Friday, September 22, 2017

Just like that

On the mission I would always tell myself I could do anything for 6 weeks. Transfers are 6 weeks long and I think they do that to save our sanity. Even when I didn't get transferred and was stuck in the same area with the same companion, there was that speck of hope, and knowledge that I could do anything for 6 weeks. There might be another 6 weeks of the same thing right after, but that didn't matter. Although I don't have transfers now, I am using that 6 week mark to keep myself sane. I can make it 6 weeks. Anything for 6 weeks. I just made it through my first "transfer" as a first year teacher. 6 weeks in and everyone is still alive! Just like the mission, there are a few people I wish could get transferred and some days are much better than others, but I'm learning a lot about myself and growing everyday. I'm studying Christlike attributes (read attribute, aka patience) and working hard to figure out what is going to work for each of my little "investigators".
Like learning a new language, teaching takes time and really immersion is the best way to learn. It doesn't always sound (look) exactly right, but if I don't try, it won't get any better. These kids need what I have to offer.
Despite being tired mentally, physically and emotionally, I feel fulfilled and I feel like I am making a difference for at least a few of these students. I'll get better, I'll still have bad days, but before I know it I'll be looking back asking myself if that really happened. Missing the people I met and loved and hoping the very best for them as they move on with their lives.
My life is the same thing over and over. It's disguised, but basically it's the same. Different people, different locations, but the same lessons just applied in a different way which I guess makes them new lessons. Life really is good. The hard times make you realize how you have grown and how you are growing. You can see how God is preparing you or was preparing you. God is good.

Saturday, September 9, 2017

Highlights of a first year teacher Part 1

School is well under way and I am quickly learning that, like the mission, no matter how much people tell you it will be hard, you don't really understand until you are there. I hear having a child is the same way. You think you are prepared, you know it will be hard, you can do hard things, and then you're in the middle of it and you think "WHY THE HECK IS THIS SO HARD!?"
Last week the art teacher asked me to come and see her on my lunch break. I felt like I was being summoned to the principal's office. I thought to myself "what could they have done, they were only there for 15 minutes?! (there was a fire drill). I went in expecting the very worst report of my little gems and their behavior but I was surprised when she asked me how I was doing. :) She is new to the school so we were in training meetings together, but she is not new to teaching. She told me "you have a hard class". I felt SO validated. I thought maybe I was just the worst teacher there ever was and that's why they were so ridiculous.
Yesterday the P.E. teacher came in and asked me how I was doing and told me "you have a hard class". Validation again! With that validation still comes trepidation about what I'm going to do to reign this crazy class in. They are making progress, but it's slow and hard to see. BUT there have been some successes.
My little autistic boy likes to not do whatever we are doing. Our school follows love and logic for classroom management and I find it hard sometimes to give choices where I still get them to do what needs to be done. I went and talked to his first grade teacher and she told me to use recess for his choices. He can do whatever we are doing with us, or he can stay in at recess and do it with me then. It's been very successful. He also gets a sticker every time he participates with the class and when he gets 10 he gets a prize.
I have an emotional little guy who loves to hang on me. I'll be at the front of the class and he'll come up and hug me and just hang on. I hug him back and try to send him back to his seat but it only works sometimes. Most times he crawls under his desk or wanders around the room. His emotions also lead to outbursts of him shouting that no one cares about him and that he wants to die. After one particularly bad day this week, I went and talked to the school counselor and she came the next day to observe my class. She gave me some suggestions and I moved their desks after school. Friday was a ROUGH day. My kids were unruly and this particular child hadn't been in his desk longer than 5 minutes. After asking 12 or more times for him to sit in his chair and being at the breaking point for my patience, God took pity on me and sent some inspiration. I set a timer for 10 minutes and put it on his desk. I told him if he would stay in his seat for 10 minutes I'd give him a sticker for his sticker sheet. As soon as it went off, I gave him the sticker and reset the timer for another round. He sat and participated for 45 minutes! He finished filling his sticker sheet and had his prize on his desk when he came back from lunch! As terrible as the morning was, that one success made my whole day!! Hopefully it continues working. I went and bought 4 more timers yesterday and I'm going to try it with a couple other students, one who shouts out ALL.THE.TIME and two others who won't stay on task to save their lives. Even if it doesn't work, at least I've got two kids working in the right direction and hopefully that helps our class as a whole. They are 3 points away from a movie party so I'm hoping they make it this week so we can have some positive reinforcement for their good behavior.

