Tag Archives: personal insight

Reflection

It’s March 31st and that means that this 31 Slice of Life Challenge has come to a close.  I can’t believe how quickly it flew by. As a first time slicer I went into this challenge telling myself that I would try to have quality content in every single on of my posts. Did I succeed in doing that? No. A few of them were short and not my greatest and that’s only because I was exhausted that day and I knew if I had kept writing it would’ve been a rambling mess.

First I’d like to thank Twowritingteachers.org for setting up this writing challenge. I feel that I grew not only as a writer through this challenge but as an educator too. By being reflective at the end of each day it helped me learn how to be a little more patient or a little more encouraging. I’ve met so many new incredible educators over the past month and allow me to say that your students are lucky to have each of you as their teacher.

Over the course of the past thirty-one days I’ve learned the following things:

  • Writing is easy when you don’t box yourself in and think you need to write about a certain topic.
  • I shouldn’t be afraid to put myself out there a little more. I really dove into some personal events and thoughts a few times. Each time the responses blew me away in just how supportive you were.
  • Sometimes the smallest things can provide you with inspiration.
  • I’ve fallen in love with blogging daily. I think I’m going to try to blog three times a week and write about more than just my daily workouts.

And one thing I’m very sure of is that I’m already looking forward to next year’s Slice of Life Challenge.  To those of you that took the time to comment on my posts thank you. Those comments allowed me to grow as a writer. And it also allowed me to feel how my students feel when they present their writings to me. They often stand next to me nervous but they light up when I leave them positive feedback. That’s exactly how I felt each time one of you commented. Sometimes I think as educators we kind of forget what it’s like to receive critique from the student POV. I hope all of you stick around and read my slices occasionally. The challenge may be over but I still have a lot to write about it. And I definitely plan to take part in the Tuesday Slices.

Slammed

Unexpected. Crazy. Beautiful.

3 simple words that summarized you & I perfectly.

Why these three words?

Why not: Love. Perfect. Easy. ?

Yes, there was love & I believe there still is.

But perfect?

No, we were far from that.

Easy?

Hell, no.

There were many times it wasn’t easy.

Life is never easy.

Life is complicated & full of twists.

Unexpected is the better word choice because we were exactly this.

We weren’t seeking each other & yet-

for so long we were still a part of each other’s lives.

We let each other in to a depth that very few if anyone had ever been before.

Crazy-the amount of times we stayed up until 5AM. All of those Q & A nights.

Because of those nights I was given insight of just what kind of man you were & have grown into now. In return I let you see me for me.

It was crazy for me to call you that one night.

But even crazier for me to say I fell for you that night, but I did.

Beautiful-every single minute even some of the fights.

Why the fights too?

Without them then this would’ve been perfect & easy-2 things we were not.

We grew from our fights & always came out stronger.

Beautiful because you helped me find myself.

Because of you I’m more accepting & ready for adventure & life’s curveballs.

Unexpected. Crazy. Beautiful.

These three simple words described you & I.

For you were my,

unexpected,

crazy,

&

beautiful

Love.

You still are.

And always will.

But now our book has been closed.

We don’t talk anymore & I miss you.

But this was for the best.

The decision was unexpected but wasn’t that how this whole thing began?

It makes sense that we end that way too, right?

The Winner

I am tired.

I am sore.

I cannot take another step.

I cannot do another burpee.

I cannot finish these 30 burpees.

I could try to do fifteen this round.

No one would know.

Except you, says that little voice.

Setting my jaw I steel my shoulders and start another round.

I cannot take another step and yet I will.

I cannot finish these 30 burpees and yet I will.

I am so close just ten more.

The timer says 30 seconds just as my trainer yells it.

I kick it into overdrive and tell myself to suck it up buttercup. No cheating yourself!

The bell dings just as I finish my last burpees.

The round is over.

I am tired.

I am sore.

But I didn’t take any shortcuts.

I finished & I am strong.

Shake & Shuffle

Today’s slice was inspired by Kristy. Yesterday her slice was about her taste in music. I decided to do the same for today. I will warn you my music taste is all over the place. I think 20 tracks is a good enough number to give you a snapshot of my musical taste.

