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Showing posts from 2015

I Will Not Sink

I will not sink.
I will participate in positive, professional dialogue.I will not seek a platform for attention based on negativity or mudslinging.I will avoid listening to gossip about others, and I will not repeat it if I hear it, nor will I give credence to it.I will attempt to turn negative conversations to other topics by injecting a positive insight or suggesting a new topic of conversation.I will walk away from conversations if I cannot participate conscientiously in them and if I cannot effect change.I will seek to find the positive in all situations and people.I will seek conversations and relationships that will focus on growth and positive situations.I will not hide my struggles, but I will address them with honesty and humility, and I will not use my struggles as occasions to harm others.
I will not sink.
    Why is it so much easier to talk about negative things? Why are we attracted to the negative: criticism, complaining, gossip? I think it makes us feel better about ourse…

Letter to Lorenzo

Dear Lorenzo (y amigos),  I am hoping that today I can start you thinking about how you can help yourself and others, just by thinking about what you are doing and why you are doing it. Before you begin, I want to make sure that you know that I really like you and think that you are intelligent, funny and pleasant to be around. I don’t mind your restless energy, and I understand that by the end of the day you’re feeling pretty restless from 7 ½ hours of sitting down.

     My problem is that you use your restless energy to distract and often hurt others. When you speak loudly, especially when it’s across the room, you keep people from being able to concentrate. If you move around the room, other students are distracted from their tasks. When you move, take, destroy or alter other people’s items, you communicate that you think you’re more important than they are, that they are somehow beneath you, and that simply is not true. 

I've tried and tried to find a way to channel his energy.

Three Truths...No Lie!

Today I am celebrating truthfulness. On three separate occasions within the span of just a couple of days, students chose to do what is right instead of what is convenient.

After reading the poem "Instantes," (here is a Spanish version: students had to interview three adults and record what the adult would do differently if he/she could return to a younger age. We discussed the answers aloud, each students sharing what their interviewees would have done.

"I would have studied to become a doctor."
"I would have played a sport in high school."
"I would not have sold my Mickey Mantle baseball card."

The discussions were enjoyable, and the students freely shared their responses. I congratulated and thanked them all.

After class, Charlie remained behind. "SeƱora, I forgot to do the assignment. I made up the answers based on what I think my parents would have said. And I remembered my grandfather telli…

Taking a Walk with my Students

On Wednesday I decided that I needed to spend a little time one-on-one with some students. Although it was difficult for me to detach myself from all the "URGENT" tasks on my desk, I gathered student schedules and went for a walk.

They were some of the most well spent minutes of my week!
First stop: I borrowed Rosa from her computer class and we went for a walk. Rosa was so agitated in class the day before that she came without her materials, would not work or participate, and became combative with other students over minor interruptions. My statement to her was, "I was worried about you because you were so upset, and I wanted to make sure that you are okay. Is there anything I can do?"

Quickly, Emily shared concerns weighing on her, concerns that we would dismiss as "9th grade girl syndrome," but in her world, real, emotional, critical.

I didn't have any answers but I asked how I could help. Emily asked to have her seat moved. Easily done!

That day I m…

Where is the "UNDO" button?

Sometimes I need a "UNDO" button:the lesson I planned is a complete disaster;I never copied the test I need for this period;my students are angry because I overlooked an infraction for one student but not for another;the teacher next door was out of school three days with a sick child and I didn't take the time to ask about the child, offer my help, or just share an encouraging word;a student is struggling in my class but I don't offer any extra help;in impatience I criticized a student and embarrassed him in front of his peers;homeroom attendance? I completely forgot to check and submit! Was everyone there?;that girl was visibly upset by something, but I didn't stop to see what was wrong or how I could help;oh, I was supposed to attend a meeting this morning!
Life doesn't have a "UNDO" button.
At times I want to take back my words, change my actions or reactions, or even go back and "insert" what I've omitted. But I can't. And I fe…

Emulating My Teacher Heroes (1)

My mom tells everyone that I have only ever wanted to do one thing with my life--teach, and she is correct. Even in high school I analyzed my teachers and their teaching methods and identified what I wanted to do like they did. One particular role model was Miss Carole Ewing.

I wasn't the only one who looked forward to Miss Ewing's social studies classes; many of my classmates also loved and admired her. Miss Ewing frequently wore yellow, always smiled enormously, and unfailingly taught with energy and passion. We secretly dubbed her the "Sunshine Lady," and once even secured our principal's permission and assistance to give her a surprise "Sunshine Party" in her classroom.

Her room was full of yellow balloons, yellow streamers, yellow cake, and 25 or so teenagers dressed in yellow shirts. As she entered we all sang, "You are my sunshine, my only sunshine..." Of course, she gave us her characteristic grin and the party began.

There were many thin…

Enter Stage Right

A teacher, mentor and friend gave me a piece of advice that has resonated in my heart and mind for years:
"If you are going to be a good teacher, you have to be a good actor (actress)".
What did he mean?

Regardless of the kind of day I'm having, I need to set my personal difficulties/thoughts aside and teach as though everything were great for me.

That is a troubling statement--I can't share my life with my students? I can't be sad, frustrated, angry or discouraged?

I don't think that he meant that I had to be dispassionate and stoic with my students. It's much more than that.

I have a choice to make: will I let my emotions rule my thoughts, words and actions, or will I bring my emotions under control and think, speak and act professionally?
Especially in the present time my students see, hear and experience life controlled by free-range emotions. What they don't often see is caged emotions--emotions under control. I can, and should, be that model for …

Called To Teach

  I am called and gifted to be a teacher in public education. As such, I commit to begin each day believing in and expecting the best of each of my students, regardless of the successes and/or failures of the previous day.         Inside the classroom, I maximize the time by creating learning opportunities to keep the students involved in the learning process. I strive not to waste time—my time or theirs—and to model for them a work ethic and a commitment to excellence. As I model a passion for learning and for my subject matter, I can inspire the same in them. Outside the classroom, I am still a teacher and a role model for my students. At school events, in a public restaurant, on a walking trail, at home, and in church I am the same as I am in the classroom.
I am committed to excellence, passion and integrity. I will live my life in this way, and I will seek to develop these traits in my students as well.
As part of my graduate work a few years ago, I was assigned to write my "p…