Monday, May 30, 2016

Love Is Our Calling

We don't know how long we have on Earth.

That's why I believe that our calling is to Love Each Other.

Let that sink in.

Love. Each other.

Not just love the lovable: Grandma and Grandpa, Mom and Dad, babies, puppies, the sweet neighbor lady who bakes you cookies for Christmas because you shovel her driveway.

Love those that are UN-lovable. Make a difference in someone's life; someone who is a different race, social status, religion, or personality than you. You know that guy, the one who makes you cringe, or that lady, the one whom you wish you could forget? Them, too.


Because people need people like you to show them that kindness, forgiveness, trust, and cooperation despite our differences is worth living for and living out. Be generous, be kind, pay it forward, share.

No one has to PROVE that they DESERVE your kindness. Don't be prideful. Even if people hurt you in the past and you have trust issues, you can't learn to forgive yourself or get over your past hurts if you close yourself off to people.

You can't always tell by looking what would make someone's day. If you're not a good talker, making small talk with every person you sit next to in the waiting room, at the gym, or in line at the supermarket, then make a little compliment, smile, and sit quietly. Sometimes all a person needs is a good listener. They won't know you are ready to listen until you seem open to it.

Be open to Love. Love isn't always the head-over-heels kind, or the best friends kind. Love is happiness, caring, and contentment, too.
The Earth deserves your Love.

Sunday, May 22, 2016

In My Dreams This Week (2)

It's been fun to share my dreams here. I haven't gotten a huge response, but people are reading them.

This week I dreamed I was on a school bus. Not any bus, but the special needs bus we take for CBI, or outings into the community. The bus driver was there. She was stopped, though, and I exited the bus with my class. The boys were to line up and wait for everyone to get off. 

While we were standing there I saw two kittens on the side of the road. I went to them and crouched down. One was white and tan and the other was white and gray. One was skinny and the other was fatter and healthier. I picked up the fatter one. I considered whether the bus driver would let me take them on the bus, but knew she wouldn't. Besides, we would normally return to school, where kittens would not be allowed, and I live in a cat-free home due to allergies. I had no choice but to leave the kittens there. I guess that was traumatic and insane enough to wake me, because the kittens and the bus vanished as I woke.

This dream was about the frustration of trying to show compassion. 

I teach in a special needs classroom for middle schoolers with severe and moderate special needs. I have a great group of kids, don't get me wrong. I have one who is frustrating. I have struggled with this student all year. I have been bitten, hit, pinched, and spit on while trying to teach this one a routine and how to work in school. I have wonderful assistants who jump in and help as well as teach for me when and where I need them to. I struggle to show compassion towards them when I need to say thank you and that I appreciate them. I struggle to think the student will ever learn compassion and fear that I am not doing what I need to to make a difference for all of my students.

Perhaps the bus part is because I feel I don't control this situation. I pause, I ponder over those kittens. In real life, I ponder over the situations with the student, the classroom dynamic, and the adults and how we handle situations as well as work together. I'm most often a passenger on the bus of life.

I am not in control.

That's okay.

I have cried over this student and the situations I found myself in. I have felt useless, defeated, and underappreciated. Others' opinions have made me see myself as a terrible teacher, terrible friend, and terrible coworker. 

As time went on, I learned that I am better for having experienced these feelings, dealt with them, found that all humans make mistakes, and to simply say thank you. It's okay to teach others to give up some control as well. You can't make students behave the way you want all the time. You can't make adults feel bad about themselves all the time to make yourself feel better about your decisions. Don't push me to fit into your mold. I will not fit. 

Planning for Summer Break

Whew, it is May and boy am I busy! Ending the school year is exciting and I've been counting down the days. Things are getting packed up, shuffled around, pictures taken down, books stored in boxes, and plans made for next year.

Yes, you heard me. I've already been planning for next year. Why, you ask? Because Nothing is the same year to year in a Functional classroom. The entire classroom dynamic changes.

You know how people can use stereotypes to generalize a classroom; the class clown, the know-it-all, the shy flower, etc.? Well, I can't. The dynamic in my classroom is based on how the students interact with each other. The amount of talkers, hand-flappers, flee-ers, artists, fighters, dreamers, and their quirks determine how the year will go. It's more than planning levels and types of learner. It's more than diversifying lessons. Not only do my lessons change, but my schedules and even classroom furniture.

But enough about work..

I also have been planing my summer break. So far, the fun stuff has made it to my calendar. That doesn't mean it will happen, but it does mean I'd like it to happen.

There are a lot of movies coming out that look good. Summer is prime movie season

Then there are also fun things to do like: hike, swim, play croquet, and whatever other things I make my kids go outside and do. I've been thinking of destinations, things to do, and other fun stuff.

I've thought of going to the Dunes on Lake Michigan because it is as close to a beach as we can get. 

I've thought of fishing, camping, and hiking in our parks.

I think we should visit the Feline Rescue Center sometime soon.

I've thought about small things like putting flowers on my Grandparents' grave because that is something children need to experience. 

And I've thought of summer school type activities for my children. I'm mean like that. 
But I haven't gotten all my ideas down yet.
That's okay! 

Some days I just don't feel like doing anything. I live in a part of the world with 4 seasons. Weather is weird. Some days are for staying home.

I have a HUGE stack of books to read.

I have a TON of lesson plans to write.

I have a mostly empty sketchbook and a board on Pinterest full of ideas.

Then there is the writing of the books floating around above my head just out of reach.

I have PLENTY of things to do and most likely not enough summer days to get them done! School is back in session on August 9th...

Thanks for joining in on my little planning session. What plans do you make for the summer? Maybe I can add some to my calendar..