Drowning Awake

Sometimes I feel like I’m back in high school again. Like my friends are talking about me behind my back, passing notes I’m not privy to see, complaining about what a downer I’ve been lately, that I’m so obnoxious they can’t stand me and then smile to my face but avoid my company.

Maybe I’m just paranoid.

It’s hard to not feel that way when you know you’re not any fun anymore. When you’re struggling to be free of burdens you can’t seem to unload. When you feel like you’re drowning awake.

It’s like I can’t stop making stupid mistakes.

And I’m so tired. So tired.

And as it seems, so are they.

To: My Little White Boy

To: My Little White Boy

Love: Your Big White Momma

CC: The World

I grew up with grandfathers who loved me to pieces and treasured my blonde curls (now lost) and my deep brown eyes (now faded). They had big families and big hearts and empty pockets because all they did was give and love and give some more to their children and their grandchildren and anyone who needed them. They were raised that way: to be good men, and they were; they are.

But they were racist.

They used words like nigger and porch monkey. They believed that the stereotypes of a community were true, the norm, even funny, and that they reflected the behavior and hearts of the whole and not the few.

But these were not hateful men.

My grandfathers loved people. They were kind. They would never be disrespectful to another person because of their color. They worked along side men of all races in the wars they fought for their country. They even had friends who were of different races. It wasn’t the few they knew they believed terrible things about; it was the rest of them.

Here is where our country is failing, my little white boy.

This flawed belief of them: this belief that you can criticize a whole without blaming every individual of a race, this belief that you can say, “I’m not racist,” while you lock your car doors as you drive through a neighborhood that is not your own, the view of what happened in Charleston as being “just another tragedy” by “just another crazy white guy.” No responsibility is taken. No action is being taken. It’s them. They did it. Those hateful, crazy, terrible people. He did it. I’m not like him. So, I’m okay. I’m not part of the problem. didn’t do it.

And we’re sad. We’re all sad. We’re praying. We’re hoping that nothing like this will ever happen again. But it will. It always does. Because we still think it’s okay to shout until our voices disappear about the injustice of it all while holding our purses a little tighter as we walk downtown. We believe that if we are good men and women that we do not contribute to the problem of racism in this country.

I never realized how my grandfather’s beliefs had permeated into my childhood until I kissed a black boy in sixth grade. I could be friends with him, but he wasn’t allowed to date me. It made everyone (except me) uncomfortable. That was in 1998.

To say that racism in this country is no longer an issue, that everyone is making a bigger deal than necessary out of the violence that has erupted from racial tensions, that the violence that has stemmed from other violence is unprovoked or over the top, that it’s only a problem because we say it is; that is where we are failing.

So, my little white boy, I could sit here and pretend that this world I brought you into is peaceful and kind and wonderful and sunshine and daisies. It would make me feel better. It would make me feel less guilty that I am exposing you to a world that is alight with controversy and yet bathed in apathy.

But I can’t do that.

I can’t pretend that things around here do not need to be fixed. And even though I feel overwhelmed with the responsibility to never imbue racist and judgmental beliefs into your world, I know that others will. I know that poison seeps easily and quickly and often comes from home first, and while I don’t want you to be afraid, I want you to be cautious of it. I want you to know that yes, you ARE a little white boy. You are privileged because our society makes it so and not because you deserve to be more than anyone else. The world is not fair, but it is up to you to be fair while in the world.

And I know it’s up to me to be the kind of person I want you to be. To be the example. To not hide behind difficult topics with an “Amen” and leave it at that. I know it’s up to me to be the example of unalterable love and acceptance of all people we cross paths with, to be kind and dignified and giving to all people, and at utmost, to be the kind of disciple God wishes me to be so that you too may follow in His footsteps.

A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples… 

John 13:34-35

And so I promise, my little white boy, to take responsibility for the level of acceptance and tolerance and love in our house. I promise to never use those hateful words and to never tolerate their use. I promise to surround you with knowledge and culture and acceptance and caution but not fear. I promise to love others as He has loved me and as I love you. I will not dictate who you can love or be friends with because of the color of his/her skin or the religion in his/her heart. I will inspire you to be the kind of man who makes changes for everyone and not the few. I will fill you with love so that love is what you bring to the world.

