B.I.G.: Boundary | Integrity | Generosity

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Brene Brown is one of those authors I hear a lot about from friends. I recently bought her book Daring Greatly on Audible and decided to buy a copy of the book to read along with as I listen to it. Basically, I have only seen her TED Talk on Vulnerability but I want to know more about her work because everything she talks about are things I need to hear.

Like this video. Amazing insight.

Video Marker 2:15: “My question is BIG: What BOUNDARIES need to be in place for me to stay in my INTEGRITY and make the most GENEROUS assumptions about you?”

Wow. Challenged.

February

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2.25.2017: There’s only 10 more months until Christmas – I hope to see snow before then! Can’t wait for it in April! Random – I saw people ice skating in the Sculpture Garden this afternoon… in 81 degree weather in DC!

What have I been doing since finishing grad school? I am learning to love myself again – maybe even for the first time loving myself WELL. I’m taking time for myself and rediscovering things that bring me joy. Things like walking around this crazy, cool (sometimes a combo of both) city, reading books FOR FUN, and day trips in my car! How can I love others without loving myself well?

Random piece of info I learned from the documentary I watched on Theodore Roosevelt courtesy of Amazon Prime Videos: Arthur T. Packard was a U of M graduate (GO BLUE!) and friend of Teddy Roosevelt. He was one of the first people to tell Roosevelt he would make a great President. The prophesy came true. What friends do you have speaking life into you?

I read The Naturalist by Darrin Lunde and loved it! I don’t know a lot about our presidents, but I was impressed with learning about the nonpolitical side to Roosevelt. Living in DC, I need to go visit Teddy Roosevelt Island. Today I went to the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History. I asked the information desk about animals Roosevelt collected – there’s a White Rhino he killed that is right inside the Mammals exhibit. It’s on the left by the Moose – you can’t miss them!

I took my final Praxis exam – and got my best score yet! Wahoo!

Less than 70 school days left in the school year – somehow THAT happened.

Excited for next school year and what that will bring. The best is yet to come!

Grad School

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Grad school is the reason this year was the STAYCATION year in DC. Checking this one off my Bucket List.

There are really no words. But I am going to try to capture this moment.

This fall has been the hardest season of my life.

But, tonight, I went to my last grad school class.

I am DONE.

The joy and sense of accomplishment is indescribable.

A year and a half ago, I was a completely different person. When I moved to DC three years ago, I had no desire to ever go to grad school. I was debt free. (*side note: I have a Masters degree and am less than $6000 in debt. Thanks to two years of serving with AmeriCorps and paying throughout the year and half I’ve been in school. Life wisdom I learned the first time in college to pay as much as you can as you go to decrease the amount of interest paid).

There have been many miracles through this journey. So many conversations with peers, mentors, parents, and students. It has been a roller coaster of emotions – so many tears and shouts of frustration along with pictures of students actually learning and the joy of investing in young people.

This journey with grad school and my first fall of teaching has allowed me to gain wisdom the hard way. It has taught me that the more I learn, the more I learn how much I don’t know. I feel uncomfortable hearing the title “Master” because I really feel like I scratched the surface of Teaching Early Childhood. Teaching continues to humble me, kind of how I imagine parenting feels. It has taught me the value of friendship, family, counseling, and rest.

I’ve had conversations with my Uber drivers (my current form of commute) about grad school. The guy who drove me to my last class asked when I would be teaching college or becoming a principal because he didn’t think someone with a Masters should stay teaching elementary school. HA! ENOUGH! I am just trying to enjoy this accomplishment without thinking about what’s next.

But I’ve learned to #NeverSayNever (Cue Brandy, not Justin Bieber).

Teaching Survivor

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I have survived my first three weeks of teaching third grade.

Somehow.

I don’t really know – it’s all been a blur.

I can now understand the pressure and anxiety new parents feel. I compare it to the feeling new teachers get being around other teachers who have been there 18 years. Walking into their room and then returning to my bare room was mentally exhausting.

I still feel like I am failing.

But every day, I make the decision to try again. Try new things. I have rearranged the seating multiple times now.

I am trying to help my student think on their own.

I am trying to help my students understand their feelings and how their actions affect other people.

I am trying to help my students become great test takers – not for the mere fact that it matters on the PARCC, but just to develop great skills like reading every option and crossing out ones they know are not the answer.

I am trying to help my students form a joyful community and become creative problem solvers.

Three weeks in. It’s been the toughest three weeks on a job yet. But I am surviving. Like I tell my students as I teach them cursive (“secret code”), learning is a process and we are not going to perfect on the first try. It’s a process and we have to be ok with mistakes and failing.

Baseball

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This picture was from the night Max Scherzer tied the MLB record of 20 strikeouts. The Nats were playing my Detroit Tigers. I was a conflicted fan for all three games I went to that week.

Somehow over the three years I have lived in DC, I have become a baseball fan.

This is not really unusual because when I was younger, I cheered on my brother from the stands. But I was also the girl who tried softball, standing out in left field picking dandelions, and could not hit the ball for the life of me. When I was in Michigan, I was used to going to one minor league baseball game every couple years 45 minutes away from my hometown, not MLB in my city! Now I just cannot get enough of the Washington Nationals, Jayson Werth, Daniel Murphy, Wilson Ramos, and others. The chants, the food, the friends, the memories… so good.

Gone are the days of watching Detroit’s Cecil Fielder with my dad on TV, but now I know some new players on the Nats roster and try not to get too depressed about the fact that most of them were born in the 1990’s.

Going to a game by myself tonight as a celebration of one week down in summer school. I bought a $5 ticket for a 300 section seat! Thanks, RetailMeNot for the rebate on SeatGeek!

Be Prayerful, Flexible, and Picky

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I am currently searching for a teaching job for the fall.

I also went out on my first date in a VERY long time on Memorial Day. (Side note: it was not bad, but I doubt there will be a second).

Recently I’ve recognized how similar the two are – dating and interviews. I do not consider myself very good at either. They both make me nervous. They both have great promise… with the possibility of rejection. They both are worth it in the long haul because you find out more about who you are and what you are capable of as a person.

I was talking to a friend about this discovery this afternoon, and he said be prayerful, flexible, and picky (he was talking about interviewing, but I definitely see the correlation to dating).

New life motto: Be prayerful, flexible, and picky.

Air and Space:VA + Natural History

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Continuing my DC adventures of 2016 Staycation, I was fortunate enough to have a friend who is adventurous and willing to drive out to the VA Air and Space Museum. I was not sure what to expect. It was fantastic! Our adventure in the museum including seeing a plane that flew from my hometown in Michigan to Chicago, seeing the Discovery Space Shuttle (1984 was a good year), Flak Bait in the Restoration Hangar, a fun planetarium presentation, and a mock air traffic control room with views of Maryland and West Virginia. I did not know about the restoration hangar, but a friendly volunteer told me about it! MAKE SURE YOU GO TO RESTORATION HANGAR! They have one day a year when they open it up to the public – it’s on my list for next year!

I went to the National Museum of Natural History last Saturday. It was a holiday weekend and within 2 hours, I was ready to bolt. I went as part of an assignment for my grad school class, so I checked out their ocean habitat:

I was pleasantly surprised by a few exhibits. My mentor teacher told me about the Nat Geo Best Photography exhibit that included student photographers – one by an 18-year-old blew me away!

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Thomas Goebel, age 18. Proxy Falls, Three Sisters Wilderness, Oregon

What I was not expecting was the brilliant colors, patterns, and life found in the National Geographic Into Africa exhibit. Here’s a sample of the brilliance of Frans Lanting’s photography!