Thursday, November 21, 2013

Adrienne, that one guy, assisstant principals, my parents, Megan

It is November 21st, 2013. My students are working on summarizing news articles and I am typing this post, thinking about the past 3.5 months.

If you hadn't heard, this is my first year teaching, real teaching, none of that student teaching business. They, the educational powerhouses that be, don't tell you that real teaching includes being inundated with emails, meetings, parent interactions and daily squabbles about inconsequential school rules that most students detest following.

There is so much information that I want to write about teaching, so many hilarious and terrible things I want to remember about how my mind has been working this first year of teaching but this isn't the post for that information. This entry is to celebrate my life, the hardships and the everyday triumphs that encourage me to continue despite the ridiculous amount of stress I have felt while undertaking my first ever "real" teaching endeavor...

It's going to be quite wordy, and maybe a little repetitive, but here it goes. The list of my 2013 thankfulness. 

Adrienne. My niece, Adrienne, is due to make her amazing arrival a month from today. I can't begin to describe how thankful I am that my sister and Chad are bringing a little girl into this world. Watching them go through the process of trying to add to their family over the past 4 years has been the hardest thing I have ever had to experience or see. At times, I felt that I would have given everything in my possession to help them achieve their dream of having a baby. Finally, one day in May, Meg and Chad delivered the news that we had all been waiting years to hear and now, the arrival of Adrienne is only 1 month away. It is impossible for me to describe how thankful I am that she is on her way, she is far and away the best thing that is happening and will happen to our family this year and in the years to come.

That one guy, if you must know, is Ken. He started pursuing me in August and I should have known that he wouldn't stop until he had me, which is exactly what he did. It has been a long while since I have been in a relationship with anyone, but dating Ken feels surprisingly natural, like really, I don't know what life was like before him. I realize, after typing that, that I might sound pathetic and somewhat overly enthused about Ken, but it's hard not to be. I am so thankful to Ken for listening to me, for talking a little bit too loud most of the time, for telling me when I am being a "little crazy," for cooking and buying me dinner when often, I forget to eat. Ken has made the past 3 months pretty damn great, so thanks Ken (love baby squirrel).

My assistant principal is the next on this list. He has seen me cry, smile, laugh and freak out multiple times this year and he always has my back. I feel so lucky to have an administrator who cares about me as a person and knows what it feels like to be a newbie. My last 3.5 months would not have been possible without his unfailing support.

finally, i will always be eternally grateful to my parents and my sister. As stated about 1,000 times previously in this post, the past 3.5 months have been real. I can't even begin to imagine the minutes my mom has spent talking me through this school year, the countless hours she has spent listening to me go on and on about me and my life. my father has show his support through positive emails, bonfire parties and quotes of the day that manage to make me smile even at 6:30 in the morning. And now, my sister! Not only is Megan gracing my life with a beautiful baby girl, but she sends so many positive cards and notes through snail mail. i LOVE getting mail, opening the cards and seeing her sweet notes.

I am thankful for so many good people in my life. I am thankful that I get to spend everyday working with students; even though some days it is challenging and frustrating, I still chose the right career path. I am thankful for Jon, Kate and Lauren who have put up with my frustratingly busy schedule that keeps me from seeing them as much as I would like. I am thankful for Danielle and Luke, thankful that they have moved back to Kansas City. I am thankful for Kansas City, the beautiful skylines and night skies that fall brings to us.

So, thank you to each and everyone of you who have spent time making my life better and more beautiful.

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

16 weeks

what can you do in 16 weeks? can take a college class, grow part of a small child in your uterus, sleep 112 nights in a row can student teach.

my last 16 weeks have been overtaken, dominated, consumed with teaching, for the first time in my life. everyday i HATE waking up at 5:30 but at the same day everyday i LOVE teaching and talking and working with my students.

there are bad days. there are really bad days but for the most part the good days and the good moments win out. yesterday, i had a really great start to my day, 1st and 2nd block were stellar and i was happy, practically leaping around with my students but something changed during 4th block and all of a sudden i wasn't leaping anymore.