This is my promise, my little white boy, to never blame them for what I choose to perpetuate.

10 Ways Having A Baby Made Me A Better Person


, , , ,

4So, I did exactly what I feared I’d do. I became a mommy blogger. See, that’s what happens when you grow life inside you and then give birth and have to raise that life. It becomes the most important thing in your world (aside from your spouse and your relationship with higher beings, perhaps) forever. There is no getting around it. No one has a baby and then stays the same. It just doesn’t happen. A baby changes everything. What I’ve discovered, is that isn’t a bad thing.

10 Ways Having A Baby Made Me A Better Person

1. I swear less and sing more.

IMG_6875Even though sometimes I want to say, “If I hear that song ONE MORE F*^&*@# time, I’m going to lose my s@%*!” Most of the time, those annoying Daniel Tiger song come in handy when helping my kid not lose his s@%* in the middle of Target. You know, “When you’re feeling fruuuussstttteerraaaattteeeeedddd…” (Try not to finish that one in your head, I dare you.)

2. I have this incredible respect for single parents.


If you’ve ever spent a week or more alone with your child(ren) with no back up and no one around to help, you understand this one more truly than if it’s only been for a day or two. Military Mommas: I salute you most feverishly!

3. I am more affectionate.


Kisses, hugs, holding hands, light brushes of his white blonde hair, a note to my husband in his lunch thanking him for all he does, a morning of snuggling and tv, wearing my baby in a carrier to keep him close, and rocking him to sleep at night. Some days I feel touched out, but the next morning, I always look forward to those arms reaching up for me.

4. I value the span of an hour more than I ever thought possible.

IMG_4722Nap time? Golden time. Me time. Rare time. Quiet time. Sometimes, nap time for me! Those minutes are treasured and loved and over too soon some days. Other days, it feels like time passed me by without so much as a, “Hello!” before it was, “Goodbye!” It’s on these days I sit and write, trying to record what I want to remember when I’ve long forgotten.

5. I appreciate and recognize each day.

IMG_9425No more working for the weekend. (Weekend? What’s that?) No more planning my life based on a few events a month. Every day is something new and a new opportunity to watch my kid learn and grow and change. It’s not always pretty, but it’s always valued. I do not, however, need to keep track of the days of the week anymore, for the most part. That’s kind of freeing in and of itself.

6. My laugh lines are deeper.

IMG_8849If you spend an hour with a baby and don’t laugh or smile once, there’s something wrong with you. Kids are hilarious. The more mine talks, the funnier he is. Even when he was an infant, he’d fart or giggle in his sleep. Bam. Laughter. There is just an inexplicable joy that they have most of the time, and it’s so contagious.

7. Playing fills my soul with joy.

IMG_3383 Mommy truth time: I hate playing. I feel terrible at it. I never know what to say or what to do, but lately, my two year old demands it of me, “MOMMA! PLAY!” For the first five minutes of it, I fumble around and can only think in the back of my head what I could be getting done around the house while I sit there and awkwardly make Rex talk to Jesse about nothing in particular because (as I said) I suck at playing. However, if I let myself relax and just get silly with him, his laughter, his smile, his tiny way of saying, “Again?” to whatever antic I just performed, it all makes me fill with such deep seated joy. It’s good for my soul, and that makes me feel alive.

8. I am more patient.

IMG_4814From the two weeks of painful latching while learning to breastfeed to the two years (oh, yes, I said it) of NOT sleeping through the night, motherhood has given me all kinds of experiences that have made me more patient. Recently, it’s been my child’s constant stream of, “Mommy! Mommy! Mommy! Mommy! MOMMY! MOMMY! MOMMY! MOMMYMOMMYMOMMYMOMMYMOMMY!” that has been testing my resiliency. I’m sure it will be toddler tantrums next. Regardless, it has made me calmer and slower to act.