  • “I Won’t”-Little Mix
  • “Miss Missing You”-Fall Out Boy
  • “Yakety Yak”-The Coasters <–I blame that one musical episode of Tiny Toon Adventures for me loving this song.
  • “Tomorrow is Another Day”-The Rescuers
  • “Daylight”-Maroon 5
  • “From the Sky”-Peter Bradley Adams
  • “Don’t Worry, Be Happy”-Bobby McFerrin
  • “Bienvenue Dans Ma Vie”-Nikki Yanofsky
  • “A Lonely Decision”-Murray Gold (Doctor Who soundtrack)
  • “So Far Away”-Carole King
  • “Never Let You Down”-The Verve Pipe
  • “Dress You Up”-Madonna
  • “Avalanche”-Walk the Moon
  • “The Party’s Over”-Leslie Odom, Jr.
  • “Vive La Vida”-Chino y Nacho
  • “Blinding”-Florence & the Machine
  • “Dancing King”-Yoo Jae Seok & EXO (K-Pop)
  • “Asalaam-e-Ishqum”-Bappi Lahiri & Neha Bhasin (Bollywood)
  • “Ode to a Butterfly”-Nickel Creek
  • “Every Single Night”-Computer Games & Darren Criss

The last one listed has been on repeat the last two days. Actually the entire EP has been on repeat.But as you can see I wasn’t kidding when I said my music taste is all over the place.

 

Inspiring Women

Today is International Women’s Day. I planned to write this slice yesterday but thought it would be more appropriate today. Today’s slice is about the women in my life who inspire me and have taught me a few things. Some are fellow educators while others are family members.

Mrs. Daly:

It’s because of this woman that I’m an educator. I mentioned her in my very first slice. When I was in school she was a Kindergarten teacher and although I didn’t have her for my teacher she still taught me a few things. She’s my definition of an elementary teacher. She always took the time to get to know her students and if you were crying she’d let you cry it out or let you talk it out to her. Her students were her kids and their problems were her problems. Their successes were recognized and she took the time to praise even the smallest victory because to a Kindergartener those are very big deal. When I became an educator she was one of the teachers I chose to model myself after. When I see her in the store she always asks about my class. If she sees my mom she’ll ask, “How’s our girl doing?” I don’t think she’s understood the complete impact she’s had on my life.

Tonya:

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She started out as my mentor teacher. I was nervous and I remember hoping that whoever this Mrs. L was she & I would get along. As soon as I reach the room she’s standing in the door eagerly waiting to meet her new student teacher. My first thought when I saw her was, ‘Wow, she’s tall.’ Over the course of the eight weeks I was in her classroom I learned how to efficiently set up centers, work with small groups, differentiate instruction, and how to make lessons fun. I hated to see those eight weeks end. Our personalities meshed so well. She’s another educator I’ve modeled myself after. She strives to be the best teacher for her students and she makes the teaching fun for even the most dull of topics. I feel lucky for being placed with her for my first half of student teaching.

Marissa:

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I’ve known her for ten years now but we didn’t become close friends until 2009. Since then we’ve had countless adventures. Her wedding, a Maroon 5 Concert, road trips for WLU football games, and numerous sleepovers while her husband was away due to football. She’s the most caring person you’ll ever meet. She’s the Meredith Grey to my Christina Yang. In a little over six weeks she will begin a new adventure: becoming a mom to a beautiful baby boy. She inspires me in the way that she loves. She will always have your back and loves with all her heart.

Sarah: 

Sarah

Sarah continues to inspire me to stay in shape. Her fitness ethic is one to admire and she’s the reason why my workout posts seem so intense. She always encourages us during the workouts and trust me when I say you will see results. But she’s more than a trainer. She’s driven, sarcastic, funny, and down to earth. She works so hard at the gym between teaching classes, small group, and other classes outside of the gym. She’s pushed me to get over the limitations in my head that would tell me I couldn’t do one-legged burpees, box jumps, or complete a half marathon. She’s helped make me healthier and happier. She’s so appreciated and loved within our community.

