A Summer of Thanks #1 – My Mom

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As a summer project for my NJHS chapter, I have offered a challenge to send 30 thank you notes through social media.  The only instructions that they will receive is to be genuine and specific.  My hope is that they will inspire other people to be thankful and pick up the challenge.  I have made my list (there are 43 names).

My first thank you goes out to my mom.  She is not perfect and was dealt more than her share of tough blows in her life.  However, my mom is the master of what really matters in life.  She has a loving heart.  Her heart extends beyond her family and into her work and friends.  Growing up with a dead beat father was tough and a source of emptiness in my life.  My mom did all she could to fill that hole by giving me more love than what should be possible.  We could always talk to each other.  In my adult life my mom and I have a shared history and memories that does not exist with anyone else.

My mom is a caregiver.  She cared for her mom in her home for over a decade; no complaints.  She has nursed brothers and been the empathetic ear to so very many people.  I have tried to look at my students that have a need for care like my mom would care for them.

Lastly, I am thankful to my mom for giving me a work ethic.  She always worked hard with multiple jobs and finding time to care for our extended family.


The End of Another School Year

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2013-08-18 13.21.26Once more my year with my students is coming to an end; for the 17th time.  It seems impossible to me that so many children have graced my classroom.  Like every year it began with a sense of loss; a loss stemming from missing my students from the previous year.  School years have always been a little different for me.  I don’t really enjoy the beginning of the year; the kids are just so….lamby.   It takes time to build them into our team’s mindset.  I abhor all the stupid questions, minimalist effort, and the lack of deep thinking.  By the end of the year my babies can do anything.  They understand.  They think.  They achieve.  It seems just as the buy-in is complete it is time to let them go.  I hate that.

It has been a good year.  My student of the year showed early (my only problem is whether or not to name two).  This year’s kids have their own personality; they smile easy, are really artistic, for the most part they work, and they make me want to go to work everyday.

The academic side of the year featured more reading (which caused me to get behind), weird weather (which caused me to lose days), and more evidence that 7th grade is the first year that they receive a true historical education (something that I need to compensate for next year).  My spirit is restless again so this summer it is a complete rewrite of my curriculum.  I am shifting completely to an inquiry and historian model…It matches my personality more.

Professionally, my heart is full.  I love Fishers Junior High School.  Our principal is a perfect match to our staff; she wants what is best for kids and will support every endeavor that encourages that end.  My close friends still push me to want to be better.  My teaching partner of 17 years is still the finest teacher I know and his willingness to listen and hold me accountable keeps me from isolating myself.  I will be taking the NJHS back over as Tony’s kids have entered the age where he is obligated every day after school…I will keep the seat warm until Ben starts driving.  I have linked up with the Social Studies Education chair at Ball State University and will become more involved in the development of teachers next fall.  The highlight of my year was taking the Fishers High School We-the-People team to Nationals in April.  Watching these kids that I have worked with since September achieve the highest finish in Indiana’s history was so satisfying.  The experience moved me so much that I will be teaching one class of 8th grade social studies class next year under the We-the-People format and will hope to take the team to the state competition…I will call them the “Weeplets”.

I will still be teaching on the last four days of school to keep from saying goodbye…hello Australia in One Day lesson!  I will most likely shed tears at our awards program and will get emotional after the kids leave on Friday.