I am me.

Yea yea, I am thankful for all the usual things. And they are all great. But it is the things we don’t talk about that I am thankful for most right now.

I am thankful that I am a woman. Not just a woman. A strong woman. A strong and independent women. I am thankful for the strong and independent women in my life past, present and future. I am thankful I get to raise strong and independent women. I am thankful I get to stand in my classroom and show my students what that even looks like. Some of them have never even heard of the word let alone see it.

F2f58b61d235d066eefa9240d9800a5dI am grateful that I am over the stage where I apologize for being that woman. I am confident in every decision I make and mostly because I make it with my priorities in tip top shape. To quote a friend, “I am thankful I found my voice.” When she said it I thought, “YES!” I stopped listening to my inner critic and society and the need to shut that woman up and tame her down. I let her speak and say what needs to be said.

I am grateful that when I look in the mirror I am proud of what I see and I know when I go to bed at night I will be proud of what I accomplished. And wake up and do it all again! It may be a little or it maybe a lot. But I did it as a woman. I didn’t dumb down my brain, or giggle it away. Or lower my expectations of others or myself to achieve it.  I didn’t curb it to help soothe any egos.

I did and have always done it on my terms. No one said this is who you need to be or told me I needed to ask. No one demanded that I be who they wanted me to be No wait,  they did. And I either told them no or I realized no one who loves you demands you be who they want you to be. They know who you are and love you anyway.

And how could I forget to be grateful to all those that threatened my discovery of this amazing woman I have become? Yea I know you exist and you are out there. I know even more that you are bothered that I began to speak for myself and be this me. To all of you…. Read between these lines _I_!

I am who I am and I speak up for what I believe in. I do things that change the world and sometimes I elect to just stay in my world. No matter what I do. No one tells me what to do unless I made that decision to give them that power. I am a strong and independent woman and damn proud of it.

And all I can say to that and to my former self is….You have come a long way baby! Be proud. Be grateful and carry on!

For every minute you are angry…

You lose sixty seconds of happiness.” Or so says Ralph Waldo Emerson and he is kind of like the go to guy for quotes. He knows his happiness quotes peeps! So go ahead be happy. Life is too short to not be! 

Day # 5 – This is baby girl #2. The one who we bumped upto 1st grade her 2nd week of kindergarten. After we made that move the ride was bumpy. She struggled emotionally. We struggled emotionally. But she did it. We made it. We all made it. And she is doing it with straight A’s and a ridiculously high lexile level. It took its time, but we figured it out. This is her best friend. A friend we were worried she wouldn’t find. This is huge for her. My # 2 is and will do amazing things in this world! 

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Day # 6 – It was mid-week the week before finals and finishing up testing. Waiting to tell kidsour super freaking awesome ECA results. We had an amazingly high passing rate. Good things are happening at my school. This chocolate was just one of them!

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Day # 7 – The last day of school for baby girls. Baby girls who are all about to go around another year. #1 is almost 13 and a 7th grader and straight A’s with distinction meaning all year long she tackled those grade while fighting a bad asthma/allergy year. She missed quite a bit of school and still kicked it. Then my #2 and you know her deal from above. She was also promoted to 5th grade which means she is in the middle school now. This momma can barely handle it. And just cause I feel like I gotta my #3 is heading off to the big kindergarten next year.

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Day # 8 – This year has been hard for KPuff and I. We went through some rough stuff this year. We live less than half a mile from one another but both struggled in our own individual ways to keep it together. While I was dealing with keeping my husband both going and healthy she, too, was dealing with a pinched nerve in her back that required surgery and a tough recovery. I am so used to doing things with her and being with her so much that this year I fear we both felt so alone and isolated when we were not. It was hard. But our friendship has been in tact. This is the real deal. I know that because the way my heart feels on days like this. Her 40th birthday. I know she is struggling because it is fourty, but I can only hope to wear 40 so good. There was a pretty private moment between myself, her and my husband this year that is forever emblazened on my heart. It will forever remind me that she loves me. She loves my family and that I am blessed to call her my best friend.

Day8~~~~~~~

Life is happy people even if you have to go out there and look for it. But I promise if you do, you won’t have to look far. It might be in a friendship that withstands the test of time and hardship or in a moment of success of a job well done or just in the simplicity of celebrating the last day of school. Life is happy. Life is love.

100 Days of Happy Day 8 and Counting….

And I Rise Too.

