Friday, August 30, 2013

Goodby August


So today....I took down the August calendar and realized....that it's my last August to spend working at school. So I decided to say "goodbye" to August and blog about it here at Ginger's Journey.  I'll also share:
So I made some little monthly journals to use for The Last Year....at the end of each month I'll try to remember to blog about them here at Ginger's Journey. Right now on my window sill at school I have August, September and October displayed. I haven't written in them all yet because one must take each month as it comes.  They look sweet sitting there waiting.

Here are the thoughts from the August one.


Each page has some journaling starters but I have been trying to mix them up so they aren't the same every month.

  • Something that made me wonder why.....As you can read in the picture I wondered why we didn't get first day of school information sooner. All in all the first day went pretty well but I'm a creature of habit and I know after 30 years that everyone feels a little more comfortable "knowing" what's going to happen.
  • A WOW moment was when I actually realized that I had worked with 14 principals over the last 30 years.
  • A "this is the last time" moment. First day of school....felt bittersweet and surreal.
  • Something that made me go Hmmmm. The number of so called "trainings" we had this year and had to "sign off" on them. Sorry but reading a 19 page handout isn't really training. We also watched numerous videos. I don't really feel like the trainings are for us to actually "learn" anything but are more a CYA for the district. It's like that everywhere now days though not just in our school. It is the way of the times but it sure feels like shaky ground.
  • A "when we do this next year" moment. We started talking about some changes we might want to make to handing out schedules next year and I found myself thinking...."I'm not going to be here to worry about this next year."  I have to admit....I like it....feels very freeing.
  • Something that made me laugh.  I'm sure there are plenty of things I laughed about in August but when confronted with this page I came up blank. So I picked up the phone and called Debbie to see if she remembered anything funny I laughed about. Then I realized how absurd that was and ended up laughing about it...hence I used it for my page!

  • One thing I'm totally looking forward to.  Alaska Cruise. June 2014. This is a combination retirement cruise/vacation for both Dale and I. A couple friends are going with us and we are really looking forward to the adventure!!
I'll be back to blog more of he Last Year throughout the year....I'm going to ignore Cresia and write and status update it as MUCH as I want. LOL. See ya soon!

Friday, August 16, 2013

Good Stuff

So I bet you thought I'd be blogging last year stuff today...didn't you? Well, WRONG. Or at least partly wrong. I wanted to show you this cute little mini journal I made.

 
The pattern for this little printable journal can be found over at Grace is Overrated. She also provides step by step directions for folding it to make this cute itsy bitsy journal. Each little page has a prompt or question.
 
I haven't written in it you but plan to. I think keeping positive and focused and motivated this last year is important. I might make more than one of these. Or create a few of my own...tuck them away in a little tin, My thoughts during this last year. (Stay tuned...if I create a few of my own...I'm making them school specific and I'll be back later to share them. )

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

My Last First Day

 
So you had to know...you would hear from me today. I was assuring my friend, Cresia Stark that I wasn't going to post pictures, post on Facebook, and blog EVERY single day about my last year...but surely The Last First Day is worthy of a post.
 
So last year when Evan was in Kindergarten we printed a first day of school sign and he had his picture taken with it..."My First Day in Kindergarten" Of course we wanted to do that again this year.....
 
 
Isn't he adorable....so that got me to thinking I needed my own sign...
 
 
Everyone asks..."how does it feel?". It feels surreal. It feels bittersweet. . Like I can't remember an August in my lifetime where I haven't been exhausted, had trouble falling asleep, and felt keyed up. This year is no different.  Thousands of things swirling in my mind, crossing my path during the day, and bidding for my attention. Yet at the same time...different. It's easier to be calm when it's your last first day You might as well make the best of it because it's not coming this way again. Embrace it even among frustration.
 
 
 
So as I stood in the hallway on Day 189....it felt like deja vu. Well it is...I have stood here before and each year blends into another until it's really hard to pull them apart and keep them as individual years. Most of my career is divided into my Kindergarten Years and my Counselor Years. With a few other random ones in there for good measure. Each year has the same sense of anticipation, the same roller coaster ride thrills, the same days where you might just scream, along with tears, and laugher, and a sense of how much bigger life's picture is then we know.
 
The whole "when we do this next year" saga has begun. You know where you say you are going to take note of what didn't work and do it differently next year when in reality by the time next year rolls around you forget what it was you wanted to do differently. When I hear those words however, I realize that I will not be here planning, implementing, questioning and organizing "next year." I find that "it's ok".  I don't mind....in fact it is rather liberating. I find that there are other things I am looking forward to instead. Many have asked about boredom or feeling isolated...maybe I'm wrong but I'm not worried about that.
 
