Oh Education You Sleigh Me…

What a weird and transformative time education is in right now. What a weird time for this college instructor turned high school teacher. I am being berated every day with terms and situations that I never even considered as a college instructor. The biggest is the massive amounts of time spent with my students. In college, I spent 3 hours a week with them. And maybe another three to four working for them grading drafts, conferencing and what not. I never gave a test…ever. What I taught my college students was hard to assess on a test. It was better in paper form. 

I actually struggle with testing some on this level but I do. I do for a few reasons. Tests = data and data to public schools is important. But I realistically know that a test is one moment in time on a day. That is all. I also do it to create accountability. The first mistake I made as an 9-12 teacher was not test and I realized students accountability to themselves and me went right out of the window. 

But one thing remains the same…If a student wants to fail you have to let them. You can inflate their grade, you can not put something in the gradebook or you can proclaim that they do work for you but not for someone else. I work hard to save the students who seem unsavable. I believe in them when they really don't believe in themselves. But I know my limits too. I know ultimately I am their teacher, not their friend/parent/enabler and the decision must be theirs. 

Our government equates our success as teachers to how they perform on a test. And honestly so does our society because look at the fact that we take tests to achieve status (teacher certificate, drivers license, PhD). It isn't so much that I rebel against that idea either.

But I do struggle with this idea that I am a successful teacher if I get little Johnny to turn in his homework in my class and he isn't doing it for anyone else. That isn't success. That is the magic formula that is often not reproducible in another and if it is can you get it across multiple subject areas or disciplines? I am hesistant to believe so. 

I am a believer in the good will prevail. I always have been. But the hardest and roughest lesson I have had to learn is to let them fail. Sometimes that failure will teach them more than I ever can. They need to look failure in the eye and decide if it is worth it to get back up. Now can I be the hand that is held out to get up? You better believe it. I do. I have.

Remember that story of my university student? My first ever problem student who continually did stuff to fail my class. I saw her potential but she didn't show up. She didn't participate. She lied bad and she barely passed. She passed because at times I saw her try. Well I saw her earlier this fall. She was unrecognizable to me and it was clear she recognized me. But she shared with me that it was my "tough chat" that set her life on a very different path (her words…not mine). She turned her life around and she is graduating with honors this spring. That is offering a hand. I told her I could not help anymore. She had to decide to do college. I told her I knew she could, but she had to know she could. She went out there and made it happen. 

But I know that isn't always the case. I have seen a few fail in my short tenure as a teacher. It is especially hard when they are in the 9-12 arena because they are so young and have so much ahead of them. At the end of the day I can say, "Is my class fun?" "Do they like me?" And none of that will matter because that is NOT teaching. What matters is that they decide to be a success and move on from me and that when they do they can recall what they learned. Some of those lessons should be about writing, some about reading strategies and maybe just some of them are about not failing. 

 

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It is all that matters.

Hey you…yeah you. You judgey mcjudgerton. I see you watching me. I get the messages you are trying to send. You think I am a bad mom. Or a bad wife. Or fill in the blank with whatever bad it is you think you witnessed. 

You saw me forget something or not react the way you wanted me too. Maybe I snapped a little
I-am-enough harshly at my girls or maybe not harsh enough. Maybe I didn't do what it is that you think I should have done soon enough or the right way. Maybe I didn't handle that situation right, or go about it the way you think I should have. 

But I promise if you waited just a bit longer or criticized a little less your version of what you think you see would be very different. Look a little deeper, watch a little longer and forgive a little bit more. 

I am merely mom, wife, teacher and list of many other things just trying to do it all. I don't half ass anything I do. In fact, I give every single little bit of my soul to everything that has my name attached to it. You don't see that do you? 

You didn't see me rub my guys back till he fell asleep because he didn't feel well. And you didn't see me scour the earth for just the right shirt to create this vision of #2's costume that only she could envision. I tried to see it, I listened to it. I didn't tell her I didn't understand. Instead, I went all over every where to find exactly what it was that she needed to make it happen. You didn't see me talking over my girls days with them as we stretched the dough to our pizzas and placed the pepperoni's just right. You didn't see me sneak a pee break really quick between the neighbor visiting and dropping off halloween goodies and the round of dishwasher clean up and dishes I had to do between two loads of laundry. And that is my at home life. 

