teaching

we’ll all float on :: being let go

written on 3/22/12

News of my co-worker being let go gave my stomach a turn.  On one hand, I don’t want this job to be my job next year but on the other hand, who are they to say if I get to be here or not?  I want to call the shots!

As I welcomed in my kindergarten kiddos and taught them about Claude Monet’s Waterlilies.   I talked about curved water lines, cool colors, and how to use the oil pastels but in my mind I thought about how my meeting will go at 3:15.  As silly as it sounds, I picture myself trying to be like the girls who are let go on The Bachelor.  Stay strong, don’t let them crack you.  Nod, smile, don’t say anything I can’t take back, and don’t give them the satisfaction of getting the best of me.  Be gracious and strong.  Save the sob story for the car ride home.  And even then, hold my head high.  It isn’t personal.  Well, it is but they don’t really know me so how can they really be the judge of me?  It’s business.  As a certified art teacher, I cost more than a para-educator does who will do my job for less.  I know that.  I also know that the kids won’t really get to know about Claude Monet next year.

Trusting that this closed door will be the best new beginning and that it is always darkest before the dawn.

written on 4/15/12

My meeting came and I held my head high.  I was let go.  Turns out our building leadership does not believe we can support a certified art teacher at our school.  I was told my performance as a teacher is outstanding, I have passion, if there is anything he can do to help me find another job…etc…  None of the information was news to me.  I asked hard questions and got the weak answers I expected.  I walked away knowing that this was meant to be and that the next two months left of the school year were going to be incredibly hard and very, very long.  And here I am a month later, still feeling the weight of the school year with one month left.  Still feeling the sting of being let go but also feeling a weight lifted knowing that I won’t have to make that hard choice of “should I go back next year?”  The decision was made for me.  There are a lot of uncertainties about the next few months but it doesn’t even seem to matter right now.  I will be home.  I will be with my baby girl!  I will be doing what I love most.  We will figure it out and we’ll all float on.


BTSN

Guys,

It wasn’t that bad.  I actually kinda had a little fun catching up with my co-workers and getting back into the groove.  We had meetings, we had lunch, we had time in our rooms.  It was all very familiar and comfortable.  Those are two good things for me when entering into a shift in circumstances.

Tomorrow will be a little longer with back-to-school night capping off the evening.  I’ve never had back-to-school night before school starts and I have also never had the same students consecutive years.  So, instead of tomorrow night being filled with fresh faces and strangers, it will be a lot like hanging out with old pals when I see the whole school of students.  Not bad.


the last day and kinder thoughts

Today was our official last day of school.  Our field day came and went without a hitch besides the brief lightning but no rain delay.  I worked with Kindergarten (gasp!) in the morning and afternoon (gasp!) and loved it (gasp!).  I was honestly a little emotional today watching those particular kids walk across the little white bridge for their kindergarten graduation today.  I cracked up at their future life ambitions and kindergarten advice as read by their teachers while they were introduced.  Among the mix were doctor, dentist, cop, ninja, princess, McDonald’s worker, football player, teacher, paleontologist, person who blows up buildings, and sign holder.  The best advice usually had to do with not hitting others, keeping a hug and bubble in the hallway, and not moving their clip to red.  Excellent life advice.

Even after an evening of convincing myself that it is indeed summer, I still can’t believe it.  I have a feeling tomorrow, when I drive away from school for the last time until August, reality might start to set in.  I can do whatever I want.  Amazing and unbelievable…I am so very grateful.


sorta summer

Just stopping in to say howdy and that today was my last day of teaching for this school year.  Sure, yea…we have a few more days at school but students won’t be in art any more this year.  Can we all just pause and all do a little crazy happy dance right now?  I mean, for real.  Slide that chair back from the desk and wiggle a little for me.  There, doesn’t that feel good!  I know many other teacher peeps out there still have some time left in the school year but I will be happy to do a jig when your time comes as well.  Summer is such a magnificent thing that I surely won’t take for granted any time soon since I have been on the other end of the no-summer stick the past few years.  Two and half months of summer bliss.  Ahhh.

