Rose Colored Reality


I am not starving to death.
My home is still in one piece.
I can worship where I want.
I can dine where I please.

Recent weeks and months have changed, so slightly, the landscape of my own life. Nothing traumatic, dangerous, or depressing; just change. The world is slightly more united, the world is slightly more volatile.

Piece by piece my reality starts to crumble.

I have slept through two nights without waking up once. While this calls for a moment of joy, it also calls for a moment of concern. What could be going on within one’s life that would cause them to sleep with such ease?

Exhaustion.

Unknowingly of course.

It started with my wife being curious about the current political landscape. It then continued into a united school building divided by legalistic opinions. It was added to from the fears of my students, and it was nearly finished off with stress outside of a rather grim world.

My students are my single ray of hope on a daily basis.

I have not had stress like this for years. Daily I have a headache as I head home from work, by 9:00 PM I tend to be ready to sleep, and 6:00 AM turns into 6:30 AM almost instantaneous. People are mean, whispers are used as murder tools, and the landscape of the reality I call home changes with each passing day.

If I complain out loud; I’m merely complaining about my status as ‘some white guy in America’, if I keep it to myself my heart just aches that much more.

I guess, summed up, put simple….even in my own chaotic mind. When looking at life in general…

I am not having fun anymore.

-D-

Mobile Minutes: Spinning


In case you’re interested in the week of a teacher…

This Week:

  1. Teaching

Plus…

  1. Administration Observation
  2. Host Cohort Meeting
  3. Grade Level Meeting
  4. New Teacher Cohort Meeting
  5. Internal Host Observation
  6. Athletics Interview
  7. Unannounced Administration Observation

All sorts of weird stuff, but all of this activity makes me grateful to be busy in a blossoming school.

-D-

Mobile Minutes: Teaching Teachers


Cool moment today: First day back in school from Christmas Break, and staff had to stay late for professional development.

Why is that cool?

Because after being in the building for the past couple years, I was asked if I’d like to work with another teacher and teach a professional development class on Twitter.

Instructors teacher instructors. Not to mention is was about using Twitter in the classroom. It was really neat, and it made my heart happy that I got to contribute to the world of education in a way that wasn’t directed tied to my students.

-D-

Mobile Minutes: Small Victories


Truth: Teaching terrifies me. 

That is one thing that hasn’t changed through all the time of these past couple years. Failure, mistakes, errors, missteps, etc…all the things I encourage my students to experience daily, is professionally what I fear the most. Ironic, yes?
These past few weeks have been laced with errors. One thing after another, I racked up an impressive list of miscues in the world of academia.

This is why I’m grateful for small victories. These last ten weeks I’ve experimented with developing a debate program at our middle school. I firmly believe competition exists outside of courts, gyms, and fields. By God’s grace I wound up with 23 sixth to eighth grade students on a roster for this past quarter. It has been an amazing experience. The students, personally, grew faster in content and comprehension then I had originally predicted. 

I took some of the data from these past weeks and sent it to our high school debate coach to analyze and review.

They were impressed. These middle school students impressed the high school coach! The coach offered to share their teams source material for construction of debates, asking how their students could interact with mine in the spring semester, and just overall gave a tone of excitement.

After a recent rough streak; this was such a blessing to receive. 

-D-

First Vote


There are so many reasons that I love the school that I am able to teach in on a daily basis. So many instructors are insanely creative, administration tends to be very supportive with the wild endeavors, and the students come from every, single walk of life. While it can be crazy at times, it is also a beautiful experience.

Friday demonstrated one of those moments.

I teach social studies in our school. I am teamed up with another social studies teacher who loves to push the limits of young minds. It is inspiring, motivating, and easy to follow along with. Our school, through her guidance, did take part in its own ‘mock election’ yesterday. Students voted on President/Vice-President, Governor, Senate, and House of Representatives for the respective area. All three grade levels voted, with literal booths borrowed from voting establishments, actual “I Voted” stickers, and a registration sheet for students to sign-in on at their arrival. All things considered, it was very professional and reflected strongly what a polling place looks like.

