Thursday, December 20, 2012

Staying Home and other random musings

People will always lead you to believe there is something wrong with you if you don't want to go out with friends to a club or bar. At least if you're in your twenties like me. It's not normal to want to stay at home when you don't have work in the morning. I do like going out sometimes, but some days it's more appealing to stay at home curled up on the couch, watching a movie. I'm middle-aged and frumpy at twenty-three, or at least to most people my age.

Home is safe and comfortable sure, but I don't want people to think I'm hiding from that atmosphere. My parents, sister, and I used to go to this Sports/Karaoke Bar all the time when I was a kid. I got my fill of the bar scene before I was even legal to smoke, much less drink. Not that my parents were drunkards..far from it, but the bar had ridiculously awesome wings, and actually good spinach dip and sweet tea. Weird huh? People are like, "You need to go out and meet a guy." Well that type of scene is not where I want to meet a guy. Especially since I'm a not the type of person looking for a one time deal. If a person isn't going to make at least a good conversation and friend, then I'm not really interested in getting to know them.

Students always ask me if I'm married. Then they ask if I have a boyfriend. Then they ask if I have any children. Then they ask if I'm a lesbian. Then they ask if I'm a virgin. Good grief! Kids have no sense of tact anymore. When did those become appropriate questions to ask your teacher?! We asked our teachers if they were married, and if they were, we may have asked if they had children. Never once do I recall anyone asking a teacher if she was a lesbian or if she was a virgin. Just plain rude.

One year I will learn to not even address the question of whether I'm married with my students. I will learn not to even let the can of worms out. They're just trying to rattle me. I always tell them it's off topic, and that I have other things more important to talk about. If I had a husband and kids, I would probably talk about them frequently. I know I've mentioned my cat plenty of times. So while I'm pretty certain that I'm not a socially weird as my kids seem to think I am, apparently it's strange to be twenty-three and single with a cat.

If that's strange, then I don't want to be normal. I'm not married. I'm not dating. I don't have sex with random men that I meet in bars. I don't ask awkward personal questions from the authority figures in my life. I have a bit of reserve. So perhaps I am middle-aged and frumpy at 23, but I don't compromise on my morals or anything else for anyone else. I try not to be annoyed about it, but it does get to me sometimes that people my age and even my students seem to think that there is one way to be a twenty-three year old, and if you don't fit that picture, then something is wrong with you. There isn't anything wrong with not being the typical, partying, free-spirited twenty-something. They tell you your whole life you can be whoever you want to be, and that is true, but one must prepare to hear the opposite from many critics.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Thanksgiving

I realize Thanksgiving was four days ago, but I have been a preoccupied. My cat went into be spayed and get a hernia taken care of last Wednesday. Little did I know this routine procedure would cause so much hub bub in my life.

I brought my kitten home on Wednesday afternoon only to have to turn around and take her back an hour later. She tried to jump on the couch (a big no no after surgery), and failed due to the fact that she was still high on her medication. This caused her to rip her stitches and start bleeding. It probably wasn't as profusely bleeding as I remember, but I nearly lost my mind getting my kitten back in her carrier, calling the vet, and driving back to the clinic. I literally bawled and pleaded with God all the way there. It's crazy I did all of this over a cat.

My little cat is my constant companion in my somewhat lonely existence. Sometimes I think I am destined to be a crazy cat lady, because I spoil my cat so much. Originally when I got finished having my panic attack, I chided myself for worrying so much and acting crazy. Surely, if I cannot handle my cat's emergencies with any sort of grace, I could never be able to handle an emergency if I had a child. However, I was too busy thinking about what I did wrong in the situation rather than what I did right. I got my cat into the carrier without causing her anymore harm. I called the vets office to let them know I was coming. I got her to the vet safely, despite the fact that I myself was in not so good of shape. Sure I cried like a baby, and I worried needlessly. When all was said and done though, my kitten was fine. I did my job as a pet owner, and I would do my duty as a mother as well.

My parents were great about me cancelling our post-Thanksgiving plans. They helped me monitor my cat to make sure she rested on her first night back home, and they helped cat proof my home. Dad stayed at home a lot and watched her while mom and I went out and did some fun stuff that did not involve my cat. Without them, I surely would have spent my whole break following my cat around my apartment.

I am very thankful to have such excellent examples of how to be a good parent, and how to support your children. My parents sometimes forget that I'm a grown up, but they treated me like one despite the fact that I acted a bit childish. I hope that my fur baby, Flo, will help me prepare for the more difficult challenges that await me when I become a mother in the future Although I have no way of knowing how soon or how far away that time might be, I know I'm going to be a good mother. I may not always know what's best, but when the you know what hits the fan, I know I'll be able to cope.

I am also thankful that teaching gives me the opportunity to work with kids everyday. I teach high school, and while they are only eight or nine years younger than me, in some ways I feel like their mother too. I take their failures hard, and I get ridiculously excited when they are successful. I love that I get a hand in that. Some of them are so sweet, and some of them are turds, but you can bet your bottom they're my kids, and I love them. 

I could spend all night writing about the things and people I am thankful for, but instead I'm going to get off of here, and get ready to teach tomorrow. Just remember that thanksgiving should last longer than November and December. It should be a 24 hr, 7 days a week, 52 weeks a year kind of deal. So I have 365 days to be thankful for all that has been given to me. Happy Thanksgiving, Merry Christmas, and Happy New Year!


Sunday, November 18, 2012

This post will run the gamut of emotions from A to Z.

Because we don't know when we will die, we get to think of life as an inexhaustible well. Yet everything happens only a certain number of times, and a very small number really. How many more times will you remember a certain afternoon of your childhood, an afternoon that is so deeply a part of your being that you can't even conceive of your life without it? Perhaps four, five times more, perhaps not even that. How many more times will you watch the full moon rise? Perhaps 20. And yet it all seems limitless.” 
― Paul Bowles

Just for the record, I did not start with that quote thinking that I'm going to die soon. I'm not that morbid, but I will write about my eventual death. In the last two weeks, my dear aunt lost her dad and her little brother. Her brother was only thirty-three. He had a coronary, and there really wasn't much that could be done about it. The poor man just died. Ideally for me, I'd like to die at some very old age of at least 85+ of some not painful disease/old-age. No one gets to choose when they die. 

We do get to choose how we live. If I died tomorrow, I know I could be proud of what I've accomplished in my short time on Earth. I graduated high school and college. I have been saved and baptized. I landed my first job against all odds, and my second job during unhealthy economic times. I have had so many opportunities thanks to a great familial support system and amazing friends. I have not accomplished a lot, but I know that what I've accomplished has meaning. 

My uncle put up a post about a book called, The Dash. In it it talks about the year of birth on a tombstone and the year of death on a tombstone, but what is really important is the dash in between those years. I intend to use my dash wisely. I intend to find more ways to serve God. I will eventually find a husband, and hopefully (as long as I'm not over 35 when I get married) have a family. I want to buy a house/home and establish a life somewhere. I want to live to teach my current students' children (and in some cases grandchildren). 

