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!

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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.

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!

Random Thoughts

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My landlords had a party today. It included swimming, biking and a dance party. My roommate’s away and she recommended I go for the dance portion.

The thing is… I can’t dance.

I’m like Kevin James in Hitch. I am not as bad as Elaine from Seinfeld, but I inherited my dad’s dance skills.

I found this bad dancers video and laughed so hard throughout it. You’re welcome.

This video on Facebook is precious. “I be pretty.” I’ve watched it at least 10 times.

I’m continuing to learn about teaching and education. Next to parents, I think teaching is the hardest job ever. Being “on” all the time is sometimes hard for the introvert part of me. But the investment in the future as I watch 25 second graders grow in their knowledge and understanding of themselves and the world is a beautiful thing.

First Day of School Jitters

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You know the feeling you get right before jumping off a cliff (into water, of course)?!

That’s how I feel right now as I experience (yet again) the first day of school tomorrow. I am co-teaching second grade this year. I am excited about my new adventure, nervous to see how things play out, but overall really pumped to be working with students in a great school!

I hate to admit it, but I was made for this.

My love for education runs deep. What other first grader was told by classmates she should be a librarian when she’s older because of her love for books? Who spends recess time as a fourth and fifth grader helping in first grade classrooms? What high school students finds the time to tutor an elementary student every week after school in the next town?

As an adult, my love just grew. I am still in touch with some of my teachers and had the privilege to work for my fourth grade teacher-turned-principal as a sub in her school! I subbed for four years — and loved it!

Last year I was a reading tutor in the inner city. I miss my kids! They taught me a lot about life, loss, unconditional love, and so much more. They are resilient and strong.

I am grateful to be a part of the program I am in, working with the people I do, and getting ready for the adrenaline rush of the first day of school!

Bring it on, second grade!

Documentaries

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The past week I have watched more documentaries than I care to admit because I was sick and still had to work. Here are my favorites. You can find these on Netflix or Amazon Instant Video:

G-Dog. Incarnation. Kinship. Community. Hope. Belonging. Family. This is a fantastic story about a priest working with some of the toughest gang members in L.A. He provides job opportunities and training to get them on the right track. Powerful story of second chances. Find Homeboy Industries on Facebook.

American Promise. While I am not sure I would like this as a young person, a couple decided to follow their son and his friend’s journey in education as two young black men in a white private school in New York. It was insightful about the challenges these young men faced. The questions these young men asked were powerful. “Would it be better if I was white?” was one that floored me.

180 Days. This one hit close to home because it is an inside look into a DC high school. I recognize so many factors in this one because I am working with a younger version of these students. I tutor K-3rd graders in reading.

Tent City, U.S.A. I love Nashville, but I had no idea about Tent City. I love the idea of homeless people creating safe environments and communities to take care of each other. Lots of great questions about how to truly help these people.

The Waiting Room. I cringed. There’s a reason I didn’t choose a profession in the medical field. Challenges of people without health insurance in the ER. It also makes me appreciate doctors and nurses who try to do their best in this situation.

Do you have a favorite documentary?