Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Support is Important.....

 I'll never forget the story I was told about a mother that was upstairs sewing.  Her daughter came home and panicked when she didn't find her mother right away as she walked in the door.  "MOM", she yelled.
     Her mother walked to the top of the stairs and explained, I'm upstairs sewing.  What do you need?  Instant relief filled her young daughter.  
     "Nothing", she said, "I couldn't find you." 
      "Well, I"m right here if you need me."
       Her daughter smiled as she went to the kitchen to get a snack and called her friend, then tended to her homework.  But was that true? She needed nothing?  No. She needed to know that her mother was there.  It's a comfort just to know that there is someone there for you even though we may not need them to do anything.  I love this story as an example of that quiet support and confidence we can give our own families, friends and the children that we are teaching.  
     I want to acknowledge support that I'm given daily.  
     There's the young reading intervention teacher across the hall that comes over to check on me and connect with the students in my classroom so that we know, if there's ever trouble, we have another safe place to be.  
     There are my own four daughters that call just to say "hi", especially when they haven't heard from me for a few days.  
     There's the emails of support and positive energy from my childhood friend.  We'll be friends for life because we make a choice to be there and support each other. We cry through the tough times and celebrate the good. 
     There's Two Writing Teachers blog that is there to create conversations, reflections and innovative ideas that help support teachers do the very best job they can teaching writing to kids.
I love my daughters!
     Your quiet support means a lot to people in your life, you just may not always know or understand your influence.  


Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Grandma turns 100 years old!

I'm 58 years old. I'm a little over half the age of my grandmother.  She turned 100 years old this December and this was a reason to celebrate!  My grandma, Wynola, Nola or as the great grandkids call her, little grandma is a woman that I admire, love and appreciate.  

The qualities that I remember about her as I was growing up are still alive and strong in my grandmother.  I realized this Saturday just how very lucky I am to have such a beautiful woman in my life.  As a child, I remember her warm hugs, sweet treats and the time she took to just sit and talk to me.  She always cared about what was going on in my life.  She still does. She told me just this weekend how she loved to hear my laughter and what a wonderful teacher I am. I seem to turn into a small child again when I'm in her presence, one that feels safe and warm in the knowledge of what it feels like to be loved unconditionally.  Seeing her interact and teasing my granddaughter about her pink boots made me jealous and want to be 3 years old again.    

I had fun this weekend watching my grandmother make everyone else smile and laugh. She says she's ready for the next 100 years. 

My Grandma, Aunt and Granddaughter
Happy Birthday Grandma!

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

When things move beyond your control.... You still have choices.

The air in the principals office was stifling.  We both knew why we were called there.  All thee of us shifted nervously in our chairs.  There had been talk of a change and as special education teachers we were always at the mercy of the numbers of children identified as having a learning disability.  Last year, we were safe, we had 30 students.  That was enough to keep two staff members.  This year it was worrisome.  We had students move over the summer, not many new students and even had students testing out of services (yeah!).

So, when we were called into the principals office in October, it wasn't really a surprise because our numbers were down to only 15 students.  I knew there was another building in the district with 45 students and two teachers.  I had heard rumors and so I had been thinking seriously about it.  I had done some investigating.  This other school was working towards an inclusion model, and I loved that philosophy for kids.  I knew and liked many of the teachers that worked there.  Don't get me wrong, I loved, loved the school I was at.  I fought to get an interview there and it had been my home.  I enjoyed the staff and the leadership there.  But, my thinking was that I am close to retiring and the other teacher there was just beginning.  I should volunteer, I told myself.  I know I have seniority, but it would make more sense for me to move.  This was my thinking before we were called into the principals office that breezy, cool day at the beginning of October.

"I'll do it," I said simply.  "I'll move schools."  Thus began my month of change. To try and express my feelings about it would be a list of contradictions.  It's sad, invigorating frustrating, rewarding, confusing and enlightening all at the same time.   One feeling that remains steady and without contradiction is the feeling of gratitude.  I'm grateful for all the appreciation, support and patience that each school has shown me.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Disaster Can Bring Unity!