You didn't see me struggle to comment on student's drafts. I mean real meaningful comments. I do that because I always watch them scour and search for my remarks. They want my approval and when they don't have it, they feel rejected. You didn't see me teach a roomful of kids today about complex characters and character foils about a novel that they all struggle with. But I watched and I saw the light bulb come on. And you didn't see the 10-15 private conversations I had with various students who were struggling personally, emotionally or academically. Or that one student who I reminded if she ever needed a reminder that could do it to see me ASAP. Or that in my few free moments today I spent googling how to encourage kids who really don't want to learn or thinking of the kid who is choosing the fail and exploring ways I can change that. 

I don't do it for the notarity or to even say, "Dang, look at all I can do." I do it because this is the life I chose and I love this life. I wouldn't change it for the calmest, most put together life out there. But instead what you see is the things I forgot or how I didn't do this the way you think I should. 

And you have that right to your opinion. But you should know that when I go to bed at night my family is loved and cared for beyond the sun. I know that. They know it. That is all that matters. When I wake up my day is put in to pay for my family's needs and wants and they are met just fine. I know that and they know that. It is all that matters. I go to work knowing my girls are loved and cared for by the people in their every day lives. I know that and they know they. It is all that matters. I raise my girls to hopefully (like me) identify their proper priorities and I hope I am a gleaming example of that every day. 

So yea, I didn't go to that meeting. And I may have forgotten that candle party or haircut. I may have left that in the bag unintentionally. But good grief I am trying. And to be honest, I am doing a darn good job. And it is all that matters. 

Up in here…

I lead an extremely boring life, but boring is good. The funny thing is really most of my day is not boring. I literally move from the moment I go to bed until I go to bed at night. My job is the biggest time suck. Usually though I am good at booting it. This week I haven't. I have had a lot of loose ends with my job that I hate. I noticed when I have loose ends I tend to get cranky, irritated and stressed with my family, my friends and my students. So I am working this week after I take care of the kiddos. 

I love to look back at my week and the fun moments I did manage to catch via a cell phone pic or a facebook post. Therefore, I am sharing a bit of my boring life with you alls. 🙂

Parade1
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Parade night here in our little town. The girls love the parade and they have never missed even when they were in my tummy

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And a nice, warm hot chocolate after the parade courtesy of our Keurig. The girls are officially in love!

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Pizza from scratch night. The healthy version. 

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Pumpkin carving time….Followed by…

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The seeds. Salted with Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Just Write: I am gonna say it.

Eww. Weird feeling tonight. I didn't like the way I felt. Or better yet I didn't like the way someone made me feel. I felt rejected. Ignored. Not really cared about. This is the moment where I make a dumb decision. I speak my truth. It gets me in trouble. I don't mean to be blunt. But sometimes I
Wpid-facebook_-21321071501am. 

Usually though I can guarantee it is less about you and more about me. You see I have been hurt a lot. I haven't had a lot of people in my life I can count on. I wish I was one of those secure people who lived a 100% good life with amazing people around me all the time. 

Truth is, I really have. Those that stuck it out were amazing. But the ones I thought I could count on,  I could not. So my gut check is always when you make me feel eww. I rip roar right through it via my bluntness. Yea it ain't right. I know it. And it doesn't excuse it. 

I try and stop it and sometimes I do. Tonight, I held it in. I grabbed my guy a little tighter. Almost 18 years of being consistent and never letting me down. The one true person who is always there. And it sustains me to hold my own and know that he is really honestly all I need. 

I struggle with feeling left behind. I am secure in every aspect of my life, but when I feel like you may be tossing me aside I toss aside first. But it hurts just the same. I wanna be okay. But sometimes I am not. And tonight I felt ewww and I cried. 

Why don’t we talk about this enough?

Since when did classrooms and school campuses become battlefields for violence and misunderstanding. Gannett Publishing reports that since 1995 17 teachers, staff members and prinicipals have been killed from school violence. 17 seems like a low number with the amount of times we hear of another shooting. What that number does not include are the bystanders such as other students and/or the victims family members that are also harmed. If we looked at those numbers alongside educational professionals that number would shock us and it should. 

When the latest happened this week my student pubs class talked in depth about it and we all agreed to feel somewhat sensitized to such tradgedies. To the point where we almost take a moment of a relief that just a few were killed and we move on. Or we say things like thank goodness it wasn't another Newtown. Those comments are right on, but when we look away and we don't address the sheer factor that this even happens at all what are we actually saying?

