Monday, September 25, 2017

180 Days of Gratitude

I've heard alot of people say "Kids these days think they are entitled to everything". I'm sure you've heard it and if you're like me, you've probably said it a time or ten lol. Occassionally, it is the truth. There is indeed this sense of entitlement amongst humans in general. I was raised by a incredibly amazing single mother. My sister and I are 14 years apart, my brother and I are 9 years apart. So as you can imagine, I am a little bit spoiled. (read alot of bit in place of little bit) In my family though; I am not spoiled in a materialistic way. I was raised and reminded DAILY to be thankful for what I have and not just be thankful but to express my gratitude. The church I went to when I was in college; the Pastor always said it this way: "It could always be the other way." When she said "it". She meant life, work, health, finances, friendships, just whatever your "it" is/was. I do my absolute best to provide the very best learning experience for Mrs. Parker's Professors. I am a firm believer that it takes a village. The village surrounding my professors is exemplary. There are opportunities that are afforded to the professors simply for being their amazing selves. All of these opportunities are truly extraordinary. So, it is easy for them to forget humility and gratitude. One of my friends, @msadamsteaches on instagram, created a "180 days of gratitude" challenge. I borrowed it from her and utilize it in my learning community to help my professors remember all the things we must be thankful for on a DAILY basis. Kinda like how we should celebrate being thankful everyday not just at thanksgiving type deal. So; I made it out of a door. In the middle of the door is the "180 Days of Gratitude". When a professor finds something to be thankful or grateful for; they grab an index card. On the side with the lines, we write what we are thankful for. On the other side, we draw a picture describing what we wrote. This also gives us more practice with writing in and out of context. It is now a constant reminder for us to flashback on. This door is also the door to the classroom bathroom and sink, so everytime they go to the bathroom or to the sink; they can be reminded of the little things. It also is a heart warmer for me that maybe I am not doing so bad after all and seeing what they like the most. Am I saying that this solves all our non humble stuff; absolutely not. However; I am also really not a fan of complaining AT ALL. Like it truly truly bothers me. So I can't complain about a problem and not at least do my best to do something about it. We all have so much to be thankful for and again; things could truly be the other way. It is my duty to pass this mindset onto my professors, so that they might do the same. P.S. That door is green and orange, shoutout to all those F.A.M.U. Rattlers :-)

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Daily Affirmations

There are tons of challenging aspects of teaching. Scratch that; teaching as a whole is challenging. But as my teacher union president Bryan says : It is the hardest, most important job in the world. It is really challenging to sustain the attention of ALL of my professors. I think in large part to the fact that they are budding little humans and still have a little firstie or second grade or fourth grade in them, whatever grade you teach. So, it is a case by case style of learning and teaching as they progress into full bloom ______ graders. With that being said; they are also being thrusted into the Mrs. Parker's Professors maturation school lol So they are juggling, learning and sustaining multiple tasks right now. I am so proud. However; I am patient with them. I am a hot mess, I need someone to be patient with me. Lord HAVE MERCY, I need it lol So I have to give it back to my babies. For this 2017-2018 school year; I teach second grade. My professors are 7(with a few just turning 8)---They are babies. They need brain breaks, flexible and outlandish learning activities to help them reach all their goals. Each of my babies are all so different and special and unique. It is challenging yet incredible. I do my best to plan high high HIGH engaging, no room for boredom, an agenda for what's next ,what's next and what's next so my early finishers don't get bored and my more vulnerable learners feel protected and safe too. So; if you are that teacher that feels like you are failing your students. Remember this; it is not that you failed. When my professors are teaching me and I am teaching them; I am incredibly flexible. I can't be mad with them. They are doing their absolute best but just like me, they just need a break sometime because life is hard and not to be taken too seriously all the time. I am trying to teach them balance as well. It is my job to grow the whole child. Dear Teacher reading this; You did not fail today. At all. The affirmations/guiding principles of the Parker's Professors Learning Community in place truly guide all of our work. I am a fan of the restorative justice model. Huge Huge Fan actually. It is my job to grow the whole child. 99.9 % of the time; I do not send babies out of my classroom to the office for a not so good choice. When they are out for a not so good choice; their brain is not growing. I need them, they need themselves, their family needs them, their community needs them, our world needs them TO BE IN CLASS. So; like one of my favorite PJ Morton songs; we can work it out. I simply refer back to the affirmations from our morning. If a Professor is not making a good choice; Me: (professor name); your life? Professor: My goals Me: Who do you represent? Professor: My family and my friends Me: I take my education Professor: Seriously Me to the whole class: Who are we? All Professors: We are Leaders, We are Learners, We are a Family, We are Mrs. Parker's Professors Just hitting back to our affirmations, our guiding principles. It is helpful. Now; we've all been reminded and felt welcomed and respected back into our learning community. I'll share more about what I mean when I say "affirmations/ guiding principles" a little later!