The world lost something special today. To me sometimes the losses just come. It is a natural part of life to see the latest scroll of another "celebrity's" death. I hate to say I am immune, but I am. Why does the media get to tell me who to mourn I wonder. But today as I was smack dab in the middle of teaching Maya Angelou's "Still I Rise" the scroll went across my Ipad screen. Maya Angelou Dead at 86. I stood quietly. I stood shocked. I stood. My students and I paralized for just a minute in time. 

I spent twenty minutes telling them of Ms. Angelou's life and my connection to her and to this poem. I even made a little joke that we are facebook besties. But then I just admitted it was me a Mangelouforever fangirl. Back to scroll. I admitted abruptly, "I am going to cry you guys. This is sad." And I felt that. And I did it. 

I don't know if I have felt that way about any other death of a person that I don't really know, but who has changed me. Maya changed me.  

Still I Rise has always been a poem that has moved me and I could relate to it. When I want to quit, I read it. So without further adieu.

And I Rise Too

Still I Rise

Maya Angelou, 1928 - 2014
You may write me down in history
With your bitter, twisted lies,
You may trod me in the very dirt
But still, like dust, I’ll rise.

Does my sassiness upset you? Why are you beset with gloom? ‘Cause I walk like I’ve got oil wells Pumping in my living room. Just like moons and like suns, With the certainty of tides, Just like hopes springing high, Still I’ll rise. Did you want to see me broken? Bowed head and lowered eyes? Shoulders falling down like teardrops, Weakened by my soulful cries? Does my haughtiness offend you? Don’t you take it awful hard ‘Cause I laugh like I’ve got gold mines Diggin’ in my own backyard. You may shoot me with your words, You may cut me with your eyes, You may kill me with your hatefulness, But still, like air, I’ll rise. Does my sexiness upset you? Does it come as a surprise That I dance like I’ve got diamonds At the meeting of my thighs? Out of the huts of history’s shame I rise Up from a past that’s rooted in pain I rise I’m a black ocean, leaping and wide, Welling and swelling I bear in the tide. Leaving behind nights of terror and fear I rise Into a daybreak that’s wondrously clear I rise Bringing the gifts that my ancestors gave, I am the dream and the hope of the slave. I rise I rise I rise.

20% Project’s Big Ending

This year I am doing a unique project based learning project in my classroom. I believe I talked about it here.  It is called the 20% project. It is based on the principle that maybe not everything we teach in the classroom should be geared toward a set of standards. You assign this project and students determine their learning. The learning that takes place is self learning. 

You may ask how do you get away with this in a rigorous early college environment. I will tell you that it still ties to my curriculum. The project is a year long and throughout the process the students are forced to critically think about their learning via journals, speeches and presentations of this project. 

The first is a proposal where they propose to me why I should allow them to do this project. I am IMG_3843essentially giving up precious class time to allow them this time, so their argument must be convincing. 

Then the project moves into carry out phase. 20% days happen in my classroom at least 1 every two weeks. This allows the students to work on their project in my class as well as the other facets of the project. The journaling process is intense. Students must constantly be in a state of reflection about their learning. 

The unique thing that happened this year is the idea of failure and commitment continually came up. Students realized they like being told by teachers what exactly to do. They struggled with the idea of student led curriculum. I regularly saw failure and commitment issues at the beginning. They are required a thorough journal every single 20% day and some days they were required to tie their journals back to an implementation plan that was part of their original proposal. 

The implementation plan kept them accountable to themselves and to me. But it also forced them to see the bigger picture of the project and hopefully the reality of it. Keep in mind this project is situated into a student publications class and audience is a big part of that. Each student knows that the end goal of this project is two things. They are required to deliver a TED style talk to an audience outside of our usual classroom and they are to have a pitch poster (think movie poster) that is meant to sway someone into hearing their speech. 

Well Wednesday is it. It is our big Ted Style talk day. We have invited people from the community, my superiors and other classes to see their talks. It is a gigantic class (41), so I cannot have each of them go. I had to pick a handful for this first day. It was so hard to pick just a few because they all did amazing. And I am not just saying that. 

The learning that took place during this project is real life learning. I cannot tell you how many times in my class I have heard, "When will I ever really use this?" And this project takes that out. What they learn from this is about life. How it works and how we are required to push ourselves if we want to keep learning. 