I have said it before and I will say it again…in almost every instance of school violence we see ritual signs of mental illness. The first reports are always, "He was a such a quiet and nice kid." Then slowly other reports metriculate that say, "We saw some signs." But by then the cameras have died off, it isn't the top five minutes of the news reports anymore. 

And yet again the stigma of mental illness and its effects on society remain unaddressed. And more lives are shed because we sit back and think of what we could have done instead of what we should have done. 

As a teacher I am well aware of what to look for in the classroom when it comes to violence. I am also well aware that the process isn't always easy or matter of fact. In fact, I think it is just the opposite. And sometimes we carry those stigma's against mental illness ourselves.

One would think that with my diagnosed and surviving 12 years with contamination OCD that I would get over the stigmas . Or that the struggles I have had with my # 2 that I would be way more comfortable in the conversations that need to take place.

But the truth of the matter I am not. I am a sufferer myself. I am the mother of a sufferer. I know it is no different than diabetes or cancer and that my stigmas are my own insecurities. But I have something that in many of these violent situations that don't exist. I have help. That means I have worked extensively with the health care community to get better and to live a normal and healthy life. I have went above and beyond that for my daughter.

It is easy to talk about when you have a supportive and caring environment that also houses the financial abilities to receive the help needed. That is not always the case. As well, in the classroom I am not a mom (though sometimes it feels like I am). I am a teacher. I can emphatize, sympathize and create support. But I am JUST A TEACHER. I cannot stand in place for professional medical help. In fact, for me to even discuss it as a health condition is inappropriate. 

Now I am not saying every student who has undiagnosed issues or even truly diagnosed issues are going to go out and create a violent path of destruction. But I am saying if our society starts to let go of the stigma that surrounds the hush hush nature of such things that maybe just maybe we can stop that one situation. 

The specific violence that happened at Virginia Tech has always touched my heart. Some of that is my  love and admiration for Nikki Giovanni (an English Prof of the shooter) and her own reaction to the violent shooting. But what has always stuck in my mind is the the amount of warning flags thrown out.

One day I drug through email after email of concern that people were throwing out there for this shooter. People that said, "Something is not right" to the people who could react. And no one did. It could be because they thought nothing would come of it. Or maybe they even identified him as a non-native speaker frustrated with his new acquistion of language something that English teachers are trained to see and help navigate. 

I honestly have no clue where the break down occured. But I do know that it was all very hush hush and it was attempted that they hide it. Well hiding it is stigma folks. That's how stigma drags itself out of the corners of the room. It does so through fear, shame, sometimes contempt or even disbelief that we could come in contact with things such as this. 

But we need to talk about this. We need to recognize it. We need to shew it out of the corners and into the light and know that a mental illness is not a bad thing. It is no worse than a cold or a virus that if left untreated can progressively get worse.

But really I am just saying something that we have heard time and time again. To be politically correct we accept it on the surface because we know on the surface that mental illness is normal. But what we are fearful of are the conseqences of digging below the surface and just what lies there. And that is because of generation after generation of stigma or stories of mental illness that may not rest in fact or actually rest in untreated mental illness. So let it go and let's start talking about it NOW!

 

One of my favorite organizations supports this cause…Check them out! Bring Change To Mind

Saturday Sharing…

Remember these? A constant at ole Mommy Rhetoric. My randomly posted random links about random things randomness that I try and share on Saturdays. Well, it was by far one of my favorites to post. Therefore, it is back! Please enjoy!

Spirit Week Sharing…

This week was spirit week. Spirit week is all kinds of fun. It was so fun to see what our staff and
1379400_10201872628995183_123141159_n students would come up with daily. I kind of did an alternative of a normal spirit dress and then an extreme spirit dress. We started with wacky tacky but I was home with a sicky. Then we did an 80's day and I had fun mostly with my Aqua Net. I turned into a walking commerical all day for it. The next day was school spirit so just jeans and a school shirt. The next day Superhero/Disney day. I doned my purple batman shirt and matching socks and the students ended up calling me cheerleader batman. It was funny to because several students kept thinking I used to be a cheerleader based on the way I looked. I promptly told them I was the anti-thesis of a cheerleader in my life. Ha! And then just pink day. The two highlights of my spirit week were a student and I pretending to get into a hair fight during our eighties day. All with massive amounts of Aqua Net involved. The second was a complete presentation in front of the in a batman voice given by one of my students who dressed as batman that day! Spirit week was so fun for the first 10 minutes of class but after that I was ready for the kids to take me seriously and met to take them seriously. 

