So Blessed

Some thoughts for today (although technically it’s Wednesday morning, it’s still Tuesday night to me):

  1. I’m really blessed.  My friend Joi came and worked in my room for HOURS today, doing stuff that needed to be done.  She didn’t quite get the appreciation of how much she’d helped until I said, you just saved me 5 hours of work…Amazing, huh?  Plus, our maintenance guy, Alan, put up all my stuff today!  He didn’t have to do that.  He’s got teachers giving him orders all over the place, but for some reason he made me a priority today.  That was incredible.
  2. I found some tables for my room-the right size too!  It’s been so stressful to think about doing all these centers for this new way of teaching without actually having centers to send the kids.  Now I have 2 of them (yay!), plus a stand for my overhead (double yay!).
  3. The staff is really connecting with the things that we’ve been learning, and that truly blesses me as a teacher here at Hanley.  If only a few of us change our practices with teaching, it will benefit kids, but it won’t impact them quite like having all the teachers on board.  I’m not sure if we’re at 100% necessarily, but the people that have shared were kind of like "miracle teachers"…if they realize their need to change and are willing to follow through with it, then many of the other staff members will join suite…very cool.
  4. God gives me peace.  I really believe that!  Isaiah 26.3-4    You will keep in perfect peace him whose mind is steadfast, because he trusts in you.  Trust in the LORD forever, for the LORD, the LORD, is the Rock eternal.

    God is so faithful.  He just kept bringing Scripture to my heart this morning, as I was frustrated by several little things that kept happening to push me behind my schedule.  I had my worship music on, and I just couldn’t help but praise Him.  I believe I said something like, "God, You’re still God no matter what happens today!  You’re still sitting on Your throne, and You still hold this world in Your hands.  You may not choose to change my situation, and that’s okay.  But I need You to change my heart and my attitude right now.  Please help me."  And He did.  I can’t "will" myself to do that.  I can choose my attitude, but only God can truly change it…

Oh my, I’m sleepy.  Wednesday morning will come early…oh wait, it already is Wednesday morning…:)

Traits. Traits. Traits.

Building relationships with people are valuable ways to spend my time.  Speaking and listening help us to make connections with others.  Brian and Susan are in the process of teaching us traits.

The Traits of Conversation help us to connect with others through…you guessed it…conversation!  We use the Traits of Presentation to become better at not only speaking in front of others, but to present information well and read with fluency and style.  Today Brian and Susan took our whole staff through the Writing Traits and I felt great about it!  Something that I enjoyed was feeling as if I had gained some profundity on the subject.  Isn’t it great to finally have a sense of, "Hey, I think I’m actually starting to get some of this!"

Quickly, here are the 6 Traits of Writing:

  1. Content and Ideas (what is the writing about?/what are the details?)
  2. Organization (plan!)
  3. Voice (can you hear yourself in the writing?)
  4. Word Choice (are the words your using simple words, or do they show deeper understanding of what you’re trying to write about?)
  5. Conventions (grammar, punctuation)
  6. Sentence Fluency (how well your sentences flow together…is there variety in how your sentences begin and/or end?)Writing

If you happen to be interested in the Traits of Writing because you’d like to see
more happen in your blog writing (or whatever) then google it.  Over 2,000,000 site come up in the search.  (By the way, it’s actually 6+1, but the +1 is presentation…I’ll write about the Traits of Presentation later).

Look through your own writing and see where you could improve. 🙂  Tonight I’m thinking about how my word choice isn’t so hot right now.  Then again, it is just about 11.30pm, I’ve been working all day, I’m tired, and I’m watching Seinfeld;)

Learn to love writing!  If you’re a parent, help your kids develop a love for writing!  The traits are just a guide to help us get there.

On a side note, one of my favorite teenagers from church called me today, primarily to tell me about his football game this Thursday.  Secondary to the grand game, he wanted me to know what classes he was taking this fall.  Within his many classes are embedded two writing classes.  With all that I’m learning right now, I told him that I’d love to try to help him implement some of the things that I’m learning how to teach!  Wouldn’t that be fantastic?  If only I can find the time in my schedule…:)

I’m sure it’s just a feeling #2

Things have been going much better with the Literacy Project.  It’s still A LOT and I’m still not completely clear, but what I’m having to come to grips with is that the whole thing is a learning process.  How often am I talking about learning through processes?  It is most certainly something that God’s been walking me through, and I’m at a place where I am finally starting to appreciate it in this project.  I’ll write a little more on this tomorrow.

You can read a little more about the project here, if you’re interested.


Duck Health

A friend and I went for a walk a couple weeks ago at a pond in Birmingham.  It was a nice little neighborhood and I think I’ll return for another walk soon!  As with any pond, there were ducks.  The friend I was with told me about the time that she once stole one of the baby ducks from that pond, and took it home under her shirt.  Needless to say, her mom made her return it.

I noticed this sign, although I might have ignored it, since I’ve never met a duck that didn’t enjoy diving into a nice piece of stale bread.  The thing I noticed was reason number 1…check it out.Berkley_dream_cruise103

I guess it struck me as funny because the city of Birmingham is most concerned about the weight of the birds, over everything else. 

Finding Our Way

My friend, Dana, and I drove up to our yearly staff retreat the other day.  Crystal Mountain is a beautiful resort to visit, and that’s where we get to enjoy some professional development, time to hang out with the staff, and competition with the other TRG schools.

