Summer Enrichment

children, faith, graduation, growth, teenagers, truth, waiting

Here in upstate NY the days are either extremely hot and muggy or cool and rainy. I sit here with a pile of undone chores and an exhaustion level ( Over 9000) in my bones after finishing a grueling 4 week, 10 hour a day summer enrichment program where I had the opportunity to teach and create memories with rising 5th graders.

The goals – stop the summer slide, feed bodies, and create fun opportunities in a safe environment.

Accomplishments – traveled the world, wrote poetry, created carnival games, put on a show, made new friends – oh yeah we read 9 books, did math problems, experimented with scientific hypotheses, learned foreign languages, invented, painted, sculpted, created – and we laughed. We laughed a lot.

We Sang. We danced. Every day!

Then there was the day we ran out of hot dogs for dinner. Yup. I was, to use a nice phrase – agitated.

But we had beans. Lots of beans. So growing up in an oftentimes impoverished household with depression era parents, I thought well there are buns and beans, let’s have bean sandwiches. We have bananas. We have cookies.

Thinly veiling my disappointment of not having what was on the menu, I danced into the room singing “We have beans on buns with bananas. Beans on buns with bananas.” Picture a hot, sweaty, miffed 6′ 2″ woman singing a silly song at the top of her lungs. I still don’t know how I mustered (haha) the wherewithal to think of that.

My sweet little girl M, so shy and loving comes up and says, ” What a wonderful feast will we have together – it’s like we are a family.”

Yup summer enrichment.

 

 

 

 

 

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Teaching, Learning, Life

children, faith, growth, learning, love, motherhood, teaching, teenagers, truth

As the semester comes to a close and along with it, my first full school year back in the classroom; I’m still as excited to be doing this today as I was in September.

I’ve had bumps along the way, tears were shed, self-doubt crept in, mistakes were made (again and again), but the awesome questions that keep coming, the laughter at my corny jokes, and the smiling (and sometimes fearful) faces of those that sit before me thirsting for knowledge inspire me even on my darkest days.

My own children ask me, “Mom, why do you read so much?”

Answers:

1) I enjoy reading.

2) I enjoy learning.

3) I would be a charlatan if I stood up in front of my students every day and expected them to take risks and learn if I wasn’t willing to do the same.

Our library is being cleaned out for renovations and an entire set of history books were up for the taking. I now have 6 boxes of books in the back of the land yacht (Psst don’t tell Papasaurus yet!) and as I excitedly looked through the them, I let out a squeal of delight about books on obscure Civil War battles that made the librarian chuckle. He said, “You are proof that one man’s trash is another’s treasure. I’m glad someone will put them to good use.”

Albert Eistein is credited with a quote, “Once we stop learning, we start dying.”

I have a long life ahead…

 

 

 

 

Tidings of Comfort and Joy

Catholic, faith, family, motherhood, teaching, teenagers, truth

As I sit here, in my warm home with snow gently falling outside, a eerie sense of calm surrounds me.

Yet, I have no tree, I am not even close to being done with my shopping and I have two more days of work this week.

Then a dear old warrior friend posted this: 18 Strings of Trouble – “Happy Xmas (War Is Over)” and I hearken back to the days when I felt like my life was a war zone. Fear, uncertainty and pain, was all I knew.

Reminded of that yesterday with a student in crisis (The similarities to my own personal situation at that age were astounding!), I now realize why I have been placed where I am.

The beauty and wisdom of knowing and recognizing it brings me great comfort and joy.

So enjoy the snow, take you time, crank up the music and ENJOY. Take care of you!

HAPPY CHRISTMAS!

via Daily Prompt: Calm

In Sickness and In Health

children, disability, learning, love, motherhood, teaching, teenagers, truth

No, I’m not talking about my wedding vows, I am talking about writing and creating the perfect lessons for my substitute teacher to continue the learning process with my vast array of students when I am not there.

The health and well-being of my students is always on my mind. Why is X suspended again? Why is L not going to class on time this week after I finally talked with him and thought he was on track? Why is C such a wizard and what can I do to challenge him so he is not bored? Is M still worried about her grades so much she doesn’t sleep at night?

See I believe that teaching is my calling. I have told my students that I take the whole “In Loco Parentis” part seriously. I am their parents while they are in school, but I’m not really am I?

I can’t ground them for being a jerk and skipping class, buy them ice cream on a day they are sad or give them a hug when their spirits are weary can I?

I try when I am there to be a shoulder to cry on, a sounding board for their concerns and a listening ear, even when they are screaming. I teach business, but in my job as CEO of my classes, I blur the lines between management and employees.

All I can do is make sure my substitute understands that they are MY kids and provide lessons to help to carry on my instruction.

In sickness and in health…

Simple Gifts

children, faith, family, love, momoffive, motherhood, truth

If you ever sang in a choir in NYS (and Western Massachusetts) you’ll immediately have the song in your head. Simple Gifts

Yesterday, my life was filled with many simple gifts.

One in particular touched my heart and those in my family.

My son’s shoes “disappeared” yesterday morning. A frantic search was undertaken. I, in desperation, reached out to a friend, with a call. “Is there any way he could have left them at your house?!” with a voice cracking from my tears of being overwhelmed.

My son had told me he had looked in my car, looked in his room, looked everywhere, but could not find them. “I’m so sorry Mommy for losing my sneakers.” tears starting to drip out. Hugging him then, I said, “It’s OK, now let’s try and find yours.”

So rooting though the garage and house, (Now  he is already late for school and had missed the bus!) I had found an old pair of his brother’s, not too badly worn, so that he could get to school, but then floodgates of his tears opened.

Complaints of taunting and bullying, frustration and tears. Lots of tears. Lots of tears.

Gone were the worries about the sneakers and onto what was really the problem, the problem that only the lost shoes could bring to light.

Meetings, solutions and more tears  the major issue solved by 10:30 am. Solutions, advocacy, his gaining a sense of empowerment.

Me, now exhausted and trying to save strength for a long trip later on to a wake out of town, I sat down to rest.

I thought and prayed, “Dear God,  it has to be simpler than this? Why can’t we just enjoy one another, love one another, be kind to one another? Why does everything have to be a fight? Why is having new shoes so important? What is so wrong with the worn ones?”

I wanted a more simplified life. I wanted less stress. Less yelling. Less craziness.

Later on, driving with my friend, Miss Daisy, to the wake out of town,  we laughed and laughed on our long car ride and then we passed an Amish horse and buggy filled with women! They looked at us and we looked at them. Miss Daisy said, “You know they’re not all that much different than us… but they are.”

Didn’t think much of it until I got home, weary after a 7 hour round trip.

A box, with a short note:

“There is a gift receipt in the box if you need a different size or want to switch to high tops. Thank you for being a great friend.”

A simple gift.

Oh yeah, before I left, I had found his sneakers in the back of my car.

Simple gifts