Sicky Sharing…

Who knows what kind of bug moved through our house last week? Was it whopping cough? A virus? Who knows? All I know is all three girls were plagued with fevers and just general feeling like crappage. They did bounce back quite quickly. 

Lock In Sharing...

This was my second week for our lock- in. Last year, I did what I called the mom shift. I made sure our students ate, cleaned up their messes and got them settled in the gym for the others to take over. This year was different. More help was really needed in the later shift 12-6. My guy had a game so I either had to pay my baby sitter to stay or go home and get back up. So I threw my hand up cautiously to do the late shift. I was really reluctant especially after I went home to nap. But I made it back. I planned to last till 3 at the most. Once there I was having so much fun I actually stayed till the last student was there @ 6:20ish. It was good to interact with them in that way. We played games, danced and just acted goofy. Every time I go to these events with dread I am always walking away so refreshed and grateful for my position and my students.


IMAG0276But staying up all night long has caught up with me. So much so in fact that this idea I had in my head to get a coffee maker turned into something more expensive and honestly better. The more I thought the more I thought I may want Keurig. On a whim while I was doing my grocery shopping I purchased one. This one in fact. It was not that expensive. I am guessing cause I got it at Walmart. I already had my first cup and it was AUUUUHHHMAZINNNNNNNG! I think we will get quite a bit of use out of it between coffee, tea and hot chocolate. (NOTE: No clue why that is underlined and am too tired to fix it so sorry…but not really.)

I text my guy and said, "Thank you so much for my early birthday present. I love it." He types back, "You are welcome." I then panicked thinking he really had bought me and thought I had found it because I did mention to him earlier that maybe we could get one. Then he sent another and said, "I am glad you picked something out because I had no idea what to get." We are goofs. 

We are romantic ole fools but for birthdays and holidays we mostly go about as unromantic and sentimental as you can. It is all about praticality, I guess! 

 

Not much more sharing to take place. I am a boring old soul today! It was fall break. I had sick kids. The most exciting parts of my week were spirit week and my coffee maker and I think I have those covered. But in case you wanted to see our cute little puppers. Miss Roxie Lee E is doing quite well. She is 7lbs of drama and lovable moments. She is going on 9 months old and love, love, loves #2. They are best buds. It is actually really cute to see. 

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“Our perfect companions never have fewer than four feet.” 
― Colette

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Wanna see my other Saturday Sharings? Go here.


I see you later.

Early in the fall my school system had a speaker. It was a speaker that was meant to inspire and teach and make us want to feel ready for this school year. I hate to call myself bad names but I am pretty easy. I can find inspiration in the wind blowing outside and find a way to relate it somehow some way into something better. Some of that is my personality and some of it is just the way I see the world. 

Back to my story, our district hired Prinipal Kafele who was an amazing man. But I remember in the first 15 minutes of his introduction fighting the urge to run up and hug him. It was someone who was a kindred spirit who gets it. He gets education the way I get education. I can't talk about it or my hopes and dreams related to it without a tear in my eye. That isn't dramatics. It is pure passion. 

Almost everyday I feel in a battle to protect that passion as if it were my most prized possession. But to verbalize what that actually means is something Principal Kefele said better than I could. He pointed out that it is so important that we see our kids (students) for what they will be and not what they are right there in that moment. 

Later
Last year I ran the weird line of figuring out my boundaries and how to make those boundaries work for me to be a respected and a beneficial teacher. I know I know my stuff (aka English). I specifically got my degree in English so I could be an expert in English. It is the teacher part that I am working on. And no this is not some sad confession of my poor teaching. 

But I haven't always been the best and I am not too proud to reflect and critique myself because I am new to this gig. But last year two things happened. I walked in there clueless of how to teach high school kids and I wanted kids to like me so I let walk all over me. But I had one amazing component. I saw their future and potential. I saw it more than they could usually. 

I genuinely see the good in people even if all they are showing is bad. Sometimes it is a blessing and sometimes it is curse. But this year my weaknesses are my strength. I have created those much needed boundaries that demand respect but I have also adjusted to life teaching high school students. 

That doesn't mean my classroom is all flowers and sunshine. But it does mean my students know where they stand with me at all times. I am not their friend. I am not there to be their favorite. I am there to see them in their future. And to do that I gotta push where it is needed and I gotta be that shoulder when the time comes. 