Well that's enough for today....I'll be seeing you again soon as more days roll by and more thoughts surface. It is bittersweet but at the same time this year feels like a celebration of something....not sure what....perhaps as the year goes by I'll be better able to define it.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Teachers' Meetings, Team Building and Change

 
I wasn't planning to blog here at Ginger's Journey today. It wasn't in my blog planner (yes blog planner, where I list my blogs and what I want to write when) In fact I have some other posts I really need to get scheduled at other blogs but hey that's how Ginger's Journey has always been....I blog when the mood strikes and ignore it when it doesn't. That's a lot like the ebb and flow of life.
 
I thought I'd challenge myself to name all the principals I've had in my years in education. Then I realized....I can't remember the principal I had my very first year. Wow, wonder if I can dig that up somewhere?
 
So here's the list....minus that name:
 
1. Principal at Bellflower
2. Bollwerk
3. Anders
4. Bain
5. Wolfmeyer
6. Hilbert
7. Spears
8. Hoover
9. Dreyer
10. Crowell
11. Ray
12. Kemp
13. Barnes
14. Pirrung
 
Geeze...is that all of them? With 30 years that is an average of a new principal every two years. Anyway at this point you may be asking "how does the title of this post fit in with this list of names".
 
It just reminds me of how hard it is to build a team when the people and the "rules" seem to constantly change. I said I was going to stay away from the negatives when I blogged this last year but I'm also real. I  don't necessarily consider this a negative. I consider it a commentary on education. Not just in Warren County but across the state and perhaps the nation. We need to look at education as a community and communities need stable leadership and community members that "stick around". Turnover causes us to constantly redo things that we have already done. We just keep repeating the same "level" of professional growth rather than going broader and deeper.
 
We wonder why there's teacher burnout, teachers leaving the profession for other careers, less than effective teachers and all manner of ills that people want to discuss about education. It takes a lot of professional energy to build a relationship with an administrator or co worker. I've learned something from every professional relationship I've had....awww....even Mr. What's His Name from Bellflower. Sure, some of those relationships have been stronger than others but we learn from all manner of people. We can learn from the weaknesses we see, as well as, the strengths.
 
So today we talked about building teams. It was bittersweet. I felt both a profound sense of pride at the way we keep moving forward (after going in a complete circle) and a sense of despair at the number of times I have found myself in this exact spot.  Either way it reminds me of a quotation...
 
 "It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to Heaven, we were all going direct the other way. . . ." Charles Dickens A Tale of Two Cities
 
Doesn't that sum up education in a nutshell?
 
I'll see you again soon for more "blogging my last year".


Sunday, August 4, 2013

Who's Counting: Blogging My Last Year of Work

For those who haven't heard (and I'm not sure who that would be since I have said it a million times) this is my last year of work. At least that is the plan at this point, to retire at the end of the year.  I thought it might be fun to blog the last year so we will see how that goes.

Pictured above is the little countdown I've included on the bulletin board right above my desk. I'm already back at work for the new school year but the "official" countdown doesn't start until the first day of school which is August 14th!  On that day I will take down the 189 and I'll have 188 days left. The reason I have more days then a "real" school year is because I have an extended contract.

My old boss, new Prairie Home superintendent, and nice friend, Dr. Barnes gave me some wise advice about not wishing away life. He's right!  I hate to admit that and even put it in actual written form. I'm not wishing it away.. This little countdown and blogging is meant as a celebration of my 30 years in education. Thirty years!  Well at the end of the current school year it will be. It just doesn't seem possible.

I hope you'll join me here at Ginger's Journey while I celebrate my life's work!  I'll be taking a trip down memory lane, as well as, blogging a little bit about the current school year! Education is one of those areas that makes you think deja vu frequently. You'll get to hear a little bit about my favorite principals, (you know who you are!) the schools I've worked in, and a tongue in cheek look at educational trends.

I don't really have a blogging schedule and whenever I try to set one up it's a disaster so just pop in every now and then and see what's happening here!

Friday, August 2, 2013

Personal Monthly Goals: August



I'm going to try to get back in the habit of setting monthly goals in 8 major life areas. To help me do so I decided to adapt this form to suit my "areas". There's enough room in each box to write one goal per month.

The areas are:

Spiritual
Marriage
Family
Finances
Hobbies
Friends
Health & Fitness
Home

There are also two littler boxes for Books to Read and Notes.  It's already August so I best get my form filled in.  Sometimes just the act of writing something down makes it seem a lot more attainable.

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