Mam B:

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I wish I had a more recent picture of us, but I don’t. She is the reason why I love to read. Over the course of several years she bought me several books. It started with the Little Golden Books then Nancy Drew & the Hardy Boys. She taught me that a bold lipstick color is always the key to pulling an outfit together. I’d spend hours sitting next to her talking about various topics. She always wanted to know what I was learning in school or what new book I was reading. She’s also the reason why I love country music. It would always be playing during our visits. Whether it was on TNN or a tape there was always country music being played in the house. She passed away, suddenly, in 2013. I miss her everyday & I can only hope that she’s proud of the young woman I’ve turned out to be.

Mam G

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This is the woman who is responsible for my strong faith and love of flowers. She’s also the woman who sewed so many of my dresses when I was little. I wish I had that talent but it skipped over me. We both still have that strong faith & the last few years we’ve leaned heavily on that. Between Pap G passing away in 2012, which hit both of us hard, to Mam and Pap B passing away in 2013 and 2016. Every Sunday afternoon when I visit her we sit and talk about the gardens they used to have, the dresses she used to make, and how my week has gone. Lately I’ve been visiting her more. Her health is good, and for that I’m thankful, but like the lyric in Tim McGraw’s song says:

Visit grandpa every chance that you can
It won’t be a waste of time

Just change it to say grandma and it’s a true statement.

These five women I admire and they have taught me so much. For that I thank them.

 

A Moment of Sadness

Today is March 5th and for the first time I feel a great sense of loss today. Before I felt joy and eagerness. Yesterday I would’ve been in my kitchen mixing up the ingredients for my homemade pie crust and working on the lattice work to put on top of the cherry pie. But this year there is no cherry pie and I don’t think I’ll ever bake another one ever again. Today would’ve been Pap’s 89th birthday. He passed away last August and even though it’s been almost seven months my heart is still healing. This was the grandfather who I’d go camping with every summer to Dollywood. If you were to ask me to describe this man I’d tell you he was independent, proud, and supportive. He always wanted to see his grandchildren succeed in life and he was always proud of all of us. I’ve been dreaming about him, Mam B and Pap G here as of late. I think that’s because this writing challenge has had me thinking of them more and more. What was once a day of celebration it’s now a day of remembering for me.

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I love you & miss you everyday. 

 

Snapshots

Have you ever been sitting at your desk or in your car or somewhere and suddenly a memory from long ago comes racing to the front of your brain? It’s like in Inside Out when Joy and Sadness are at the Memory Bank and suddenly the gum jingle begins playing. That happened to me yesterday.

I was walking through the aisles of Jo-Ann Fabrics  yesterday trying to find some cute Easter decorations when I turned left and found myself in an aisle of buttons. Row after row of colorful buttons. And then it happened. My mind pulled from the memory files a snapshot of me sitting at my grandmother’s kitchen table playing with the buttons in a teal tin container.  The buttons ranged in size, color, and texture. Some were small and meant for a pocket while others were huge and she’d sew them onto her blazer she wore to church. Some were smooth and shiny. Others were rough and bumpy.

I’d busy myself with these buttons while she measured fabric out for the latest dress pattern. I could spend hours sorting them out by size or color. But sometimes I’d dump them all out on the table and then slowly put them back in in small handfuls. I’d always ask her where she bought all of those buttons and she’d always tell me at Jo-Ann’s. Occasionally I’d have to stop playing with them because she needed to measure something on me before she could finish the pattern. Anytime the dress needed buttons she would pick out the color of buttons appropriate for the dress but I’d always get the final pick in what type of button would be sewed on.

When I was at the store yesterday I couldn’t help but pick a few of the buttons and feel the texture and wish that I had the ability to sew clothing from patterns just like Mam. But for now the memories will have to suffice.

Why I Teach

I am participating in the Slice of Life challenge to write and publish a post every day in March.

Slice of Life is hosted by Two Writing Teachers. I thank them for the community they provide. Read more slices here.

