Thursday, August 27, 2009


this is going to be written in all lowercase as my left hand is currently shoveling chips into my mouth. words can't even describe how annoyed i am at myself for said action. i am supposed to be on a diet, and until this week, i was doing pretty good. maybe it is school starting that has me stuffing my face. maybe it is the fact that john is not here to be my conscience. maybe i have the onset of pms. who knows. i do know that i am pretty much sabotaging all the good work i have done. i just hope i don't have to start at square one, but we had some friends over for dinner on tuesday, and they brought a pie, and LEFT IT HERE, and of course i had to eat it. it was taunting me. and i am just not one to waste food. starving children in china would be, excuse me, would have been happy to have that pie.

All this eating (okay, chips have been put away. Capital letters may resume) may come from the fact that I work for possibly the most foolish principal in the world. Let me preface this by saying that I work in a school of 1770 students in a building made for 800 students. Needless to say, we have major needs. Not to mention that we are being asked to justify how every single copy we make will further student learning. Basically we have the administration breathing down our necks about TAKS scores, budget, etc. That being said, let me just recount this morning's meeting. After the faculty celebrations, our principal took a deep breath and paused for dramatic effect. He then told a story about a woman who approached him during 6th grade orientation and asked him a simple question: If he could choose one thing for the school what would he want? At this point in the story, the teachers are all leaning forward waiting for him to tell us of the wonderful thing we are going to get that is going to promote student learning. After another dramatic pause, the principal looks at us and says that he could not think of anything. There was collective feeling of let down. However, with a twinkle in his eye, the prinicipal continues the story. I am personally there is going to be a fantasatic ending to this story resulting in us getting new computers or every kid getting a lap top or something. Since he could not think of one thing, the woman then asked him what two things he might pick. He looks at us eager teachers again and says, "Again, I couldn't think of anything." He proceeds to tell us that he led this woman into the front office so that he could consult...wait for it...his SECRETARY. She asks the woman "Is there any financial cap?" The woman says no. At this point us teachers are getting really excited. We must be getting something fabulous for our kids. Maybe a new computer lab since we don't have enough. Hell, maybe a door for the ISS rooms. The principal pauses again. He is totally enjoying the suspense he is building. He looks us in the eye and says, "Marcia suggested an electronic marquee for the front of the school. So, the woman walked into my office today with a $20,000 check. We are getting a new marquee!" I wanted to hit him in the face. A woman gives him a huge sum of money, and it doesn't even cross his mind to a) consult the teachers about what we think would be best, and b) ask for something that promotes student learning! He has been harping on that for a week! Am I wrong for feeling this is a complete waste of money? I'm not much of a confrontational person, I ususally prefer to grumble under my breath, but I am seriously thinking of asking our principal what we was thinking and how he justifies this. I can't even believe this. Okay, I think I am done ranting about all the things that annoy me.

On a short positive note, I am loving all my students. They are so precious. I love the way my classes are running. I am teaching a special reading strategies class, so my classes are super, super small which means that I get to form good relationships with all my kids. I am so excited about all the things that I can do for them. I am nervous about teaching something new, but I think this is going to be really good.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

School is NOT cool

Let me preface this by saying that I love teaching. I love forming relationships with my students and watching the lights come on. I love seeing kids find things that they are good at and learn to enjoy things they never thought they would. I love hearing how a kid found a book that he was passionate about or how one realized that a song was just poetry set to music. I love hearing the different takes that kids have on what they are reading. I learn from them just as much as they learn from me. I have been blessed with my job, but it PISSES me off when I am lectured for a whole week about how I need to do a better job teaching my kids, especially the poor, black ones (sorry, but we had a whole lecture on that today). I am mad that I have been lectured about how each kid learns differently (DUH!) and I need to make sure that I reach each kid, but oh, by the way, you are not going to have enough computers or overheads to do it. Also, even though you don't have enough computers, First period teachers, your kids are just going to have to pretend to use a computer because you don't even have a lab that you can take them to at that time. I understand that TAKS is something that we just have to face, but my gosh administrators, have some faith that we are teaching them the right things in the class room! Stop showing me charts and graphs about testing trends and tell me what the best methods are to reach the kids that are not passing. And stop making it sound like AMS teachers are not doing their job just because we are the 4th ranked middle school in the district. I have some news for you-the Kingwood schools do not have the demographics that we have. If my poor, black kid doesn't pass the TAKS it counts against us not once, but three times. Kingwood schools do have enough black kids or poor kids for those sub groups to count. So it is not fair for you to compare us to those schools. And it is certainly not fair of you to tell me that I am not doing a good enough job. All this "motivation" that you have been giving me this week has sounded something like this "Good job, but..." No, not but, just Good Job. We are doing a good job. We are busting our asses for these kids, and certainly not for the pay. Teaching is a labor of love, and I certainly love it, but I have not loved my administrators this week. I have been penalized for being ONE minute late to our faculty meeting (seriously, note in my box and everything), but these administrators can waste an entire week of my time. I have just been reminded of how little I am thought of this week. If I did not know that there are classes of little babies who need someone to help them achieve, I would be even more mad than I am now.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Mission Agua Prieta

I have prolonged this post because I have just been at a loss as to how to describe my week. It was one of the best mission trips I have ever been on. I felt God's presence so strongly the whole time we were there, and he revealed himself to me in such reals ways through the laughter I shared, the smiles of the children, the tears of joy that were shed, and the gospel that was shared. I really can't describe the emotions that I experienced. To try seem futile. But I will say, the work we did was all for God's glory. It is what we should do as followers of God. It is not necessary that it be fulfilling, but in God's amazing grace, he allows us to be filled when we do. I arrived back home at the end of the week filled to the tip top.The Maroon Van ladies in all our glory! I love these women, and I feel so blessed to have gotten to know them and establish deeper relationships with them. Just one of God's many blessings on this trip!
This could possibly be one of my favorite pictures of all time! I love my Kelli-girl!

We did get to spend Sunday afternoon roaming around Tombstone, AZ. Lots of history in "The Town to Tough to Die." Ha!

My job was to stay in Pirtleville and work with the VBS there. I loved it! The kids were so great! They were way into the drama we performed everyday and the songs we sang. It was exhausting, but such a blessing to share God's love with his little children.

This is such a small preview. There is more to come!