It is being committed. It is being accountable. It is higher order thinking. It is setting goals and meeting them. If they aren't being reflective of why and how then they are not doing it correctly. It is articulating your learning. It is articulating it to people outside of your comfort zone. It is articulating why it has value in our classroom. They are my best advocate for my curriculum. 

If this is something you are thinking about doing it can be placed into any curriculum or subject quite nicely. Perimeters are set by the teacher and how it is carried out is set by the teacher. If anyone is interested you can email me for my actual physical documents and arrange them to make them work for you. 

I will update with how it goes and with pictures of course. (GAH, Mrs. E….EDIT!)

100 Days of Happy

Who couldn't use more happy in their life? I know I could use it. About a week ago I saw friend that started this and I was pretty much sold on the spot. My life is in a weird spot right now. That is no secret. But there is happiness all around. I realize I am at a point where I need to force myself to see it. The more I see it the more I believe it. 

Signing up is easy and I encourage you to do it. Heaven knows we need more happiness in the world. #100happydays . You can hashtag whatever you want and share where you want. You just gotta share what is making you happy in the world. I plan to share anywhere and everywhere. 

For day #1  -  After this post yesterday morning, I decided I needed to do some birthday shopping for # 3 and spend some quality time with the other two. We needed to talk about how Dad had been feeling and how it made them feel. I had been doing a little too much avoiding. It was time. So while we were out shopping we were trying on goofy sunglasses and using weird accents. It clicked in this moment that this was what 100 days of happy was about. In this moment, trigemenial neuralgia didn't exist and hardship and grief didn't exist. We were just three silly girls bonding over stylish glasses and shopping endorphins. 

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Day # 2 – This was a little more difficult today. I am not sure why. My guy woke up and wasn't feeling the best and decided to do something that makes him feel worse. He mowed. He was being a stubborn guy refusing to rest. I was a stubborn wife who just wanted him to sit down and relax and was super grumpy because he wouldn't. I ended up frustrated with him. So frustrated I knew it was best to just take the girls out for lunch and a quick errand. And that is what we did. And bam there goes that moment again. They were all working on a crossword puzzle. They were talking about my PhD program and asked if I was going to make them call me doctor. For awhile I convinced them yes. It would be required to call me Dr. Mom. This was all while doing a crossword puzzle. Happy moment # 2 not only noticed but stretched out by the awesome suggestions for conversations on the kids menu at Bob Evans. And no I am not joking! 

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It is only day two and I realize there is a lot of happiness. My life is good. Yes parts are really painful. But my heart is happy and loved. I have three amazing daughters who we wanted so badly and I have a husband who loves me so much! That is so very much to be happy for. I am working in a position that fulfills my dream both of teaching and reaching students through writing. It also allows me to pursue my PhD. I am one lucky lady. That alone right there is a whole lotta happy. 

But I won't discount my sad either. It has a place and honestly to appreciate the happy you have to wade through the sad. As well, I think we push people to much to always just present the happy and shush and shame the sad. 

For now I am wading into both waters which also means each can easy appreciate the other. I am okay though. Life is okay. Happiness always finds a way! And happiness to me is love. To repeat: Love always wins! 

One tweet said it all.

I tweeted the other night. "I am sick of myself." It was my anniversary. I was laying in bed. I am tired of always being strong and putting on a brave face. That brave face is not a reflection of how I am truly feeling. But I am so tired of updating the world about the state of affair of my life. Things are hard. I am beginning to wonder how much my family and I can handle. 

I wonder why. I am growing angry and trying to build and maintain my faith. But it is hard. I feel like I am being punished. I feel alone. I know I am not.  I am just so tired of sharing my next life falter. And yes there is another. Life has some lemons for us this year. But truthfully, I am running out of sugar to sweeten it up. 

Unfortunately, or fortunately (maybe my readers are sick of reading all the sad) I cannot share this one. This is one we must endure for awhile in private. But I refuse to believe there is all this negativity in the world. I honestly will continue to hold onto the idea that the world and the people in it are inherently good.

And to be honest I am tired of coming to blog and blogging the sadness. I keep looking within myself wondering if I am just not seeing the good. But honestly, I know it is just a season in life. It is building me up for what the future will bring. I want to believe that is how God works. 

Someone once told me that one thing that they always looked to me for was my positivity in the world and about the world. I have been holding that comment close. The world is not bad. Whoever the world is.

