Saturday, August 30, 2014

Me & My Yogi Tea. 3

This saying made me think of the safety caution on airplanes: Put your oxygen mask on yourself first. Then help others. Many grow up knowing to respect others, but do we remember to appreciate ourselves? We compliment other people as we should, but aren't always polite to the person with whom we spend the most time. This also makes me want to remember: when complimented, just say Thank You. You obviously earned it in someone's eye. 

Monday, August 18, 2014

Me & my Yogi Tea. 2

Don't adjust your screens. Don't rub your eyes. The shot is blurry. My shame runs deep for that. 
However, the message is clear to me. When I'm asked how I can support someone who has let me down, how I can see someone else's side of the terrible story, how I can forgive whatever it is I forgive- this is how. It anchors me. One never feels grounded in their anger or negativity. I feel adrift when empathy is lost. 

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Me & my Yogi Tea. 1

My Yogi Tea bag says.....

And I say, yes. This is what I teach my children. The only things they don't have to share are their germs, their lovies, their negative thoughts, and my ice cream.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Just Right Fit

I did not sound like a 40 year old while talking to my mom that afternoon.
“I haaaaaaated sixth grade, Mom!”
“I know”, she said in that familiar calm voice my mom has always had when I have been at my wits end; understanding and a little placating.
“I can’t work in middle school for a whole school year. Filling in at the end of last year was one thing. This is a no.”
Silence on the other end of the phone.
“I’m a First Grade teacher for Pete’s sake!”
“But, Kate. Don’t you think those middle schoolers need you? Don’t you think you would be best for the job as someone who suffered through Sixth Grade?”
Silence on my end at this point.
“Gak” was all I could come up with.
So I called up my best friend and my husband. I just complained a bit more to whoever I was talking to and they listened and encouraged and supported and knew they were just there to hear a rant from me. I called back the Assistant Principal.
”Yes, I would love to be a middle school Instructional Assistant. Thank you so much for thinking of me.”And thus started my school year working with Sixth Grade and a curriculum I had no desire to re-learn.I breathed deeply through the first weeks of school; getting to know the students I was working with, learning the style in which each child learned, figuring the mood and approach of the classroom teachers, and sensing my role within the classroom. I sweated a lot. I eyed the “cool kids” with apprehension. I heard every joke of mine that fell flat echo through the silence that followed. I lost my appetite. I overate. I was nowhere near just supporting these students with learning differences, I was revisiting a time in my life when I was heavy, wearing bad clothes and huge glasses, and had few friends. Some days no friends if they had all decided on that before I had gotten to school that morning. PTSD lite.
I remember a few weeks into the school year knocking on the Assistant Principal’s door to say “Thank you” for reaching out to me to take on this role again that I had finished for someone the Spring before. I was proud to have been thought of, appreciative to be employed in such a great school district, and raised up well enough to say thank you for something, even if it isn't exactly your cup of tea.
As time went on from there, I became more comfortable with the students. I started talking up in the classroom to ask for some clarification from the teachers knowing the students….that I...had missed a point being made. Questions I never would have asked when I was 11 or 12. I became more strongly the advocate for the student who was so very disruptive, felt every regret for the one who just didn’t do his homework, received the drop in the gut when she got back her test with a failing grade. I researched some topics being covered in class to add to the explaining of this or the reasons for that when studying with my kids. I stopped to talk about home life with those who could not move on from their math problems until they cleared their heads of their worries. I came down hard on he who chose an afternoon of sports over his study guide, or on her laziness when it came to finishing the chapter assigned. I high fived every success on a quiz, beamed at every hand raised, even if he got the answer wrong. I laughed at every joke they told because they were so funny, and teared up at any thought of not working with her again next year, of not seeing him at this school anymore. 
In late spring I was called into the principal’s office to discuss the following school year. He said he had some bad news and some good news. The bad, I was being pink slipped- last one in, first one out of a job. The good news, he knew an opening was coming and it would be in early childhood education- perfect for me.
The noise in my head went from buzzing, hearing I was being let go,  to roaring when I heard I wasn’t going to be in middle school anymore. Not be with middle school? Not be with my guys? Early childhood? Better fit? I was lost.
And then, I wasn’t.
The principal said that if I really was hoping for a different grade level, he could see what could happen. I realized my facial expression must have been purely confusing to him. I shook the look from my face and said, 
“I’ll go anywhere. Anywhere you need me.” 
And I would. Even when I saw a glimpse of Eighth grade. Even when I thought of glitter and clay and helping to brush teeth in Pre-school. It didn’t matter where I was placed. I am a teacher. I am meant to be this. In my younger years I thought I was meant to be a First grade teacher and that was it. How closed minded I was then. How closed minded I was a year ago. I had shut myself off from so much by limiting myself to a grade level rather than seeing the vast role as a teacher. I love and work well with students, regardless of age. Regardless of what is being taught or how it is being taught. It doesn’t matter if it is my classroom or I slip into someone else’s room. I am in a child’s corner. That is my job. That fits just right.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