Nine years ago I sat in a room full of 4th graders. I was observing them & their teacher. I had not taught a lesson yet & at the time I wasn’t sure if I could. You see up until that point the only “teaching” I had done was help students with their homework with an after school tutoring program. I looked around at the 21 students in the room and then at their teacher and wondered, ‘Do I really have what it takes to be like her?’  A month later I found out that I did have what took to be like her. And yet self doubt kept me from feeling like my lesson was as successful as her review had said.  Fast-forward to January 2010 and this time I had 23 2nd graders looking at me expectantly and waiting to learn about Mr. Yuk & poison prevention. When that lesson was over my field experience teacher pulled me aside and told me that I did a really nice job of keeping the students interested in the lesson and that I had the heart of a teacher. Every Wednesday when I showed up to the room the kids were excited to see me and they were always ready to learn. Over the course of the 8 weeks I was in that 2nd grade classroom I grew more confident in my teaching ability. But what truly shushed my self doubt was when the music teacher at that school, who was also my former piano teacher, told me that I reminded me of her. To be compared to her was an honor.

For you see it was because of her that I became an elementary education major in the first place. A bit of background: Senior year of high school I was set on attending Marshall University as a music education major. But due to my band director playing favorites he killed my passion & one evening while at her piano I broke down. I felt lost because I knew I didn’t want to be a music educator anymore. She asked me 2 simple questions. Do you still want to work with kids and do you want to teach? I answered yes to both and she suggested I give elementary education a try.

I’m now in my seventh year of teaching and I can’t see myself in any other profession. My kids mean the world to me. This job isn’t a job to me. It gives me joy and I love how much progress this year’s group has made since August. Not just in their academics but in their personalities, ideas, and views of the world. This group has a lot of heart & I truly hope they never lose the amount of empathy they have for others.

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Their ideas of how to show love and acceptance.

Sunday Lately #106 Redoing, Making, Choosing, Concentrating, & Appreciating

I can’t believe it’s Sunday again! Well here we go again with another installment with the Blogger Tribe crew.

Redoing: This weekend I tackled my bookshelf in my bedroom since it was overflowing with Christmas cards, books, and papers that just needed to be thrown away. It’s now dust free, clutter free, and looks 100x better. By clearing off a section of my bookshelf that held my gift from when I was in our local production of Into the Woods I now have more room for books. (I may be looking for an acceptable reason to buy more books.)

Making: This week I made the extra effort to choose healthier foods, start my food prep on Sunday night & drink more water. I’m already feeling a difference that I touched upon in my Wednesday post. I plan on continuing this effort into next week. I’m already down 3 pounds. It may not seem like much, but it’s a gain in the right direction.

Choosing: I’m split on how to properly respond to this part because I’m currently choosing two things. One of my 2017 aspirations was to travel to somewhere new at least four times this year. This summer I’m trying to choose between three different places to spend 3 to 4 days. My dream destination would be this one:

fields-villa-tuscany-italy_mainTuscany, Italy

However that’s not exactly feasible so for now I have to settle for an adventure in the U.S. I’m leaning towards Savannah, GA because normally every summer I travel to Tennessee for 3 or 4 days. I’d like to go South, but somewhere like Mackinac Island sounds really nice too. I’ve made the decision that by next Sunday I’ll have my vacation picked. I work better with deadlines.

Concentrating: It’s safe to say that for 2017 I’m quite driven. It’s a different level of driven than I was last year. I’m trying to figure out how to take this energy and use it to be beneficial to others. Example: I’d like to be more involved with my community. I’m looking to the WYP to help me out here with this one. If you don’t know who they are you should check them out: Wheeling Young Preservationists

Appreciating: Little moments. It hit me the other day that it seemed like 2016 flew by, and while in part that was probably a good thing considering certain events, it felt like I hadn’t taken the time to appreciate certain moments when I should have. Looking back while I appreciated those weekly Sunday lunches with my grandfather I should’ve appreciated them even more in the moment. Sundays have been so empty since August 19th & I can’t help but feel like that side of my family is slowly drifting apart since his passing. So for now I’m appreciating those little moments a whole lot more.

This week’s post was a little longer but I find this whole Sunday Lately posting to be the most therapeutic. The fitness updates will resume tomorrow. If you want to join this fantastic tribe of ladies then click the link below!  Next week’s themes will be: Thinking, Finding, Allowing, Insisting, Repeating. 

Sunday Lately with Blogger Tribe