Tuesday, September 30, 2014

The Honeymoon Stage

We didn't take a honeymoon after the wedding. It was in the original plans, but the lesson I seem to need to really grasp right now is that life happens. He had a new job in a new time zone about halfway through our engagement, and I was facing down "funemployment." Add in some family medical issues, a cross-state relationship, wedding planning from afar, and there you have our summer. With his new job, and the prospect of a great job looming for me if I could start work the week after the wedding, we had about 2 days' worth of vacation time. We opted to save the time (which worked out splendidly for us as I am now happily, gainfully employed at a job I adore) and take a phenomenal vacation later when we both have the option of vacation time.

I suppose this means that, although we skipped the honeymoon, we are in our 'honeymoon' stage of marriage.

Here's what I'm learning so far:

- We are still splendidly happy. I think this is the only part that is really honeymoon-y. However, we were probably disgustingly happy from day 1.

- We were bickering the first day of our marriage. Of course, we were running on minimal (no) sleep, a multi-state road trip, and were towing my car behind the truck. I imagine we will bicker intermittently forever.

- We are learning what house rules are like when they aren't 'mine' or 'his,' but OURS. Compromise is a must in my tool belt. The infamous silverware up/down in the dishwasher and 'which way do you roll the toilet paper' battles are real, folks.

- It is blissful to spend time with each other every day.

- We are still capable of laughing till we cry- over nothing or silly youtube videos.

- I love him more today.

- I look forward to spending my future with my husband daily, and say a prayer of thanks for him every day.

- When moving far from home, having a spouse in my corner to be my person has been a huge advantage. He already had some friends and ideas of places I'd like.

- My husband is one of the most generous, considerate people I have ever met. He sneaks out on the weekends to pick up ingredients to make my favorite things for breakfast (and the occasional pumpkin spice latte).

- I love married life.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Teacher Blog Challenge- 2, 3, 4, 5

Day 2: 
Write about one piece of technology you'd like to try this year and why.

We are fortunate enough to have a class set of iPads to use this year. I used a teacher iPad last year in my classroom, but I am working towards finding ways to incorporate more with the iPad. There are a zillion apps out there! Right now, I'm working on mastering the art of Book Creator, which is used for part of a final project in zoo school.

Day 3:
Discuss one 'observation' area that you would like to improve in for your teacher evaluation.

Not being in a traditional public school setting, I don't have the types of formal evaluations I've been accustomed to seeing. I am often partner teaching, and it is my goal to make my transitions with my partner seamless. We hope to make it difficult for an outsider to see who is in charge- as both of us are equals. I'd like to move less from primarily 'my activity' and 'their activity' to 'our equally shared time-and-voice-and-discipline activity.'

Day 4:
Respond: What do you love the most about teaching?

I teach for those cheesy lightbulb moments. I teach to ask questions, to make students think, to challenge them, but mostly, to watch them grow and get to know them. To hope that they will see the world as a valuable resource, a precious place to live, learn, and enjoy life!

Day 5: 
Post a picture of your classroom. What do you see, and what do you not see that you'd like to see?

I've got everything I need. (Yes, my classroom is unconventional. And yes, that is an Aldabra tortoise whose neck I'm scratching. He's the best.)

Friday, September 12, 2014

Confessional Friday

Here goes!

Link up with me at A Blonde Ambition

I confess that .... I love the camaraderie of reading complete strangers' confessions...creepy as that may make me.

I confess that .... one of the elephants at the zoo's "fifth leg" made an appearance in front of my students today.

I also confess that.... I totally ignored it and pretended that all I saw was him pooping, which he was also doing.

I confess that ..... cramps make me turn into someone I can't imagine I've ever known- like the teacher from the black lagoon. Coincidentally, my maiden name was her name. I used to love reading that book to my students!

I confess that ..... my husband is phenomenal- he goes out of his way on a daily basis to make sure that my life is always happy, full, and safe.

