Month: December 2017

5 Steps to Creating a Vision for the New Year

3…2…1…Happy New Year! For some people this may be a fearful, uncertain time, but for most people this time of year symbolizes hope and a fresh start. People look forward to what the new year will bring and start making plans for all that they will accomplish which is usually done by making resolutions. We all know how this goes. January 1 rolls around and everyone is getting fit, saving money, eating less, kicking bad habits, starting good ones, blah, blah, blah. By February 1 most of these resolutions have been forgotten and old habits have kicked back in. Now I’m not being judgmental or facetioius because I, too, have been guilty of making lofty goals year after year, only to declare that the next year will be different, that I will reach all of my goals, and nothing’s going to get in my way. I am eager, enthusiastic, fearless, and hopeful. I can do anything!

We all know how this ends.

I’m not saying that it’s a bad idea to make goals or resolutions for the new year; actually, I think it’s a brilliant idea. But just like the luster of any new thing can wear off after a while, so does the appeal of your goals once you have to put the work in to maintaining them. Just think of the excitement you felt when you got your first job and all you had to do was use your paycheck on whatever you wanted to buy at the mall or some junk food you could grab on the way home from school. Do you still feel the same way about your job now? Probably not.

What I’ve discovered this past year is that in order to stick with your resolutions you need to have a bit of a mind shift with how you approach the entire task. This year (2017) has been the best for me with sticking to and achieving the goals that I set out for myself, and I plan to duplicate this for the new year. I thought I’d share with you what worked for me in hopes that it can inspire you to make and achieve your own goals. Here are the steps that I took. (more…)

Education in America is a Freaking Joke (poem)

Education in America is a freaking joke
I need you to sit down and take note
As a teacher I can explain to you firsthand
The foolishness on which I must expand
About the career I’ve chosen
About what’s got me groanin’
Questioning the choices I’ve made
That’s brought me to this day
Where I have to explain
The craziness in which I am daily forced to partake

And I say again,
education in America is a freaking joke
I don’t mean to rain on or take away your hope
I just wanted to give you some insight
To explain to you this plight
About a system that no longer works
About a system plagued with anger, frustration, and hurt

In order to so-called “compete” with other nations
We’ve sacrificed the very essence of education
Because it’s all a sick, twisted game
Where teachers are always the ones left to blame
Teachers are rated on test scores
So now their lesson content has become a bore
Testing is seen as the only way to understand
The brilliance inside of a boy or girl’s head
The kids don’t respond because they know it’s no longer about them
The system’s not set up for them to win                                                                                                                                                     It serves to just further divide
A nation that seems set to commit suicide
No child left behind
Has left most of them struggling to find
A place where they belong, to fit in
A place where they, too, can feel like they can win

And what about the parents
Why isn’t this problem apparent
That their lack of participation
Only adds to the devastation
Why do they get to sit back with fingers pointed
And not realize how much they contribute to this disjointed
And broken system that makes no sense
How long will this insanity persist?

Come on America
When will we get it right?
When we will we stand up and fight?
We need to make the classroom a place
Where children have the chance to be great
To see what makes them special and unique
Without constant fear of a harsh and judgmental critique
Let’s teach them the lessons and values that they really need
Now just how to pick between answer choices A ,B ,C, and D
Help them to discover the talents they possess
Show them how to turn that into success
Help them to compete with themselves
Not just constantly compare them to someone else
Give the teachers creative freedom
And trust that they have enough wisdom
To guide their students to the next level
Without the stupid tools you use to measure
How “effective” they are when do what they do
And by the way,
Why don’t you let them do what you hired them to do? (more…)

Defining Moments

This past Friday I had the honor and the pleasure of attending an induction ceremony and tea for a girls organization that I had the privilege to help start as well as advise when I was a teacher at my previous school. The organization, P.I.N.K. (Positive Influence Nurtures Knowledge), was originally created by a wise and beautiful woman at a local elementary school, and one of her old members begged my friend to start a chapter at our middle school a few years ago. I heard about the idea and jumped right on board, and the rest is history. Being an adviser for P.I.N.K. was one of the most rewarding things that I have done in my adult life (kind of like parenting but to 30-40 young ladies at one time).

This year we were inducting 20 new members, and I was so excited to be on the other side of the table, not the one putting everything together, but as a speaker on a panel coming to encourage and impart wisdom to the new and old members.  I didn’t plan a speech or anything of that sort because I knew that once the conversations at these events start, they just keep rolling seamlessly.

We had gotten to our Q&A session of the tea when one of the young ladies, after hearing stories of the challenges and hard times that we had all overcome, asked a very thought provoking question. She asked  “In order to grow in life will there have to be more bad times than good?”  Apparently in conveying our stories, we had given her the impression that in order to it make to where we were as guest panelists and successful women, that life would have to be more hard than easy, more bad than good. Two other presenters spoke up before I could, and because we were running short on time, I didn’t have the chance to respond. But here is what I wanted her to know. Maybe she’ll get the chance to read this some day.

No, there will not be more hard times than easy and more bad than good. It’s really all about your perspective of and approach to life each and every day. When I look back over my life, I can definitely point out more happy than sad days, more laughter and smiles than tears, more peaceful moments than those spent in pain.

The bad days or hard times cannot be avoided and yes, they do help us to grow. It’s all in our responses to these moments that can make all the difference in our lives. 

We can grow from “good” moments as well. For example, if something that you’ve tried to do turns out positively, you’ll repeat the process to continue to get good results. You will learn through that process. You will grow.

However, the moments that seem to have the biggest impacts are those hard times or what I will call the defining moments of our lives. I believe that the reason most of us point these moments out when giving wisdom to others, the reason why they stick out in our minds the most, is because they are the moments that change us the most, the moments that truly make us who God created us to be.

These defining moments stick out because we are usually in a make or break situation where the decision we make or the lesson we learn will have a lasting impact on our lives. 

They can be the beginning of a chapter of our lives that will lead us to success or even the ending to one that will take us away from negative things such as a toxic relationship.

The reason we are so eager to share these stories is because we don’t want you to be blindsided by them. If we came in and told you that life would be all unicorns and rainbows, you’d be mad at us when it didn’t turn out that way.

Defining moments often come as a surprise. They interrupt your normal life. They may even knock you off your feet. But I dare you to do this. I dare you to welcome these moments and use them for the learning experiences that they are meant to be. Let them be temporary interruptions and not how your story ends. That way you can add words such as courageous, strong, bold, wise, indomitable to your list of words you use to describe yourself.

We want you to be prepared and understand and remember that this too shall pass. That you will come out on the other side of this stronger than you’d ever thought you would be and that one day, you will be standing in front of a room of young ladies, or on the phone with one, or holding your own daughter’s hand as you tell your story of overcoming adversity, so that she will understand that the strong, beautiful, positive, successful woman that she knows wasn’t created overnight.

But she also wasn’t defeated by the storms of life. If anything, she always found a way to come out on top. That is our humble prayer for you and why we are here today. So that you may always come out on top.