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!

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.

Time Stands Still

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Do you ever wish you could hit pause on life? It feels like it is flying by.

I blinked and somehow this is the last day of school before winter break. Winter break… I called it Christmas break today and my students corrected me.

I found it strange to tell someone “Merry Christmas” today even though I knew they were Christians and celebrated it.

What has the world become in getting so offended by everything? Facebook has become this poisonous social media platform. If I did not use it to connect with some of my former students and friends who are living abroad, I would delete it.

Can we just slow down a minute and take some time to think about what really matters?

In 2008, I heard a message that has me constantly thinking about taking life at a slower pace. The speaker, Mark Yaconelli, talked about being in the “Slow Club“. It is something his son made up and there’s only two rules: No running. No hurrying. So while Mark is trying to get his son to places on time, his son does not rush through life. He is able to notice things others miss because they are too busy.

I get this.

Living in a city is great most days. But there are times when I just want to hit pause. Can everyone slow down? Can you wait your turn for the crosswalk sign or another car to pass you?

I think that’s why I love winter, especially in DC. People slow down, stay inside with their families, or make time for what really matters – spending time with the people you love the most.

Merry Christmas.