The choir director was helping an old lady into church this morning, and as I walked by she said, "Look at that pretty young lady (referring to me)." "I used to wear heels like those." I said thank you, and I held the door open for her and the choir director. That woman made my day. Later during Children's Moment, the youth minister, asked the children, "In 30 seconds, I want you to name everything that you are thankful for." The children rattled off a great list, "family, friends, neighbors, God, church." Then he asked, "How do you tell them that you're thankful for them?" The children replied, "You say thank you." Then he asked, "How do you tell God you're thankful?" They replied again, "Thank you." "Can you not also sing? Can you not also come to church?" That little old lady definitely showed how thankful she was to God today by being kind to a relative stranger. I will be like that little old lady one day hopefully, and hopefully some other young lady will be able to see how thankful I am for God in the same way. 

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving my friends! May God Bless you and keep you safe. 

Monday, October 29, 2012

The not so frequent blogger.

Anywho...the last time I blogged, I had many offers up on the table for jobs. I accepted a job at Central High School in Madisonville, KY. I have been extremely busy, and I appologize for not keeping you all updated. It is nearly the end of my first trimester at Central, and I can tell you that it has been very different in a good way.

My new kids and coworkers are great. Not that they are without flaw, but I seriously have more good days than bad. Last year it was tougher for sure to say that I was completely happy with my job. I'm oddly reminded of a quote from the Sex in the City movie. "How many days a week do you love your husband?" Well I don't have a husband, but right now my job is my spouse, and just like Charlotte, I can honestly say, "Everyday, maybe not all day everyday, but everyday." There are moments everyday when I'm like, "Yes! This is why I started teaching."

I love being near my Madisonville friends, although I miss my coworkers from HHS constantly. So many of my coworkers from last year have also moved on to other positions/places. It's kind of crazy how things change.

I have been going consistently to First Christian Church, but I do not know what my purpose is there yet.  A part of me feels like I should try somewhere else, and part of me just wants to put down roots. I spent all last year wandering around trying to find a place, and I never really fit. I wonder if throwing myself into a church and just giving it a go will be more effective.

As likely as I know it is that I'll get pink slipped, I do not want to go anywhere. I absolutely despise moving. The only way I'd move is to be closer to family. Seriously it stinks that I'm not close enough to go on vacation with my family easily. I'm not very experienced at long distance driving, so my parents come here every time and take me with them. I won't be going on a big vacation this year though, so that should help me a tad financially.

I do so want to put down roots for good somewhere. It's hard not to be constantly nervous about whether I'm going to have to do the fifty application shuffle. I'm such a control freak sometimes. God always takes such good care of me. I don't know why I worry.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Overwhelming thankfulness

In the past week or so I have been lucky enough to have great opportunities for interviews. I really hope that one of them pans out. This morning I received a call asking if I would interview at Christian Co. High School tomorrow at 3:30PM. Naturally I was thrilled to have the opportunity to stay in the area I taught my first year. Then this afternoon, I received a call from Christian Co. Middle School asking me to come in to interview for a 6th Grade position.

Now I am not directly qualified for a middle school position. I am certified in Social Studies 8-12. I am uncertain what it would take for me to teach middle school. However, when I told them this, they decided they wanted to talk to me anyway...today. I went in, and I can honestly say I am intrigued with the idea of teaching middle school. I had not really made a decision on what I wanted to get my Master's in, so that might be a decision made for me soon. I know you have to take the Praxis exam before you can get enrolled in a Master's program in Middle School. The teacher and principal I met were really great, and I was very impressed in the lengths they were going through to see if they could have me. I admit, it's hard not to get a big head when people do that kind of work for you.

I am ridiculously torn at this point. I could still get a call from Central Hopkins. I could get offers from either of the two schools in Christian County, and I have no idea what to say. All I can say is that God must be smiling down on me these past couple of weeks, because he has provided me with so many opportunities. He has blessed me with wonderful former co-workers to support me with recommendations and moral support. If I don't receive any job offers from all of this, I will know it is not from lack of trying. I cannot wait to be able to send out thank you cards with hopefully good news to all of my references.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Birthdays...celebrate them.

At almost 23, there is absolutely no reason to lie about my age. I'm old enough to do most age restricted things, and I still look young. Therefore celebrating my birthday is a still a time I enjoy. The later in life people get, the less big of a deal people make about their age. That is until you get to be fairly darn old. If you make it to say 80 or so, you can start bragging about your age again instead of hiding it.

Some women really dread reaching thirty. Nowadays being thirty is not a signal of you getting old in my opinion, but some women really hate the idea. Perhaps it's because I'm still over seven years away from being the big 3-0, but seriously get a grip, people are living longer every day. Of course, your metabolism starts slowing down, and you can get the middle-age spread going on in your abdomen. For the most part though, you're probably as healthy as you were at 29. Perhaps it's because I've pretty much been a little chunky since puberty, but I don't really fear that.

Men seem to be good until they are around forty. That's when mid-life crisis begins. Hair starts to gray, the beer gut forms, and they begin to feel less virile. That's what society would have us believe anyway. Society teaches us to fear growing older nowadays.

What is growing older? Once upon a time, the oldest member of a tribe would be revered for his/her ability to survive through the years. They would be respected, and he/she would be used as a source of knowledge. Now going through the second or third generation of, "Never trust anyone over thirty," people have forgotten the value of aging.

Remember playing the game of Life? You get life tiles when you experience life changing events and gain new knowledge such as having a baby and learning a new trade. If you had a ton of life tiles and not a lot of money, you could still win the game of life at the end of the game. With all that age comes more experience, more life tiles. Sure you get the bad experience with the good experience, but out of every experience you gain wisdom and sometimes maturity. If properly respected, this wisdom can be valuable to young whipper snappers such as myself.

So much can be learn by so called "old (Believe me when I say I do not believe that 30 somethings, 40 somethings, and even 50 somethings are anywhere near old.)" people. Every year (meaning the last two I've taught), I try to make some sort of activity where my students have to talk to an older person for some reason. Lots of times, I'll do it when we're studying the Industrial Revolution. Now none of my kids knows someone who was alive during the Industrial Revolution, but enough things have been invented in the past seventy or so years that it is pretty easy to give them this assignment. Does your grandmother remember when they got their first color tv, or does mom remember when she first heard about cellphones?

I hope my kids see some value in this assignment. I always love reading their interview results. It's really important to listen to these individuals, because much is to be gained from them. Of course the individuals usually picked for these assignments are 60+, but sometimes I'll have a kid insist that the oldest person they know is their 35 year old mom. I always have to chuckle a little when this happens, but at 15 and even 23 there's always something to learn from a 35 year old too.