In the meantime, it is 11:57pm and my throat is feeling scratchy and my body a little achey.  We have field day plus rain forecasted for tomorrow so I need to take care but instead just started a baby shower project/painting for a co-worker.  I may have forgotten about that shower after school tomorrow.  I could just give her a gift card but that would just be responsible and not ME.  So, back to the paint.


bits of my weekend, vol. 1

This weekend started out crazy with our school dance on Friday night.  It was a fun luau with lots of improv dancing.  I even won a prize.  I didn’t have any specific plans for the rest of the weekend so I got to catch up on sleep and avoid putting away my laundry.  Dan had to work on Saturday so I wasted the day away.  I was much more productive today while Dan had fun on the slopes with his buddy at A-Basin.  I used up several gift cards starting at Starbucks, stopping at a spa to get my legs waxed (some gals prefer massages but I prefer to get the hair ripped out of my legs!) and ending at Wal-Mart for an exchange plus a  plant and some cool turquoise nail polish.  The weather was awesome and while I was working in the garden, Dan called to see if it was cool for Chris and Rachel to come for dinner.  We cleaned up a bit and grilled out tonight for the first time this season.  We also ended the chilly evening on the deck with our chiminea and some cold puppies.

I’ve got some crazy fun times coming my way including Tuesday being my last day with students.  I am all kinds of excited although I can’t quite wrap my brain around having so much free time.  Thing for next week are brewing and I will surely share as things unfold.  In the meantime, I still have blog posts promised and school things for the rest of this week but I’m trying my best to sit back and enjoy the ride.


origami & running around like a chicken with my head cut off

ack…Today began a little on the late side.  In addition to hitting the snooze,I apparently turned the alarm off.  Rats! do I hate beginning a week behind.  I actually got out of bed when I had planned on leaving for school but nonetheless arrived at my normal time which was not the early time I needed in order to be ready for today.

It was go – go – go with several bumps along the way.  I’ll hand it to the kids, they were pretty mild compared to last week and seeing as this is our last full week.  I was rushing around as my first class was leaving when wham-o I squirted white paint down the front of my two layered shirts.  Think ketchup pump at McDonald’s gone wrong except mine was white paint.  Bummer, dude.  I had to rush off down the hall to retrieve a “staff” shirt and did a quick switch in the teacher’s lounge only to waltz in with my kindergarten class.  I do believe I only made two kids cry during that class since they couldn’t get the pipe cleaners threaded through the holes for their art book.  Third grade came in wild-like and continued to struggle.  I may have lost my cool when they all started repeating my name over and over yelling my name because they couldn’t figure out how to finish folding their origami puppy because they hadn’t followed the directions correctly.  I couldn’t take it anymore and told them to throw the paper in the trash on the way out the door.  Mission failed.  However,  as luck would have it two of the less favorite fifth grade boys were absent today so it made our origami much more enjoyable.

I caught my breath for a second while regrouping for the afternoon.   Things went mostly smooth except for the multiple crying first grade students.  What is it with the crying?  I can’t handle it.  I know you cut out your pear shape for your fruit face and then cut it into four pieces and when you went to put it back together, you could only find three pieces.  It’s not a big deal…make another one…MOVE ON!  But no, the crying occurred.

When they left, I did  a quick round up of what not to do for tomorrow so I can hopefully avoid the crying like today and jetted out to my endocrinology appointment.  Overall, it was a positive experience although I got a low blood sugar as I was heading out and in my stuper, decided it would be a good idea to consume the brownie I saved from lunch.  It was a good idea to eat it but it was a bad idea to not check my blood sugar again to correct the overdose of carbs and the result was a major high blood sugar.  Bummer, dude.  That dang blood sugar pendulum is so not my diabetic friend.

So all this yammering just to brief you on my day and keep my promise of blogging out the rest of my school year.  I suppose right now is as good a time as any to share about my recent love affair with origami.  I always thought it was nice but never really knew what to do with it until I checked out a geeky video from the library.  Throughout this school year, I create a different theme for my Friday classes and I have spent the last month working through some origami activities with the kids.  We started out easy with a boat and then moved onto a duck and then an owl bookmark.  My favorite is the puppy.   If you are looking for a fun activity to pass the time with kids, I suggest checking out activity tv.  They have step-by-step directions but mostly importantly – they have video.  Seeing the folding is really great because you can pause and go back if you need to.

I also came across this cool site that has quite the variety of folded animals.

Origami Club

I might need to try this one.

And you know I like this one, too.

Origami is a great lesson on following directions and, more than that, the kids really get into it because there is generally an aha! moment where the flat piece of paper magically turns into something cool.   Go ahead and give it a try.


tough stuff

I’ve tried typing my thoughts two times over already only to delete it all.

Truth is, I am beat.

I knew this week would be pretty tough.  A busy weekend, the art show and many, many meetings meant that I would have very little down time.  I also decided this would be our clay week so I introduced and carried out 2nd, 3rd, 4th, and 5th grade clay projects for four days straight.  If that alone isn’t a reason to have a weekend, I don’t know what is…Seriously, I have been up to my eyeballs in clay.  No – really!  Eyeballs on clay frogs and butterflies and cherries on top of cupcakes that look like boobs.  I like clay and the kids have loved clay but my sore throat, dry hands, and tired feet beg to differ.