And as I sit back on my day and I look at the interactions I had with my kids (students) today I realize in every single conversation I had I mentioned their future selves. Not the demanding pressure of you must go to college. Instead, the quiet murmur of a reminder that they have the power and the potential to be amazing and that I see it. Or the forceful nudge of, "Where do you want to be four years from now?"  I had some semblance of this conversation 6 times today. 6 times I had one on one interaction with students that had more value than any grammatical lesson or novel lesson I could teach. 

Sometimes they get mad at me and wonder why I push them or demand their best. But then one magic moment always happens. This is what I deam a Mrs. E moment. I force them to look me in the eyes and I tell them, "I see you later" or some version of it that equates to "You will do this because I believe you will." I ask them to deny that they know I feel this way. 

Not one single student has ever told me that they believe that I don't believe in them and that is because I make them see it. I make them see that I see it. So while Prinicipal Kefele inspired and put into words what I do. I recognize that this is what I am doing. This is a fire that has burned within me since I could verbalize what I wanted to do with my life. To teach, to inspire and when I do it isn't for a year, a semester or a grading period. It honestly is never ending.

The funny thing is that  if you would have asked me a year ago if I got it or my kids got it. I am not sure I would have felt this way. I had some struggling relationships last year because of the above stuff I mentioned. But I held strong and even the kids that resisted and told me I didn't care and didn't believe I truly did. I proved to them I did. I still do every day. I remind them as we pass in the hall or in conversation about their days. I told them, "I am not gonna let you turn in crap and call it good. You are better than that and we both know it. I see it, can you?" 

Some are not even students of mine this year and they still come and see me and thank me and ask for that reminder that they CAN and will in fact be successful. That isn't just my high school students but my college students. And that is what teaching is to me. 

The English stuff I get. The teaching stuff I was born with. Sure it doesn't come by way of a methods class or papers about public education. Instead, it comes from my heart. It comes the teachers in my life that wouldn't let me give less than my best. It comes from co-workers who push me to be better and see them positively. 

Teaching isn't easy and it isn't always "Freedom Writers" as some would like to believe. It is hard out there. Being a kid is hard too. For me we gotta find a way to meet in the middle and do this thing called education. We can while about test scores (trust me I want to) and politicians who do not get it. We can complain about poor Johnny who wasn't given a fair shot. Or we can chuck all that into the wind, get back into the classroom and fight for what matters. 

Seeing them later. 

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Just Write: These Moments

When you study composition and rhetoric it is often discussed and rediscussed these moments. These moments of change or literacy events. Often we will sit and talk about them and how we were changed academics after they happened. For some it is writing something for Frish's Big Boy menu and for others it working on the yearbook staff. But for most of the rest of the world they are remember when moments that helped to define who we become.

DownloadThe first was my first reading of The Velveteen Rabbit. I don't know what but something about that rabbit always felt familiar to me.  Now as a grown up I realize that it is my sheer ability to love the unlovable that maybe was born there. So there we go…literacy event #1.
Then there was the time in 2nd grade, Mrs. Capps. Me and a brand new shiny Young Authors award for a story about a girl who sat in a thunderstorm and dreamed of a different life than the one she had. The award given on the merit of capturing feeling and longing for something better even in just 2nd grade.

Wait…literacy event #2.
4th grade, Mrs. Meadows. Ms. Mommy (not a mommy yet) Rhetoric your grammar and phonics level really takes away from your stellar and superb writing. Don't you understand syntax? This is going to hurt you always in school if you don't get better. My response: Well Mrs. Meadows you are clearly so full of yourself because you weigh all of 50lbs and yet your hair is bigger than our classroom and you write your name every day on the board bigger than Texas. We get it, you are small with a big personality (okay not really, I worked extra hard in take home phonics books and still to this day struggle with syntax). Living the rest of my life thinking I was grammar deficient…literacy event #3.

