Sunday, October 2, 2016

How I got my groove back....

Hey Y'all!
Did you ever see the movie called "how stella got her groove back"? Today I'm gonna share how I got my groove back. I love teaching kindergarten and this summer, like many before this one, was a summer of unknown. Will I get to stay in K or will I be moved? Are numbers high enough? For most of the summer our numbers showed that I was moving grades. Then we hit teacher week, you know the week we go back and have meetings? I still couldn't make myself change classrooms. Then it happened... numbers finally got approved and I got to stay in K. I can't begin to tell you how much I LOVE this group of kids! They are funny and crazy and excited about learning!

During my time off this summer I did a LOT of blog reading.  I mean a lot... big kid blogs, pre k blogs, and everything in-between. I started getting excited about teaching again. By the time I got my class list, I was ready to be a teacher again. Yea I was really that close to leaving the profession. Y'all ever have those years??? I did and it sucked! But I learned from it. I learned that I have to be first.... yep you read that right. If I am not taking care of myself then I am going to get down and I might not get back up. I worked hard to loose 30 pounds and over the summer I started crossfit. It's no joke and I don't love getting up at 4am. But being healthy is a priority! But back to my groove ...

After all my reading this summer I am changing how I do my centers. I read a lot of Kim Adsit and Mr. Greg blogs and how they do centers. I LOVE how choice reigns supreme in there rooms! But honestly neither of their ways were a perfect fit. I'm not sure if anyone's way is a perfect fit to others. I am using parts of how they do centers that have been tweaked to fit me!


Let's start with a peek at what my district MADE for me!! Yes I just requested the shelves and this is the beauty their brought me. I already had the baskets.


First we are calling our centers neighborhoods and my center groups are being called "families". The families stay the same all year. The neighborhoods are marked by forest animals (this years theme) and I have 5 this year. And the room has hanging animals over the area. Also all choices in that neighborhood is marked with that animal.





The kids are going to be doing a must do and can do baskets. A must do basket is for 1 person to do and will based on Mr. Greg's differentiated baskets. The can do baskets can have 2 friends working the "games" in the basket.  They are also labeled with a #2. This tells the kids that 2 friends can work on what ever is in that basket.


Let's talk about these must do baskets. After reading and watching some of Mr. Greg's videos on centers and these baskets, I knew that I needed these in my room. That beautiful shelf that the district made me holds 24 baskets. There are 6 per color, but no more than 5 children per color. I have these color campers that I write the names of the children according to what color basket they get. This is how I differentiate! I love that I can group all of my according to what they need. For example, the blue group has several activities about shapes. They are working on telling the difference between square and rectangles.





Just look at how engaged these little ones are! And honestly, things couldn't be going any better!

And that is how I got my groove back! (if only I could get my blogging groove back)



Tuesday, June 14, 2016

What ya' thinking about?

Hey Y'all!
It's finally hotter than hell... with a ton of summer left... here in the south.  I love my summers off because I don't have to get out in the heat. ;) This week there have already been so many things that have gotten me thinking... I mean deep big world kind of thinking! So many things that I wish I could say but my momma taught me better. hehehe.

My heart is breaking for the men and women who lost their lives in Orlando. I can not imagine what a person must be like to kill that man folks! It makes me worried about our future. My prayers for those who lost loved ones.

This week is the first of two weeks of teacher training that I am doing with Arkansas A+. Many months ago we secured the rights to show a video by Dewitt Jones. He was a photographer for National Geographic and has created this movie about "Celebrate what's right with the world". Kind of um... timely given what is happening currently. I HIGHLY suggest that you look at it. Mr. Jones really shared his heart and reminded me why I choose to stay positive, even in times when life is dragging me down. There were so many things that he said that hit home. But it also set me on my own path of thinking.