9. I am more empathetic and sympathetic.

IMG_3217 IMG_0271Maybe it’s all the Daniel Tiger, maybe it’s one of my best friend’s parenting techniques that has rubbed off on me, but I use feeling words a lot more now. I recognize how my child is feeling and give him the words to verbalize it. I validate his feelings. I don’t just look at a screaming toddler and think, “What is WRONG with that child?!” I think, “Poor kid. He must be tired. He must be having a hard time. How tough it must be to have so many feelings and no other way to express them?” I get down on my child’s level, give him a hug or look him in the eye, and tell him I know how he feels. The same thing works with adults.

Finally, the biggest one of all for me:

10. I respect and love my body the way it is, truly.


You know who cared that I was about to walk a 5K? Not my hungry baby who wanted to nurse.

I have had body image issues my entire life. Growing up with a slew of female adults who were constantly trying to change their bodies didn’t help. Learning how to eat my feelings didn’t help. Acne as bad as the kind you see in the before photos on tv infomercials didn’t help either. Nor did my lack of fashion sense, sense of self, and subsequent lack of self-esteem or self-worth. I loathed exercise (except dance) and loathed healthy foods. (Vegetables? Those can’t taste good!)


When I got pregnant, I had to reprogram my mindset, learn how to eat healthily, exercise regularly. Even though I ballooned like a whale, I loved my body. I was in awe of what it was doing. After giving birth, the respect I had for my body became unwavering. I had brought a human being into the world. I was nourishing that human being with my body, and only my body. How incredible is that? How could I hate my body after that? The stretch marks felt like badges of honor. I knew I was lucky to have had the experience I did. I began to exercise, take care of myself, not because I wanted to lose weight (for the first time in my life), but because I wanted to feel strong and capable and be better able to take care of my child, to have energy again! For the first time in my life, I’ve stuck with it. The number on the scale doesn’t matter to me anymore. I love my body the way it is, any way it is, because it’s capable and strong, and it’s mine.

14I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
    your works are wonderful,
    I know that full well.

(Psalm 139:14)

So, there you have it. I’m a mom now and forever. This blog will never be the same, but I hope it improves now, just as I have.

101 in 1001: Results

Okay, so I set out to accomplish 101 things in 1001 days quite a while ago…

I was inspired by this: 101 Things to Do in 1001 Days

and my deadline was: Tuesday, March 19, 2013.

I didn’t accomplish 23 items at all,

and I mostly accomplished 2,

but I completely accomplished 76 items in 1001!

I think that’s a pretty good success rate. It helped that a lot of my goals were travel and wedding related and that my honeymoon and wedding fell into that span of days, but of course I planned my list that way. :) I’m a little surprised that I was able to cross so many items off my list, and I’m a little surprised by some of the items that I didn’t end up crossing off my list in time. It was definitely a motivator to do more and to remember to do specific things while on vacation, and I think I’ll take some time next week to set up my next 101 in 1001 list, this time centered around the first 1001 days of my child’s life. :)

Without further adieu:

My  101  76  in  1001

1. Watch my sister perform in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York It was so cool! 11.24.11

2. Speak to the representatives of the government about something I’m passionate about Done! Attended meeting at town hall with representatives and Senator Walker and spoke out to them about the awful and detrimental education reforms our stupid superintendent is planning 1.8.10

3. Clean up the garage Finished 6.29.10

4. Own a Nook Merry Christmas from my Hubby! 12.25.10

5. Buy a digital SLR Yay! Canon 60D! 11.14.11

6. Take tons of photographs on my honeymoon Europe trip and prevent my camera from being stolen (it happened on my last overseas trip) Hooray! 8.7.10

7. Keep a diary/journal on the honeymoon Europe trip Hooray! 8.7.10

8. Watch the list of movies on the green post-it note in the living room So far we’ve checked off Charlie Bartlett, The Counterfeiters, The Namesake, and Fools Gold…