What is it they say about opposition in life?  If you have no downs in your life then you won't appreciate the ups? 

Last Friday night, I was awakened at around 1:00 a.m. by what sounded like hail pounding my roof as if 100 bass drummers were practicing above me.  I went to my window to look outside when I saw that the noise was not hail but lightning, thunder and an onslaught of rain so heavy that I now understood the idiom sheets of rain.  It was coming down hard and fast and I actually saw things floating in my back yard. I looked towards the fence and saw what looked like a waterfall in my backyard. I blinked a couple times… nope….not dreaming.

Then I raced to look out the front window I saw what looked like a river going down the street in front of my house. Wow. I gathered my raincoat and sandals and went to the back to get a closer look.  It was cold, wet and even a little dangerous when I realized the speed at which the water going through the yard.

Well, there was nothing I could do but wait out the storm and see what damage I had in the morning. 

As I got up in the morning, I joined my neighbors as we looked around, shared our stories and commiserated about the storm and it's after effects. 

There was something comforting in knowing that I had neighbors that could relate, understand and share in my experience. We shared our stories and even laughed about some of the things that happened.  My 80 year old neighbor was telling about how he wanted to get his canoe out and go for a paddle.  

Here's where my waterfall was coming through and knocked
down the retaining wall!

Tuesday, June 3, 2014



Waking up to my day, I yawn, stretch and blink my eyes.  Checking my phone to see that it's only 6:00 a.m.  Its summer, but I can't go back to sleep.

 I think about what I'll do today, but I still can't seem to get in a groove.  I think I feel differently about summer than my colleagues with children still at home.  It's a difficult transition for me without the hustle and bustle of my school schedule.   I see the light starting to peek through the curtains and decide to read my book, a guilty pleasure, Odd Apocalypse.  

I check my phone.  8:00 a.m.  Take a shower, make the bed.    I can't read all day.  I need a summer project.  Heading to the car, I get in and see where it takes me.   Automatic pilot finds the car heading to the local nursery.  It's quiet when I arrive because they are just opening up.  The owner gives me a chirpy, cheerful greeting and  I feel myself getting lost in beautiful colors and cool green plants.  It feels peaceful here as I walk along and feel myself drawn to the rows and rows of vegetables. What about this?   This could be my project!  

Back home now, I'm researching gardening, composting, healthy recipes and planning trips to visit my children and grandchildren.  I just needed a little jump start and now I don't think I'll mind waking up at 6:00 a.m. because I have so much to do!


Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Thanks E.B. White

Thanks E.B. White

I love this quote by the author of Charlotte's Web, Stuart Little and The Trumpet of the Swan. Thanks for the sweet lessons from these stories.  Lessons that have taught me how every individual is special and unique.  Thanks for showing me the value in persistence and of standing up for your strong beliefs.     
Instead of one little word, I'm going to incorporate this quote into my summer.  
My circle of friends has widened since starting on my journey as a slice of life writer.  I want to expand and continue those friendships as I experience my few months of summer. I'm going to add to E.B White's quote.  Not only a true friend but also collaborator to my thinking this summer. 
I love it that I have a calm direction that helps me move towards becoming a better person, teacher and writer.  I'm going to put the brakes on this summer and stop, think, feel and perceive people and nature surrounding me.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014


Wow, I love words and I love birds.  

But, I don't like fast, which is why I'm not sure that tweeting is for me.  Last night I had an exhilarating hour of tweeting with the #TWTBlog.  I felt excited to be engaging with so many excellent thinkers and teachers, but I also felt a bit lost in the process.  Where's the question?  Where do I type in my tweet… what happened to my tweet?  Yikes! 

Now I'm finally seeing messages 3 hours later that I missed during that wild and woolly hour.  Was it an hour?  It seemed like only a few minutes had passed.  

I do feel inspired. I feel a sense of community with other people that have the same passion for excelling and helping children excel.  I am smiling. I feel empowered. I have a voice.  

I see where my students would benefit from such a dialogue. Their voices heard, immediate feedback, community and…. FUN!

Perhaps I just need more practice.  "tweet"