I confess that .... I'm really thinking about bringing home the stray tabby that comes to greet me and the pup every morning on our walks. What could another pet hurt? ;)

I confess that ..... at 9 PM on a Friday, I am ready to zonk!

Teacher Blog Challenge

Y'all, we just moved from South Carolina to Alabama. I've always thought of myself as Southern, but I have been told that I didn't live in the 'real' South.  Luckily for me, I've been welcomed into the deep south that is Alabama.

I have been pleasantly surprised by my new "Sweet Home." It is BEAUTIFUL. Sure, it's a different kind of beauty than the lowcountry of South Carolina and Georgia, but beautiful nonetheless. The people are friendly, and there is so much to explore. There's great hiking, beaches, lakes, parks, people, Civil Rights History, museums, and an art and music scene I can't wait to enjoy. Plus, the people are so friendly.

I've been absent from blogging as I try to decide in which direction I want to take this outlet of mine. Recently, the only conclusion I've come up with is that I want to get back into blogging. I miss it. So,
I am participating in the Teacher Blog Challenge.

This isn't nearly as crazy as some of the other "challenges" floating around social media right now. It's a reflective piece for a month, which is perfect for me in this time.

If you want to join me, here's the link to the challenge.

Day 1: 
Write your goals for the school year. Be as specific or abstract as you'd like to be.

This year, my teaching will look different. I work at a Zoo...literally! My classroom instruction is very different, as most of the time, my classroom is outside. My goals this year are:
- Instill an appreciation for the outdoors in my students
- Provide memorable hands-on experiential learning opportunities
- Encourage my students to explore a variety of future career options
- Make every student feel valued in my 'classroom'

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Shiny, Happy NEW!

My life has been a whirlwind of changes this summer.  I'm sad to report I didn't get much of my summer reading list accomplished.  However, I am happily settling into married life and all of the new, exciting things in my world.

~New name
~New husband
~New home
~New state
~New timezone
~new job
~new friends
~new experiences

All of this new is meshing splendidly with all of the 'old' family, friends, etc. The fur babies are adjusting well to their new home as well.  Here's just a snippet:

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Summer Reading List

As a teacher, I'm supposed to be getting all this fabulous time off. Since I'm so highly overpaid (read: sarcasm), I should have no problem vacationing and enjoying my leisure time, right?. I have always had a full time job in the summers. Granted, most of those jobs were in the great outdoors as an employee of the parks and recreation commission. Those are some of the world's best jobs! You get to be outside and perform a necessary community service, all while getting physically fit. Regardless, more than forty work hours a week and the sun and southern ehat take its toll, and I've  never had a ton of free time in the summer.

This summer, I'm not in school, and I'm not working. I thought I'd be absolutely bored off my rocker by the end of the first 2 weeks. I've made goals, set deadlines, done some wedding planning, caught up on that evasive sleep from the school year, read a couple books, and am working on walking my butt off!

Buuuuut, all good things must come to an end, right? I'm gearng up for some plane rides, long drives, and 8 AMAZING DAYS at Camp Happy Days, all in the next 2.5 weeks. Then, more whirlwind road trips, a bachelorette party, final wedding details, and the big day when I finally get to legally share my life with my man. I'm looking at a solid 48 + hours of drive and flight time! and I need book recommendations. I'm looking for things that I can listen to and keep my mind occupied while I drive, but also that are good reads. What's been on your kindle/ bookshelf lately? I will do a small amount of "beach reading," but am also looking for other ideas.  Please share! I need to compile my summer reading list and start checking those books off the list.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

When you know your "teacher look" works

Student to classmate: Boy, you better stop before she cuts you

Classmate: She won't cut me

Student: she will cut you! She'll cut you with her eyes. She'll give you that glare..... You don't wanna get that glare. 

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

We're Engaged, Y'all!!

In a magical mountaintop proposal, I got asked to marry the man I will be honored to call my husband for the rest of my life. We are so excited to start our new life together!!!