9. Catch up on my collage/quotes book 7.05.12

10. Catch a fish

11. Revisit the Two Heart River in the U.P.

12.Plant and grow flowers Done! Gladiolis in the front yard are in bloom! 8.1.11

13. Create a family tree

14. Read something by Tolstoy  10.31.11-11.1.11 “How Much Land Does a Man Need?”- read and taught :)
15. Try Indian food
16.Teach Feeny to come when called 2.19.11 This one has been a work in progress, but yesterday at the park (with distractions all around like ducks and people) I got 20 feet away before stopping and calling him, and he came directly to me! Hooray!
17. Win a game of Apples to Apples Beat my cousin, her sister, her husband, and my sister 6.18.10

18. Help with the farming at my in-laws by helping with the pigs Done! Yuck! That was a very smelly and interesting experience. Plus, I helped twice! More so one time than the other… 12.30.10

19. Touch Juliet’s wall in Verona and leave a message Done! 7.30.10

20. Sing  “The Hills Are Alive with the Sound of Music” in Austria Done! 8.4.10




21. Drink beer in Germany Done! 8.5.10

22. Try spaghetti in Italy Done! 7. 26.10

23. See the leaning tower in Pisa Done! 7.28.10

24. Make a wish at the Trevi Fountain Done! 7.29.10

25. Take a picture with the star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame that is in the picture of my dad and I when I’m about 1 yr old 6.29.12

26. See a band perform who I’ve never seen before Radiohead 6.5.2012!!!

27. Cry over something wonderful Hearing my baby’s heartbeat for the first time and sharing the news with my family. 10.19.12

28. Meet a new friend Yay for new work buddies! 10.30.10

29. Revisit the museums, aquarium, and Navy Pier in Chicago with my husband.  4.7.12

30. Eat at Kitsch’n in Chicago again- but be alive this time to enjoy it  4.7.12

31. Eat NY pizza in New York Blarney Stone- pizza and Magners 11. 25.11

32. Have my husband dip and kiss me in Times Square like in that awesome D-day picture He’s such a trooper :) I love him. 11.26.11

33. Clean out my leftover boxes from my parents’ basement 7.15.12 They’re cleaned out, but there’s still remaining in storage there…

34. Watch a meteor shower with my husband Perseids! 8.?.12

35. Write my siblings letters of love and gratitude

36. Write my parents letters of love and gratitude Made a book for my daddy for Christmas instead of writing it in a letter. :) 12.25.10 Made a book for my mommy 12.25.12

37. Help with the farming one year at my father in law’s by driving the tractor

38. Volunteer at a soup kitchen/food pantry Volunteered for Smorgasbord at our church 4.29.11

39. Sign up for the donor list Changed my notifications on my drivers license when I renewed it and signed up for the bone marrow donor list at Be the Match 1.9.11

40. Donate blood (if they’ll let me this time) I almost fainted! Done! 11.30.11

41. Take a daily multivitamin at least 5 days of the week 1.6.10 started taking prenatal vitamin gummies-yum! Hello, Folic Acid!

42. Floss at least twice a week Hooray for hygiene!

43. Plant bulbs  Yay! Gladiolas! “Gladiolis!” 5.19.11 and 6.2.11

44. Ice skate with my husband Rockafeller Center! Woot woot! NYC! Husbands first time skating ever! 11.24.11

45. Write my husband a letter telling him all of the things I love about him  I made the note into a cootie catcher too! 5.11.12

46. Go sledding with my husband

47. Organize a family event

48. Re-learn how to drive a stick shift

49. Learn how to make queso blanco Done! Total fail, need to try again…

50. Learn how to make guacamole

51. Learn how to make chimichangas

52. Make homemade playdough and play with it with my nephew  Done! What a little giggle monster he was! 9.24.11

53. Make another gingerbread house

54. Make my husband an “I Heart Hippos” shirt Ordered from cafepress.com 6.29.10

55. Get a very small tattoo of the mitten Done! OUCH! (Not really, but I was a big baby about it.)  12.22.10

Thanks John for the excellent and swift work!

I <3 Michigan! That little red dot is a heart on Detroit.

56. Feel really truly beautiful in nothing at all Pregnancy made me appreciate and love my body in a way I never anticipated. 3.19.13

57. Relearn how to play euchre Done! Thanks Barb! 11.24.10

58. Send at least one piece of mail to someone I love at least once a month Success! Thank you Hallmark Rewards and the many friends I’m blessed with; the rewards program combined with the many birthdays I have to celebrate have kept me consistently meeting this goal!

