Showing posts from April, 2014

40 Days 40 Words: Celebrate

Celebrate is my word for 2014. I picked it thinking just about life in general but also about retirement!  There's so much to celebrate in life and the next two months are going to be full of celebrations both big and small. I'm so pleased to be celebrating my retirement with so may people. I'll have my "official" school party this Saturday. Then a small celebration/recognition at the school board meeting and the "district" cake and punch reception with other retirees on May 22nd!  Finally a private family/friends party on Saturday June 7th!  Who knows there might be some other celebrating in there too!

40 Days 40 Words: Doors

Doors. I remember walking through the door of my first class at UMSL. What a strange and scary experience for a country girl in what I considered the BIG city. I remember for years, even after I graduated I had nightmares of trying to find a class and wandering for hours in huge empty buildings with no one to ask for assistance. There are plenty of doors over 30 years. The door to my first classroom at Bellflower Elementary. The door to my beloved kindergarten classroom where I spent many of hours laughing and playing and enjoying the company of 5 year olds! But this post is about more than just the physical doors to the classrooms, offices and school buildings. It is about the doors we open in our lives. The experiences that we enter into that often change the course of our lives. Deciding to go into counseling, opened the door to opportunities to work with people at the middle school level. Which broadened my perspective of the world in more ways than I can even begin to explain. …

40 Days 40 Words: Freedom

I'm at the corner of Freedom Street!

I know, I know, everyone that's retired say they are so busy they don't even know how they did it when they worked. That's OK.....I want to experience it! People have been asking me what I am going to do when I answer is usually...."what ever I want to."  It's hard for me to even imagine the reality of a day where I decide when and what I want to do. Oh, I know it won't be EXACTLY like that...but still......hours of a week stretching ahead where I can focus on things I love, get some projects done, and stay up as late as I want!

What exactly is freedom?  Those fighting for our country are fighting for it. People exalt it. I crave it....but what precisely is it?

Wow this certainly can be true in retirement. In education, not so much. We do have a variety of people working in the education field but overall there are some things that inhibit the expression of self.  We must live by the motto of "…

40 Days 40 Words: Wrinkles

Today's word is wrinkles. Yep it's a strange one but bear with me. Wrinkles are earned. They are part of who we are and they should be treasured rather than feared! They prove to the world that we've been in this for the long haul! You are only as old as you allow yourself to be. Age is not measured in years (or by wrinkles) but in the vitality of life. Keep living, laughing, dancing and having adventures and you are never truly old! I like to think of retirement as a time to marinate. Wrinkles and all I'm excited about the opportunities that retirement will afford me. What a wonderful luxury my years in education have given me; retirement at an age when I still have plenty of energy to do the things I love and perhaps a few new things too! See you soon with another word!

40 Days 40 Words: Lessons

All I really need to know I learned in kindergarten.
All I really need to know about how to live and what to do
and how to be... I learned in kindergarten. Wisdom was not
at the top of the graduate-school mountain, but there in the
sandpile at Sunday School. These are the things I learned:

Share everything. (So borrow and share everything. Budgets often forced us to whether we liked it or not.)
Play fair. (I'm pretty sure there are quite a few people who haven't learned this and it makes me truly sad.)
Don't hit people. ( I've wanted to a few times but resist ,I did!)
Put things back where you found them.  (This is a hard one, with classrooms without storage, with little hands grabbing and with  only a few minutes to spare in the day!)

Clean up your own mess. (Not only did I learn this but often found myself telling my husband the same a very teacher-y voice.)

Don't take things that aren't yours. (True but…

40 Days 40 Words: Joy

Last night I finished some financial planning/decisions I've been working on since February.  It brought me JOY.  Lots of things along this path to retirement have brought me joy but I wouldn't be honest if I didn't say there are some mixed feelings long the way too. Although I know 100% in my heart that this is the right decision and the right time to retire, sometimes a bit of confusion and worry slips in; along with a twinge of sadness. When you give up something that has meant the world to you, actually at times consumed your world, it's sure to be a bit on an emotional roller coaster ride. 

Over all this journey to retirement has been one filled with joy. From the crazy days of kindergarten when we spent endless hours designing bulletin boards to the wacky middle school where if you spend to much time there you start to act like a middle schooler.  From my first pay check where I made 600 and something dollars to these months spent planning the financial aspects …

40 Days 40 Words: Hope

Hope: a feeling of expectation and desire for a certain thing to happen.
Spent a lot of time with hope over the last 30 years. One cannot survive in the school setting without a good dose of it. There's lots of hoping that goes on every day.....

1. Hoping that you get through the day without "losing it"
2. Hoping that when the principal walks in your room the kids are all behaving.
3. Hope that the rainstorm is just a storm and not a tornado when you are responsible for a bunch of little people.
4. Hope that someone will realize that the latest mandate doesn't do justice to what teaching is all about....whether its MAP testing, No Child Left Behind, etc.
5. Hope that Friday will arrive quickly.
6. Hope for a snow day....yes you know we do that...maybe not this last winter but for sure in the past.
7. Hope that you can teach everything necessary before summer break.
8. Hope that whoever moves into the room next to you stays a few years!
9. Hope that no child comes t…

40 Days 40 Words: Abundance

Today's word is abundance.

Definition: "a very large quantity of something"

Doesn't sound like education does it? We seldom talk about abundance as more often we talk about low pay, long hours, huge expectations, high stakes testing and other such things. While in terms of money perhaps I haven't had abundance these last 30 years; in other ways I have been blessed with an abundance of other meaningful things.