I realized that I had lost the ability to celebrate what was right in my classroom.  I was being pulled down by all that was wrong... learners are too low, student behavior, and the demands placed on working in a high needs school. I was no longer looking for the things we could celebrate. I had lost my passion and that was a choice! I sat as we watched this video and thought about how easy it was to be so unhappy once the choice had been made not to celebrate. Mr. Jones has a unique perspective that really hit home. He talked about a time he was sent to an area to photograph a field. When he got there he was frustrated at the lighting or the field or what ever that day and he decided to leave and come back the next day... but the next day became the next week. When he returned the field had lost the dandelions and had turned into the puffballs. He talked about how he almost left again but was drawn back to what he had been tasked to do... celebrate what was RIGHT in that field. So he changed his perspective and the photos that resulted were AMAZING!


I had a field but I was never able to do what he did. I couldn't get around to celebrating what was right... or what was going right . I couldn't see the beauty right in front of me. I know that this lesson I can learn and won't be stuck having to repeat it. Look at that beauty....

So this week is pretty amazing. I feel like I've been plugged into the mother ship and am being healed. I needed this. I needed this more than I knew. The faces, the conversations.... all are a tide that is helping me so much.  I have been able to show people my passion for technology in the classroom. But even better I have been able to help them celebrate what is right with technology and grow a deeper love for the potential. I feel like the puffball flower above... gosh it looks like it is ready to explode with potential. That is how I feel!

I still don't know what I am teaching and I sure can't plan anything BUT... and this is a big ol' wide BUT I am going to celebrate this time! This gift that was given to me to rest, recharge, and celebrate!


Friday, June 10, 2016

What ya' reading this summer?

Hey Y'all!

I've been on summer vacation for all of 5 days and I still can't believe that the summer time has finally arrived. This summer I have a couple of books that I want to read. But I also want to know what you are reading this summer. So here is my summer reading list....


I've already started 17000 Classroom Visists Can't be wrong and I'm in LOVE!!! This books would make a gear book study for a school or team. Since I am unsure of what I'll be teaching this year my view point has shifted from what I apply specifically to K to looking at the bigger picture. The authors actually suggest viewing this book through the lens of big picture first, specific to you second.

So tell me... what are you reading this summer?




Sunday, May 29, 2016

Closing up for the year....

Hey Ya'll!

WOW! Can this year really be over? And end this way? For the first time ever I am unsure of my teaching future. There are so many things swimming in my head and I'm not sure I want to spill them out of my head but I also don't know what to think.

Let's roll back time. This has been absolutely the hardest year in my teaching history. I had some of the hardest kids and the class dynamic was HORRIBLE. I taught "friendship" lessons right up to this last week! I've never had to do that. I've never deal with the attitudes that I did this year. Talk about an "oil and water" class. You couldn't break them up enough to keep the peace. EVERY time I had a sub my class went crazy and the sub would leave me a note saying how horrible the whole class was. My favorite note was the one where the sub said that she would pray for me because of how horrible my class was. And that she would NEVER sub at our school again. Oh yea! My kids ran off a sub. I can't begin to say how many times I cried and cried over things that I knew I would never get to change. Here is the break down of this year.... 20 kids (I started with 21). 7 of them were girls... of the girls 3 had MAJOR attitude issues. I'm talking teenage mean girls kind of attitude. One little one started the school year with answering a question with "bitch please". Yep that was how my year started with the girls. Then there were the boys. 14 boys who were ALL boy! Of those 14 boys, 4 of them received behavior services for aggressive behavior (one of them came from a behavior based pre k). Then you have those with ADHD. Or the ones who's parents refuse to see that their child needs help... stomping your foot and throwing things is NOT a normal reaction 173 days into the school year. But heaven knows I couldn't get anyone to hear me.

I won't go into the attendance issues or the fact that this was the LOWEST group of children I have ever worked with. The year ended with one child still not being able to identify the letters in their name. They learned to write that name around February, but mom wouldn't let us test. I promise you this child has a processing issue but I can't get mom to do anything. UGH! We fought in our building being a distressed school and were questioned on EVERY thing we did. We were forced to write ridiculously long lesson plans... which took away from me being able to research or look for help for my struggling kids. And yet every chance we had teachers were scolded for not moving kids farther. I mean really! UGH!