59. Finish the scarf I started knitting in 12th grade Started working on it again at Thanksgiving… 11.24.10

60. Get large prints of honeymoon pictures and replace the Halsey pictures in the nice frames

61. Drink less pop. Hubby and I vowed to only drink pop outside of the house (which is essentially only when we are out to eat/on vacation). Yay! 1.1.11

62. Spring clean in a ridiculously meticulous fashion Started by weeding and preening the garden and cleaning out the fridge, freezer, and pantry…5.31.11 Done! 6.5.11

63. Build a large sandcastle

64. Take my nephews to the Indianapolis Zoo (I’ve never been there either!)

65. Ride in a gondola Done! Honeymoon 7.30.10

66. Throw a fancy dinner party

67. Teach my sister to ski 2.10.11 Success! She’s better at it than me! We both made it down Buck at Crystal Mountain Resort without dying!

68. Surprise my fiance with a very big gift Wedding present to him 8.23.10

69. Try sushi Tried a piece at China 8 Buffet- not so fond of it… 5.23.11

70. Stain and finish my rocking chair Finished but still in the garage 6.027.10

71. Stain and finish my grandmother’s vanity Finished and moved into the house 6.27.10

72. Buy a house Theodore! 7.12.12

73. Refinish the record cabinet my mother made

74. Get pregnant 7.?.12

75. Do something others would call “crazy” with my husband White water rafting? Eating rattlesnake? 6.17-18.12

76. Road trip with my little sister

77. Dance (ballroom style) with my husband in front of a crowd (of at least 100) without falling Done! 7.24.10

78. Marry my fiance Done! 7.24.10

79. Own and train a Greater Swiss Mountain Dog Owning, working on the training part…9.25.10 Trained! He can sit, shake, lay down, wait for his food, and walk on a leash! Good boy, Feeny! 12.01.10

80. Grow another pumpkin over 100 lbs

81. Successfully grow a good sized watermelon

82. Pay my respects at Ground Zero in New York 11.25.11 I’d like to go back to see the memorial when it is finished.

83. Finish one Sudoku puzzle by myself Finished in 30 minutes 55 seconds on 12.25.10 on my new Nook

84. Try a new sport/adventurous activity White water rafting! 6.17.12

85. Write a letter to the editor

86. Finish the embroidered jean quilt I started making in college

87. Write Ms. G a thank you letter for inspiring me to teach 12.3.10 Her response: “What a wonderful Christmastime present to get in touch with me.  Thank you for your kind comments.  Those mean so much as you will learn during your career.  That’s fantastic that you became a teacher.  Where are you teaching English? Please feel free to write back and fill me in on what you’ve been doing. Ms. G”

88. Obtain another full time teaching job Yay for employment! 7.1.10

89. Spend an entire afternoon in bed with my husband I’m particularly proud of  myself for not planning this one and just letting it happen. :) It was the best day in a long while! 2.20.11

90. Have silly wedding pictures taken Done! 7.24.10

91. Get a pedicure and manicure before the one for the wedding Done and it felt marvelous 6.29.10

92. Plant the flowers in the front yard Planted lilies 6.23.10

93. Fix the giant bare spots in the yard We’ve tried everything. 7.15.10 Update: Grass has grown! IT’S A MIRACLE! 10.8.11

94. Get rid of the crickets in the bathroom I’ve done as much as possible 7.15.10 None have been sighted since December of 2010. Success!

95. Construct a boarder for the garden in the backyard Finished 6.24.10

96. Finish writing the first batch of thank-you notes before the next wedding shower Finished 6.24.10

97. Finish writing all possible thank-you notes before the wedding Done! 7.20.10

98. Decide on flowers for the wedding Dahlias, spray roses, Stargazer lilies, stock, orchids, and stephanotis 6.27.10

99. Add at least one more personal touch to the wedding plans Mom’s Mother Mary Charm onto bouquet, even though I forgot to actually hook it on; it was in my purse! 7.14.10

100. Find something old for the wedding day Mom’s diamond studs 6.27.10

101. Find something borrowed for the wedding day Mom’s diamond studs 6.27.10

Back Again

I spent most of the summer away from home or working at my summer job or packing or moving homes or unpacking. I’ve barely stayed still for longer than the hours in which I sleep. Suddenly, school is starting tomorrow, and I feel like I never had a chance to re-energize for the school year.

