Saturday, March 31, 2018

An Unexpected Event

I didn't expect it. A phone call, twice, from my husband, John, today while I was grocery shopping.  I was in the checkout line and have this thing about talking on the phone while in public places. So I didn't answer it.

Then, came a text. "Call me ASAP."

Well as you can expect, I started to panic a little. Did something happen to one of my kids? Father? Mother-in-law?

As soon as the checkout lady gave me my receipt, I called John. Apparently, there was a shooting that had turned sour. And the suspect was on foot within a mile of my neighborhood. Police were all over the place, on the ground and in the air.

My husband called me because he wanted to make sure I was safe and to let him know when I was home, so he could walk me in the house.

At home, the shades were drawn and the kids were in the basement as John and I listened to the scanner. They had an eye on the suspect. He was hiding in an empty lumber yard 13 blocks from my house. I had the utmost confidence in the officers.

I live in the city. There are good pockets and not so good ones. Crime happens. I walk my neighborhood and take my kids to the park. I feel safe where I live. But today, it was a little too close to home.

While I sat in my home,  I thought about all those students I have and have had, who live this on a daily basis. The idea of not feeling safe whether it is from wondering when the next meal will come or where they might be moving to next, is something I am unable to fathom.

I began my teaching career 21 years ago. I started out in Detroit and loved it. It was a place that I wanted to be.  But at the same time, I saw things that I never knew imaginable. Kids who only ate during their free breakfast and  lunch at school. A second grader who watched his father kill his mother with a single shot right in front of him. A boy who called 911 because his mother collapsed then held her in his arms because EMS took 45 minutes to get to his house. He was 11, and she died. I remember how proud she was of her son at his first violin concert and how honored I felt when she  introduced me to her parents as her son's teacher. He was such a GREAT kid, and I wonder how he is doing today.

And these stories are only from my first two years of teaching. There are so many more.

This unexpected event that happened to me today, so close to home, was done in a bit over an hour.

But what about those students who live with this fear on a daily basis? And there is no end in sight?

Today I reflected on myself as a teacher. Do I listen enough? Do I hear what my students are telling me when they don't say anything? Am I picking up on subtle hints when they are trying to reach out?

I only hope that when they enter my classroom they always feel safe and know that I only want the best of what they can give me.

Friday, March 30, 2018

Little Plastic Bins

I am pretty sure that I am borderline OCD. I have this thing about things being neat. All the time.

I am unable to go to sleep if the kitchen is dirty or there are dishes in the sink. And we don't have a dishwasher.

I am unable to work in my classroom if I don't have everything set up for the next school day. Even if it is on the weekend.

I am unable to teach if there are things on the floor such as paper or pencils. It drives me nuts, and I find volunteers to pick these things up so I can move on with my lesson.

I often find myself cleaning out my cupboards at school multiple times a year, even though almost everything is in little plastic bins. Labeled.

I am just one of those people. I used to be worse. My husband has helped me realize that things don't need to be perfectly neat and organized all the time.

But today.

My first day of spring break.

I found myself helping all three of my kids as they cleaned their rooms. Really clean. Move and go through everything type of clean. After four hours. Yes, four hours and three large trash bags of garbage, we have one very calm mother.

Because I don't think I would have been able to relax until it was done.

Thursday, March 29, 2018

Break Tired

Today I am tired.

Not tired because I stayed up too late or tired because one kid had a nightmare in the middle of the night, and I found her little body wedged between my husband and me.

Not tired because I was working another job last night or thought about the limited amount of time I have left with my group of students.

Not tired because I coached my daughters' lacrosse team and am trying to learn the names and behaviors of 16 first through fourth grade girls.

Not tired because I think of the loads of laundry that need to get done, the furniture that needs to be dusted, the floors that need to washed, and carpets that need to be vacuumed.

But I am break tired.

Emotionally drained and spent from teaching since January 2nd. Listening and solving problems, finding new ways to reach my students, bring them higher and push them to places academically they didn't think they could go. Working long hours, late into the night, to keep myself caught up with papers and planning, and emails and all the other things that go with being a teacher.

It only happens three times a year because it is only these times that I allow myself to completely relax.

It is much needed.

This rest that is about to come.

Because as of today, at 3:45 p.m., I am on spring break!

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Those Words

Here they are
the words I want to say
but won't come out
because they are trapped
in my head

Maybe they are waiting
for another day
or time
to make an appearance

I can feel them
on the roof of my mouth
holding on tight
because now is not the time

And then those words
try to escape
through a run
with each step
quicker than the last

But what I want to say
won't come out
because those words
are trapped in each stride

Now those words
try to escape
through my tears
being held hostage
in my eyes

It's not time
not now
maybe never
those words

Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Powerful Words

Today I had my students imitate William Carlos Williams' poem "The Red Wheelbarrow" during Sacred Writing Time. They speak for themselves.

so much depends

the caring family

that took her

breath early that

so much depends

the bright flash

guiding you through

getting you home

so much depends

the memories that

of the sweetest

disintegrated in a

so much depends

a pair of

sitting on my

dancing while I

so much depends

an orange furry

skinny to the

in our happy

so much depends

a black ankle

glazed with

from a crying

so much depends

the gray storm's

screaming with yellow

in the dark

so much depends

a quiet little

sitting on a

beside the window

so much depends

a navy blue

keeping away the

while loud thunder

so much depends

the teachers in
this school

to give you
an education

and get you through
times that are tough.

so much depends

my dog at

waiting so

read to go

so much depends

the old stuffed

that's there for

and there for

so much depends

the brushing of

across the white

forever drawing a

so much depends

my parents loving

holding on to

and making new

so much depends

the nice clear

playing all the

using all the data.

Monday, March 26, 2018

The Clicking Hand

I started reading my students Love That Dog by Sharon Creech today. If you are not familiar with it, the book is written in poetry form following a conversation between a student and his teacher, although you never know what the teacher has said, you can just infer based on what is written.

I love this book because it is simple yet tells a great story. This post today is inspired by a poem in the book.

The Red Wheelbarrow
by Williams Carlos Williams

so much depends

a red wheel

glazed with rain

beside the white

The Clicking Hand
by Elana Waugh

so much depends

the movement of

with the clicking

as it takes

Sunday, March 25, 2018

My List

I keep staring at my list of things to do that is kept on a small yellow sticky note. I am not sure how I haven't lost this piece of paper that has no stick. I decided to recreate it here, just in case.

1. Buy Sell Swap-Create a writing marathon based of the NPR show. I found this idea from another blogger and want to adapt it to fifth grade.

2. Young Author Day Books- Organize all fifth grade hairror stories into one document and include each class list. Upload and publish the book on

3. Move Wikis-Since wikispaces is completely disappearing in July, move fifth grade flipping wiki to a new platform and move any other wiki information I care about.

4. Weebly-Work on setting up new weebly to keep information.

5.  Re-certification-I should probably get on this sooner rather than later. Upload all information to the database so my certification is renewed by the expiration date, which would be this June.

6. Writing Marathon for Camp- Create plans for the writing marathon at camp. Email the plans to the director so he can use it for future schools.

7. Coaching- Finishing US Lacrosse Level 1 Training because apparently I missed a few videos.

8. Spartan Writing Camp- Fill out the google form by Monday morning with supplies and information. Send paragraph with information about me and a snapshot of my lovely self.

9. Report Cards-Due Tuesday by 5:00. Input small amount of papers from missing work turned in this past Friday and do comments.