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.

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#getyourpraiseon


I will never say I was a fan of the university that I attended.
I will also never say that I regret the education that I received there.

Tonight I found myself writing a letter to two professors from school; thanking them for teaching me how to view the classroom as an international mission field.

Without going into details tonight; their words echoed through my mind today in class.

For that, I am grateful.

-D-

XXXI: No Apologies


Frequently I’m reminding of the adage that if you’ve been gone from your blog for a while, don’t come back as a writer…apologizing for being gone. The reality is that unless you’re a reality star, the world didn’t even realize that you were gone.

The earth keeps moving.

The earth is moving.

The earth moves.

Caught between a funeral and a deductible for a smartphone (this is a thing now); life just keeps moving in our weird, strange, and sometimes stressful household. My grandmother finally passed away, resulting in myself spending quality time with my family for four days in a town of 1000 people. My dream is to one day properly write down this event in text so that all can understand why life is sometimes as humorous as it is scary. The third quarter at school has ended and spring break begins on Friday. Overall, tranquility is a word that would be appropriate with the current trends of my own life.

At one point I was fearful of tranquility; equating it with compromising and settling. Things I feared, but sleeping with windows open, enjoying green grass, and running through our local community really has hit in stride with me the openness of seeing tranquility not as potentially just a sin, but perhaps also a blessing.

When the internal struggles of life calm down, that’s when we find our opportunity to critique, adjust, and learn about ourselves. With the quieter time that I’ve found in recent weeks I’ve started to take a closer look at the social aspect of myself…or…to be realistic; the struggle of it.

From school to church my social skills are in need of adjustment. In my head so many things make sense; I completely understand standing in the corner of a room listening to conversations without saying anything. That seems normal in my own mind, but that is a failure of understanding how it lacks of social drive of interaction with people around me. Last weekend, and this bothered Darco to no end, I found myself standing in the corner of our local running store. I had just finished my first race of the season, I was enjoying some snacks, and watching other people conversate within the building.

Turns out, as Darco stated sternly, I looked incredibly awkward acting as a grown version of a middle school wallflower. Internally, I understood that my choice was to observe not to interact. I didn’t want to interact because I wasn’t sure how, and just watching and analyzing topics of conversation was much easier. Whether that’s true or not is yet to be determined, but the potential body language that was shown toward my own teammates could have been rather poor. Even if the tendency was not meant to be negative.

School is a similar situation. I take sole responsibility for this; some instances throughout the year have shown that I struggle interacting with my peers. No worries dear reader; I interact with 12 and 13 year olds just fine. However, inside a middle schools it’s crucial that teachers work together. There is no greater sense of teamwork in elementary or high school; middle truly is where adults have to interact in order to lay the framework of success for our students.

Turns out that this is something that is a struggle for me. It doesn’t feel natural to listen, to accept, and not to work alone (I sound like some of my students in this sentence). I can say that it’s something that I’ve worked on throughout the school year; there’s some evidence of growth. However, it is still something that needs work.

Our church group is similar. Yes, I’ve gotten to the point where I’ll interact. However, most meetings are rather manic. I’m either overly bubbly, conversation driven or…like last week…I had no desire or need to communicate with the people around me. As you could imagine it always raises questions of if there’s something on my mind, if I’m in a bad mood, if I’m not feeling well, etc…

The overall point between these three recent examples is that I’ve been informed, shown, and demonstrated of an error that I have in my conduct between myself and people relative to my own age. At first that was a very hard pill to swallow. As time passed and meditation took place, I began to see that this has been a social issue that I’ve dealt with since I was a very young child. Sure, we could state that it was due to being raised as an only child, but Darco is actually really good at this social thing. I don’t know what the reason for the action, but I’m grateful that it has been brought to my attention.

Here is why:

If something like this had been shown to me five, ten years ago (it probably was); I would have brushed it off as something that was obviously wrong with everyone else. The arrogance of refusal in accepting that I’m at fault, I’m in error, or that I’m just plain wrong is something that I would have never admitted to. It pains me to type those words. With that said, I’m blessed to be surrounded by people at school, at home, and at church that have zero issues informing me that I’m ‘off’ in how I’m presenting myself to other people. To several, if not all of you, this may seem as such a small issue to have. For me, it’s almost a relief that I can internally accept the truth that I have issues to work on just like everyone else. Additionally, I like the fact that this is an example of an area to develop that doesn’t just affect life in one’s social setting, but also in their work environment.

How’s that for a random topic to type about?

This topic has been in my head and my heart for quite a while. I wanted to type about it so that I could feel secure about ensuring the ‘public’ knows that I have problems. It’s relieving for me because I’m willing to share a social development issue that I’m at fault for, and to state to the general public that it’s something I’m working on.

Consider the typing of this to be liberating if you will.

-D-

Mobile Minutes: Pi Day


Because there’s no way that life should just be boring and routine, right?

While sitting in a meeting with other instructors this morning, the day of March 14, 2016 began to populate in our discussions. For the non-math individuals out there (including myself), this day is known by many as “Pi Day”.

March 14=03/14=3.14.

Make sense?

Precisely.

Actually, it’s a really cool deal that math teachers make of Pi Day with their students. So much so that with our school of awesome teachers, I was informed that this year there would be a race involved also.

March 14=03/14=3.14=3.1=5K.

As part of the celebration of Pi Day, our 7th grade students will be running with a few teachers in a 5K race for the ages. Personally, I think this is something completely awesome. So, next month I’ll be lacing up and instead of entering the classroom, I’ll be stepping onto the course with coworkers and students alike.

That’s pretty cool in my book.

-D-

Mobile Minutes: Times of Height


These are the times that I swore that I’d remember when they came…

It was the student who brought me a bag of chocolates today (and a stress ball; I fear it was an unspoken indicator of my constant state in class). It was the ‘Merry Christmas’ text from the guy who set up the amazing house that Darco and I now call home. It was sitting on the floor, leaning against the bed where my wife laid, talking about the direction of our lives, and thanking her for existing.

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