I spent several hours in my classroom today getting things ready for the year. I worked swiftly, purposefully, productively. Freshmen orientation was going on, so a few of my honors kids stopped in shyly to see the room and giggle when they saw I was there. I love interacting with the kids, getting to know them, helping them to learn and grow into purposeful and educated human beings. Then I sat there for a minute in my chair, looked out into the empty classroom, and remembered how it feels to sit there after school in the empty room with nothing but piles of papers to be graded. I let the anxiety and stress wash over me, pull me under for a second, then recede with the consciousness of my responsibility as a community member, as a wife, as a human being. This is my job. It is work. It’s not supposed to always be fun or exciting. There’s a reason I am paid for this.

I’ve done a fine job of getting things done all summer long. I will not let procrastination get in the way of my life this year. I will grade every day there is grading during the week. I will reserve my weekends for myself and my husband. I will not allow myself to screw myself over when it comes to time. After all, it goes by so quickly.

Pretty Things

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Gotta love Pinterest. This is my wedding bouquet encased in glass Christmas ornaments. I am going to see if I can dry a fresh orchid in one of the ornaments too, as you can see. I reconstructed the rose petals in one to look like a full rose. Hard work but beautiful results.


I sit, and I make lists, and I can’t stop thinking of everything that I should be doing instead of sitting here writing this, but I don’t care. I sit here. I stay stagnant. I look at the mess around me and realize just how representative it is of my life this past few weeks: the photo of my friend’s daughter sitting on my coffee table when it should really be hanging on the fridge, which needs cleaning on the inside and out, the bags of almonds and pretzels and a box of cookies left out from late night snacking from the couch where I never seem to be able to leave, the love note to my husband turned cootie-catcher nestled in what is supposed to be a dip dish or a candy dish that is never used for entertaining because we rarely have visitors, a folder full of houses we hoped would be our next move but continue to disappoint us in the awkwardness of the front living room or the limited space in the kitchen I so desperately want to have space in, a bag with gold ribbon and empty graduation cards waiting to be filled out and handed out at the numerous grad parties ascending on my schedule in the next two weeks, a straw cowgirl hat hanging from  the corner of a letter stand that I bought to wear on our trip out west, winter coats hanging off the back of the front door because I just haven’t put them away yet, the dryer ball perched on the shelf, which Feeny found last week when he felt like acting like a cat for a few hours by batting the ball across the living room floor that is coated in his fur yet again, birthday cards from our birthdays at the end of April and the beginning of May lined along the mantle of the fireplace that we haven’t used once in the two years we’ve lived in this teeny, tiny house, clothes hanging on the drying rack in the kitchen because apparently I like to show off my underwear to the neighbors for weeks at a time, grabbing clothes off the rack when I need them instead of stowing them in the closet and drawers I spent so much time organizing a few weeks ago, shoes from the last day of school, shoes from when I exercised with Feeny and Whitney, shoes from work, shoes from hiking, and flip flops from this weekend strewn around the record cabinet that I swore I’d refinish last year because it’s been so long since it has been used, and if only it looked nicer, maybe I’d find a place to display it better and maybe I’d play all those records I bought because I just had to get them before they were gone.

This is my life. Love, words, plans, stuff, food, things being left everywhere because I’ve been too busy seeing, doing, loving, eating, pretending that when I got off work for the summer I’d be motivated to get things (myself) organized, cleaned, in their place. We leave in two weeks for a 15 day trip out west. I have a feeling I’m going to come home to a house that looks similar to this one, with the exception of different stuff strewn about it. I tell myself that when we move, when we have more space, I’ll keep it clean. I’ll be a better housewife. The dishes will stay done when we have a dishwasher. The clothes will be put away when I have a laundry line outside. The snacks will stay in the kitchen when we have a big enough kitchen to eat in. The papers will stay organized when we have an office. I’ll be healthier when I have more space to live, move, breathe.