Thursday, August 31, 2017

All by myself

I should be writing about the adventures of 2nd grade, but that's not what this is about. Yesterday I had a rough day and I put it out there that it was school that made it so terrible, and surely school has contributed. I'm tired and my kids are crazy and they frustrate me to no end, but the thing that set me off yesterday was loneliness. Maybe even rejection. When you come home from a long day of 25 seven year-olds talking non-stop and trying to figure out what the crap you're supposed to be teaching them and how on earth you will fit everything in when they have 7 specials a week and an hour of "Fun Friday" every Friday which is a short day anyway, and they won't stay quiet for more than a minute and a half, and they don't listen to ANYTHING you say, all I really want is someone to be excited to see me. Someone to ask how my day was and to really care. Someone to give me a hug and tell me I'm doing okay. Instead I come home to an empty house, warm up my leftovers, watch Netflix and eat Oreos.
I went on two dates in the last two weeks. The first one seemed very successful, we got ice cream and chatted for an hour and a half. At the end he asked if I'd like to go out again and planned something tentatively for the weekend. He even text me the next two days to see how my day was going. Then nothing. I still haven't heard from him and we obviously didn't go out again. Rejection #1. The next one occurred earlier this week. Similar story, we got ice cream and talked for 2 hours. He said something like let's do this again and now I haven't heard from him. Rejection #2.
 While I realize that this is very normal, as I've experienced it many, MANY times before, this week I just couldn't take it. I look at 25 little kids every day. Anyone of them could could very easily be my own child. I do like being a teacher. I think I made the right choice. But that doesn't change the fact that there is still a very large hole in my life. One that won't be easily filled. One that requires so much faith and patience on my part. Some days, I just don't have it. I honestly question God on a regular basis. While I know he has a good plan, I often wonder if he couldn't speed things up a bit. What on earth am I supposed to be learning from waiting so long? And as I see so many older singles I really do question if this is his plan. Does he really want so many of us to be as old as we are and still be single? I realize Satan is working hard, but really, can't he just lift a finger to help us out?! I know that he is in my life far more than I realize and that he is doing more than lifting a finger, but it's so hard when you really don't see much evidence of it. I prayed in the car this morning and spent a good 10 minutes of thinking of things I'm grateful for and I have a lot, but I'm still so sad about what is missing. I suppose that's okay. It's a big thing, an important thing and I don't want it to become unimportant to me, but sometimes it's just so much heartache that I just have to shake my fist at God a little bit. I know he understands. He's shaking his head, patting me on the head, smiling to himself because he knows what's in store and I don't. I hope I can hold out. I'm just so tired of being by myself.

Monday, July 17, 2017

A good dose of the outdoors

This summer has been jam packed. I've been driving like crazy and have hardly been home for a weekend since the beginning of May. I had a rare weekend where I wasn't traveling somewhere and it worked out perfectly to be the weekend of my old Stake MSA camping activity. Luckily Aubrey also had a free weekend so we packed up our stuff and headed up Payson canyon. It was BEAUTIFUL. The weather was perfect, the campsite was perfect, the company was good. I came home tired, with a slight sunburn and smelling like a camp fire. To me this equals a very successful camping trip.


 It's amazing how a few minutes can completely change the scenery. There were no filters used. I love nature. God is the ultimate artist.


When I got home, I took a much needed nap and then got ready to go hiking up American Fork canyon to Scout Falls. The hike was pretty easy and again it was beautiful.


I thought I would sleep like a rock Saturday night, but I actually had a hard time falls asleep. Luckily I managed to get a good nap in on Sunday. I'm hoping as my schedule starts to taper and fall into more of a routine, I'll have some time before it gets too cold to go camping at least one more time and get some good hiking in.

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

California

After Oregon we headed down to California for Kevin's wedding. Julie and Sterling were nice enough to take the longer route through the Redwoods so I could check another National park off my list. The trees were SO huge and tall. It was beautiful and I loved it!



 The water was SO warm. I wish it had been deeper and we could have gone for a swim.
I just couldn't get over how HUGE these trees are. 
 Saturday morning we headed to the Oakland temple for Kevin and Kaylene's wedding. It was hot, but they were so happy and it was a lovely ceremony. Check Oakland off the bucket list. Overall the trip worked out very well for my bucket list items. Two National Parks and two temples!





Oregon

Last week I took time off work to go with my sister and brother in law on a trip to Oregon. It was a very long drive but I had a great time hanging out with my sister and little baby Coral.
 Don't mind that I look homeless. Look at that adorable little smile!!! She's the cutest!
 Except when she blows out on your white shirt. I got peed on, puked on and pooped on within 24 hours.
 The fourth of July didn't really impress her much. We went to a parade. It was SO hot and the parade was kind of a let down. I need more floats and horses to make it a real parade.

 We were the best of friends all week! She really does love me.
 I made it to the Medford temple so I can cross that one off the bucket list.

 And I made it Crater Lake so I can cross that one off the bucket list as well! There wasn't much to do so we got some pictures, I hiked a bit and then we drove back.


Saturday, June 3, 2017

I'm an auntie!

We've been waiting for this little bundle to finally come for weeks now, but she just took her sweet little time. Julie's water finally broke Saturday morning and around 2 Sterling called me to see if I wanted to come hang out and watch a movie with them at the hospital. I had to wait for something to come out of the oven and as I was leaving he called again to see if I was on my way. She had dilated to a 9 and delivery was in the near future. As I walked into the hospital room I was accosted by a nurse asking who I was and when Sterling told her I could come in, I wasn't quite prepared for my sister to be in between contractions.
Her nurses were awesome. Seriously the one was the best cheerleader ever. I felt like I could deliver a baby. Coral's heart rate kept dropping and they were afraid the umbilical chord was around her neck so the doctor busted out the forceps and just like that there was a baby. They brought in the respiratory team and she ended up in the NICU for a bit to help her lungs out, but other than that she was perfect and chubby. 8 lbs 5 oz. What a little fatty. But she's cute as anything and I'm so glad she's here.