Monday, August 3, 2015

It's almost time...

It's nearly back to school time for all of you with school aged children and grandchildren.  I know some of you are giddy and some are sad - just like your kids.  I'm giddy.  I absolutely love this time of year.  But, it is hectic.  There are nearly a million teachers in America, and all of us are about to begin a crazy-making, harried three weeks.  In honor of back-to-school time, I thought I'd have a Back to School week here on Come Sit By My Fire.  I hope you enjoy.

My class last year, and this.  I'm going to to third grade with them. 

A Few Answers From a Recent-ish Teacher Interview
How long and what have you taught?
I've taught seven years in fourth grade, six in second, and am about to begin my second year of third grade.  

What drew you to a teaching career?
I had a decade in another career first.  I told people who questioned the pay cut, “I made money.  Now I want to make a difference.”  That’s really why.  I want to impact lives and make our world better, one child at a time.  Think about it.  Every President of the United States once had a second grade teacher.  That could be me.  Just think what flames my passions might ignite! I can't think of a better way to spend a life. 

What did you expect teaching to be like?
I don’t know that I had particular expectations as I was already 31 when I began.  I was old enough to know I can't see around corners.  But I certainly didn’t expect how very hard and all-consuming teaching is. 

Was it different from what you expected?  In what ways?
This job is hard, hard, hard!  The finish line constantly changes and you are continually asked to do and be and accomplish more.  You are judged on the performance of students who may have come to you completely unprepared or may have things going on in their brains, or bodies, or at home that we can barely imagine.  If you don’t utterly love teaching, forget it.  Teaching is the hardest, most rewarding thing you will ever do, aside from raising your own children.  You can’t beat it, if you have a heart for it.  But, you should never, ever count on it being easy.  And, “summers off”?  Yeah right.

Did you feel as if you were "prepared" for your first year of teaching?
Not really . I don’t actually think you can be.  Like most things, you just have to learn by doing.  A good student teaching experience can begin to prepare you, but there is still something about being the one ultimately responsible – it makes a difference.

How much energy do you expend in teaching?
An average week is about 55-60 hours of work.  The actual work day requires a lot of energy, too.  But, for me, the kids are energy givers, so I don’t find that difficult at all.  I just love what I do.  

Was there ever a time you almost left the teaching profession?
No.  This is my God-given skill and passion. Teaching is my calling.  It’s who I am.  If I had a fortune, I would still teach.  The only real difference in my life would be the hiring of a housekeeper.  There have, however, been a few times when I took a mental health day.  And, believe me, I really, really needed it.  

What do you think is the single most important factor in creating a positive learning environment?
Passion, compassion, love, knowledge, hard, hard work…

OK.  That’s not one.  Hmmm…. Love.  If you love your students – really unselfishly love them – it radiates from you and warms all you do.  And they learn.  They learn to love you back, to love their peers, how to treat each other, how to act with compassion, how to work hard, how to be responsible.  But, love comes first.  It all springs from love.  

Happy back to school everyone.  Are you ready?

Sunday, August 2, 2015

August Break, day 2

August Break 2/31: air

Balloons are one of the happiest things on the planet.  Since they are filled with air - it counts.

Happy Sunday, friends.

Saturday, August 1, 2015

It's August, can you believe it?

Today begins Susannah Conway's August Break photo party.  I love participating, so I'll be around more often this month.  I hope you'll stop by. Happy August.

August Break 1/31: breakfast

Friday, July 31, 2015

Friday Faves

June Beauty

* Great Read: Six Ways to Keep the "Little" in Your Girl by Dannah Gresh (This is a must read for every parent of girls.  She has a similar book for parents of boys.)

* Things (& people) I Love: back-to-school hair cuts, Joshua Becker: author and inspiration,  school supply shopping, Linsey Pollak: musician, this version of Persuasion, zinnias, Morgan: my friend who always has time to help, the taste of a lemon ice during a hot Missouri summer, the way Sloane can eat pizza for every meal, gentle kisses and holding hands, my Erin Condren planner, WalMart gas - so much cheaper, mini-vacations and time in the pool, learning my new camera...

* Make Something: spruce up those ugly folding chairs

* Learn Something: How to Take a Great Picture by Carolina Molinari

* To Make You Laugh and Maybe Cry: Story Slam winner, Micaela Blei

* Image of the Week: From Parachuting Series, 1931 by Willi Ruge

* Anticipating: I head back to school on Wednesday and the kids start a week after that. ;^)

* A Song: "Mended Souls" by Casey Hurt

* Blogspiration: Besotted

* Quote of the Week: "Success is walking from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm." ~ Winston Churchill

* In Case You Missed It: How to Have an Awesome Vacation

Friday, July 17, 2015

Friday Faves

 some of my favorite summer things: clear light, porches, and hydrangeas

* Quote of the Week: "What are you doing for you today?~ Jessica Turner, author of The Fringe Hours

* Book of the Week: Shopping for Time: How to do it All and Not be Overwhelmed by Carolyn Mahany

* Blogspiration: Yes and Yes!

* Song of the Week: Summer Wine by the Coors

* Images of the Week: Windows and Doors series, by S@ssy L@ssy

* To Make You Grin: Hilarious Southwest Flight Attendant

* In Case You Missed It: Hide 'n Watch

* Truth: The Gift of Presence by Evelyn Rennich of Smallish 

* Watching: Agent Carter, season one

* Some Things I Love: July, home projects, Flickr, GoodReads, postcards from friends on vacation, girl days with Sloane, cleaning out all the closets, drawers, and cupboards, spray paint, hammock time, photo shoots, selling CDs and DVDs we don't want any more, used book stores, zinnias, hydrangeas, front porch swings...

This is my 1,111th post.  Kind of cool, hunh? Happy weekend, friends.

Friday, July 3, 2015

Friday Faves

a favorite tree

* Word Nerdiness:  A to X Writing Advice

* Great Read: Bud, Not Buddy by Christopher Paul Curtis
* Things I Love: a trip to IKEA in Kansas City, Cardinals baseball on the Fourth, family picnics, reorganizing the drawers and closets every summer, one month off with Jeffrey and Sloane, the gallery wall I made in the laundry room, blue Ball Mason jars, blank journals, deviled eggs, making photo books on Shutterfly, not wearing a watch all summer long

* To Make You Laugh: click on The Hunt
* Images of the Week:  from artist, Gediminas Pranckevicius

* A Song: "Mony Mony" by Billy Idol

* Quote of the Week: "If it scares you, it might be a good thing to try." ~ Seth Godin
* Interior Inspiration: TV and Movie Homes

* In Case You Missed It: The Simple Things

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Chevron Flowers

 Just a cell phone snap on a recent walk.  The orange part is a chevron shape all the way around.  
I wonder what kind they are? 

A single photo capturing a simple moment.  
A reminder to slow down our always busy lives and to savor this moment. 

Happy July, friends. 

Oldies, but Goodies