We all know I’m lying. I know it’ll take time for me to rest enough to feel motivated again, to regain my composure, my sanity, my sense of self, my self-assurance that despite not being constantly tied to my job and my students that I still have value and worth and a purpose outside of my classroom..that I can still be superwoman without my grown-up job being front and center.

Eventually, I’ll find a rhythm. Eventually, I’ll find myself again. Until then, I’ll continue to live in the chaos of my house and my mind, snuggled in close to my husband who loves me despite the mess around him and next to him because he too knows that it takes me a little while to unwind from the storm that the end of the school year brings.


The nice thing about teaching seniors is that at the end of the year, they tend to be more appreciative of their teachers and are sad to say goodbye because 1. their high school journey is over, and 2. they’re terrified of college. Another nice thing about teaching seniors is that the ones who drive me crazy are leaving and will most likely never return. I’ll probably tear up for both reasons at graduation. They’ve outgrown me, and I’ve outgrown them.


We’ve been house hunting. It’s a lot of fun, and at the same time, it’s frustrating and obnoxious how much people think their house is worth when it’s clearly not. Hopefully, we’ll find something we love soon. I feel like we’ve outgrown the house we’re in. It’s time to move on.

Things I Will Do Next Year To Be A Better Teacher

It’s almost the end of the school year. I have so much I want to do better next year. I have so much I want to change.

1. Review and change all assessments to better reflect a wider range of types and depths of questions. If this means adding short answer types/essays, then so be it.

2. Incorporate more difficult writing into the freshmen curriculum for semester 2 and your own version of “You Must Read This” by altering the choice reading project to include a persuasive analysis.

3. Begin doing grammar/punctuation work at the very beginning of the year with the freshmen. Work it into the schedule. Start the SAT Q of the day at the beginning of the year too. Give them a routine they can rely on so that the incessant chatter ceases when the bell rings.

4. Be less big sister and more strict, scary teacher with the seniors right off the bat, especially because these kids have already had you as a teacher. Lay down the law and don’t try to comfort them that this year will all be okay and that you’ll hold their hands through the work. DON’T hold their hands. DON’T give so many examples. Let them figure it out on their own. Let them grow. Let them be independent. If necessary, let them fail. This is not the year for hand-holding like in previous years.

5. Provide an assignment calendar for the freshmen too, not just the seniors. It’ll keep them accountable for assignments in a way they previously haven’t been responsible for.

6. Change the syllabus to be more straightforward and concise. No one reads a five page document. NO ONE.

7. Add more activities/analysis to the 1984 unit and move the unit to where we do not have block scheduling going on! Move the Literacy Portfolio unit to April and give them more time in class with computers.

8. Take down the individual calendars in the room and put up the big senior calendar. Mark all senior project dates on the calendar.

9. Write the standards being addressed for the unit on the whiteboard by the filing cabinet. Refer to it in class when starting a new unit.

10. Fix desk area so that you are facing the kids and the door not the back corner. Buy cable extension ports if necessary.

11. Move center table out or to the right by the door to give yourself more space on the board.

12. Move WOW words area to the cabinets- challenge them to fill all cabinet space by the end of the year. Use 10-20 of the words each semester on the final exam.

13. Find/purchase filing system to provide extras of forms.

14. Reorganize large filing cabinet to reflect current classes not previous.

15. Backup all files onto home laptop!


Today, I contemplated quitting more seriously than I ever have before. I’m so overwhelmed. I keep messing up. I keep approaching things the wrong way. I try to hold my head up, and then I get smashed into the ground again. I put more hours in this year than I ever have before. I put more effort and attention to detail in my grading than ever before, and I’m still failing in my eyes. The next month and a half could not go by any faster.


When I prayed for clarity on whether or not I should continue in this field of work, was I asking God to show me all of the reasons why I shouldn’t? If so, is this a test for me to determine if its worth this? Is it all worth this kind of anguish and frustration and sadness?


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