I am just trying to find the positivity in all of this. It is there. The most obvious and the one I continually try and hold onto is that my husband and I's relationship has changed in such a positive way that I cannot even begin to place it into words. "In sickness and in health" means the whole world to me. It also puts the rest of life into perspective.

Time wasted watching pointless reality shows is gone. Connections with each other and supportive friends and family, that is what matters. I mean it always has. But it has in a way that makes me feel way less in the I am too busy frame of mind. And fighting….it never happens. That is weird. Not that we fought so much, but I am incredibly stubborn and opinionated. All of the sudden standing my ground on painting the hallway or an hour too long at the golf course seems like such a wasted opportunity. 

My worry is for my daughters. They have had to grow up a little more than they should have. They have had to take on a little more responsibility and talk about grown up things a little bit more. I am worried their hearts are bruised. And I am worried I haven't said or done the right things to make it hurt a little less. And I have thrown myself into work more than I should have because I have control there. I am just Mrs. E who needs to grade papers and teach another unit there. That is a whole lot easier sometimes than explaining and working through the difficulties of life at home. 

And life is good. Kyle is better. But he isn't perfect. He doesn't feel perfect. There is no going back. There are knowns and unknowns we have to manauver through every single day as a family. Things that we are too young to deal with it. Things that I want to cry foul on. But no one asked my family. I see the good. I hold tight to it. 

I think summer break will help us all. It will be more healing family time. It will mean having the time to deal with some of things we haven't. It will be more time to plan and talk about the future. 

I do apologize dear readers. My blogs are trending in sadness right now and have for awhile. But it is where my writing is at now. When I share it publically I am being very vunerable, but I don't want sympathy. I just want to be heard. 

Put your pity to work.

I went to a graduation party yesterday of a dear friend. A dear friend in an odd way. We don't see each other all that much or even talk very regularly. But our connection is her son also suffers from a neurological disease, Chiari Malformation. At my darkest hour, I remember fumbling through a tear filled facebook message for answers or ideas of what brain surgery is actually like and what to expect from my husband afterwards. Her words were simple and kind and she basically said, "It will be okay." 

At this party, I saw a lot of people I hadn't seen publically since TN struck my life. Many asked, "How is it going?" And I went to answer and I am always worried about putting it out there falsely, but also being too down or killing the vibe (as my students say when I bring it up in class). I kinda just nodded and said, "Good." She pipes up and says, "I always answer today is good." I needed that. Because it is true. It is a great way to look at it. 

It prompted me yet again to do some sort of weird inner dialogue with myself. I was thinking back when she went through her son's brain surgery and how I felt helpless to comfort her. And the look I gave her. It was pity. It is how people look at me when they ask about it. I got to thinking, "NO!" We need to stop that. I need to stop doing that to others. Pity isn't action. Pity is about being uncomfortable. Pity is inaction. It provides comfort in the wrong places. 

I will never ever look at anyone with pity again. We need to turn this needless and awkward emotion that creates a weird silence of no words spoken and just acknowledge it for what it is. Pity exists because bad things happen every single day and we don't know how to feel about it. We see and feel our own mortality in the pain of others and that is tough.  Pity ends up being about those with the pain/loss comforting those without it on this notion that nothing bad will happen to them. And it just isn't realistic. 

Look up statistics for suicides, cancer, random accidents, and tragic heart attacks. And I am willing to bet that to each of those people that this happens to daily are good people to someone who loves them. That means that bad, horrible sucky things happen to good people every single minute of every single day. My family is no different. 

That also means that there is this misplaced emotion that if we put it to work could move moutains or even a speck of dirt. Of course, I can give ideas of how and I will. But this is my situation. It isn't everything and won't fix it all. But I would like to think I tried. 