And then we were emailed that there would be staffing changes next year. There is a really good chance that I won't know what I'm teaching until late summer. And that I might not be in K. I have not been quiet that I want to move to pre k, but I doubt that will happen unless I look for work elsewhere. So how do I feel about changing grades? Not sure. Some moments I think that I would be happy moving but then I start to panic. I love working with the little ones, but is it time for a change? UGH! I'm really not sure about all of this. And worse is that I am such a planner and not being able to do that has me worried. We are also on the states distressed school list and get lots of suggestions and people watching what we do. I fear that if I move grades in a critical year with the state watching every move we make that I won't have the ability to make mistakes. Like I have no room to breath or be creative. This is where the fear comes from. 

Honestly, there has been a lot this year that has forced me to a place where I am almost unsure of who I am. I remember once hearing that so and so had a mid life crisis and I thought... really? a mid life crisis. They must not have been very sure of themselves. And here I sit wondering if I am having the same thing happen. No I'm not out buying sports cars or chatting down men. But I do wonder who I am or better who I want to be this second half of my life. And no a potential grade change isn't the only thing that has me thinking this. I started loosing weight in February and am 32 pounds lighter than I was on Valentines day. That is enough of a loose that I don't recognize myself in mirrors. I mean if I'm standing there looking, yes I know it's me. But say I'm at a public bathroom and catch a sideway look at the mirror. I have to take a second look to see who it is. That my friends is a little unnerving. And I've had to downsize ALL my clothes! So I'm trying to limp to the end of the school year on 1 pair of work pants, that are really too big and that I have to wash nightly. I'm wearing a size that I haven't worn since before my kids were born, and I am able to walk in to Old Navy and buy clothes. All of this is SO different, not bad, just different and it's enough to make me off kilter.

Don't get me wrong, I love this. I love what is happening to my body and lifestyle. But I am not one who does change well. And I feel like there has been almost too much change thrown at me at one time. You also have to know that NOT a single coping mechanism that I used to use can I use now. That is dr pepper and surgery sweets are out, so I'm struggling to find balance without them. I don't write all of this for anyone to feel sorry for me. I need a place to process and this is it.


Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Changes....

UGH! Change is not my friend. My friend Alice LOVES change... lives for it. Me not so much. So teaching in a district where everything is in upheaval this time of year is a nightmare for me! And then the news happens... district cuts classrooms. I am so thankful that we have teachers retiring out of our building but when your heart is in early childhood education (think Pre K and K) and you are told that unless we get a section back that you will be moving to upper el you panic. Then cry. Then talk to everyone you know who teaches that grade. Then cry some more. And then you reach were I am.

And where is that? Well it's somewhere between the rock called "you can't change a damn thing" and "get over it". So what do you do when you find yourself in that valley? Once the tears dry up you start moving forward desperately looking for all the good things for moving to that grade level. You pick up the pieces that you left all over the floor and you try to be more like Alice.

So as of now, I am most likely not teaching K next year. I'll be changing grades. No I don't want to really, but there are possibilities. LOTS and lots of possibilities. I was once told that life is like a chess game. Each day you get to re position your pieces according to what changes have happened. I guess when it is all said and done, that is where I am. I am looking at pieces and trying to decide my next move.

If you are in my same boat, I feel ya. It's hard, it stinks, and it can feel like the world is working against you. But at the end of the day I am still as awesome as I was yesterday. That doesn't change. And if you are facing a grade change, one you didn't ask for, let me say this. I know we can do this. I know we can teach ANY thing! I believe in you... even if right now you don't feel it.


Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Hands on Math


Hey Y'all!

Counting to 100 by ones is probably the standard that makes me the MOST crazy!! Listening to children count to 100 is worse than watching paint dry, or having bamboo shoots shoved under your finger nails. Ok maybe not that bad but close, ok? So I've been trying to come up with ways to practice without having to count count.