Et entre ici Mme. Alison Brown Frank, my high school English teacher. I adored this woman. She
Oh taught so far outside the box I think she made a circle. The thing is she did circles around all the other English teachers I had ever encountered before her.  Within weeks of meeting her she had me signed up for Ball State Journalism camp, editor and chief of our school newspaper and yearbook. But her issues, she was outside the box. She was that one teacher that when discussing her people said, "Oh…" I never really could tell if it was a bad thing or good thing. I honestly think it was just a different thing. She cultivated in me an absolute love of language. I cannot even find the right words to give it other than sheer and utter love and passion for teaching. She threw out french to twist and pull and tug at my tiny brain. She pushed me. She challenged me to do something different, to be something different. I never knew what she meant. That is until I walked into my own classroom. But it wasn't until I got hired for this new position in May of 2012 that I realized I am that teacher. The one they say, "Oh…" about. I choose to believe it is the good side of that oh….and though it is long this is one big literacy moment for #4.

After being read in high school paper and being asked to be published in our town's paper at 16…WOW. I will never forget, I wrote an article about race car driving. Seeing Mommy Rhetoric's name in writing with the byline…WOW!Literacy moment #5 for freaking sure.

Signing up for college and taking mandatory placement tests and being told I severely lacked language skills I needed to possess to be successful in college. Thinking damn that grammar crap came back to bite me! Having to bundle my freshman writing class with another class for students that struggled with language. Deciding then not to pursue English teaching…ever. Changing major to psychology….for like 5 mins after my English prof declared it not right at all I would even be placed in such a class after reading one of my papers. English major…back on! Literacy Moment #6.
And really the list could go on.

Awesome out of the box profs, some massive loads of writing pushing and stretching me to be who I am and find myself through my words and being okay with who I am. That girl you say "oh" too. I am her. It is okay. Raising my daughters to love and enjoy reading and writing and watching it all unfold. Praying in there just one of them gets my love of writing. Three smart girls. A great pride I in take every single day. My students…oh my students. The amount of faith and support and love I have for them. They have no idea. It would move mountains I tell ya!

These moments though at the time felt very insignificant all make up this here and now. This blog, this writer, this mother, this teacher and this lifetime. My lifetime dedicated to chasing something. A calling, a passion, a drive for something different, better, outside of the box or just trying to feel comfortable in my own brain and body. Some moments were awful. Some moments were absolute shining spots in my life. But all of them make up this person. Me.

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Oh Yea I Pulled the Card…

My baby girl # 2 got offered this amazing opportunity. An opportunity that my family has been blessed once before to do. She is working with FAME as a FAMEOUS Fourth Grader. Anyone remember this? My # 1 did this two years ago. It is basically a unique program that is paid for through the FAME program. She gets to spend all this week workshopping with a composer and working with the other chosen fourth graders working a composition piece. Then they work with the ballet company and the Fort Wayne Philharmonic and they present it in the spring. You can read more about it here.

#2 has waited since that very moment #1 did it to do it. She is my music lover and the girl lives and breaths music. She is working on her second year of piano lessons. We decided to do piano early on because her neuropsychologist recommended it to help give her an outlet that she cannot normally find because of the her PDD. He was right on! 

However, this opportunity, though in her wheelhouse, presented a challenge. A room full of strange kids, lots of technology (something that scares the crud out of her if she doesn't know what she is doing) and these adults all telling her what to do. 

I got there a little late and my father in law was with her. I could see her before she saw me and I could see the big tears about ready to shed. Finally, she realizes I am there and runs to be by my side and says, "We gotta leave." I looked at her and just listened. She continues telling me that it is okay to quit. I responded, "no." She cries harder. I hug her and say, "Do you really not want to do this?" She sits by me with the biggest tears and says, "Yes, let's go." 

All I could think of in that moment were all the things in my life that I walked away from because I was scared. The moments I passed because of my own anxiety. I was NOT going to let that happen. I took her in the hallway and I pulled the mom card. The one that gives me free reign over my baby girls. 

I said, "You are not quitting. I know how bad you have wanted to do this and how much you prayed for the opportunity to do it. Here it is, I won't let you walk away! Now hug me hard, quit crying and go in there and we will figure it out together." She did just what I told her. 

We waited anxiously for the attention of the leader and I told her, "My girl needs someone to help her with the technology." She seemed irritated but found her a buddy and her tone was weird as she talked with my #2. Those are two things that #2 picks up on. But I wasn't about to let someone's rushed moment inflict on her experience. I waited a moment to be sure she met her needs and I sat back and watched as she worked with the composer and the leader. 

And it continued touch and go for a few because the leader couldn't take the time to catch #2 up and help her work on this new software or new computer. I told #2 to stand firm that she needed help. I wanted her to grasp this opportunity and not let anyone take it from her. 

