Friday, August 30, 2013

Five for Friday

5 Things I want to remember from this week:

1) I am the most stressed on Mondays.  There, I said it.  I work really hard all weekend making sure that I have all of my ducks in a row.  Then, on Monday morning, I stress all morning that I forgot something or that something won't go well.  Of course, because life is messy, Monday isn't perfect and I come home stressed, feeling that all of my hard weekend work was wasted.  The reason I want to remember this is so that going forward, I won't freak out about the stress.  Monday WON'T go as planned.  I can't do a job that involves 60-something teenagers and math and expect things to end up neatly wrapped with a bow.  I'll be totally comfortable by Tuesday afternoon - happens every week.

2) Chapel is amazing.  I missed chapel last week because I was stressing and tying up some last-minute details.  This week, in spite of any stress, I made myself drop what I was doing and go to chapel.  Wow, what a difference.  I was blessed, encouraged, my gracious heavenly Father actually spoke to me, softened my heart and set me straight about some things and the rest of the day/week was spent setting my mind on eternity instead of letting myself get caught in the mire of the moment.  There is no greater fuel for a teacher than this eternity mindset.  I won't miss chapel again.

3) I love having teacher friends to talk to.  To me, hashing out ideas and plans and activities is at least AS good as shopping with a best friend.  Try an idea here and an idea there and eventually, you feel like a million bucks when you find the one that fits "just right".  But you would only feel like around $564,000 if you weren't with a best friend.  It's the friend that makes it.  So I'm very happy to be surrounded by people who love Jesus, kids, and teaching.  Remember that scene in Christmas Vacation where he gets all of the lights on the house to light up.  Yeah.  That's pretty much me every day.

4) Bad days don't last.  I don't even WANT to elaborate on this one.  Just know that, Amber.  The bad ones fade away.  Promise.

5) Sometimes, the best learning will just happen without me.  Now, don't get me  wrong here.  One of my favorite feelings is being pleasantly surprised by a group of kids.  I have a class that is particularly hard to reach.  I try games and activities to keep them moving in hopes that they'll buy in, but so far, they've been just as underwhelmed by around-the-world as they are about sitting and taking notes from the overhead.  Actually, they might prefer the overhead notes but I'm fairly certain it's just because it requires less energy and effort than around-the-world.  Today, however, this group of kids totally blew my mind.  I had planned a game where they had to pick a seat that had a whiteboard and marker.  It was for the game, but before we started, I decided on a whim to have them take out the chapter review they did for homework the night before and check answers with the person sitting next to them first.  The next thing I know, as I'm walking around the room checking on them, I realize that they're ALL having full blown discussions about the math problems and they are using the whiteboards to teach each other and to try different methods to solve when they didn't have the same answer!!!  That's right - I used a bigger font AND italics to show how excited I was.  It was THAT cool.  Forget the game is what I did.  I let them use the entire class period to review every one of the 36 review questions on the chapter review and they were engaged and learning and "oh!"ing all over the place.   We may have played the game for 10 minutes at the end of class because they had gotten through all of the math problems and were comfortable with them so they were ready to move on to something else, but it surely wasn't the highlight of our class. 

My room is a mess and I'm bringing work home with me this long weekend.  I'll probably come up here on Saturday to clean up a bit and get some things done, but when I love what I do to this degree, it's totally ok.  What an adventure.  What an unpredictable, highs-and-lows, make-your-stomach-do-summersaults kind of an adventure I'm living!  Hope you are too!

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