So many of my friends are older than I am. That does not mean they act older than me by any means. I really enjoy talking with them about their college days and high school days. It's really cool to hear about history from a personal point of view. Which is kind of silly, because anything that happens during the period you're alive sounds like it shouldn't be history, but it really is. I was in seventh grade when 9-11 happened, but that doesn't keep me from counting it as history. Friends in their thirties and forties help you see that you can get through the confusing years of young adulthood.

I look forward to being older, so that I can share my wisdom with future generations. I try to teach my kids to trust the over thirty crowd every once in awhile, because they were once under thirty too. One day they will be the over thirty crowd, and they'll want to be listened to as well.

So enter your new age with pride, whether you be 23, 53, or, 83. Celebrate that God saw fit to give you another year to love, to learn, and to share with those around you. At 22, my students still trust that I was once their age. I try to offer up any wisdom I can, but often I refer to those who are much wiser than I for help. I often don't have enough perspective to help with the tough questions. So thanks to all my friends 23 and up for helping me learn about life. Your history is as valuable to me, as any history I study in class and books.


Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Leaving Home

About twelve months ago, I could have also written a post called "Leaving Home." I was moving to a new city about five hours away from the city I had called home for about 21 years. Now I feel like I can say the same thing. Even though I have no idea where I'll be by this time next month, I do know this: By the end of August I will not be in this apartment.

Now obviously if I move across town I will not be at a loss for friends. I will not be lonely for old co-workers or the other people I have gotten to know in the past eleven months. I will however be saying good-bye to my very first apartment. It was only my second "big girl" purchase with my first being my car.

My apartment and I have shared many good memories. We've been through small dinner parties with friends, epic battles with a mouse, and annoying leaks in the ceiling. We've been through endless amounts of paper grading, invitation stuffing, and application prepping. I've cooked so many wonderful meals in my very first kitchen. I've made a couple of duds too.

Even if I had kept my job at Hopkinsville High, I would be moving to a different apartment. I cannot have a pet here, so I have to leave if I'm ever to be the crazy cat lady. This apartment has been an every faithful friend in a not so certain time of my life. It's the first time I've ever felt really alone, but in that solitude I believe I have learned so much about myself and how strong I can be if I put my mind to it. I have been extremely blessed to be in it, and I am supremely thankful for my sister helping me find it.

My sister helped me decorate my apartment. Decorating my apartment may have been the last time I get to spend that much time with my sister alone. I almost hate to take down the pictures and spackle the holes that we put in the walls, but I must. I must pack up the memories I have created within these walls and take them with me to my next "home." Wherever that may be, I have to trust that God will help me find another place to call my own.

Last year around this time I typed a blog that used a quote from Virginia Woolf's, "A Room of One's Own." I did not think that this past year would include "A Room of One's Own" for me. I believed that I would be moving in with friends, and substituting for a year. Well now my friends are to be married, and I'm faced with the possibility of maybe not having a apartment of my own again. I may have to move back in with my parents.

As much as I love them, I don't want that. Knoxville was my home for 21 really wonderful years. I will always think of it as my first home. It is where my parents are, and where some very old and dear friends are. However, I don't belong there anymore. I belong somewhere in Kentucky. Even if I have to work two jobs to be able to afford a place to live, I will find a way to make it on my own. I don't want to have to live off of my parents' or any other person's good graces.

On Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs, people need food, shelter, safety, love, and esteem before they can even think of self-actualization. I know I will never need for food and shelter or love. My parents would give me all that in a heartbeat if I needed it. However, I know that esteem is not something that is going to come easily for me if I take their food and shelter and even their love. If I wind up back in my childhood bedroom of 21 years, I am afraid my esteem will be spent. I can't imagine going back after being gone for a year. I know it's selfish and wicked to be this way, but I really just want to prove I can be on my own and keep it that way.

For all I know, the world and God will prove me wrong once again, like it did eleven months ago. I could get called for a job tomorrow. I could get called for a job in three weeks. I could never get called to another teaching job. It's just not for me to know. The uncertainty kills me, but I do know one thing. The uncertainty of last summer led to the happiness and fulfillment of the past year, so I know wonderful things come from uncertainty. I thank God for blessing me with the wonderful people I have been introduced to this year, and I pray he keeps me in close contact with them always wherever I am. So perhaps this time next year, I'll have found a new "home" and "A Room of One's Own."

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Update on Interview #2

Ok, so before I keep people waiting forever, no I don't have a job yet. They said they'd know by Monday, and I can't sign any paperwork before the 11th or the 18th, because they have to leave job postings up for 30 days. (Now I have some idea as to why many of my applications are ignored.)

Yesterday's interview was much more respectable in my opinion. I also really think that this interview was the first one, where teaching at Hoptown was really a good sign to them. I really don't understand why they think if you can teach there you can teach anywhere, but by all means they have a right to think that. I think I may have said "um" once, and it was after they asked me if I had anymore questions, after I had already asked three or four questions. I did not say "um" after any of the questions they asked me.

They need both an Arts & Humanities and History teacher. I'm not going to lie. I would love the AH job just for the change of pace. I would have to teach World History too, but I'm not going to complain, because I like World History better than U.S. History (teaching wise/I'm a big fan of our country's history to be sure.) I love Art History and Music History, and I would love the opportunity to study Dance and Theater more. I wrote a research paper on Modern Dance in Sophomore English in High School comparing Isadora Duncan and Martha Graham. That's the only experience I have with dance. I've watched ton's of musicals, but my experience with regular theater is also limited. I've read Shakespeare, Arthur Miller, and Tennessee Williams, but I'm not exactly an expert. So it would be a challenge to prep for with less than a month until school starts.

Even if I don't get the job, I think it was a solid interview. God somehow gave me the confidence to talk naturally and honestly. I was ridiculously nervous before the interview. I was sick to my stomach. It all went away when I shook hands with the principal. It's good to know I can do it. Even if I don't get a job at Hopkins Central.

Thank you to all my friends who have continuously prayed for me throughout the summer. Even if I don't get a job this year, I know that it is not from lack of support and steadfastness of my friends and family. Love you all.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

His will, not mine.

I'll admit to being a control freak when it comes to running my life. As soon as I found out I didn't get the job that I interviewed today I went about printing off sample question for me to practice, and sample questions for me to ask my interviewers. I want the job I'm interviewing for tomorrow, and I am doing what I can to get it.

It is just as hard to accept that maybe I'm not supposed to get it. That perhaps I am fighting what God wants, but regardless, I believe that God will get what he wants in spite of what I try to do. Maybe I got tongue tied in today's interview to make me realize what I needed to work on for tomorrow's interview. Maybe not. It is not in my nature to let things happen as they occur.