Personally though, it was not the event itself that truly made my heart swell, it was the remark of one specific student:

Our school is incredibly diverse; students come from all different backgrounds; ethnic, racial, religious, etc…A few weeks ago I received a new student, they were originally from a country located in Central America and had only been in the United States for aa few years. Her class was to vote at 12:20 PM on Friday, she came to see me around 10:30 AM and created a fascinating dialogue…

Student: Are we voting in class today?
Me: Yes.
Student: As in, we are going to select political officials?
Me: Yes. It is not real because you are not of voting age, but the simulation is real.
Student: So I get to choose someone?
Me: Yes.
Student: I can tell my family I voted?
Me: Yes.
Student: *tears in eyes* I actually get to do this? I can vote today? This is a real event that is going on in school? I’m so excited. I have heard of people doing this, but I do not know what it is like.
Me: You get to vote today.

Later in the day, after they voted, the student actual ran from their voting booth, exclaiming, tears running down from their chestnut colored eyes…rather loudly in the polling place…”I voted! I got to vote!”

Not as a teacher. Not a social scientist. Just as a citizen, I wish I could have bottled up that raw emotion, that passion, that unknown opportunity and distribute it out amongst the bitter masses that have polluted so much of sociological existence within our culture.

While I do frequently try to avoid topics about politics on here; I would at least challenge you to exist as a citizen with the heart of a 12 year old.

The local news stations covered our elections! Check out the links!
Fox 4
KCTV5
Action 41 News

-D-

XXXI: First Batch


Teaching is hard.

I have made so many mistakes.
I have created so many stressful situations.
I have said so many incorrect things.

Teaching is hard.

I was fortunate enough to go on a field trip with some of our students today. This landed me in an amusement park from 10:30 AM to 4:30 PM on possibly one of the most gorgeous days of the year. However, as it turns out, we were not the only school inside the park on this day.

After releasing our students I sat at a table for 45 minutes; that was my job for the morning in the event something happened to one of our darlings. Nearing the end of my shift a man sat down at the next table. His shirt was blue and read the follow…

East Buchanan Bulldogs

I knew this man! He was the assistant basketball coach while I was in high school. I sat down next to him, incredibly he remembered my name after ten years, and we started talking. I learned that two individuals I graduated with from high school now teach 7th grade students in the middle school we grew up in. I found them all in the park today. The man I compared notes; I suppose like teachers do. We talked about expansion, testing, demographics, and just how times have changed.

Man, times have changed.

After speaking with him for a few minutes I wandered the park. I road five roller coasters, overcame my previous fear of going upside down, ate three cheeseburgers, and thanks to the air from the coasters, my beard is extremely ‘poofy’ this evening.

School ends next Friday.

Heading home this evening I watched my students. They were my students this year. I had to be responsible for instructing them about the social sciences for nine months. I attended countless meetings, several observations, training sessions, and many sleepless nights. I learned new languages, discovered different cultures, and researched just about everything I could think up about these strange 12-13 year old children.

Today is started to settle in that after next week…they’re gone. Now I do sound like a true teacher. Even though I gained wrinkles, lost weight and sleep, and they frustrated me to no end on several weeks; my kids are leaving*.

This is the part of teaching they try to warn you about, but you refuse to listen. You will be heartbroken when you realize that your students are growing up and they are no longer yours. From the selfish perspective that is a really hard pill to swallow.

Besides, they’re just going to 8th grade. They will all just be a hall below me next year. It is an easy thing to think until after the trip today I found an 8th grader standing by themselves, alone, waiting for their ride to pick them up. They were one of my cross country runners and they were one of the first students I met, when they were in 6th grade and I was a new substitute in the building. We spoke about their attitude, their brain, and the fact that they have such a bright future. What I didn’t realize, in such pathetic nature, was that my voice started cracking when I started talking about their future.

I already know that I struggle talking and interacting with my peers. It is so, so much easier to communicate with students. However, those students are leaving. and even though I get a new batch next year, that realization is so saddening.

Today was a hard day for me. I thought I was ready for the summer, I thought my mental countdown placed me in with all the teachers in the state, but at second glance…I want to be selfish. I want to hold onto my kids. I want to watch them grow and I want to be there to guide them. Is that the wrong thing to think in the month of May?

Tomorrow, in my classroom, will be the last ‘in class’ day as next week consists of field day, field trips, career day, assembly events, etc…This means that at 3:00 PM my normal class schedule is done for my first year of teaching.

In the normal, adult working world my brain couldn’t handle the day-to-day activities.
In the strange, student-centric world of education my heart is really struggling to the handle the realization of the end.

Is that fair for a first year teacher to say?

Teaching is hard.

I have learned so many new faces.
I have created so many relationships.
I haven’t said enough to show that I love my kids.

Teaching is hard.

-D-

*I’m going to be an emotional mess when I’m a parent.