Different people expect different things from me.
Bosses: My bosses expect me to be prepared, organized, and innovative. They expect me to use technology innovatively, to grade fast but in-depth with feedback and the use of rubrics…that students never read. They expect me to be professional and prompt, to attend countless meetings and trainings.
To be quick to set up courses completely and correctly and beyond. To do everything I can to help students succeed and to communicate consistently and creatively. To be a collaborator and a team player and to know and follow best practices.
To set and achieve goals and have data to back up those achievements, to know my data, so much data and to
make that data move in ways that are positive by doing everything I’ve already listed. And, when it doesn’t move, to make phone calls, take a pie-in-the-face, do flip-flops and handsprings, sing a song or whatever crazy thing I can think of to try to motivate students to apply themselves.
Ah, the cushy life of a teacher; don’t get me wrong, I love all of this. Love it. Love it. Love it.
Snow worship is something I know a lot about; I would call myself an expert. I can watch it snow for hours, appreciating the beauty and grace with which it falls, flake upon flake piling up in inches and sometimes feet.
I love to walk in the falling snow or snowshoe if there’s enough on the ground. I love the way it can whip around outside my window. I love the way snow looks reflecting
the colored Christmas lights outside. I just took the last lights down a couple of days ago.
I don’t like to drive in snow. It is meant to be enjoyed with a mug of cocoa, marshmallows and a good book. Or on a tongue sticking out. Or on a horse. Or piled up in a snowman. Or piled around the holes my boots just left.
I hope there is still one more nice snow storm left before summer.
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Sometimes my students come in to class and I can see in the slump of their shoulders and the way they don’t meet eyes or answer my, “How are you today?” that they are down. One day I wrote this prompt on the board: What do you do to feel better when you are down?
When I’m feeling down, I do lots of different things to get
myself out of the doldrums. I might watch a favorite movie like Serenity. I might go for a long walk or a run and pray. I might groom my horse, saddle and ride for a while.
If I’m in a town, I might get a mocha or a hot
fudge sundae. I might write or call a friend. Everyone feels down sometimes and that’s just okay. But don’t dwell in it. Figure out what it takes to dig yourself out and do it. Maybe keep a list of things you can do to feel better. Start with number one and work your way through your list until suddenly you notice that you feel better and remember how to smile again.
I believe in power, grace, and love. Power lives within each soul. With power comes the responsibility of grace. Grace is seeing what can be, no matter what actually presents.
Love is all that matters in the end. If you have not love, you have nothing. Love shows itself in each tiny gesture that reaches out the hand of grace to another.
That is power.
One of the best things I’ve ever gotten that didn’t cost anything was a second chance to do something with my life that could make a difference to the world and to me. It began with a random drawing I entered and won. The prize was a free class at a local community college and I could pick any class from their catalogue.
I chose to take a creative writing class, and it not only
reminded me of how much I loved writing, but inspired me to begin writing a novel which was eventually published. From there I went on to make some decisions that changed my
I’d always wanted to teach and had been volunteering in my children’s schools. When an opportunity opened, I was hired to teach 6th grade through the alternative
license program in Colorado. During that year, I also went back to school to earn my masters in English education. By the end of the year, I had my license and was half-way to my master’s which I earned the next year.
It’s amazing how inspiring one free class has been in my life. Most good things in life are not due to how expensive they are, but rather in the value they bring to you as a person.
I wish someone would make me untie the knot inside myself and live without so much stress. I’d like to just get it all out there and never hold stuff inside. Fat chance. So, in lieu of that option, I wish someone would make me a chocolate lava cake and some hot black coffee.
I wish someone would make it snow and snow so I could watch all those flakes coming down, get my snow shoes on and go explore, and come back to some hot coffee or hot cocoa with marshmallows.
I wish I could wake up and decide that I’m just going to head up west today and go for a hike or to meet a friend for coffee or both.
I wish that I’d been able to reach through the toughest student exteriors into what I know is a place where they just want some understanding, someone to listen, and to know that they really will be okay in this world.
I wish I could get my act together and decide what I want to be when I grow up.
Last week was spring break for my brick and mortar school and one of my online schools. All my other students were still in class and working, and so was I. The best part of the week, though, was Thursday. Every other day the weather was grey, foggy, and wet. No complaints because we needed the rain and it was peaceful. Thursday was absolutely beautiful though and I spent some time with good friends, Elaine and Emma.
We talked, teacher talk! We rode, horse talk! And we broke bread together, pizza, fruit (our version with caramel) and cake! It was a wonderful few hours and my break too. What does that have to do with Long’s Peak you ask?
I never thought I’d finish climbing Longs. I tried twice in my early 20’s and didn’t make it. I came close though. The third time was with Elaine, the best hiking partner on the planet. We left the trail head around 2AM and reached the top somewhere around 10 or 11 and ate our PB and J’s and Cheez-its, took pictures and headed back down.
That is the short version, but it was so incredible. If we were going to do it again, we’d be smarter about what we ate and when so we wouldn’t run out of energy part way up and then suffer from that all the way down. I think we are both ready to plan our hiking adventures for this summer!