This past Sunday I attended Shiner Church of Christ. The minister mentioned how we often follow sayings that aren't really from the Bible. For example, "God helps those who help themselves." That is not in the Bible anywhere. You can check me on that, but It's not there. I believe it does say something about helping others, but I don't think it says anything about helping yourself. Perhaps I'm not helping myself though. Without God, I am nothing. When you are baptized you become dead in Christ and are reborn in Christ.

I guess it is not my place to know what's to become of me. I'm going to have to trust and know that God is in control of my life, whether I like it or not right now. It's scary knowing I could wind up five hours away, not knowing a soul like I did when I moved to Hopkinsville almost a year ago. Those were not easy months for me. One thing I do know is that I somehow survived it, and came out if not better, completely changed.

Another one of those "sayings" that is so called from the Bible is, "God will never give you anything you can't handle." The fact is I am incapable of handling anything without God. That other phrase is not in the Bible anywhere. Instead it is said that, "I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength." I know there were several times this year when I wanted to throw in the towel and give up. I struggled greatly with my faith, my career, and my convictions. It took me a long me a long time to feel at home here in Hopkinsville. I wouldn't have made it through without a lot of prayer.

So even though I haven't finished analyzing every question on that list, and even though I am apprehensive about the results of my interview tomorrow. I am going to bed. I refuse to let myself worry about it, because that's not going to help me. All I can ask is for the continued prayers from my lovely friends, and the continued comfort of my God to guide me where he wants me.


Wednesday, July 4, 2012

"Over-thinking it" is sometimes a good thing.

I'm sure I'm not the only person who thinks about situations constantly. I over-think what I've said. I work myself up over details that don't even matter. In some ways, this characteristic is a curse, but it sure beats not thinking about what I say at all.

The only reason I came up with this topic is because earlier today, I called one of my non-believing friends a "heathen." It was in jest, but immediately after I sent it, I felt a need to qualify it by saying, "I meant that in the kindest, most loving way possible." Well my friend didn't respond for awhile, which made me worry that I had, indeed, offended him. Of course I saw later that he hadn't taken it personally, and as usual I had blown something out of proportion. As usual though, it got me thinking:

"Who am I to call anyone a heathen?"

I'm obviously not qualified to call anyone that, and even though I said it in jest in that instance, I cannot pretend that I am innocent of ever judging my fellow man. So in this instance, I think it's good that I over-think things, because it's made me come to the realization, that I need to work on not judging people. People who don't believe in Jesus do not need my judgement. My judgement means jack diddly squat. The Greatest Command isn't "Love those who believe in Jesus." It's not that specific. It says, "Love one another." Maybe that's a face palm moment for some people, but it is a struggle I think for many Christians. It's so easy to see a woman who gets ridiculously drunk all the time, and look down on her for her decisions. It's easy to look at a guy who likes to sleep around, and just think of him as a heartless cad. It's not easy always to love people like that, but that is what I and every other Christian is called to do.

Guess what? No Christian is ever any better than any non-Christian. God loves all of his children. I've done so many things, that make me unfit for God's Kingdom. Somehow God accepts me anyway. I am not here on this Earth to admonish and condemn people. I am here to show Christ's love for us, to do my best (however inadequate I feel sometimes)  to be a disciple, and to be there for people. I am not perfect. I have A LOT to learn.

The Greatest Command is "Love one another as I have loved you." How do you do that? I know it's one of the most cliche and over quoted verses of the Bible, but I still think it holds true regardless:


Love is patient, love is kind and is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant, does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered, does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.-1Corinthians 14: 4-7


I randomly found this commentary while I was looking for the Bible Verse, and I thought it was pretty accurate. 



Commentary
Love suffers long, or puts up with people that it is easy to give up on. Love is kind, namely, treats well people who have treated us poorly. Love doesn't envy (Gk. zeloo) nor parade itself and is not puffed up. Love endures any hardship or rejection, revealing its superior strength. In the face of confrontation, love simply continues. To love is the great commandment (compare John 13:34, 35) and no other force promotes righteousness more.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Good



good

  [good]  Show IPA adjective, bet·ter, best,noun, interjection, adverb
adjective
1.
morally excellent; virtuous; righteous; pious: a good man.
2.
satisfactory in quality, quantity, or degree: a good teacher;good health.
3.
of high quality; excellent.
4.
right; proper; fit: It is good that you are here. His credentialsare good.
5.
well-behaved: a good child.

A friend of mine posted this status at 10PM last night, "How do you define Good?" That late at night I was in no position to try to think of an answer to a question that complex. The definition above is more of a guideline for me to start. 

It makes me think of that question that teachers (or myself) always ask when we're studying the Enlightenment. Are we born good or evil? Does it make me a total nerd to go there? As humans, we do bad things all the time. That makes it hard to argue that we're inherently good. Babies easily discover that when they cry, they get attention. Eventually they will cry even when they don't need anything, so they can get the attention. You may say, "So what? Babies will be babies." The fact is, that's the beginning of deceit. Not that babies understand what that means, so one could still argue that we're born good. 

The definition of good can vary from individual to individual so much, it's a wonder the dictionary could come up with an objective sounding definition. A good person could be considered someone who doesn't break laws and follows social norms, but many people who break laws (I'm not saying they murder people or what not.) or break social norms are good people. I do not automatically think that women who get pregnant out of wedlock are bad women. I do not immediately assume that the guy who drives 75 miles per hour in a 40 miles per hour zone is bad. Some people may define a good person by whether they go to church all the time and read their Bibles, however that's not part of my definition. I'm not gonna lie; it's a definite plus, but not a requirement to be a good person. Being a good doesn't equal perfect. 

I would consider myself to be a good person, but I certainly don't meet all the criteria for the definition of good provided in the dictionary. I don't meet the criteria for the definition of bad either. When I was in debate in college, you had to prove the opposing case would do more harm than good. That was all it took to overturn a case. If you were the side that was supposed to solve for the harm, the burden was put on you to prove how your solution was good. That was far more difficult. 

One could argue that neither good nor bad exists. There's a whole gray area along the spectrum between good and bad, but a person would be hard pressed to come up with someone who is all good or all bad. We  just can't come up with enough words for these in-betweens, so we tend to categorize them as one or the other. 


So what is good? Good is trying to do more good than harm, and recognizing the good in others who have done you harm. Realizing that good and bad are more complex than following laws and social conventions.  Realizing that reading your Bible may help you do good things (Which is great.), but it does not make you a good person by itself. I do my best to see the good in everybody, because the reality is we all do bad things sometimes. That's what makes us human. The struggle is to not allow yourself to be defined by what you've done wrong but rather by how you've tried to fix it. A day in which I fix one more item than I break is a good day for me. So how do you define good? What parameters do you use to help you determine what is good and what is not? 


As usual I was my usual rambling self, but let me know what you think good is below in the comment section. 





Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Truth

Yesterday I asked my readers to take risks which is sort of the Dare of "Truth or Dare." Today I decided to write about truth, because truth also has risks involved.

