how the good the bad the ugly shaped me into the educator I am now

“This post is week 2 of 8 in the 8 Weeks of Summer Blog Challenge for educators.”

Ok this week I am suppose to reflect on what has contributed to the educator I am today.
Hmmmmm???
I so want to talk about my family-
I am a 4th generation teacher and I feel like teaching is a genetic thing...
my mom was a fabulous teacher and I would like to think she had a little to do with who I am today
my hubs is a supporter... always listening to my moans and groans
offering advice when necessary
Bubs has even helped me become a better teacher
he is academically way above his classmates -BUT- socially below
I have advocated for him to get the education he deserves -
his situation has opened my eyes and has made me more understandable to other kids' behaviors.

BUT

If I had to really think what has made me the teacher I am today
it is my admin...
the good the bad and the ugly

I started teaching 18 years ago...
WOW (jaw dropped - that's a long time)
well my first year I had one of the best principals EVER -
at the time I was a little scared of her... a little -
OK  A LOT
any who
I had taken over midyear after a yucky teacher quit (thank God - he was horrible)
my first day on the job ALL of my girls went home with lice
ALL OF THEM
that was back when if one had it... the nurse could check all the kids...
AND they had to go home...
well that was interesting!!!
that same day...
I also stopped by a beauty shop and had the lady chop my hair off (like 8 inches)
in this class I also had the city's head gang member's son
who liked to cuss a little - OK a lot
he could barley read a kinder book (we were in 3rd) BUT boy could he throw cuss words
I decided I needed to call his mom...
imagine a first year teacher (about 1 month on the job) calling a house known for its gang activity
-I was a little scared -
ok A LOT
the only place we were allowed to make phone calls home was an office located by the principal's office
and it wasn't really an office... more like a little corner nook
so as I was talking to the mom...
the mom proceeds to tell me - that her kiddo never cussed until I became the teacher...
I was so mad...
I couldn't believe she was blaming me...
and she was yelling at me...
so what did I do...
I told her...
very calmly
"maam the word F@*K is not on our spelling list... so I can assure you I am NOT teaching this!!!"
well my principal heard me say this and immediately came out of her office grabbed the phone from my hands and asked me to go back to my classroom.
I was embarrassed - walking out of the office.
But as I was walking out... I could hear my principal loudly say to the mom...
" you and I both know (insert boy's name) has been cussing since he was in kinder" and
"don't you waste my teacher's time with nonsense"
I was out of the office before I could hear the rest of the story
but her secretary later told me she also told the mom to talk to all her teachers in a respectable tone the next day ...
I had homemade cupcakes and the kid told me he was sorry.
I never had anymore issues with that kiddo :)
and I didn't eat the cupcakes - I was a little scared of them - ok
A LOT

What did that principal teach me -
* my time is precious... it shouldn't be wasted on nonsense
* be blunt and precise in what you want to say to parents
* parents will push new teachers - you have to show you are in charge of your classroom

The next year - I moved to a different city
and obviously new school (which I am at still)
 and once again I had a great principal.
she wasn't tough like my first one
but she was good
I was one of 2 new teachers to the campus..
the majority of the other teachers were well
what's a good word... ummmmm
dinosaurs...
walking the path and guidance of the teacher manual... BORING
set in their own ways... doing the same things they had done 15 years ago...
getting the same results
it was intimidating... to go against the norm
my new principal welcomed my new ideas (she was also somewhat new to the campus too)
she encouraged me to go my own way...
she allowed me to spread my wings and break the monotony of the dinosaurs and their manuals
she did reign me in if I got to far off the target
but her willingness to let me be me was amazing
I was with this principal for years and I grew so much as a teacher...
she trusted me and had me on committees for hiring -
I was also on the committee to improve our campus
I became the grade level chair within two years
when district came to visit - they were escorted to my room
after a few years - many of the dinosaurs had retired and I was left with a fabulous young team
we were amazing...
we were kicking butt on all state tests - yet we were NOT teaching to the test
and we were not using textbooks and manuals
we were blessed to work together for I think 8 years...