maybe it's because i am a student teacher, maybe it's because i haven't learned how to be strict in the beginning of the semester and less strict as the semester goes on but 4th block seemed to have taken advantage of both of those things and as i left that school yesterday i was hating myself. i thought, "i am a terrible teacher. what the f*** am i even doing here. i don't know how to form a teacher student relationship with these students. i don't know how to be strict. i am so frustrated with them. what the hell?"

but, i went home, and i walked to the park, laid out a blanket and read a book and i FORGOT about what had happened at school that day. and i remembered that i am trying my best, that i am new at this and that i have impacted my student's positively even if some days aren't so positive, i believe that my overall impact has been positive.

honestly, it has only been 16 weeks and i have learned more than one could imagine learning in 16 weeks.
i learned that:
  • i shouldn't let peoples' preconceived notions about certain students influence my thoughts or opinions about that student.
  • i should be more strict in the beginning of the semester. that my rules should be more specific. that student's shouldn't even be allowed to get their laptops at the beginning of the class but that instead student's should come to class with their laptops away in their bags.
  • i am NOT obligated to answer ridiculous questions that my students ask me, that i can be open with them without being too open with them. 
  • getting to know a student can save you in a shitty situation. 
  • having high expectations can lead to high student performance.
  • that i will NEVER be easy on myself, that i will always feel like i am not doing enough and that no matter what anyone says i will constantly try to try harder than i currently am. 
  • i need to find a line between having a good relationship with students and being respected and admired by students. 
  • i don't have to read EVERYTHING that students turn in. that once students know my expectations they will generally rise to those expectations.
  • that i need to stop expecting students to be doing the wrong thing but instead expect them to do the right thing. i KNOW that there is mentality in teaching that students are not going to turn in work, that students are going to cheat, that students are going to lie but instead i want to believe and know that students ARE going to turn in work, that they are NOT going to cheat, that they are NOT going to lie, that they ARE interested in learning. i need to replace my negative assumptions with positive, belief driven assumptions so that my students REALLY know i care.
one of my life goals is to win a teaching award, now that i think about that that is a pretty selfish life goal. instead, i want to reach out to as many students as possible. that i can teach them and learn from them at the same time.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

i teach now

i teach now. (well, student teach but it's freal freal)

English I and English III.

honestly, just between you and me, during the second week of school, i decided NOT to become a teacher. i decided i HATED it. hated seeing the students everyday. hated teaching lessons three times a day, 90 minutes per time. hate grading assignments and battling with students to get those same assignments turned in. hated it. hated. hated it.

and then, something changed. i don't remember what it was and i don't know exactly when it happened but i realized that my students are clever, that they become engaged in learning when they are interested and that i might actually be teaching and affecting a positive change in their lives day by day, block by block.

i know my students now, not fully or completely, but i know the person they are in class, the work they are capable of, what interests them. this knowledge is exciting. i LOVE seeing my students for the first time each day. weirdly and somewhat awkwardly greeting each of them at the door as they file in. i love making fun of myself in front of them, letting them know that it is alright to be ridiculous. i love when i can tell that they are learning. i love when i figure out what is interesting to them and what isn't. i guess, i guess you could say that i just might love teaching.

sure, things will get bad (they are somedays) but i think (knock on wood) that things, that teaching will always get better. it will get better because each day i teach, each class i teach, involves getting to know wonderful, unique, ridiculous students while letting them get to know me. it will get better because teaching makes me learn new things in order to teach new things and i like learning. it will get better because this is the FIRST time i have ever taught and thus far in life i have learned that the first time you do something is usually not the best.

i am a teacher and i am proud, excited, joyful to know that i want to STAY a teacher.