Truth is sometimes risky due to its absolute nature. If something is true, than one can be absolutely certain of its validity. Which means if it is a truth you do not want to hear, it can hurt. A friend who is an alcoholic or drug addict will not want you to confirm his/her has a problem. It is difficult for a child to go home and tell his/her mother that he/she made an "F" in math this semester (Believe me, I know. I didn't make the right decision in that regard, and suffered because I lied for a long time.). It can be hard for a guy to tell his girlfriend that he thinks the relationship is over.

Now there are some wonderful people in this world, who tell the truth all the time, even it it does hurt. Some people might think they come off as insensitive or rude, but I appreciate them for the very fact that so many people tiptoe around the truth. Sometimes the hard truths must be known. Now I tell the truth often, but I will definitely own up to my fair share of mistakes and white lies. Like when you think one of your guy friends is dating a witch (only subtract the w and add a b in its place). When you have to be nice to the witch anyway, because you respect your friend's decision and trust them to be responsible. You keep your mouth shut, even when you want to say "I could have told you so," when the relationship blows up in his face, because you want to show you trust him.

Trust goes along with truth. I know I have some of my girlfriends that I can trust to tell me the truth when I'm trying something on. "Oh no, girlfriend! That dress makes you look like a stuffed sausage!" (None of my friends actually talks like this that I'm aware.) The fact is, while hearing that trying to shove your donk into a spandex dress does not flatter you at all, you are spared the later humiliation of a complete stranger telling you what your girlfriends should have told you in the first place. There are some friends who are more sensitive than others. You've got to find a way of telling the truth more gently than my theoretical friend above did. "The designer just can't make clothes that fit people with curves>" Always good to blame the designer, because lots of times that's the truth. I can't wear Daisy Fuentes pants, because they fit everywhere except at my hips, and that's because they rub my hip bone, so I could get larger ones and they would be baggy everywhere, or I could shave off some hip bone. Neither of those are great options.

I have some guy friends I can trust the same way. So often my girlfriends are just as irrational as I am, so it's good to have guy friends to set you straight. Someone to say, "Shut up, you'll find a job." (Ok, so I've had girlfriends say this too. They're sick of me whining. lol.) Or "You just need to suck it up and practice." Girlfriends have a tendency to coddle, but not my guy friends, and sometimes tough love is what you need.

As a Christian, I am one of the least Bible-thumping people I know. Sometimes I think I should be more of a Bible- thumper, because the truth is, if I don't follow the great commission I haven't been doing my job. Some people are afraid of Bible- thumpers, and some Christians like me are afraid of ostracizing those we love by being Bible-thumpers. Instead I choose to simply try to be good ( I sadly am not always successful), and I always try to listen and love those who do not follow Jesus. It's hard not to be afraid of someone who tells you that you will go to Hell if you do not accept Jesus Christ into your heart, and most people know this side of Christianity anyway. 2 Timothy 1:7 states "God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control." So I and other Christians have the responsibility to take that power, love, and self-control and channel it towards helping other people.

The truth is there are so many people in my life who don't know Christ. It breaks my heart, and I know some of them probably roll their eyes as they read this. Some of them may not know if they can be a Christian, because they have done terrible things in their past and do not wish to be judged. "Let he who is without sin cast the first stone." I do not wish to judge anyone, or bring hell-fire and brimstone stories to your door. To those who can't understand why bad things happen to good people if a God is in control here's the truth, in Romans Chapter 8 Verse 18 it is written that the sufferings of the present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us. So all the trials and tribulations that Christians and non-Christians alike endure daily, are small matters compared to the greatness of eternal life and salvation through Jesus.

For those of you more philosophical people you can always logic your way to Christianity. That's right, logic your way there. If God does exist and one chooses not to believe, well we know the answer to that. If God does not exist and one chooses to believe, well then we're not worse off. I know, very Decartean of me, but nevertheless it makes sense. You cannot 100% disprove the existence of God anymore than you can 100% prove it, and that is of course why it is called faith.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Risks.

Life is all about risks. People take risks everyday. Entrepreneurs are people who take risks to innovate or create a business. It's no wonder that some of the best known entrepreneurs make a crap ton of money. Of course the number of entrepreneurs that we all know about are a very small sampling of the number of people who actually are entrepreneurs, because there are many more stories of "failure" or less significant "success" than there are grandios ones like Facebook or Microsoft. People take risks when they get married. With the divorce rate being 1 in 3 as the best statistic I've found (More recently the shocking number of 1 in 2 has cropped up), it's a risk to get married. Being in a relationship is a risk. Obviously the majority of relationships are not successful, or else everyone would get married at thirteen when they fell for the absolutely most "perfect" guy.

Furthermore, some people put themselves in risky situations. Some people buy and sell on the stockmarket regularly. Others have risky jobs that could end with them getting themselves severely injured or killed. Girls might date the bad boy and risk their hearts being broken for the chance to change him (By the way ladies, this is a dumb idea.). You might get in a high risk relationship by knowingly or unknowingly involving yourself with a married person (Don't worry; I'm not speaking from experience.).

Lots of risky things may seem unworth their possible benefits depending on who you are. Some people are simply unwilling to risk being hurt, humiliated, or harmed in anyway. Others go out on a limb so often people question their sanity. In reality, what would the world be like without these risk takers? Who's to say what ideas will take off and which will fail? I would not be able to type on a laptop today if someone hadn't decided to take the risk and invest in creating the computer.

If the parents of great minds such as Marie Curie, Albert Einstein, Mahatma Ghandi, and Mark Zuckerburg hadn't gotten together and had kids (I have no idea how many of these people have parents who stayed together by the way.), think what we possibly wouldn't have? Marie Curie took a great risk discovering Radium, and she died from radiation. From her sacrifice we have discovered how to use radiation to help treat cancer. Albert Einstein risked his life escaping Nazi Germany, and ended up aiding the discovery of the weapon that ended WWII. Einstein did not like the atomic bomb, but it's hard to argue that the invention did not have an impact. Mahatma Ghandi risked his life leading peaceful protests against British rule in India, but he obviously had an impact on the situation. He was asssasinated by a Hindi extremest who believed that Ghandi weakened India. Of course, Mark Zuckerburg is one of the creaters of Facebook. Perhaps his invention is seemingly unimportant, but the fact that it is such a phenomenon says otherwise. He took a risk in creating the social networking site and running against MySpace. Who knows what other impacts his risk taking will have on the present generation.

That brings me to the average Joe/Josephine, you and me. I have plenty of friends who are skeptical about other friends who are getting married so young. I'm 22, so most of my friends are no more than a few years older than that. Some are younger than me. How many of them will last? No one knows, but not getting married is not the solution to lessening the divorce rate. Now what does a chronicly single girl know about being married? Nothing. I do believe that it is common sentiment among successful older couples that people don't honestly try to work things out anymore. People don't try to fix the problems in their marriages. I'm not saying that you should try to fix your marriage if your husband is a jack ass who beats you and your children. That guy needs a swift kick in the pants and a restraining order, but I am saying that disagreeing on every little thing might require compromise, respect, and communication. Cliche as it is, just like with friendships and relationships with family, marriages take communication. Anything you are unwilling to compromise on should be realized before you get married. If you want to raise your kids Christian and your wife to be is an Agnostic, will they be ok with that? If you want kids right away and your husband to be doesn't want kids for five years, can you compromise?