A little bit of background knowledge on Dana is that she has many, many strengths in the different roles that she plays in life.  She was my unofficial mentor when I first started teaching.  She’s a great teacher, and the GLCE Queen.  But one of the first things I learned about Dana when we began teaching together, four years ago, was that her sense of direction was almost at a negative factor.  This is especially evident when she’s driving in downtown Detroit…I’ve experienced this several times.  It seems as if she’s gotten better at her survival skills when lost, although we have definitely had some close calls in the busy city. 🙂  It’s kind of adventurous when we have her drive us places…we never know if we’ll actually get to our destination in a reasonable fashion, or timeframe.

So, back to the other day…we were driving up to Crystal Mountain, and we were on US 10W, anticipating 115/Cadillac.  Let’s just say I turned my head for a few seconds, returning my head to it’s forward position, to see the back of an exit sign along with its exit. 
I said, "Wait, was that 115?" 
Dana replied, "No, it said, Cadillac." 
"But did it also say 115?  We’re supposed to get off on 115/Cadillac!" 
"No, it just said Cadillac." 
"Are you sure?" 

Many minutes later I noticed a US 10W sign and immediately scrunched my eyebrows.

"Dana, I think we’re on US 10.  If we’re on 115, we’re not supposed to also be on US 10.  I think we missed our exit."
"Are you sure?  That exit said, Cadillac."
"We need to stop and ask."

So she drove until we saw a gas station/mini mart and we went in.  Entering the store we were greeted by Darla, to whom I smiled brightly and said, "Darla, are we by chance on 115?"

"Oh no, dear, you’re not.  That’s 30 miles back that way!"
"That’s what I was afraid of…Would you be able to help us find our way?"
"Absolutely!  Where are you going?"
…and she proceeded to give us directions.Crystal_mountain015

Somewhere in there, my friend asked, "So, Darla, where the heck are we?"
With great pride, she replied, "Evart, Michigan!"

We got a picture together and then Dana and I were on our way.

It made sense that we would get lost and no one from Hanley was surprised that it happened!  But thanks to Darla, we found our way.

I’m sure it’s just a feeling

Can I admit that I’m a little bit stressed?  Maybe a little bit more than a little bit…
The literacy project that I’m working with is messing with my mind.  There’s so much to be done and not enough time.  There are three schools doing this project and our school is the last in the progression.  Our time comes next Monday and Tuesday, when the other two schools have had 4 days each, these past two weeks.  It’s a bit frustrating because I feel like our school is getting jipped (don’t think I’ve ever written that word before!).  Like I said, the other two schools got 4 days with them and we only get two.  Our mentors couldn’t find another day to come meet with us, but they just took on a whole other school, at which isn’t really at-risk and they simply have so much more than we do, as a third year school.  They’re a fine arts school that has their own building, less loopholes and they appear to be the stars of our management company.  We want a chance to shine and I really just don’t feel like we’re getting it.  It’s not even just that, but I really want to do an awesome job, and we already know that we’re not getting all the training that we’re supposed to be getting this month.  We have no idea what we’re teaching in the fall, so we can’t plan…my head is spinning.

Do you ever feel like you’re being set up to fail?  That’s kind of the feel right now with the other teachers and I right now. 

It sounds like I’m so jealous and whiny, but I really don’t want to fail and I really do want our school to stand out…it just doesn’t look that’s going to happen.  That frustrates me.

On top of all that, I really wanted to hand some major commitments off to another teacher this year, but she just got offered a position at her husband’s school, so she’s not coming back.  At my building we have 4 brand new teachers and 2 other teachers who are only in their 2nd or 3rd year…there just isn’t anybody else to take over the commitments. 

I love my job and I love that I get to be a part of this project, and I’m totally pumped about this year, but honestly, I’m a little concerned…

So, God, please help me:)

Ever Feel Like This?

Jeremiah 31:18-19 (New Living Translation)

18  …‘You disciplined me severely,

      like a calf that needs training for the yoke.
   Turn me again to you and restore me,
      for you alone are the Lord my God.

19 I turned away from God,
      but then I was sorry.
   I kicked myself for my stupidity!
      I was thoroughly ashamed of all I did in my younger days.’

…or of all I did yesterday…that works too.

Really appreciating God’s grace, once again, today…

Not to mention, this verse keeps popping out to me.  I read it a couple weeks ago…

Zephaniah 1:12 (New Living Translation)

12 “I will search with lanterns in Jerusalem’s darkest corners
      to punish those who sit complacent in their sins.
  They think the Lord will do nothing to them,
      either good or bad.

In context, or out, the bolded portion describes my human nature sometimes…complacency sucks.  So I go back to the first verse and say, "Turn me again to you and restore me, for you alone are the LORD my God."

It’s a Tear-jerker

I just watched the best movie I’ve seen in a long time.  Forget Hairspray (which was a great movie too).  Check this one out here, from National Community Church, in Washington DC.

I’d also like to add a couple more personal pictures from Cotk a few weeks ago.
This is Sabrina and Nichole, withPastor Brad.  They both got baptized a couple weeks ago, and it was so fantastic!  One of my all-time favorite things about spending time in discipleship at our church is walking with people through baptism.  It is honoring…and tear-jerking.  God is so good.  He is so faithful.  He is so full of grace.