This is one of the actives we do. I hand each little 5-6 cards. Then we build a numbers chart. I could really tell the children who understand numbers and the patterns that numbers make compared to those who can just rote count and hold no understanding.





Another activity that we do is called count around the circle. I choose a range of numbers (1-10, 1-20,  20-30, etc) and tell the students the starting and ending numbers. Then each child says one number.  When I teach this I always start and I prompt students if needed. I start the first week of school, and it's only counting 1-5. The student who has the end number of the set sits down after they say there number. I LOVE this activity because my squirmy worms can wiggle without bothering others... and I can tell in a heartbeat who knows the number set we are practicing. ;)

Hope this gets you excited and you can use these two ideas in your classroom!

Monday, April 11, 2016

Walk for the Waiting...

Hey Y'all!
It is a BEAUTIFUL sunny Sunday afternoon and I am chilling on the deck. But something is weighing on my heart. Children who do not have a forever home. I was adopted at birth and have never known a foster family or been part of the foster system, but just knowing that children are out there without the support of parents who love them unconditionally breaks my heart.

So here I am, on a beautiful day asking for money... I am asking that you would sponsor me as I complete the Walk for the Waiting Walk.  More information and the ability to donate can be found here:

https://www.walkforthewaiting.org/karenday




Help organizations like Project Zero help children in our foster system!


Sunday, April 10, 2016

Ladies Alive... thoughts and more

Hey Y'all!
Wow!!! Oh wow! Today was AdvoCare's Ladies Alive event. It was amazing... empowering... life changing. For most of my life I've been over weight, and honestly I ignored it but not living. I can think of more events that I did not attend because I didn't want to admit that my weight was an issue. Events that I didn't attend for fear that I might have to walk any kind of distance and heaven help us talk while I walked. I hid. And then I was embarrassed that I hid, so I hid some more. Great cycle to fall into!!! 

Then AdvoCare found me. First I watched my friend who struggled to have a child, get healthy, loose weight, and be blessed with a baby! I watched as she lost the baby weight. Then I decided I was done watching. My turn!!! 

Fo' real. I hit a point where holding on to the embarrassment and weight was too much. Learning to talk about me and where I was emotionally was not easy. Oh batman is it hard! Even as I'm sharing this I keep thinking that I don't want to share. One of the nuggets I walked away with today is not to let fear stop you. Turn your fear into fight. 

Y'all! I am full of fear. Full of it. It's scary to share my heart. I don't want to be hurt. I don't want to be rejected. But this is too important. I'm too important. And so are you!!

My biggest hope is that I can impact the lives of others but I can't do that if I am scared all the time. I am the reason that I have not been successful and I plan to change that. I hope that my kinder teachers and other teachers who read my blog understand why I am adding my AdvoCare coaching to the posts here. Being a healthy teacher means SO much. It means having so much more to give to our students and then having enough so that our personal family isn't getting the left overs. I don't want my children to get my emotional left overs! I want them to be just as front and center as my classroom children. I want my husband to get as much love as anyone else in my life. And sadly, he is the last on the list. And my children aren't far above him.

I didn't have enough to give. I was empty and pulling out emotional left overs for my family. And then the gift of AdvoCare found me! I have so much more now. I have more energy and my emotional bank doesn't get to empty as quickly. During this weekend, I learned that I am not alone in this. I am not the only one out there handing out left overs. And I bring this here because I don't want you to be left with nothing to give.

I also don't want to be all used car salesman either, but I need to say this..... if you have never tried a SPARK I need to get one into your hands. I need to give you this gift of not running on left overs. But to tell you that it is here makes me sound less like a teacher friend and more like slick Joe from over at It Can Be Yours Used Cars. So if you would indulge me... if you have never had a SPARK and would like to try one. I would like to put one in your hand.  Click the link in the picture and fill out the form and a spark will be on it's way to you!






Monday, April 4, 2016

20 pounds! a journey beginning....

Hey Y'all!