Technically the average age of a married couple is higher than in the past. One might believe that being more rational and mature would be a good thing. Then again, where's the excitement in being in a completely rational and mature marriage? Does being more established as an individual person make it harder to be a team player? Are we unwilling to take the risks required to create a good relationship? I don't know the answers to any of these questions. I just know that I have more and more single friends who are saying they will never get married. Call me old-fashioned, but that worries me. My friends aren't ten, because at ten I would have agreed with them. For those of my readers who might have been married several years, I pose this question, "Was your marriage worth the risk?" I have a feeling most of you would say yes.

Those of you who have taken other kinds of risks, such as moving to a new city, going to a foreign country, or trying to start a business, what would you be doing if you hadn't taken that risk? Would you be satisfied? The reason I've beaten this subject like a dead horse is because I am one of those non-risk takers. I really prefer things to be cut, dry, and safe. So I have to constantly remind myself that nothing truly great happens to safe people. I'm not saying I need to become a dare-devil, but I am saying that I need to step out of my comfort zone a little. It's a personal growth area, that I'm sure others share with me.

So see if you can take a risk this week. Tell that special guy/girl how you feel. Try that new task your friends have been begging you to try. This week I'm going to drive on the parkway. Go ahead and laugh. This girl has never driven more than 55 mph. It'll be interesting for sure. Leave your thoughts below if you have any. Feel free to agree or disagree with anything you like, just be respectful, and of course explain why.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Frustration with Life

My life is not so bad. I have just had a great weekend starting with dinner and a movie with friends Friday night, continuing to a indie movie premier and after party Saturday night, and a good day at church and time hanging out with a friend's family today. My life has all the makings of a rather marvelous time.

Still have trouble being content with my current situation. It's hard not to get discouraged during the job hunt. I am a broken record. This is probably eerily similar to blog posts I wrote last summer. Regardless of how may times I beat the dead horse, it still stinks to be unemployed and uncertain of the future.

One could state the cliche, the future is always uncertain. Even people who think that their future is set in stone could be injured tomorrow and unable to work the next day. A person could think he/she is getting married to the love of his/her life tomorrow, and a car accident could change everything. (I know that's morbid and terrible, but it is nevertheless true.) I could get a call tomorrow for an interview and have job by Friday for all I know.

Regardless whether this cliche rings true or not, it is difficult. I know how unbelievably blessed I am. I have amazing friends, supportive family, and a great education under my belt. I can't help but wonder, "What will I do if I don't get a job?" There isn't a whole hell of a lot to do with a Social Studies degree and a teaching certificate. Jobs in history are not that plentiful either. I'd really rather not go back to working fast food and living with my parents. I know that in this economy there's no shame in it, but it's still really frustrating.

Does it make me an ungrateful wretch to be frustrated with my life? There are probably people who would trade me in a minute. Maybe I'm too full of myself. I had a friend who used to respond when asked, "How are you?" "Better than I deserve."

This is probably true. I am better than I deserve. For all the things I do that displease God on a regular basis, I deserve to be a bag lady, sleeping on park benches, getting beaten up by thugs for pocket change. Of course, I'm not in that predicament. God's always provided for me in the nick of time. So why do I continue to worry? Why don't I trust him to always provide? I guess part of my concern is that what I want is not what he wants, and I, like a stubborn child, desperately want him to give me what I think will help me the most. Yet again, for all I know, what he wants is something much greater than anything I could imagine for myself. Maybe this hardship will lead to personal growth and higher self efficacy. Maybe determining that I can live without the creature comforts I'm used to will lead to greater self-reliance and self-confidence.

Too many maybes I suppose. I don't do well with uncertainty. I am reminded of a song from the musical Into the Woods called, "No More." The link to the lyrics is posted below:

http://www.allthelyrics.com/lyrics/into_the_woods_soundtrack/no_more-lyrics-207680.html

I guess all the maybes make me think of that song. Just more questions....different kinds.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Confessions of an Introverted Extrovert

I recently watched a speech by a self proclaimed introvert, about the power of introverts. Her name is Susan Cain, and I'll put the link to the video below.

As a teacher, it is often assumed that I am an extrovert. Teachers naturally have to work with other teachers to form lessons and time lines for their materials, so we all end on the same page. Teachers  have to communicate problems and results with parents, so that the parents know what is going on in the classroom. Teachers have to be able to establish relationships with their students, so that they can learn how to serve their students best. I do all of these things as a teacher, but I would not say I am an extrovert. At least not to the extreme that many students may think I am.

I do enjoy human interaction. I tend to get bored easily, and I am unable to amuse myself for days on end by reading books. However, as Mrs. Cain points out, an introvert can enjoy the company of people without actively interacting with those people. The example she gives is of sitting in her parent's house reading silently with her family. Now I am not the most academic of people. I like to read, but I am rather picky about what kind of reading can hold my attention for a long period of time. What I do enjoy is listening to people around me. I enjoy experiencing life as it happens. What does this mean you may ask? I enjoy going to a friend's house, and listening the conversations the groups has without actually participating actively. I actively listen, and if I really feel compelled to speak, I will. If I'm in a particularly talkative mood, I may speak a lot, but generally that is when there are two or less other people present.

I am not shy. I am perhaps shy with immediate strangers, but I am not strangers with people long. I can talk one on one all day long. I can talk to my classes without feeling nervous at all. It makes me angry when students talk while I am talking. Maybe part of this is because I like to listen to people without talking, so I expect others to do the same for me. Maybe I'm not interesting enough; I teach history after all.

I find it easier to sing in front of my peers than make a speech. I did not like speech class at all, even though I loved my classmates and professor to pieces. I was not good at making speeches. I did debate freshman year, and I am not good at flying by the seat of my pants and coming up with a valid debate. (This serious hinders my ability to teach some days, when my plan just doesn't work the way I thought it would. I am better than I used to be.) I get to sing at one of my best friend's weddings this October, but I am dreading the toast, I just know I'm going to cry/babble incoherently.

I understand the importance of working together to solve problems, especially since I am not the most intellectual type of gal. When I have problems in my classroom, you can bet I'm going to ask another teacher for advice. I am more likely to ask one teacher in a private conversation, however, than I am to ask in a big meeting. I don't like to air my problems to large groups. If two cannot figure it out, then I move on to a different person. I'll create lesson plans with large groups, but if I'm having trouble with pedagogy, I'm more likely to ask one person.

