The Good, The Bad, and The Anxiety.

So you get the first teaching job of your career… but no one tells you about the stress/anxiety, the possibility of driving home in tears, the paperwork, sleepless nights, and literally thinking about quitting every day. Two things that I learned from an exhausting year were:

1. Teach where you feel wanted and appreciated.

2. Be calm.

My first year as a teacher was amazing but my second was the most altering and pivotal moment yet of my career. I experienced no peer support, no effective PD training, no administrative support, I took on the students no one wanted (they pile all the “unwanted ones” on new teachers), given a small classroom, and on top of that a parent hated me and would talk about me to students. I was promised a new classroom at the new school site being built but at a screeching halt my contract was not renewed for the next school year. I was heartbroken and defeated. I didn’t realize it then but losing that position was the beginning of a new position within a more diversified school district and a step closer to my passion of Reading Literacy

I am not the only teacher who has been through the “fire”. Remembering your purpose and your vision will always place you right were you are meant to be! Here’s a candid experience of what Mrs. Nylor, a nine year Teaching Vet, had to say about her first year? Read below.


Sunday, June 24, 2018

Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Year

You finally got that call! “I would love to offer you a position at ABC Elementary!” You are ecstatic and super ready to get started. You’re nervous, anxious, and a whole bunch of other feelings you can’t put into words. Despite your fears, you dive in to your first year of teaching. But what happens when it’s not what you expected? What happens when your first year is a terrible, horrible, no good, very. bad. year?

I remember it like it was yesterday. My little cousin and I were leaving for the airport. We were headed to Connecticut to visit our uncle. Right before we picked up our things to head out of the door, the phone rang. It was the phone call I had been praying all summer that I would receive. The principal I had interviewed with just one day before called to hire me. I all but sobbed on the phone. Lol. You see, it was approximately 2 weeks before school was to begin and I had spent all summer trying to find a job. I was so thankful, grateful, and HAPPY! Unfortunately, that feeling didn’t last long.

Fast forward to the week teachers started. I was completely overwhelmed. Now don’t get me wrong. I was still excited, however:

1 I student taught in a second grade class and I was hired for 4th (I had a LOT to learn)

2 This school had a particular way in which they wanted you to decorate your room (in regards to brain based practices. I was a first year teacher aka I was broke. Lol. I was completely stressed about how I was going get all the things I was supposed to have.)

3 I had missed all of the vital trainings and district orientations that were offered throughout the summer since I was hired 2 weeks before school.

4 This was my first real job. Helloooo! Wouldn’t you be stressed too? I was officially about to begin…. ahem. ADULTING. 😱 Lol.

Even with all that on my plate, I made it to the start of school. Only two days in, I had my first disappointing experience.  A parent moved her child out of my classroom. Why? “He didn’t know division.” Apparently this mom didn’t think I knew what I was doing despite the fact that I gave out the same homework that ALL the other 4th grade teachers gave. Did I cry? Yep. Why? I was upset that she didn’t give me a chance and again, it was the same homework everyone else gave! From then it continued to spiral. One thing after another. It seemed that no matter what I did, I could not please my principal. In meeting after meeting. Session after session. Nothing I did was right in her eyes. This lesson was too long. This lesson was too short. This lesson I used the wrong term. This lesson I didn’t seem prepared for.

I reached out to teammates for ideas and suggestions. I was spent countless hours grading papers, studying the state standards, and to top it all off, there was one particular parent who was convinced her child loved school until he came to my classroom (this child smiled DAILY in my classroom…). I was stressed out. Crying daily. Defeated. And confused. Then came one of the most hurtful things ever. I was told to “consider other career choices.” I couldn’t understand why something I had dreamed of for so long, something I knew I was meant to do, was turning out to be such a nightmare. Why was this so hard? Because it had to be…. for me.

Now looking back, if  I’m completely honest, I didn’t get it at first. I had no idea all the extra work that went into teaching. And I believe it took me so long to “get it” because with all the suggestions I was given from colleagues, I was trying to teach like everyone else but ME. While I believe I was treated unfairly, I absolutely accept responsibility for what I COULD control. While my first year was awful, I learned so much from that experience.

Needless to say I did not return to that school after my first year. I moved to an entirely different district where everything I did was right for a change! (But that’s a story for another time). While year one was horrible for me, and I did heavily consider not teaching anymore, I refused to let go of my dream. I knew in my heart that I wanted to teach. It absolutely crushed me, but I chose to believe what God had to say about me.

My first year made me a better teacher and a stronger person in general. I learned to have confidence in myself, and be advocate for myself. I also learned that I can’t be anyone but me. Trying to teach like others is NOT the way to go. Lol.