What did that principal teach me?
* When you are surrounded by people that believe in you - you can really go further than you ever imagined!!!
* let new teachers share their ideas - sometimes they have good ones
* don't be a dinosaur

OK those were the good-
now for the bad

I have had admin that
BLESS THEIR HEART
were just bad

I mean really...
one would fall asleep during meetings -
and if you wanted to get a fab score on your walk through...
just pretend it is snack time and feed them too
seriously every time I would get rave scores!!!
he had no clue what we were suppose to be teaching
he was just a good ole boy that was hired because he knew someone
and well we all suffered
don't get me wrong he was SUPER NICE
but he wasn't admin material

What did that admin teach me?
* Snacks in the classroom bring happiness to kids and adults!
* good ole boys should be GOOD at what they do
* it is hard to grow under weak admin - they usually have nothing to contribute

one was a meany -
she came in and wanted to change everything
EVERYTHING
schedules - traditions - ceremonies - plans - routines
EVERYTHING...
she even started cleaning out closets and throwing our old yearbooks and photo albums out...
we turned 50 this year so... throwing out our memorabilia was horrible
she wouldn't listen to anyone...
her way or no way...
she thought she was there to save us...
we did NOT need saving...
the only thing she did was make us hate her
and guess what...
our morale went down... with our scores

What did that admin teach me?
* Leaders create the environment... if the environment is made hostile the morale will reflect that.
* you can't come into a new place and just start changing everything - take time to get to know what needs changing
* if you think you are put somewhere to SAVE them... you are not... save that for Jesus

another was a want a be
she wanted to be a great principal
she talked the talk but never got up to do the walk...
she mostly sat in her office with her minions and did
absolutely nothing to help us grow as a campus
each year she was there it got worse...
she did less for the campus and just pushed out all the work to others
student behaviors got worse, the newly hired were questionable, and the school was divided more than ever... she even had a nickname for those of us that were not buying her act
little did she know that "the clique" was getting her the scores she needed to keep her butt in her office chair

What did that admin teach me?
* You can not run a school sitting behind a desk.
* Rumors travel fast in a school - so watch what you say.
* If you are lazy students, parents, and teachers start misbehaving.

OK and now for the UGLY!!!

thank GOD
this guy was only here for one year...
so -
we were in a meeting at the beginning of the year...
my team and I
with the "admin team"
we were asked to read a poem
this poem was deep... it was college level
and was actually a really good poem
sorry I don't remember the name
we were then asked to give our opinions about the poem...
I stated mine... my teammates said theirs
and then he gave his...
he then tried to tell us our opinions were WRONG
we were not reading deep enough
he told us we were small minded
YEP!!!
so let me give you some background...
he had been moved from countless campuses -
demoted promoted demoted moved promoted moved... we were just his next stop
he had NO elementary experience and specialized in one subject

so here we are... in the conference room being told our opinion of the poem is wrong
I proceeded to tell him... you cannot tell me how to understand a poem
that is the beauty of a poem... especially a good one
I told him everyone's answers were right because we have to infer what the author is saying
as long as we can support our reasons we are all right
he got mad...
told us we would never see his side...
it was pointless...
anywho... he then proceeded to show us a powerpoint where he told us we are
NO LONGER allowed to use strategies for reading and math
WHAT!!!!????!!!!
here he was - brand new at our campus-
never being in a an elementary setting
and telling us this nonsense
of course I let him know - and my team - that we disagreed
he stood up and slammed his fist on the table (I was sitting next to him so it was right by me)
and screamed you will listen to me!!!
this was within inches of my face

I left -
from then on I had absolutely ZERO respect for him
and the "admin team" who sat there and did nothing!!!

What did I learn from that principal?
* You can have the title but you can still be unqualified!
* Breath mints are a necessity when in a close proximity meeting.
* Immediately report vile and inappropriate behavior. - I didn't I was scared of retaliation!

Through my 18 years it became apparent that the leaders of the campus set the stage for the campus.  It is up to you to stand strong in your beliefs.
It is up to you to find the positive in bad situations.
It is up to you to grow even under bad circumstances.

You can learn from the good - the bad - and the ugly!!!










What are your plans for professional learning this summer - NOTHING

I have been tagged on IG to join a summer blogging challenge...
and I was like what the heck... why not
plus I loved the first prompt
and I have been wanting to blog again!!!

So here I go...
This post is week 1 of 8 in the 8 Weeks of Summer Blog Challenge for educators.

This week's topic is funny and ironic for me...
WHAT ARE YOUR PROFESSIONAL LEARNING GOALS FOR THIS SUMMER?

