great start all the way around.   I know I have briefly blogged about a challenging situation with a coworker.  God is really taking care of that situation.  While the situation may not be much different, my heart is.  I'm so thankful for that! 

Lessons I've learned from these past few years:
1.  The only person I need to please is Jesus!
2.  Gossip happens.  I can't do anything to change that.  Trying will only drive my crazy.
3.  Which brings me to the next one, you can't get ahead of a crazy person.
4. I am 1 person in the classroom.  I can only do my best.  Sometimes that just means loving that student.
5.  And, love will  make a difference.
6.  If it can't get done in a 50 minute plan period, it can wait until tomorrow!  (Most of the time anyway)
7.  I know what I'm doing.  I don't need to compare myself to others.
8.  I need to become better at renewing my mind.  (Thank you, Lord, for the recent messages on just this!)
9.  Life doesn't stop just because school starts.  (I've been proving this to myself, lately.)
10.  God has blessed me with some wonderful people to work with.  People who build me up and remind me why I love to do what I do.   

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Say it ain't so!

Tomorrow, Ozark starts school.  That means that Chase will be in 8th grade, Garrett will be in 4th, Jacob in 2nd, and Ethan and Abby will be starting Kindergarten!!  Can that even be right?  I can still remember when Chase started Kindergarten.  Wait a minute!  I can still remember the night Chase was born!!
It doesn't seem possible that they're all going to be in school.  It's hard because it feels like we're handing them over.  They're no longer going to be spending the majority of their time with those who love them most!

These precious ones aren't mine, but I couldn't love them any more if they were!  My sisters have been gracious enough to "share" them with me.  I was there on the day they were born, celebrated all their birthdays, attended their school programs, watched countless sporting events, laughed with them, and dried some of their tears.  

Tina and Tonya, know that I'll be praying for you tomorrow.  I can't imagine what a struggle it will be.  This major event in the life of Ethan and Abby has brought tears to my eyes several times these past few weeks.  Girls, rest assured that you've prepared them well.  They are ready and I have no doubt they will shine!

Chase, Garrett, Jacob, Ethan, Abby, as you start school this year, know that your Aunt Meme is praying for you!  I'm praying that you're lights will shine for Jesus.  I'm praying that you'll meet friends with the same likes and beliefs/values as you, friends that will lift you up instead of dragging you down.  I'm praying that God will protect you from unkind words and that he will give you the courage to stand up for yourselves and those who may need a friend.  I'm praying that your teachers will see you for the unique gifts that each one of you are.  I'm praying that every day, as you step into your school, that you'll know Jesus is with you.  You'll never be alone!  

You are going to have a great year!!  You have a huge cheering section!!  I love you and can't wait to hear about your first day!! 

Monday, August 16, 2010

First Day of School

Thanks to my good friend, Jen, who organized my entire room so well last year, AND to my mom for spending a day setting up my library, unpacking boxes and putting things back in place, I was more ready for the first day of school than ever before!
(Had to include this picture of Mom and Kelly!  This was taken on a much needed lunch break!)
I was more ready than ever, but probably spent more time than I have in the past several years being nervous.  After thinking about it, I think I've just been afraid that it's going to be another tough year.  The past two have been rough to say the least.  Don't get me wrong, I've still loved each and every one of my students and I have many precious memories, but there's been enough challenges in these past two years to really make me re-evaluate what I'm doing. 
Many of my friends that I used to teach with have gone on to different things: principals, TOSA's, stay-at-home mom's, and remedial math teachers.  Why am I still here?
I recently heard that around your tenth year in your profession, you really begin to question if it's something you want to do for the rest of your life.  That's been true for me. 
No matter how it sounds, I'm certain I still love teaching.  I still love working with the kids.  I still get excited to teach about Missouri history or to introduce a new book to a student.  I still love my job ministry.
Satan is just trying to defeat me.  He wants me to look to my left or my right and get caught up in what others are doing.  He wants to distract me from running my own personal race.  His goal is to discourage me and rob me of the joys of teaching.
I'm determined not to let that happen.  I know that I know that I know, this is exactly where God wants me.  It can be an extremely difficult job.  But, anything worthwhile is usually hard.  I have a much bigger obligation than just educating students in reading, writing, and arithmetic.  I have the chance to share the love of Jesus.  A chance to show 22 students all that God sees in them.  A chance to encourage and empower.  A chance to offer hope. 

Today was the first day.  We spent the day getting to know one another, putting away supplies, organizing desks and learning procedures.  It was a good day!

This first day of school was no different than the others.  I'd maybe been in my car 5 minutes and I'd already started crying.  It's really just a release of all those pent up emotions.  After a hug from a good friend and an invite from my family, I felt better.  Kelly, I know we were supposed to walk after school, but I  really enjoyed dinner.  The chance to talk about the day was therapeutic.  Thanks for the listening ear and voice of reason!

Tonya texted me and asked if I wanted to join her, Mom, and Tina to celebrate this little one:
Abby starts Kindergarten Thursday!  While she's not quite entering womanhood, a celebration was definitely in order.  I'm so glad that I didn't let being back in school and the fact that my legs were aching keep me from joining them.  Tonight was just what I needed!

Tonya set it up for us to get pedicures!! 
It was my first one ever!  I could never bring myself to go because the callouses on my feet were so bad.  Thanks to "Flip Flop Repair" which can be found at Farkleberry's, my feet were in good shape! 
I was nervous and at times uncertain about what they were doing, but I loved it! 
The massage felt so good to my aching feet and legs.
I will definitely be going back!
Check out the finished products:
After the pedicure we headed to Cold Stone Creamery.  (Another first for me!)
Seriously!  Could there be any better ending to the first day of school: dinner with a friend, pedicures with my family, and ice cream!!!!

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Mom's Birthday

We celebrated Mom's birthday at my house this year.  It was just us girls.  I debated having everyone, but decided that mommas don't have many opportunities to spend some time just taking care of themselves, having adult conversations that aren't interrupted.  I wanted them to have the night off.

The evening was full of conversation, triple chocolate cake, and Cranium.  (A game with something for everyone: singing, acting, sculpting, drawing, solving word riddles, and recalling facts!)  
  We all got a kick out of GayeAnn's wrapping job!
My favorite part of the evening was just getting to spend time with these wonderful ladies!!  I laughed until I couldn't catch my breath, and I caught up with those I don't see nearly enough.  It was wonderful!!  (Aimee and Hannah, we missed you!!)

Mom, I hope you enjoyed every minute of your special day (lunch with Grana, shopping, and dinner with Dad).  You are an amazing women!  I have so much left to learn from you, and am looking forward to many years of doing just that!  I love you with all my heart!