I hope that you are making your day AWESOME! I wanted to share a little bit about my weight loss journey. I've always been chunky. From rolley chunky monkey baby, to round teen, to even rounder adult. I renamed it to "fluffy" because one of my students said that hugging me was like hugging a HUGE fluffy teddy bear. Fluffy goes down easier than fat. And it's not like I've just sat by and did nothing... I've been a member of weight watchers, gotten "meals in the mail", limited myself to the "pink drink", done low carb, did Adkins, gone to the gym and killed myself. You would think that fluffy wouldn't be in my vocabulary, and defiantly not my body shape.

I learned something recently, it's not just eat right and exercise. There are pieces that our bodies need... amino acids, omega 3 oils, etc.. that I NEVER added to my life. Heck most of my life I didn't even take a multi vitamin. When we "out grew" Flinstone's I was done with daily vitamins. When I was preggo it was a nightmare to remember to take those horse pills!

So how is it that I have come to writing this post? It sure wasn't to share my faults. About a year ago my friend April did this thing called a 24 day challenge. I remember being excited for her, and maybe if I'm really honest a little jealous. I was so happy for her but at the same time I wished it for me. That year she got pregnant, after years and years of trying. I truly think that the changes she made during that 24 day challenge had a lot to do with the sweet baby boy she now has.

Then this January she mentioned that she was going to do the 24 day challenge again, and she asked if I wanted to. I said no, but something in my kept thinking about that challenge. I kept wondering why she would go back to it. What made it different? So I asked. After many conversations, I decided that I would do the February 15 challenge. I will never for get the day that my AdvoCare box arrived. I studied the booklet, took TONS of notes from conversations with April (who was my coach). I thought I was ready for this challenge, and then prep day hit.

February 14 should be a day full of love, instead I spent most of it on the kitchen floor crying. I hate to cook, and I thought the mister was going to be more supportive than he was that day. Overwhelmed and ready to quit before I even got started, I laid on my kitchen floor and cried. I was so frustrated. I still tear up thinking about it. My expectations were slammed against reality and it was not pretty! I never felt as low as I did that afternoon. But something changed laying there on the floor. I got mad. I mean kick the wall kind of mad! I was mad at the mister, I was mad at me, I was mad that this was SO difficult! And I got up. With tears running down my face, I prepped meals for the week. I prepped snacks for the week. And I got my self ready to walk this journey.


So 21 days in to the 24 days I had lost 11 pounds. The now picture was taken that day. I was shocked to see the pictures side by side. Look closely at the face. I really think that all 11 pounds came from my face and neck! The me in the now picture was full of energy. The before me would get tired in the afternoon, would run out of steam, and "veg" after work rather than being productive. But that has all changed!

If you've gotten this far, first thank you- spilling all your heart has isn't easy. Today I have lost 20 total pounds. I didn't measure this morning. Honestly it didn't cross my mind until now. But since Feb 15 I have lost 17 pounds, that includes a week on a cruise ship with an all you can eat buffet of food 24/7. So much has changed. I have so much more energy, and not the inflated kind you get from energy drinks. I am able to make good choices about food. I've not had a Dr Pepper since the beginning of February. Stop and take that in for a minute.... no Dr Pepper. None. Not one drop! That alone is huge! I am learning to like going to the gym, I loved riding the bike on the cruise ship. I would have to come home with a bladder infection and have to "rest" for a week. I am also learning about cooking. I don't love it. But I can cook and I'm getting to where it isn't a chore. Of course the mister loves to cook, so he is SUPER protective of his kitchen.

In the coming days, I will share about AdvoCare. I have decided to be a wellness coach for AdvoCare. I can't wait to help others be like me!! I have a whole buch of posts planned about the different things that I use each day. I know that AdvoCare has a product for everyone: weight loss, energy, performance, and wellness!

If you have been thinking about using AdvoCare but didn't know where to get it, here is my link (and you get me as a coach- bonus!) bit.ly/karenslink Or you can email me and I'll get back to you. I am so excited to be able to share the new me with everyone out there!


Sunday, April 3, 2016

Foodie Friday....