First let me address the money issue however. This career has provided for my family. We aren't rich but we made it work. All in all education is a secure employment with at least a possibility of pay increases. Most years of those 30, I at least received an increase, even if slight. Some people work for years with very little increase. I'm thankful that the education field (along with my hard working husband) allowed me to feed, cloth and house my family.

There has been an abundance of other things though. People who love kids, great life long friends…

40 Days & 40 Words: Meaning

I always wondered why there always seems to be DRAMA in I know! Education is probably the most creative of all endeavors, for both the educator and the student. We are constantly reinventing ourselves based on some new goal, mandate, or the whims of society at large. Yet the truth is the more we reinvent ourselves, the more we stay the same.

There are new names for old programs, a new way of packaging something, new terms and lots of discussions but in the end if you look beneath the surface much of education is the same. You can call it outcome based education or essential learning objectives, GLEs or Common Core or any other number of names but the bottom line is we are striving to give students the knowledge base they need to be successful citizens. That's not an easy task in today's world with rapidly evolving technology and information that explodes into new dimensions practically every week.

With a wealth of information at our fingertips we still floun…

40 Days and 40 Words: Spin

Okay go ahead substitute some other word for know you want to and you know one popped into your head as soon as you saw this picture. There's several I might substitute. I'm going out on the edge a bit today. Why not? I'm not all sugar and fluff. I'm not always right but at least I always tell you what I think, honestly and passionately. Some people fault me for that. Oh well.

Today's word is spin. As in "putting a spin on it."  These are the definitions I'm referring to in this post:

 to evolve, express, or fabricate by processes of mind or imagination <spin a yarn> to present (as information) with a particular spin <spin the statistics>We all do it. You have to, at least to a certain degree, to survive in education and perhaps in life in general. We don't say students are being "lazy" we spin it as lack of motivation. We don't always tell our administrators what we think. Sometimes we keep our mouths s…

40 Days & 40 Words: Dance

Dance!  I figure I've danced plenty to my own rhythm and in doing so have made some life long friends and probably ticked off a few people too! Such is life. The truth is the dance goes on. Retirement might alter the beat a little but it won't stop the dance. I'm not going to be sitting on the sidelines waiting for someone to ask me to dance!  I figure this one fits me even better than the last. I'm sure I've been thought insane a few times. Most people in education have been. Project Construct back in the kindergarten days was one such time. Kids "constructing" their own knowledge. Crazy right?  One of the things I've endeavored to do throughout life is to keep an open mind about new things, to take time to at least dance for a bit to see if this new melody is one worth following. I'll not follow the Piped Piper but I will at least "look" at something regardless of how crazy it sounds.   To me the idea behind the word that …

40 Days: 40 Words: Read

The word for the day is read and I'm going to be reflecting on it in several different ways. First of all read reminds me of all those awesome books I read to my kindergarten students. I think they were even more powerful and meaningful to me than them!  From  Brown Bear, Brown Bear (by the way I have an autographed copy from when I heard Bill Martin, Jr. talk at the Young Years conference one year) to Dr. Seuss, Eric Carle and Jan Brett. There are lots of lessons to be learned from books!
Reading is about more than just learning things though. It's about constantly striving to understand the world in a different way. It's easy to understand the world from our small little niche here on this big planet. It's quite another thing to "see" the world through someone else's eyes. Someone who writes about living in a village in Africa, or being at the heart of a major war, or sailing across an ocean. There are so many experiences that we will never actually l…

40 Days and 40 Words: Tapestry

Today's word is tapestry. Each of the days of my life is woven into a tapestry with threads of sadness, joy, hope, friendship, adventure, discouragement, triumph, defeat, and all manner of human feelings and conditions.

So many of the threads of my tapestry are related to my work in education. Some of the threads are long and detailed while others are just a few stitches. It's amazing how many people come and go in your life during a 30 year time period. Some are people that have barely touched my life, mere stitches in the tapestry of many. Others have colored my life with threads of rich hues and lengths. Some are even dark threads perhaps of challenging people but ones I have learned something from none the less. We can't pull those from the tapestry or we ruin the overall quality of it but we can overwhelm them with the rich and vibrant ones that shimmer and dance across this tapestry of life!

I love this! It is in accord with my thoughts about the tapestry created d…

40 Days and 40 Words: Beginnings

I was super excited to land my first teaching job at Bellflower Missouri teaching first grade. As luck would have it and as so often happens about two weeks later I received a phone call from Warrenton for a teaching position but as I had already signed my contract with Montgomery County I had to turn them down.

So I started my career in education with NINE first graders in a small school that housed one section each of  K-5th grade. The principal was only there part of the time so we were like an island to ourselves.

There are lots of beginnings in my years in education. The beginning of teaching, the beginning of a new school district (when I accepted a job at the Warren County R-3 district), the beginning of great friendships with Mary Ruth Schomberg and Fran Martin (just to name a couple of my old teaching partners), the beginning of my masters program, the beginning of counseling, the beginning of my years at the middle school, and the beginning of this last year in education.

The Last Year: 40 Words

Image Friday April 11th I will have 40 days of work left!!  So in celebration of my last forty days  I will be blogging 40 words (one post each work day). You'll have to wait and see the 40 words I've selected and how they weave into my 30 years in education, life lessons, and other aspects of how they fit my life and thoughts about this journey I'm on.