Saturday, January 14, 2012


the past few months have been so tiring, weary.

my family is changing, as my family changes my role within my family changes. it is an adjustment that takes place gradually, over time until one day i realized that my place was different. watching my parents struggle with their parents has been one of the most trying experiences of my life. how can i help? what happens when i have to do this, for them? it is intense and scary and sometimes, against my better judgement, i just want the struggle to be over because it takes over our lives, because my parents can't ever really relax.

work is changing. hours at work are changing, layoffs are occurring, kids are disappointing me. sometimes, oftentimes, i don't even want to go into work. the youth make me mad.

i am not dating anyone, i don't have anyone in mind to date. and that terrifies me. it is terrifying to look at my many many friends who are married, engaged or in a committed relationship and wonder if i will ever have that. i fucked up my chance with b and since then i don't know what to do. it is like i am floating, i try to date people and it doesn't work because:

a. i am picky and don't like people that like me too much
b. don't like people who are too nice
c. choose assholes
d. don't know how to meet people
e. can't see myself with anyone else
f. it feels like there is something wrong with that...

being single isn't something that bothers me, i like choosing what to do and i like having time for my friends. but, the possibility that i might be single forever is daunting, and sometimes it overwhelms me. and makes me think i am not good enough for anyone because no one has thought so thus far, or if they have i fuck it up.

finally, i went to a funeral this weekend. it was for a father of a friend. and it affected me.

shit, sorry this is depressing.

Saturday, November 12, 2011


kansas city is my home.
kearney is my home.
orange city is my home.
danielle is my home.
kim is my home.
jon and kate are my home.
brady was my home.
broadway cafe is my home.

what does home mean?

i drive to kearney, past the high school (a former home) to jesse james road. the first road on which i was pulled over. the road that leads to my first love. the road that goes from my childhood house to my church. home. a crossroad that screams HOME to me.

but recently, as i drove to this crossroad...i realized that it wasn't home anymore. my body didn't react in the same way it used to. my mind was connected to the city, not to the country. my rhythms, my people, my things, my life is no longer contained at these crossroads.

sometimes, this scares the shit out of me. who am i without this home. what defines me? where do i belong?

but then, i drive over paseo bridge and the skyline illuminates my windshield and i realize i am home. this city, the city i always escaped to has become my home. it feels foreign sometimes, unsafe at others but this place, these streets have become my cocoon. this is the place i have become who i am, the place i dated people that i didn't meet in kearney or nwc. this is the place i learned to pay my bills on time (or get a late notice in the mail), this is the place where sometimes (rarely) i wake up in the middle of the night and wonder, "where am i? how did i get here? am i home? am i an adult? what ties do i have to this world and to this place?" i fall back asleep and awaken in the morning in my home. feeling connected to my community and my friends.

orange city is my home. it holds my coming of age.
kearney is my home. it holds my family and my history.

kansas city is my home. it holds my present and my future in its budding hands. i can't wait to see what it has in store for me.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

nights in kearney

so, every wednesday night, i come home to help out with bible study and i eat dinner with my parents and we sit in the living room and talk and then i sleep on the twin bed i used in high school in my old room.

it feels slightly surreal to be sleeping here, not that my apt. feels totally like home but it does feel like home so what is this now?

weird feelings.

had my first class today and learned my way around campus. i also asked for a student id so now i can use the workout facilities which i am very excited for! i might try to work out sometime on friday but i might just have to start working out next week!

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

new year

so, it is a new year. which for me actually brings a lot of new things...

i am starting class again, at college, after 1.5 years. and that feels really strange. i was walking around campus yesterday (monday) and i felt slightly like an impostor. it also feels rather weird to be taking a class that is not on northwestern's campus. but it also feels nice, i actually have my first class tomorrow because monday class was canceled because weather was snowy and crazy! so i am nervous to have class, nervous about taking notes, nervous about looking old in class, nervous about paper writing and meeting deadlines and doing all of this while i am working crazy (schedule not amount) hours.

also, i recently became unattached again. which is probably a good things as i feel rather busy a lot of the time. but i also think i feel busy because i do not use my time well. unattached and attached both seem to freak me out. regardless of which category i fall into, something about that category always bothers me. it seems...that i will never be satisfied, but i do have hope.

i definitely have not been watching as much frasier before i go to bed which i view as a rather large accomplishment, but typing about it does make me want to watch it.

it is supposed to warm up within the ten day forecast. i am relaly looking forward to that, cold weather is so draining and it occupies so much conversation, thought and action. it is ridiciculous but at the same time awe-inspiring that no matter how much power we as humans have, we cannot control what earth throws at us...good lesson?

i might try to go to sleep now. trying to sleep a decent amount and a decent wake/go to bed time...