A(nt) Terrible Tragedy

I have a story to tell. You will need to remove all children and small pets from the room first. I am not trying to be dramatic, but I have absolutely no choice here. 


This is a story about a woman recovering from a wee bit of jetlag. She felt great, really, even though she had been awake for a while in the dawning hours of the morn.

"I'll go downstairs, make myself a cuppa coffee, and go on with my day", she thought. And that is exactly what she proceeded to do.

The sound of her flip-flop slippers upon the steps caught the ear of her son, also wake. They said good morning and she continued her trek to the kitchen. She pulled out her trusty mug- a gift from a good friend- and filled it with water. She scooped the appropriate amount of coffee into her single serve filter and thought...."I have been away a while. I think I will just run the machine with water, first." A little cleaning for a fresh cup to start the day.

And then she saw an ant. Not at all surprising as they have been coming and going since Spring. The hot water continued to heat and our fair maiden saw another ant scurry upon the top of the Keurig. Hm. She guessed they were hiding in.....

OH MY GOD!!!!!!!!!!

As the steam erupted from the machine and the cup was being filled with hot water, the Keurig machine seemed to shimmy as the HOARDS AND HOARDS of ants streamed out of the crevices for their shit lives and ran amok upon the black, plastic top, making it near impossible to tell what was waves of heat from the machine, what was legs and thoraxes scurrying and tripping upon their comrades, and what was the shaking of her eyeballs at the disgust of taking it all in.

She yanked the whole of it from the outlet and threw it, gently, into the sink in order to deal with it. She shot that sucker with hot water and sprayed every nook she could with the water while trying not to break the machine. It was a pup of a purchase. 3 years young.

Bodies writhed to their deaths in the sink and our hero was joyous at the loss of them. Triumphant!
She placed the machine upon the counter again and went to dry the cord for safety when, like that famous scene in Fatal Attraction, the machine exploded into a new streaming sheet of ant bodies! 

Like a chocolate fountain of pests! 
Dip not thine pretzel nor marshmallow treat in this flow, dear reader!

A guttural sound erupted from her as she lifted the Coffee God, again, into the sink and did a dance of distress and disgust which included flapping hands and fiery facial expressions. Still too Scottish to throw the thing away, she worked and toiled. She sprayed and screamed warrior words!! until she was left panting and the machine left still.

At last, she placed the war torn scene upon the counter and sighed at the battle well fought.

But not won.

Upon the third explosion of exclamation points scurrying upon the lid and body of the machine, our betrayed and battered warrior threw up her hands in disgust and threw that shizzle in the tra-zizzle. 

Bagged it. 
Knotted it thrice. 
Disposed of it in the garage trash can and slammed the door.

I ask of you now, any reader who should still remain, what machine should I purchase today? Recommendations, welcome.