I am now entering my 9th year in education and I can actually say I am grateful for my first year of teaching experience. Not only would I not be the teacher I am today, but I wouldn’t be able to share my testimony with others. Also, since then, I have had the opportunity sit down with that principal and share with her my success. 😊

So, if you are a teacher that just finished your first year and it was similar to mine, KEEP GOING. If you are about to begin your career, BE YOU AND DON’T BE AFRAID TO ASK FOR HELP. If you are a teacher facing adversity at your current school, PUSH THROUGH. Finally, if you are a teacher that had the same experience as myself your first year but you chose to push through and continue teaching, share your testimony. You never know who it could help. ❤️ Until next time ✌🏾

Nylor

P. S. – The year wasn’t all bad. My husband (then boyfriend of course) proposed that year

faithfamilyfifth.blogspot.com/2018/06/terrible-horrible-no-good-very-bad-year.html

Mrs. Nylor Mc and her lovely family! (above)

Follow Mrs. Nylor Mc and I on Instagram for more educational blogging, PD Discussions, collaboration, and SUPPORT!

@faithfamilyandfifth (Mrs. Nylor Mc)

@ymandbblog (Mrs. Ashley V.)

Tempo

Tempo

You hit the ground running at birth

The joys of a young life to this earth.

You’re told to catch life’s pace

To hold on in this dying race;

Meek are The hearers,

Blessings to the doers;

The mountain movers.

Holding on to your chest

Trying to find inner rest

Work harder…be perfect

Do perfect

Measure up.

Throw up

Lies, heartbreak, and sudden fates.

But…hold on, carry these weights.

Fatigue

As the liquor drowns you…

Smoke Succumbs your smile

Depression invites you to just stay HERE, right here, for a while.

Mirrors reflect someone you never knew, someone you never deemed honorable to love.

Counting bodies who played under you.

Pretenses.

Brain always triggered for defensive.

The human heart, merely an organ.

At any sense, I blame the Olympian firmament.

For creating this competition that we we were never born to live forever.

A tournament of the spirit; no foot lever.

electrons and atoms…

Rhythm, electricity

All at a drum beat.

300 meters per second

Ions pacing, connecting

Beckoned from the moment we are conceived

Everything is everything and yet nothing.

-By Ashley Viewins

Beating the “Summer Slide”

As many of you know, I am a teacher and many people expect that I would have my children enrolled in the very best camps but that is just NOT the case.  We wake at 4:30am to commute to work by 6:45am every morning.  Much of the school year is spent rushing and being too exhausted.  My goal is always to make the most out of summer and allow my 3rd grader to explore and learn simultaneously.

Statistically, during the summer children lose almost half of what they learned during the summer.  Many teachers spend the first two months of school reintroducing students to what they covered last year and reviewing organizational skills.

 

 

  • Read

 

Get your kids hands on anything that they can read.  Reading with your kids help them achieve in all subject areas, provides intellectual escape, and increases background knowledge.  From Pre-K to adult-hood, reading is important.  Let your kiddies pick books that are one grade level ahead of their Lexile/fluency and if that is too hard, move downward until they make progress.

 

Education.com (Great for Math in all grades)

Newsela.com

 

  • Experiments/Examinations/DIY

 

From nature walks to cooking in the kitchen.  Allow your children to investigate and form predictions.  Creating observation charts or a presentation/drawing of what they found or cooked is a great idea.

 

http://science.dadeschools.net/elem/documents/profDev/leadersSession-5-Feb-2013/Vocabulary_PP%20for%20Science%20Leaders/Science%20Graphic%20Organizers.pdf

 

  • Virtual Fieldtrips/Museums and cultural studies

Use the internet to help your kiddos explore the world right from home.  You can also get out of the house and visit your local museums and historical sites.  Search Google to find local historical landmarks and museums to help you.

http://www.discoveryeducation.com/Events/virtual-field-trips/explore/

 

  • Assessment Preparation

 

This is extremely important for High school students.  ACT/SAT preparation is extremely important for students who have yet to pass the FSA and/or plan to go to college.   11th graders should begin to prepare for the ACT/SAT by visiting their website.  Introducing students early to this test will strengthen their chances of passing and increase their confidence.

 

http://www.act.org/content/act/en/products-and-services/the-act/test-preparation.html

Collegeboard.org

https://www.khanacademy.org/sat

 

 

 

  • Writing Activities

 

Encourage kiddos of all ages to practice writing and learning to form complete sentences that restate the question/topic within their answers.

 

ReadWriteThink

http://www.readwritethink.org/search/?grade=8-12&resource_type=70

Here is a clip of a summer portfolio that I did for my daughter who is entering the 3rd grade next year.  I printed all the material from the links that were included in the post and I also visited my local Dollar General Store.

