How do we know?

As teachers, I feel we constantly second guess ourselves and grapple with the question–  how do we know?  How do we know our students are learning?  How do we know that our students see us, their teacher, as a person they can trust?  Someone they see as approachable?  Someone they see as a person that welcomes them into their classroom?  HOW DO WE KNOW?

Some days it drives me crazy, but I try to do my best.  I try to make things fun yet show the importance of what we are doing/learning.  I try to garner their creativity and let them know that their beliefs are important.

Yesterday, though, was like a day that I knew everything I was striving for was working…

After school a parent asked to talk to me outside.  So of course, I wondered why and stepped outside to talk with the parent.  She walked up with her oldest daughter, who I had in class four years ago…  and then her younger daughter, now in my eighth grade class met us outside.  They handed me a gift, which is truly one of the most meaningful gifts I’ve ever received.  A signed copy of The Book Thief.

Each of them wrote me a note on a card.  They were more like short letters, and it just made me feel like everything I have been working for is hopefully happening.

“I always feel comfortable with you in your class.  I usually don’t like to participate in my other classes, but I never feel like you are judging me.  It feels like I can freely give my opinions.  I appreciate that, and I believe that you worked to make all of your students feel that way.”

“…you have taught me given me confidence and creativity, and have given me warm memories that I carry with me and can fall back on when I need to.  You are kind, patient, and I know that I can trust you, even four years after having you as a teacher.”

“Thank you for introducing ____________ to The Book Thief.  That book changed her life because she loves it so much.  The book has also brought ____________________ & _____________________  closer because they have such a love and appreciation for it.”

It was one of those moments where you just want to cry and you just feel so appreciated and so loved.  I will cherish this book and what these girls wrote me for the rest of my life.  I will keep working hard to make all of my students feel this way.  I will keep introducing literature that I feel will benefit their lives.

This is why I do what I do.  bookthief

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Holding onto anger

I have this philosophy in my life that holding onto anger is a waste of time.

It is.  I’d much rather be spending my time being happy…  enjoying moments with my husband and daughter…  with family…  with friends…  with my students.

I don’t hold onto anger.  We have so much energy and time we get to spend in a day.  Why choose this finite time we have here being angry and holding onto that anger?  Why spend our time being with the people that cause this anger?

Now, I’m not saying that I have this perfected and I’m not saying that I never get upset or angry…  but I try not to let it reside in my mind.  Like I said, the anger and frustrations are not worth my time.

This is something I often find myself trying to tell my eighth grade students.  Does it always work?  No.  But if I can relay that message to just some of them, then I’ll feel like I’ve given them something important.

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I love to throw surprise parties.

My dad’s may have taken the cake.  We flew his mom in for a 60th surprise party.    He hadn’t seen her for a few years and she had not been up from Florida for about 20 years.  It was a great moment we were able to give him.

Two years later we were planning my mom’s party.  How could we have the same shock value that my dad’s party had?

In truth, we couldn’t.  My mom’s parents live 20 miles away from her.  She sees them numerous times a year.  The best we could hope for was a big bash with great family and friends.

Then, I started thinking…  MAYBE I could find her old friend.  And so I investigated.  I looked through my mom’s Facebook to find her last name.  Then, I stole my mom’s address book and I found her, invitation mailed.  When she responded that she would in fact be there, I was ecstatic.  This would be a small surprise compared to my dad’s, but a surprise none-the-less.

And she was surprised.  I can still hear her screaming–  “Lee, Lee, Lee, Lee!”  Of course, her party surprised her as well, but it was great that two people that had become friends in Kindergarten were able to catch up for a few hours.

I love surprises…  I hope I get to plan another one soon.


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I could write about…

I could write about March Madness and how bad and or good I am doing in the bracket challenge (depending on how you look at things).

I could write about the bedtime battle, and how I kind of feel like I won tonight.  A great update since my most recent bedtime battle post.

I could write about Easter and how excited I am to get Noelle all dressed up in her cute little dress that I bought for her.  Girls are way too much fun to shop for!

I could write about the Easter Egg Hunt we went to over the weekend.  Noelle did not really, fully understand this at all.  Oh well!  There’s always next year.

I could write about the vacations I’ve been planning.  Hopefully we take them.  We took zero trips last year.

I could write about the things that I do when both my daughter and husband are asleep.  Like right now.

I could write about the upcoming baseball season and how excited and nervous I am to see what happens with the Cubbies.

I’m not going to though, because right now…  MY HUSBAND AND DAUGHTER ARE ASLEEP!!!!  Do you know what this means?

I have a house to myself…  and I am going to enjoy some much needed ME time.

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Are extremely calculated now.

They used to be my relaxing time, and sometimes I have minutes of relaxing.

5:15 wake up

Shower, do my hair, eat breakfast, drink coffee…

6:00 must be getting dressed

6:10 grabbing all of our bags, packing the car


6:20 Wake up the girl, get her dressed

6:25 Grab my charging phone, my purse and head out.

We are on the road.  Drop off at daycare by 6:55, get to work around 7:05.

I like to be there early, when the building is mostly empty, and I can mostly focus.

Working, grading, copying, organizing, feeling ready for my day.

The early bird catches the worm.


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has become battle time.

A battle of baby falling asleep on her own, without the help of mom.

Last night, it was a two hour battle.  I guess I prevailed.

After my battle I am exhausted.

Lunch doesn’t get made, dishes don’t get cleaned.

Things are not packed for the next day, the diaper bag has not been gone through.

There’s laundry that needs to be folded.

There’s me time that needs to be had.

But this mom is exhausted from my two hour battle.

So, I quickly follow her to bed.

Snuggled under covers, sleep comes quickly.

Those other things can wait…  I guess that’s what the weekend is for.IMG_0638



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It was a gray morning, that turned into a gray afternoon, that turned into a gray evening.

Winter’s unofficial color is gray.

By the time March rolls around, we are all tired of the gray.  I feel stuck in a movie by March.  One of those movies that’s supposed to be sad and depressing so the director intentionally makes all things gloomy and gray.

I drove home on this gloomy evening, looking for a hint of blue in the sky that wasn’t to be found.  I turned down streets, gray and black asphalt.  The brown in the fields of grass, the landscape beds just waiting for flowers to bloom and give them their color.

The birds are here, when will color return to our lives?

Down the winding streets of my subdivision, I make my way closer to home after a long day.  In a mound of brown mulch, I see it.  PURPLE.  There is a little color on my gray day.  A sure sign that we will soon see the beautiful colors of spring all around us.

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