And we're getting married in less than two months!! Ok, so maybe we've already been engaged for  4 months and I have shamelessly slacked in all things not related to things at hand. Anyway, I'm getting a last name that is AWESOME! It makes people smile and laugh allll the time. I'm going to be a Hollar!

When we met, I asked what his last name was and he answered. My response? Like Holla back girl?! Needless to say, my man was not impressed and countered with, "or, down in the holler." Without fail, giving our name at a restaurant either makes the hostess think we're punking them, or it makes them laugh. Maybe in another few years the novelty will wear off, but I know that I will always love sharing his name. 

And these are the sweet friends that my man had make the strenuous hike ahead of us in the morning and hide out in the trees to photograph the entire proposal. :)

Thursday, February 20, 2014

If I were a superhero....

After our study of elements and discovering Krypton, we talked about superheroes in a writing assignment. In our dialogue to generate ideas, I was able to observe this converstaion:

Student: I want to make myself invisible. If I don't have Harry Potter's cloak, what element would I need?

His neighbor: You wouldn't. You could just poke your eyes out.

Student: Then I wouldn't be able to see anybody else.

Neighbor: Exactly: And they couldn't see you.

Student: I think they'd just feel sorry for the kid with no eyes...

Monday, February 3, 2014

"She's got it all together...."

One of the sentences I most dread hearing about myself is, "oh, but you've got it all together." It's meant as a compliment, but most of the time, I feel like a frazzled, crazy lady running around in a thousand directions trying to accomplish the pages and pages of to-do lists.  I don't feel like I have it all together.  Generally, I have to bite my tongue not to lash out at the person trying to encourage me, and remind myself to keep it in perspective. They see what I'm doing and think I'm doing it well. It would be inappropriate for me to say something like, "Are you nuts?!?!  I'm going bonkers over here. I can barely function and the only reason I'm still going is caffeine and adrenaline."

Like many teachers, I teach my regular classes.  I differentiate based on ability and interest, and include cultural references, study up so I can teach cross-curricular material, etc.  I teach a pull out class of gifted and talented kids that is full of interested kids who are PUMPED UP about learning, which is so much fun and so challenging for me as a teacher to keep them pushing forward.  I coach multiple teams, I volunteer to help out, do sporting events, am a girlfriend, play mom to my roommate's children, cook and clean, and make my life look acceptable for someone who has a role such as "teacher." I am a model of what we often tell children that they should become. I work hard, I take care of my life, I am happy, and I give back. 

Some days, when I feel frenzied inside (and sometimes look it externally) I wonder if it's all really worth it. Should we push kids to this? I read that my generation will literally fall apart. We run our minds and bodies constantly. Many people in my generation have already been through multiple careers, divorce, etc. How transparent should I be with the next generation? Should I tell them that sometimes being a grown up just isn't all it's cracked up to be? That sometimes it really, truly stinks??? 

Don't get me wrong- most days, I absolutely love my life.  I love to be busy.  I love knowing that I am making a difference, even if just a teeny tiny one.

This post has been saved as a draft for awhile.  Yesterday, the sermon at our church was fantastically appropriate to this post and had me making a mental note to pull this draft out and revisit it.  Our message was on labels, or # hashtags.  What labels do we put on ourselves? What labels do we allow others to put on us? What labels should we be proudly owning?? 

For me, I want this label: #transparent.  I want to be transparent in my imperfections. I want people to know that I'm not perfect, and I shouldn't be expected to be. I don't have it all together, and I probably never will. Honestly? I think he moment I feel like I have it all together is the moment I will stop trusting God's will first and my life will begin to fall apart until I am reminded who is in control -- and more importantly, that I DONT have to be in control.  Like every other human being, I am imperfect. Yes, I strive to be more like the ONLY perfect person, Jesus. I'd like to be transparent in my relationships and in my small groups. I am changing constantly, as is the world around us. I can only hope that my transparency, my honesty, will be enough to help me continually change for the better.

How would you label yourself? What labels would you like for others to see in you?