  • If you know someone who suffers from a chronic pain or chronic illness don't look at them with pity. Why not resist the stigma that they are being too dramatic or making it up. Don't buy into the notion that they are addicted to drugs.  If you hear someone say either of those things tell them no. Put your pity there!
  • When someone suffers from facial pain just because you can't spot it on an MRI doesn't mean it doesn't exist. Just because drugs don't work doesn't mean it is a mental ailment versus a physical. Just because it is called the suicide disease doesn't meant they will kill themselves. It means they feel alone with a pain that is almost undiagnosiable. Take that pity and place it into awareness. Buy a teal ribbon, wear a teal shirt and tell my husband's story or someone elses. Just google TN stories and be prepared. Put your pity there!
  • When someone loses their baby through miscarriage, still birth or unexplained reasons please for the love of God erase the pity look. It makes parents feel like they shouldn't talk about that loss. It feels like it is erasing a human being. Take that pity look and just acknowledge it is loss of a hope, a dream and baby. And don't worry, nothing you could say will be as bad as the pain that is felt when you lose a child. And really the same could be said for infertility. It is still very much the loss of the same…NO PITY. Put your pity in to supporting a SIDS campaign. Or supporting miscarriage and pregnancy loss month in October. Or do a March of Dimes walk. Put your pity there! 
  • When someone dies and you don't know what to say. Take that pity and just say I am sorry. Don't wait for a reaction for what to say next. I am sorry is enough. Because let's be honest there is nothing that will really help. Love your family. Put your pity there!
  • And finally illnesses/disorders  like; depression, OCD, ADHD, CP, Autism and ADD and the list could go on and on. Those are NOT life sentences. They aren't made up. They exist just like heart disease and diabetes. They aren't bad parenting, dramatic cries for help, attention seeking or can't be solved with a pill. Take that pity and realize life isn't simple. It is so very complicated and therefore people are complicated. And that is okay. Be okay with it. Put your pity there!

You shouldn't feel shameful for your pity. We all feel it. I just want to turn that pity into an action. The biggest action that you can take when you pity someone's circumstances is knowledge. Educate yourself and then you can better support. And appreciate what you have. 

I don't want sympathy. I would trade places with no one. Nor would I go back into my life and redo things to avoid anything. It played out the way it was meant to so pity isn't needed. Instead of pitying me, create an action plan. Even if it is to enjoy your family a little more. Choose to smile. Choose to be grateful. Choose to live. And choose to love #lovealwayswins. My life is pretty good. I choose to focus on that. 

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And if want to help donate time, money or effort to all of these places that are turning their pity into action: 

The ebb and flow of life…

Westmin-bloghead3

I usually ride the waves of life with great balance and grace. This year the ebbs and flows of life have been so fast and furious that I am feeling myself holding on for dear life. Normally, those ebbs and flows are another kiddos birthday or or new dishes. This year the changes were bigger and more impactful. I have made that no secret. 

To say I am who I was back in August would be completely untrue. I have been searching for my wisdom in all that has changed. Wisdom and ability to know I am a survivor. Because I am. Sometimes my survival mode so strong that I don't even have time to acknowledge it. But more than anything I have to find meaning in it all. 

That is what I do. I learned the Newton's 3rd law in my 11th grade year, surprisingly enough, in my Dramatic lit class. My teacher's name was Mrs. Murphy. But she taught us that each action has an equal and opposite reaction. Of course, she related it to the stage and eventually an even bigger metaphor…LIFE. 

When something bad happens there will be an equal and opposite reaction. I could list for you all of the actions that have happened this year and their equal and opposite reaction. But I do this in my head sometimes because I still can't believe it. It is so easy to get caught up in it.

Therefore, I find if I move forward in living life in the way it matters that eventually the equal and opposite reaction starts happening. I cuddle my baby girls in bed and kiss them good night. I go to #'s preschool program and she graduates to kindergarten. I hug and kiss my guy a little longer everyday. I laugh at the daily hos and hums of being a high school teacher. The funny reactions I get, the funny things they do and say every day.

Those are the things that keep us all living. The life moments that make it matter. That make it worth going through the rough stuff. To get there, to see it and live it. 

I am not gonna lie and say it is easy. It hasn't been and it isn't always. Most people cannot relate. And that is probably the hardest thing for me to cope with. I just want someone who understands. I want someone who can relate. They try. I am trying to make peace with it. The is the one action that I cannot quite locate my equal and opposite reaction to. 

But that is probably because it is the most difficult. It is a part of the grieving process. Grieving for my life before TN. And I was doing well before the death of my step mom. A death that has me in a weird greiving cycle that again places me in a place where most people cannot relate. 

I wish this were my place to cope with it all. It just isn't. The grief cycle is beautiful, ugly, torturing, tiring and isolating. Others go through it, but it is so different for each person. But I am good. My concerns and fears are more for those I love and cannot protect. 

“If you aren't in over your head, how do you know how tall you are?” 
― T.S. Eliot

Remember this…

My words still fail me. I am devastated right now. Not crying my eyes out devastated. But devastated deep in my soul. I want to understand why, why right now and why so much. The kind of devastation that punches you in the gut and it hurts so bad you can't speak.
I have the words. They are in my heart and eventually they will come. But not yet.

