25 Things That I Am Thankful for This Thanksgiving

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thankful-heart-a_std_t_nv25 Things That I Am Thankful For

  1. Caitlin; her hard work at college and laughs she brings to the house when she is home.
  2. Ally; her musical talents and her willingness to share music and movies with me.
  3. Laurel; for being my workout and life partner.
  4. Tony Sturgeon; appreciate my educational brother in crime.
  5. Dave Broviak; my writing sounding board and the guy that held me to my basketball goal and made me play in September.
  6. Kevin Stumpf; workout inspiration who has joined me in my goal to getting healthier.
  7. My health; at the end of last school year I changed my diet and started exercising (thanks to Laurel for being my workout partner).  Gone is my high blood pressure, acid reflux, and blood sugar imbalance.
  8. The ability to play basketball again; I set my goal to play again and for 7 of the last 8 Sundays I have played basketball with Broviak’s Sunday bunch.  I love running around and playing again.
  9. Teaching my 7th grade students; their energy is motivating.  I love watching them grow as students and people.
  10. Rachel Smith; she fulfilled the promise that I saw in her years ago.
  11. The New England Patriots; I have loved watching them this season (except the Kansas City game), I appreciate the reign of TB12 and BB
  12. FJH; I love my school and appreciate the staff and students.
  13. HSEHS and FHS We the People teams; Janet Chandler and Liz Paternoster have been generous enough to let my service as a judge for their teams.
  14. Geoff Tease, Robert Dyson, and Taylor Schueth for helping with my junior high We the People team.
  15. My 8th Grade We the People team; the kids have been a real sense of joy for me, they have worked so hard and so want to be great.
  16. Amazon.com; thank you for being able to keep me away for the mall.
  17. The ability to DVR shows; during the school year I am never caught up on my shows.
  18. My Mom; I love that you answer the phone when I call on my many trips to Lowe’s.  I cannot wait to see you on December 16th!
  19. My annual BFM trip; it is fun planning for our next adventure; #BFM2015Boston, #BFM2016GreenBay
  20. The holiday season; it is a great time with family and renewal.
  21. The Northland Street friends; we continue to do life together and celebrate each milestone together; can’t wait to see everyone at the Hamer Christmas Party
  22. Books; I love that there is an endless supply of books that fuel my desire to know more
  23. Social media; thank you for connecting me professionally and allowing me to keep in contact with people from my past.
  24. My truck; every time I need to haul something, I appreciate that I don’t have to find someone to borrow their truck.
  25. My life; my family, friends, and job bring me joy and a purpose.  I am so thankful every day.

Not Enough Hours in a Week

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I miss having time to write.  It is cleansing to my soul.  One thing that those outside of teaching do not understanding is the demands on a teacher’s time.  As a matter of full disclosure, much of the demands of my time are things that I volunteer to take on.

The Great:

FJHS We the People Team Photo After Districts - Vax Photo - November 3

Last Monday (November 3rd) my inaugural Middle School We the People team competed at districts and they killed it.  They won five out of six unit awards and won districts by a good margin.  The best part is was that they realized that they can improve and are willing to work to be great.  I was thankful the Kevin Stumpf and Rachel Smith for going with me.  Qualifying for state was our team’s goal at the start.

The Tough:

I am serving on our district’s redistricting group; I felt the need to serve to try to balance the inequities in our district that have impacted our school for nearly a decade.  I feel the pressure to help my school.  The frustrating thing is that it seems like it should be easy; but there are so many competing interests and many of those interests are not about justice.  The government teacher part of me wishes that we had a council of grandmothers that would put aside the individual motives with a view on what is best for our district as a whole.

The Reminder:

My school is special and it does not get the recognition it should.   My school spends so much energy in creating opportunities for students that it does not have time to publicize our efforts after the fact.  Last Friday our school held its International Fair; we easily had 500 community folks show up to watch our kids perform and show their knowledge through displays and extras.  As much as I enjoyed the Fair it was telling to me that at 8:30 at night there were five teachers with a couple family members cleaning up the mess so that the custodians would not be burdened because of our efforts.  It captured our building in a nutshell; extend opportunities to kids, involve our families, love our students, and don’t burden others because of our efforts.

The “Why Can’t Things be Easy”:

We received our information about the We the People Middle School Nationals and; of course, it is during Tecumseh week.  What are the chances?  It will break my heart to put my kids on the bus to Washington DC without me.  Luckily, there are people out there that will step up to take my kids.

The Legacy:

Friday was my student teacher’s last day.  The reality is that Rachel will be my last student teacher.  She did a terrific job and deserves a chance to have her own classroom.  She fits our building because she loves to teach and she loves students.  Rachel worked hard to learn the craft.  If Rachel is part of my legacy that will give me comfort. I am aware that I will only be a teacher for a few more years.  It seems unbelievable that this is my 18th year as a teacher.  For many teachers that would put them at 40 years of age; not so for me.  Starting teaching at 37 years of age will not allow me to teach for 35 years like some of my peers.   I will not want to give  up any more of my classes to a student teacher: I want to savor every second of my time with my students.