Monday, May 31, 2010
Thursday, May 27, 2010
When I was in Haiti for spring break the missionaries there invited me to return to Haiti to teach English to the high school students and the orphans at the children's home. I thought it was a fantastic idea and told them I would pray about it. After many questions and much prayer, I have committed to spending the 2010-2011 school year in Gramothe, Haiti. There are still a few things that need to happen for me to actually leave for Haiti in August--such as raising support and finding a foster family for my dog--but I believe God is calling me leave my comfortable life here to spend a year serving with Mountain Top Ministries.
I'll post more information in the coming days.
Wednesday, May 26, 2010
...summer vacation begins in less than 48 hours.
...I am ready for the work drama to be over.
...I have two days left to make a difference in the lives of my students.
...I love these kids so much!
...my teaching days at JYMS are over. I may never work there again.
...I wish I could stretch the next two days out for week or two.
...my heart aches thinking about how much I will miss my kids.
...my life will never be the same.
Thursday, May 20, 2010
Saturday, May 15, 2010
My friend Amy sent me an e-mail with this quote from the Talmud. I love it! My first summer project is to make a giant print for my living room wall with this quote.
Wednesday, May 12, 2010
In case I've never told you, I am not a fan of Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels or his buddy State Superintendent of Schools Tony Bennett. In fact, they both rank pretty high on my "People I'd like to Punch in the Nose" list. When it comes time to elect the next Superintendent of Schools in Indiana, I implore you to vote for whoever is running against Tony. I'm not joking. While I have long since decided to campaign for Tony's competition, today's events only added to my dislike for the man.
As part of our professional development today, we watched a speech he gave at some point in the last month. (I couldn't find the video online; otherwise I would provide you a link.) The talk he gave was about Response to Intervention (RtI) and the framework the state is creating for schools to use. RtI is an excellent way of keeping kids from falling through the cracks of public education. I think RtI will be very effective once schools are able to get some interventions in place. Anyway, I think Tony's aim with this speech was to get teachers on board with RtI and to convince educators that we need to create a culture of excellence within our schools, which was a really good idea.
The problem came when Dr. Bennett started talking. First there was the fairly significant grammatical error. During the first few minutes of his speech, Tony says that educators "are here for one word and one word only: student learning." Really, Tony? You have a doctorate. You were speaking to educators who not only understand standard grammar, but value it.
The more significant distraction to his message was his arrogance. After declaring that student learning should be the reason for everything we do as educators, Tony outlined his plan to have the best educational system in the United States. To be the best. What were his reasons for desiring the number one spot? First he cited his extreme competitive nature. He has to win. Then he added, "I want the other 49 states to look at Indiana and wonder what we have that they don't." He made it quite clear he wants the title "best." Not once did he mention student learning, achievement, or growth as reasons we should actively seek to cultivate a culture of excellence. Mostly he wants to look good.
But what really sets me over the edge about Dr. Tony Bennett is the way he implies that teachers don't care about student learning and don't set high standards for their students. He looks down his nose at classroom teachers and talks about us as if we are the laziest people he's ever met. I work my butt off to teach and serve my students. I set high standards, and I expect my students to make progress--regardless of their race, socioeconomic status, or unstable home lives. While there is definitely room for improvement in our state statistics, it wouldn't hurt the man to make an effort at recognizing the good teachers are already doing.
Monday, May 10, 2010
Saturday night Jen and I went shopping for some "essential" supplies at Michael's. All I have to say is this: It's a good thing they closed when they did. Otherwise, we both would have been in trouble. Apparently I needed some pipe cleaners, so when we got home, I made Jen a very cool crown. Then I made myself one. We clearly needed a picture of my masterpieces, so we embarked on a mostly hilarious (mostly on Jen's part) picture taking process. Here is the progression of shots.
Finally we made some progress and took a decent picture.
Saturday, May 8, 2010
I Choose Love..
No occasion justifies hatred; no injustice warrants bitterness. I choose love. Today I will love God and what God loves.
I Choose Joy...
I will invite my God to be the God of circumstance. I will refuse the temptation to be cynical…the tool of the lazy thinker. I will refuse to see people as anything less than human beings, created by God. I will refuse to see any problem as anything less than an opportunity to see God.
I Choose Peace...
I will live forgiven. I will forgive so that I may live.
I Choose Patience...
I will overlook the inconveniences of the world. Instead of cursing the one who takes my place, I'll invite him to do so. Rather than complain that the wait is too long, I will thank God for a moment to pray. Instead of clenching my fist at new assignments, I will face them with joy and courage.
I Choose Kindness...
I will be kind to the poor, for they are alone. I will be kind to the rich, for they are afraid. And kind to the unkind, for such is how God has treated me.
I Choose Goodness...
I will go without a dollar before I take a dishonest one. I will be overlooked before I will boast. I will confess before I will accuse. I choose goodness.
I Choose Faithfulness...
Today I will keep my promises. My debtors will not regret their trust. My associates will not question my word. My spouse will not question my love.
I Choose Gentleness....
Nothing is won by force. I choose to be gentle. If I raise my voice, may it be only in praise. If I clench my fist, may it only be in prayer. If I make a demand, may it only be of myself.
I Choose Self-Control...
I am a spiritual being. After this body is dead, my spirit will soar. I refuse to let what will rot rule the eternal. I choose self-control. I will be drunk only by joy. I will be impassioned only by my faith. I will be influenced only by God. I will be taught only by Christ. I choose self-control.
Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. To these I commit my day. If I succeed, I will give thanks. If I fail, I will seek His grace. And then, when this day is done, I will place my head on my pillow and rest.
Tuesday, May 4, 2010
This week is National Teacher Appreciation Week. In the past it hasn't really been a big deal. The superintendent writes a letter saying how we are hard working and how much he appreciates us. Generally the PTA has brought us lunch one day during the week. Two years that stand out are the time the Superintendent hand delivered a jump drive to me in my classroom and the following year when I received a USB hub with the district insignia etched on the front.
This Teacher Appreciation Week, however, has been ah-may-zing! Our PTA provided breakfast on Monday, gave us a Chick-fil-a coupon on Tuesday, and put a "Survival Kit" in our mailboxes for Wednesday. Thursday should bring another surprise in our mailboxes, and they've planned a lunch from Papa Vino's on Friday. They are knocking themselves out this year! And to top it all off, everyday this week Chick-fil-a is giving a free sandwich to any teacher who stops by with a lanyard or school ID.
Join my amazing PTA and Chick-fil-a in showing your appreciation for teachers this week!