Oh gosh...
The only "professional" goal I have for this summer was to get my TAG 6 hour update that I ALWAYS  have to get.
OH and let's talk about this...
they always schedule this training like the week after school gets out
WHO THE HECK wants to do that?
Why can't they include this 6 hour training in our back to school training?
I mean come on we come back like 5 months before the kids...
ok dramatic but we do come back like 2 weeks before (if you round to the nearest week)
That would be smart... to include it into our B2S schtuff
I am sure there are school districts out there that do that... right?
not mine!!!  insert a sad face here

SOOOO I already did that training and it was fabulous (sarcasm)
I got up early on my first Thursday of the summer
and painted my face... put on a smile and went to a training that was more geared for
HIGH SCHOOL!!!!!
the majority of us in there were elementary teachers
when we had to raise our hands there were 3 high school teachers
there were 51 of us in all...

here was the training in a nutshell....
make a video for your kids to review prior to class about new content
load your video onto your you tube channel
and make a blog for your videos...
NEEDLESS to say I was done early...
and could NOT leave...
so I sat for almost 3 hours with my friends and helped them finish
and then we talked
- that training was fun-
sarcasm

ok NOW on to my real plans for summer
NOTHING

this is the first summer I have NO REAL plans
I don't have camps to teach
I don't have summer school to teach or run
I have NOTHING
no training to teach
no other trainings to attend
and it is sooooooo nice!!!!

and I am excited about that
soooooo
my plans are to
RELAX, REORGANIZE, and REJOICE

RELAX -if you know me you know I love me some YOGA
with the end of the year schedule - I missed lots of classes
so my goal this summer is to go to at least 2 classes a week
yoga is a great place to work on me...
I concentrate so much on not falling on my face or tooting
(yoga makes you gassy)
that I can't dwell in my head about everything that is stressing me out
it is a complete hour of being out of my head...
and it is nice
if you haven't tried yoga
you should
it's amazing
tall, small, curvy, thin, rolly, skinny... all body types can go
that's the joy of yoga

I am also taking time to myself in the morning...
Hubs is at work and Bubs is a late sleeper so my morning time is
JUST ME
and my dawgs...
I get up clean up
real life ---- > we have a dog that is older than Jesus and well she has accidents during the night
so I clean up - light some candles
let the girls out to play and potty
and then turn on the Today show and chill.
I might get up and water the garden (no veggies - just a bunch of elephant ears and succulents)
it's just a time for me to do whatever I want...
I haven't had a summer to myself like this in a VERY LONG TIME
and it is soooo nice!!!


REORGANIZE
well the stresses of school and our family's busy schedule
definitely show in my house keeping
or lack there of...
and I have a house keeper come every other week - yikes
anywho -
I set goals for myself to work on one area of the house a day
and I have done that... YAY me
so far I have scrubbed the garage door... it was super dirty and now it is WHITE again
I also have spray washed our front porch and redecorated it for the summer
I have gathered every single article of clothing
from every corner
and organized it by colors for washing
I have a lot of washing to do ....
A LOT
A LOT
A LOT
I have cleaned out our spare bedroom - which was a catch all for all things that needed a place
 and I had no clue where that place was...
I have made a run to Goodwill with a few boxes of donations
and see lots more coming their way

I also have reorganized my eating
I joined Weight Watcher... now called WW
whatever it is Weight Watchers
I needed something to help me...
something structured and that would help me portion control
and have more accountability
I was on it several years ago and did amazing...
this time it is do or die...
literally - my liver hates me and
has decided to act out
so he needs to lose some fat which means I need to lose fat
and so WW is here  to stay.
So far it is easy and breezy...
I mean it takes some time to figure out the app
and portions BUT it really is easy
and I am down about 10 pounds my first week
so no complaints here...

REJOICE
I am really taking this summer to find myself again
and rejoice in my blessings
school can be a toxic place
mean girls
crappy teachers
stubborn kiddos
test stress
rumors
lies
parents
schedules
paperwork
I could name tons more BUT that would take my whole morning
and I'm not here for that!!!

anyways...
this summer I need to take time for ME
and I am going to rejoice in my accomplishments
cleaning out the pantry - YES
losing wt - YES
meditating in the morning - YES
how often do teachers REALLY take the time for themselves during the summer?
I am pretty sure in my 18 years of teaching...
this is a first for me
and it is so refreshing for my spirit

so no...
I am not planning my classroom decor - I am planning on redecorating my spare bedroom
I am not taking an online class for reading - I am taking an online class for abstract painting.
I am not reading a book about guided reading - I am reading a book about a steamy romance
I am not making plans for the first week of school - I am planning out a Mamma and Bubs trip
I am not going to another writing training - I am going to a how to meditate class
I am not creating new things for my class - I am creating new meals for my family
I am not stressing over next year's class - I am living in the now and loving it