The fact that I'm an introverted extrovert translates into church as well. I was really involved with church when I was in college. I taught Sunday School, participated in Bible Study, and when to service every Sunday I could get a ride. I went to church "religiously," if you'll pardon the pun. When I moved to Hopkinsville, I never really found my niche in a church here. I go to church occasionally, and I even enjoy the church I go to when I do go. The ministers are nice, and the people are friendly enough. I just don't feel I'm needed, so I just sit there and watch. I pray, I sing, and I listen. That's all I do. I sadly don't volunteer for anything, because I just don't feel led to do anything. I don't know anyone there other than the ministers and the few HHS teachers who attend the church. No one goes out of their way to make me feel welcome, and no one looks at me like I'm a heathen for not showing up for three weeks either. Now I go around trying to behave like a Christian woman. I'm kind to people generally, and I don't try to besmirch random people with vicious gossip. I like to think the best of people. I pray for people who tell me to pray for them, and I try to pray for people who seem to be having a hard time. No one sees you pray though. It's not a public kind of thing, so it kind of appears like I don't do anything to further my religion.

Of course, being outwardly religious is somewhat frowned upon as a school teacher. I am not supposed to influence my students' beliefs. I don't even want to influence their beliefs. When I was growing up, I was not raised in the church, because of this, I believe that I am a believer in Jesus, because I know him personally, not because my parents made me go to church when I was a little girl. Every child should be so lucky. I'm not saying that parents who take their kids to church are wrong. I'm saying that kids should be allowed to figure out their beliefs in their own time. Take your young child to church if you want, but just because your teenager suddenly rebels and decides they don't want to go to church anymore, doesn't mean you have to send them to an all-girls/boys school and shove the Bible down their throats. Just be understanding and listen, and perhaps they'll come around quickly, perhaps they'll come around slowly, but it'll be on their own terms not yours. Ok, so that kind of got off my introverted-extrovert tangent, but that's ok. Giving kids time to inwardly reflect on their faith is where I was getting at. Some kids are great with going on Youth Group trips and joining Fellowship of Christian Athletes or Teens for Christ, and some kids just want time to reflect and read about Christianity. I kind of did both. I was part of Teens for Christ, but I never went on any of the related trips or even attend church regularly until I went to college.

I've been taught to give my kids Cooperative Learning Assignments. This helps build social skills and aids problem solving..blah...blah...blah. Don't get me wrong. Sometimes working with someone can help certain students. Usually, I stick to pairs if I'm going to have my kids work together, because generally, even my most introverted student gets along with one other person in the room. Some people just don't talk. When they do talk, it usually causes some kind of uproar in the classroom. I try to make sure that my students know that I don't think it's strange to choose to be silent, and I don't think it's strange when the silent kid talks. Usually when my silent kid talks, he/she has something of value to say. Then it is best for us more loquacious types to shut up and listen and not judge, because that's the reason why some quiet people never talk.

Everyone could stand to be a better listener. I think we hear a lot of things, but we don't listen anymore. Life moves very fast, and people rush to keep up. We multi-task by watching a movie, while writing a research paper, chatting on facebook, and talking to our roommates. We eat our meals sometimes standing up in the kitchen or in our living rooms while surfing facebook rather than sitting at the dining room table. By dividing our attention among so many distractions, we often miss the meat of the conversations going on around us, or perhaps our conversations don't have any meat at all. As a history teacher, I often crave the times where people could sit around a table and talk about their lives over dinner or gather around a fireplace to chat about recent politics and events. If salons like the Enlightenment were still going happening, who knows what kind of changes could occur? What kind of problems could we solve? Granted, I am the one who said she prefers to watch and listen during these kinds of conversations, but perhaps that's because we need someone who listens long enough synthesize the information presented. I recognize that I am not the font of all knowledge, but rather an ever present student trying to learn however I can.

http://www.ted.com/talks/susan_cain_the_power_of_introverts.html?source=facebook#.T9fzOVcwb-B.facebook

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Priorities and Changes

I sit here in my newly clean classroom that is only mine for the next 48 minutes. It reminds me so much of when I first got here. I was new teacher with no idea what to expect from the nine months ahead of me, kind of like an expectant mother. I was proud of my accomplishment, of finally getting a job. Now I have similar feelings. I'm proud of surviving my first year of teaching. So many people have told me today that I did a good job my first year teaching. I'm not sure what proof I have of that, but I appreciate their thoughts.

So I am trying again to get a job, but I am proud of my accomplishments this year. I have learned that I'm a lot nicer than I thought I was. I need to work on my classroom management and --no surprise here-- my organization. Just as at the end of college, I have to take what I've learned and put it towards next year.

Yesterday I received a letter from a friend of mine who is going to Poland on a mission trip. I had recently told him about losing my job, and he was very supportive. He reminded me of what my priorities should be. This in turn reminded me of one of my favorite verses.
"28 And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good,[a] for those who are called according to his purpose."Romans 8: 28

I need to trust God not to change my life for the worse, but accept that there is a reason for everything I'm experiencing right now. At least I'm young and un-attached, so I don't have to uproot family to do all this moving around. It's tough for someone like me who dislikes sudden change to give up control of a situation, and just let it be. I still have preferences for where to live, but if I don't let it go soon, it'll drive me up the wall. So continue praying for me, and I hope that these realizations will help me accept whatever change happens in the next couple of months.



Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Moving on....

"Aren't you angry Ms. Gillis?" "Why aren't you asking for your job back?" 

These are just a few of the comments I received from students when they found out about me not coming back next year. They don't understand necessarily how tenure works, or how the number of students determines how many principals we're allowed or any of that. I'm an adult. I knew something like this would happen; I've mentioned it before. Now I'm focusing on putting in applications for jobs in other counties. 

Today was bittersweet at best. It more or less stunk. I was missing like 50% of my kids. The other 50 % wanted to escape. Who could blame them? Summer is an exciting time for them. For me, it means another summer spent in the middle of a living room floor filling out applications....80% of which I will never receive any sort of feedback on 95% of which I will never get an interview for. (I totally made up those statistics, but with over 50 applications, 3 interviews, and of course 1 job offer last year, I can't be that far off on the math.) It's a lot of tedious paperwork to get a random job, in a likely inconvenient place. 

I hate job hunting. I hate driving to random places for interviews. (Granted I've never had to drive to an interview myself, but I just hate driving in general.) I hate moving. I hate uprooting what little life I managed to establish while in Hoptown to move to an unknown location. I know that hate is a strong word, but pretty much it describes how I feel about change. I hate the idea of being alone in the middle of nowhere again. 

So as much as I've accepted the fact that I no longer have a job, and that I understand why I do not have a job, I am still having trouble thinking positively about the whole experience. Everyone tells me to look at it as an adventure, but I am not an adventurous person. They joke that I will meet the man of my dreams or find an even better job, but until I can find a place I'm going to stick around for longer than eleven months at a time, I can't even think about establishing relationships. Leaving my friends is hard enough. 