Tomorrow should be a make up the work we missed when we had that snow day – day but I just can’t wrap my brain around being that incredibly productive tomorrow.  I am still the author my day and when I started dreading my Friday, I knew I needed a new plan.  That, and my throat might go on strike if I try to talk them through the steps of one-point perspective.  Ouch.

All those words to say that I am tired, the light at the end of the tunnel is getting close enough it is nearly bright, and I can’t remember the last time Friday at 3:30 sounded so awesome.

******************

I just wrote this up and clicked over to my Google Reader before hitting the publish button.  I seriously considered not publishing my post because I know my tough weeks are pretty small.  I read this post on Fresh Art Photography and it was enough to put my life back in perspective.  The story of this family will stick with me for sure.


sky play :: part 3

It’s been awhile since I shared any sky play and I figured it was time.  There was no chance for any jet streams today with the wild wind we were having.  Seriously, I saw white caps on the pond on my drive home.  I also passed those poor high school track students and remembered the days of coaching and how every track we ran seemed to be a wind magnet.

Today is Tuesday and by that I mean, if I can make it through my Tuesday classes, it is all downhill from here.  I only had to take four deep breaths during my first grade class and that is one less than I had to take last week.  Those six-year-olds never cease to exhaust me.  I me, I truly enjoy their enthusiasm but they have no idea when to use it and when to just put a cork in it.  Wow.  Nonetheless, the number of days I will have them in art again this year is less than one hand so I will rejoice in that.  I will say that I love knowing that the effort and work going into this school year will actually pay off because for the first time in my 6+ years in education, I will have the same kids again next year.  It will be so awesome to have some common ground and see the fruits of our my labor.

Ok, enough about school.   This week is still full of getting ready for the student art show, Crafty Ballyhoo, and closing down the ski season.  Let’s get ready to rumble…


three ten pm

Oh my, oh my…

I just got back from lunch on our professional development day.  We spent the morning in a mock classroom learning how to implement the Seven Strategies of Learning.  It was a good use of time and I enjoyed the change of pace.  I like spending time with colleagues outside of our school walls.

Spirits are generally high on a Friday around school, especially on a no school “work time” afternoon.

The vibe today is different.

The vibe today is tense.

As good as I am at living in denial and procrastinating sometimes unpleasant things…3:10pm cannot come soon enough.

I would love to say I am completely confident about how my five minute meeting will unfold with my building principal and my assistant principal – but I cannot.  I can say I am confident in who I am and what I offer our students, school, and staff.  I know art is a priority for the people here.  However, the people here don’t have the power to keep everyone.

Living in limbo is really hard.

I usually brush these “doom and gloom” times aside knowing full well that there is nothing in my power I can do to change the outcome.

Oh boy.

I have approximately 100 minutes that I should be using to work on a supply order.  Thank the lord I still have money in my budget left to spend but oh lord thinking about searching through catalogs and entering in quantities of crimson red construction packs we need is practically making my brain explode.

So, here I am just typing myself a note to say, despite the outcome of my five minute assignment review meeting at 3:10, things will be okay.  I am a good art teacher.  My work here has not been in vain.  I have great things to offer.  My principal and AP want me to be here and maybe I can stay.  However, if my time here is up then there is something even better.  The future is precarious and flimsy and even a secret.

Here’s to 85 more minutes of living in the present.

———–

Hearing Semisonic’s Closing Time on the radio at 2:55 pm is either ironic or just mean.  Time will tell.

——————–

3:10 – go time.  I sat down at the table and they asked me how I was doing.  The only response I could come up with was a worried, “fine.”  Deep breath.  And then they told me that I am renewed for full-time art teacher next year.  Big relief!  Big sigh.  Big happiness.

When I left the office and joined the rest of my Specials teams, there was much cheering and overall joy.  We all got renewed.

It was a tough day though as two other collegues were not renewed due to budget cuts.  I really hate that.

In the end, we all celebrated together with the other staff members.  We bonded and I am so thankful to have a good place to put down roots for next year.

Looks like I will be doing a lot more of these things in the future.


reFOCUS

Hello all,

Today was not my best.  In fact, I would put today in the “try not to remember this day ever” category for lots of reasons not including running behind in my classes despite over-preparing, loosing my temper…again, and forgetting to take my lunchtime insulin.  Bad day, bad headache.

However, I was reminded of the above quote earlier this evening and all and those ornery second graders and all those terrible, talkative first graders seem harder to remember.

give.

live.

love.

It really is that simple.