Hey Y'all!
I was looking for a way to reenergize myself and my kids when I remembered how much fun it was to teach K when we were not so academically driven. Back in the time of dress up and dramatic play also lived a little thing called cooking. We cooked weekly and the kids tried all kinds of new foods. But like house keeping, cooking also went away.

I decided to bring it back and man oh man was it a hit!! There are some rules to be part of foodie Friday. You can not have your card on yellow or red that day. Yep, you can sit and watch. This is meant to help with behavior and I promise you that kids do not want to miss out!

So this week was our first week and we made dirt and worms. Here is how we did it.

1. dump your pudding cup into a small bowl (I have the children's dishes from IKEA- no excess waist and I can pop all of it in the dishwasher on Friday afternoon!)
2. add 1 scoop of "dirt" to the top. (crushed up oreos- I did this at home)
3. Add 2 sour gummy worms.
4. enjoy!

The shopping list for this one was SUPER easy. I got everything at Walmart. Here is what you need

* pudding cups (1 for each little in your room. I got the kind that were 4 for a $1).
*1 package "generic" brand oreos
* sour gummy worms.

Yep that was all it took. The kids had the BEST time making it but a better time eating! They are already guessing what we will make next.

Here are a few pictures of us eating our creations.


Can't wait for next week!!!

One word... do you have one?

Until this year my one word was SO easy to come up with. It would hit me as I reflected on my life, the closing of one year and the opening of another. Last year my word was transparent. I feel that I needed to be more open. I tend to be very private in person. Not normally the one you see hanging out with large groups of people, although I have a HUGE personality.

This year the word did come as easily. As a matter of fact, I'm still not sure that the word I think is what I'm being lead to is really my word.


My word is fearless. I'm still wrestling with this word. It has so many meanings. There are SO many parts of my life that "fearless" is a 4 letter word in. As much as I love writing and telling my story, I am also very private with a small close circle of friends. So the idea of living this year "fearless" is well wild!

I'm still trying to figure out this word and how it is my guiding life this year. I do know that it is pushing me in ways I didn't know possible. I am so excited about this year and wanted to share about my one word (a little late... :) )

Saturday, April 2, 2016

Helloooooo.... is anyone out there?

I know that I have to win the prize as world most inconsistent blogger. Honestly, I got caught in a trap of comparing myself with others... other blogs, other TPT sellers, others in general and kind of hit a place where blogging wasn't fun. I want all that I do to be fun. So I'm taking back my blog... lol. I pledge to have fun in all I do... and guess what? I've had A LOT of fun recently.

First of all this is the time in K where things are clicking, normally (we will get to that later). And we just had spring break (hello Caribbean! I already miss Jamaica and Grand Cayman and Cozumel!)  OMG! Did I have a great vacation. And I was so proud of myself on that cruise... more on that later.

The only downer is that I came home with a bladder infection. YUCK! I can't begin to tell you how much that took it out of me. UGH! But with the help of the Med Express doctors I am feeling human again!

So I got caught up in that whole everyone out there is way better or can get ideas out there better spiral. I love reading blogs, but I'm starting to feel like teacher blogging has become a "business" and I'm not sure I like that. I kind of miss the unpolished -ness of the blogs I fell in love with. I think that is part of what turned me off to blogging. I loved the stories and the feeling that I was part of a community of teachers struggling together. You know that it's 4pm and your makeup is half gone from a full day of being with kinder kids and you don't mind that you are unpolished because you are "keeping" it real.

I'm going back to that. It's just me. Lack of polish and all. But I'm getting ok with that in lots of areas of my life. I just wanted to see if anyone was still out there reading this. I hope that you are. I miss you all!

Just so you know I can be followed at blog lovin' by clicking the icon on the right. My instagram is also a little kinder and I have a Facebook group page as well. I hope that you are still following me and check out those other ways to see me.... honestly instagram is where I spend the most time (i.e. post the most)

Make today awesome!


Tuesday, January 12, 2016

How much do you love what you do?

Hey Y'all!
That title is SUCH a loaded question these days. How much do you love what you do?