I poured everything I could into this job and into my life here. I tried to get established at a church, I tried making new friends, and I even managed to find a good towing company and auto body shop. Now I somehow have to come up with enough energy and courage to possibly do that again. This summer will not be fun for me. I will probably worry and obsess and do what I always do when faced with a problem that probably isn't that big of a deal. Then of course there is the challenge if I do get a job of somehow getting established at the school. Being a "new teacher" in a school makes me tired just thinking about it. I no longer have "zero" experience, but I will still have a lot of unknowns. 

I'm trying to not think to far ahead of myself. I know what I need to do first. I need to get moved out of my classroom. I need to get all my appointments in to doctor's before my insurance runs out. I need to clean my apartment, so I have a place to work that doesn't make me even crazier than I already am. I need something else to do other than fill out applications, or else I really will go crazy. I have no idea what that may be. Most importantly I need some prayers right now, because I'm not sure I can do this myself. 

As upset as I am right now, I have been very blessed to be here in Hopkinsville. I have met some wonderful people, and learned so many things about myself. Maybe I won't have to go so far, or if I do, I'll at least be closer to family, so I won't be so alone. This year, I was just thrilled to get a job. It didn't matter so much to me that it was far away from home. Now I find that home has changed, though Knoxville will always be home, because that's where mom and dad are. I found home in Hopkinsville by throwing myself into my work with my kids and by doing so making some really great connections with wonderful people who I was blessed to call my coworkers. They became my new family. I love them, and I know many of them love me. Maybe Hoptown was just a stepping stone to greater things, but if that's the case, God's setting me up for a life that is better than I deserve. 

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Back to the drawing board.

Being a first year teacher, it didn't come as a shock to me that I was getting laid off this year. I feel I have grown and learned so much this first year, that I was hoping it wouldn't happen, but I knew it could be a definite possibility. So a little over a week ago, on a Friday, I stayed after to talk to my principal about whether or not I had a job. She confirmed my suspicions exactly. They were having to demote one of our assistant principals, because we just don't have the numbers to get funding to have an extra principal. Sadly, that means I'll be moving on. That could mean something as small as a different school in the same area, or even as drastic as moving across the state.

It turns my stomach in knots to think about leaving Hoptown. My kids ran me ragged this year, but I really love them to death. As many times as I was frustrated with them, there were times when I was so proud and full-filled in my work too. I have students that I am definitely sorry to leave. Some were even requesting me as their teacher. I guess life is full of disappointments on many sides. I have no idea how far away my job search will lead me, but I know I will more than likely not be at Hoptown High. There is a small possibility that the numbers would change, that we'd need another Social Studies teacher, or that someone would leave, but in all seriousness, I don't hold out much hope for it.

The only hope I have is that I'll find a job near where I have found my new friends and new life here in Christian County or one of the surrounding counties, or I will find a job closer to Knoxville and my family. Either way, I would at least not be completely bereft of any support system. I felt so alone when I first moved to Hopkinsville; I do not relish the thought of winding up that way again. It seems that so many jobs are up near Cincinnati, and I must go where I can be useful.

I feel a little bit like Mary Poppins. Ok, so I haven't jumped through any pictures lately or made any carousels come to life, but I feel a little like I'm abandoning my kids. Perhaps, they don't need me anymore. If I have taught them anything this year, I hope I taught them to be more kind to new teachers. It is not as easy to teach as some teachers can make it look. It's not easy to be cussed at and maintain enough composure to make it through a lesson. It's not easy to make up a lesson when your original plan falls through. It's not easy to get up and move, and be able to come prepared on the first day of school.

I know for certain I wasn't ready for the first day of school this year. If I was able to stay here, I would be more confident in my start next year, but since I have no idea where I'll be or when I'll get hired, the plans are a lot more fuzzy. I do not know if I'll be teaching the subjects I taught this year, or if I'll be thrown into a new area of Social Studies. I don't know what kind of kids I'll be teaching, what kind of background the area will have, or what kind of people I'll be working with. I did, however, learn a lot about what not to do, so hopefully, I will make a few less mistakes.

I was by no means the perfect first year teacher, but my principal says that she would have kept me if she could. I find that encouraging, since she's writing my recommendations. There are many things that I can work on, but I know what my weaknesses are, and I focus on how to solve them. I love teaching, and as grueling and tasking as the students at HHS can be, I still want to teach. Those kids were probably the best test of whether or not I was cut out to be a teacher. I may not have been the person to ace the test, or pass it gracefully, but I'm certain I'm in it for as long as I still enjoy it.

Today I was told my one of my students from student teaching that I was his favorite teacher ever. I have no idea what I did to deserve such praise, but it made me feel better just the same. It's hard to move on when you've found students you love, and you want to continue helping. But the student I talked to today along with some of my current students are living proof that wherever I go I make an impact in some way. I may not always feel like I am successful, and I may not even be successful immediately, but I do have an impact, hopefully for the better. I do know this....they've impacted me for the better.

When I was just a child in school, I asked my teacher, "What should I try?" "Should I paint pictures?" "Should I sing songs?" Here was her wise reply: " Que sera sera, Whatever will be will be. The future's not ours to see. Que sera sera. What will be, will be."

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Success....

So it's been a rough first year of teaching. I realize I am still over a month from the end of the school year, but it's been waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay too long since I've blogged. As terrible as some moments were for me, I'd rather reflect on the good things about my experiences. Note: No names will be included, because obviously that could be a liability.

I was the crazy lady who allowed a kid to change her battery. Hey I couldn't life the thing, since it didn't have a handle anyway. I was also the moron who left her right inside reading light on all weekend.
-Why is this a good moment? It's good to know I have kids that I can trust with that sort of thing.

Sweet kids in my classes who make me sane, because they actually respect me and care about their grades.
-Why is this a good moment? It's nice to know I'm not really the worst teacher in the world.

Passing KTIP. Even if it was by the skin of my teeth, it is better than the alternative.
-Why is this a good moment? Because even though I know I have a lot to work on, I am proud of how much I've grown.

Making amazing friends both within and outside of school.
-Why is this a good thing? Well you know, I'd be jumpier than a virgin at a prison rodeo rally without them.

Giving a student something she needed, and her being sweet enough to give me something back.
-Why is this a good moment? It's so good to see kids who are kind. Not that a "Thank you, very much." wouldn't have sufficed.

Watching a kid literally jump up and down because he made a 91 on my test.
-Why is this a good thing? Well I love to see my children be successful. Makes me feel like a proud mother hen.

Realizing that even if I don't have a job at Hoptown next year, I was still successful at getting better as a teacher. I learned a lot from my kids and co-workers. I think it's pretty obvious why that's a good thing.

So how does one measure success? I believe I have been successful this year. Adios amigos!