Finally, by the end she made a friend and I think that gave her more confidence. I will never forget the neuropsychologist words to me that sometimes I have to force her to do things she may not want to and remember that parents just sometimes know better. 

I just know it is hard to push when they don't want to be pushed. But I also know when she was not upset and worked up about this new social environment that this was something that she has wanted to do since she was 7. Therefore, I was making it happen regardless of her social struggles or some grumpy lady that didn't read that invisible sign that I swear I should carry and place around her neck for just this stuff. But I figure….

“Being ignorant is not so much a shame, as being unwilling to learn.”

― Benjamin Franklin

 

Dear Students: REVISED

Dear Students,

I want to tell you this story. A few years ago I was in school (okay more than a few). That was long before ‘google’ and pinterestfacebooktwittertumblrblogsyoutubeandthelistgoesonandonandonand I remember sitting in class wondering, “I wonder what he is like at home?” “Does she read a lot of books?” “I bet he reads all the time.” “Does he kiss his wife?” “Does he eat and stay at school all the time.” “I bet he does.” And the questions could go on and on and on. But I had no google to quick search out my teacher. I had no facebook where I could ponder, "hmmm is that a tractor" and "does my teacher like tractors?" Or I wonder if she spells her name with 2 e’s or 3? All of that curiosity just had to sit inside of me where I never really had the answer unless I had the guts to ask. More on that later.

And I get that curiosity. It is alarming sometimes to realize that your teacher is a real live human being. And please don’t take this as snark, but I am a real live human being. I am writing this blog specifically for you and then never ever again will I address you. It probably will not answer all of your questions about your teacher. But at least it will paint a picture enough for you that you will understand when I follow you a little too closely in the hallway and you call me a creeper. That I feel a bit like that when you are following me too closely on the internet.

Mommy Rhetoric is me. However, I DO NOT give you permission to call me that in the hallway or in passing and no you cannot connect to my twitter, or friend me on facebook. You want to know my pinterest account and the answer is still no. I suppose if you find me on pinterest you better know I have a weird dry and some times perverted sense of humor. But if you call me MommyRhetoric you will get the serious teacher face that asks you not to do it again and I expect you to respect that wish. I could give you 100 reasons why, but honestly I am not going to.

I give my students my all and 110% every day from 9-5 and then I come home and often give more. But this is my spot. My place. And no it isn’t about privacy. It is just common courtesy to let me be the writer I have been in this public space for years. Yes ladies and gentlemen I have been a blogger since you were tiny babies in your parents loving arms and probably even before. But now for what I am guessing brought you here, you want to know who I am and I want to share it.

*I kind of love Victorian novels, but sometimes they do make me sleepy even my beloved Dickens. And honestly I am still a feminist through and through so I prefer my victorian writers to be of the female variety. Those ladies got to be rebels in their own time. 

*I adore writing and weird writing prompts. Oh doggies, I am just getting started! You haven't seen nothing yet. 

*I hate the Taco Bell…eww nasty. It is NOT Mexican food it is just cheap food.

*Don’t bother correcting my grammatical/spelling errors. I make a ton of them and I am kind of okay with it. I got my English teacher/major brain on too much as it is. I probably won’t fix them any way.

*I occasionally cuss. 

*I don’t live at school. In fact, I usually bolt when you bolt. I come home and work, so I can be with my kiddos. All three girls, whom I adore. If you listen in class…you know this!

*I sure do have a twitter. I have managed to be on the beginning edge of every single piece of social media. Like I was a member before they were even cool. I was one of the first to hear "you've got mail" and I did the poke thing and facebook when you actually were required to have an .edu address to be on there. Remember that scene from the facebook movie? The one thing I never got and still don't was myspace. 

*I love, love, love to watch tv. I especially have major issues with bad, bad reality tv. I am talking Housewives stuff. I am embarrassed to even admit I watch it. But I do! :/

*I believe in love. I believe in magic. I believe in hard work. I believe a good attitude changes everything. More importantly I believe in each and everyone of you. Even the ones that don't like my hopeful optomistic ways.

*I know being a teenager is hard. That much I remember. I try and remember it when dealing with you.

*Lastly, I promise to always bring my A game. I may not always be in the best mood, or feel good or even have the most fun. But I am here 100% every single day for you. When I am not there, I miss you. 

In closing,

Read with caution cause what you are getting is real.

P.S. I do kiss my husband sometimes a lot! ;)