Mic drop... silence... uncomfortable silence... where do we go from here.....

This weekend I was confronted with a Facebook post from Kim over at Kindergals. The picture said something like "can you love your job, but hate going back to work on Monday?" And I realized something, I don't like to share the bad or the ugly. And the fug-ly, well you are NEVER going to see that. So what happens, why am I even talking about this?

This whole thing actually started on instagram with someone being suzie sunshine and posting about being super stoked about going back to work after the break. And a teacher feeling guilty because she was having a rough year and didn't really want to go back to work after the break, asked if something was wrong with her.

Wait! Hold the phone... my jaw hit the floor! How on earth could a teacher ask if something was wrong with her/ him because she/ he wasn't feeling warm fuzzies about going back to work after a holiday!! And I began to worry that being positive and never shown the bad or ugly... or heaven help us the fug-ly... was setting someone up with misconceptions.

Y'all, I wish that I could transport you into my classroom and see all the imperfections (just look at that table- glad you can't see under it!). I wish that I could put you inside my thoughts to see all that I hid from. If I wasn't so scared that my blog posts weren't up to par then I would blog more! Yep... there I said it! And the same is true with my TPT products. I make TONS of things for my kids, but I don't have the understanding of how to link in a PDF to fulfill some artists TOU. So instead of putting out something that might be useful, I keep it to myself. Yep, really. I've been working on sentence builders and readers since early December for the month of January. We are using them in my room, but I can't get them "sparkly" enough to feel like they would work on TPT.



This is EXACTLY how this teacher was feeling!! She had "that" class this year and didn't want to go back and face starting over. I've been there. I've walked those same steps! I've cried in the school parking lot and made myself sick Sunday night with anticipation of the week to come. That year for me, the one which would drive most teachers out of the classroom, happened about 5 years ago. And if I told you how horrible it was, you wouldn't believe me! I promise the stories sound made up, but they are real. And that year we had 3 principals (one changed schools right before school started, one left in January due to health concerns, and we ended the year with a temporary/ sub principal). Cross my heart, I am not making this up.

But that year was also a game changer for me. I learned who I could really lean on. I mean those teachers or family or friends who were going to be there when the bottom dropped out. I also learned that I am a lot better than I thought. Yea I kind of got my swagger that year. ;) Not gonna lie, it was rough... you would have to call it a fug-ly year. Maybe even fug-ly times 10! Yea, good times. Thinking back, I wouldn't give up that year for ANYTHING! That year grew me.

So I asked, how much do you love what you do? Me, I can't picture myself doing anything other than teaching. This job is hard, and this school year falls into the bad side- at least the first part does. But I know what these years mean, look for the lesson. It's there. What am I supposed to learn? What things are growing in my teaching? What is "wrong" that needs to be changed? (not bad wrong but more of a not working wrong- like you are never going to make a square block fit into a round hole kind of wrong) Once I start looking for the questions, the answers usually follow quickly.

What does that mean for those who are struggling? Here is what I think. I think that you should never feel guilty about not wanting to be subjected to something that is negative. I know what that is like and it's part of the reason that I don't "vent" here (or I try not to). But I don't want anyone to ever think it's all roses over here. There are days that I have to channel my inner Steward Smalley (of SNL fame).

So bottom line... I think you can love what you do but dread Monday.  I think that you can be going through a horrible year but still love teaching. I think that if we are not careful we can create a situation where we are not real. I'm not saying complain or whine or vent all the time. But be real. Realize that others are watching, others don't see the bad or ugly. They see this polished and "media" ready classroom. They are not necessarily seeing the kid that is picking his nose and wiping it on the child next to him. Yep that happened today... right in the middle of a writing lesson and I lost EVERY child to the point that starting over was the only way to get everyone back on track. So a little GoNoodle and we are back at our lesson. That my friends is the real world, and it happens behind all the beautifully staged photos and planned blog posts or Instagram pictures. And I have decided to be ok with sharing that... my real world. I hope that you keep it real with me.