I am a teacher…

Tonight was awards night at my school. I love my profession as I am finishing up my fourth full year of teaching I feel blessed and accomplished and proud of my hard work. I have worked really hard to be what I am in the classroom. I am looking for the words to describe how I feel and they aren't there. So I dug in the archives and sought out this post from 4.26.12. I quit my job there a week later for this one. Not because I hate it or wanted to leave, but because I was being called in this new direction. I am ever grateful! I should also say I am about 500 kids in now. WOW! I love this job!

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I AM A TEACHER! 

So the end of my fourth semester is nearing, yesterday was my last teaching day. The rest of this semester will be spent in portfolio conferences with my students. The end of the semester is always so bittersweet. You are always so ready to be done teaching, you know they learned what they needed to learn and the ones that didn’t usually know too. But you hate saying good bye.

Just the other day I was trying to picture my very first class and remember their names. I could envision their faces sitting there in that classroom and the nerves I had heaped up. I was so eager to change the world to make a difference and give them just an ounce of the love that my past instructors had given me. They each brought a unique experience to my classroom.

For four months our floor to ceiling windows covered usually in sunlight and brightness. That brightness I always took as confirmation I was in the right place at the right time. Even in the coldest temps of December we sat there basking in the sun watching snow fly.

But their names are diminishing. Their faces blurry. The memories are always there and the circumstances that brought us together fresh in my mind still. But the stuff I always thought I would remember fleeting. Not all that different than parenting.  I don’t remember each moment near as vividly as I once thought I would.

I remember the student who was incredibly good at ballet. I remember his papers so eloquent and really above par for the level in which he was in for my class. But he lacked something, a maturity and understanding of the real world. That was changed by the father of four girls who had done three tours in Iraq and one Afghanistan. His paper about his military life that turned into a class presentation made each of us uncomfortably moved to understand life in a different way. He changed my ballet dancer. Enough that I know the two of them remain the most unlikely friends.

Or the student who admitted she had PICA (disorder where you eat odd things that you aren’t supposed to eat) to another student and I watched as this amazing friendship built and her get help for this with that friend. I saw them just a few weeks ago walking together. We all smiled and waved. I tried to recall names and I just couldn’t. But I didn’t forget their faces or the memories of that sunny classroom that we shared.

And my 24 year old gruff and hard to get to know student who started my first class teaching ever in the most awkward and ridiculous way announcing that he was, “Morally opposed to writing and speaking in class and sharing it with myself or his peers”. I remember my jaw dropping in fear of how to handle such a request given the very nature of my class is writing and peer work. He challenged all the stereotypes and assumptions I brought into that classroom with me. His long hair, his body clearly smelling of smoke and maybe some pot. Totally covered in tattoos and piercings. His dress. I had to try and set that aside and face the very most human parts of myself that I bring into a classroom. I asked my class to do a two minute presentation on their narratives. He got up with a guitar and he sang with just his guitar. When he was done the class all realized we had just witnessed greatness and we didn’t want it to stop.

Two weeks later this same man stayed after class and was visibly not himself and he shared that he was diagnosed with terminal cancer of the brain. As in he will die. He said his doctor told him it was not likely he would live through the year. Seeing this man cry in front of me and tell me that it didn’t matter if he passed my class or not but that he wanted to stay changed me. He went from being what I likely would have labeled my pain in the ass student to probably my most favorite that semester. There was something freeing about his cancer that changed the way he wrote. He didn’t live through the whole year. Eventually his facebook grew quiet, but I remember the lesson he taught me. Don’t judge a book by its cover.

And there are so many more stories I can share from that class and people lives who touched mine that semester. Clearly, I let myself get too emotionally involved. But I cannot figure out how you cannot. One thing I have found that often as a writing instructor your students share some of their most “private” thoughts with you. With time and experience I have become better at not wanting to solve every little missed step and really just listening. I really think that is all they want.

Over the last 2 years I have taught 154 students freshman composition. I have loved every single moment even the hard ones. I have felt and watched my students changes along with myself. I am proud of the work we do together. Next fall, I am tackling a different kind of classroom. I am eager and ready for the change and the chance to do it. I am ever grateful for the student that walks in that first day and accepts me readily for what I can bring to the classroom and to their learning. But I am even more grateful that I have the opportunity to do this at all. I am a teacher.