If you have any questions on resources or materials send me an email or leave a comment.

 

-Ciao!

MINIMALISM: Be More With Less

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SIMPLE IS SMARTER.

Beginning In October, my daughter had her 8th birthday.  She loves seafood, macaroons, and her Goddie (God-mother), so we decided that her Goddie would come to town (two hours away) and we would take her out for seafood and macaroons.  My daughter frowned and looked somber the whole entire time.  I was so embarrassed at how ungrateful she became because they did not have raw oysters (yeah I know what you are thinking). Now, Christmas has past…and not ONE of the toys that was bought, was thought of a week after Christmas but a few!  She’s begging for more toys and doesn’t take care of the ones she has and doesn’t clean her room.  Granted she’s on the A/B honor roll, her concept of being entitled has got to stop.  So I have to begin with myself and then her.

WHY MINIMALISM IS BETTER.

As a child, I didn’t have tons of toys but I did not want for things to play with.  I learned the magic of venturing out doors and a love for my imagination with my cousins, my daughter, on the other hand, is entertained at the thought of watching children play with toys on YouTube; annoying right?!    She has the type of closet that you often open at your own risk.  I thought “she is  just messy” but in actuality my closet looks the exact same way today and I need to teach her how to clean her room properly and throw away things that she does not need any more and donate toys/clothes to others.  “Convenience parenting” has apps and tablets for keeping children quiet or reminding them to clean up their rooms.  I want to raise children who can retain information when told, who can complete tasks without being prompted, and who are grateful for what they do have.

As a teacher, I understand the logic and practices of what makes children thrive and as I continue to grow within my pedagogy, I realize that most children need minimalism.  Minimalism is not always cleaning up or giving away your things as charitable donations.  Minimalism is about focusing your family on what is important in life.

In pursuit to minimalize our life, I am focusing on these key concepts:

  • Choosing Gratitude:  cutting down on holiday gifts (tangible gifts).  Birthdays should be about celebrating life.  Valentines day should be about love.  Give the gift of experience.
  • Choosing Family:  making family dinner a priority 1-2 times a week for improved psychological well-being.  spending time with the children unplugged from social media.  learn a new craft/hobby.  READ.
  • Choosing Health:  choosing healthier meals.  cutting back on empty snacks.  COOK TOGETHER.
  • Choosing Outdoors: trading screen time for outdoor play. learning to respect the environment.
  • Being a Conscious Consumer: thinking before I buy.  Allowing three days to pass by before I make big purchases to make sure that the item is something I really want.  Only buying toys the children earn and do chores for.  TEACH CHILDREN YOU DONT NEED TO BUY THINGS TO BE HAPPY.img_9923

Teach Me…

As I walk further into my journey, I realize that I am learning who I really am EVERY DAY.  There is no pennical to the knowledge you attain and the many evolutions you will endure to be incarnated. As a woman, I feel as if I will be born again many times; learning how to fill my own cup…and what exactly I will fill it with.

I watched a video by Will Smith and he stated that his wife, Jada and he, realized that they were two individuals on separate individual journeys learning and choosing to share a life together. He stated that it was not his job to make Jada happy, she had to do that for herself. Jada couldn’t make him happy, he had to do that for himself.

The false pretense of romance and the “we are one” sentiment can often distort a marriage. I realized this fact one night on a dinner date with my husband.  Not many people have the fortune of being born into a perfect family.  As he made points about his up-bringing, and made the claim that “all women were the same”,  I immediately became offensive. True enough, we both come from two totally different upbringings; I had the knowledge of both my parents and even though they were never together, my mother or grandmothers were always present while my father went off to college.  My husband on the other hand, seemed much more traumatized by his estranged father and drug abused mother.  I saw that parts of his up-bringing in foster-homes were internalized and love was totally different for him.

As a woman, I’m naturally seeking how to learn to love and be more nurturing, that’s in my nature.  Although I had both my parents, I was never showed a healthy relationship, what role a man should play in my life, or what “love” is.  I learned that night that my husband didn’t know what love was, how to go about seeking to be loving, and what love actually looked like.  All my husband knew was loyalty and support and for him, that transpired into love and care. Marriage was in some way, an obligation that he owed to his children and at that moment I realized I didn’t want to be an obligation to him because I was the mother of his children.  I wanted to be in a marriage because we were irreplaceable to each other. I was furious until I realized that I could not depend on him to make me happy because some days, he just won’t. He won’t give me butterflies everyday and he won’t always say the right things.

I think that women often get romantic concepts from movies and want our love to be this magical love story.  Great sex, trips, date night, romance, and well-behaved children is not the full picture of an actual marriage.  In order for “Us” to work, I had to be able to focus on my goals and make time for me to be an individual and so did he.  As long as trust was not a question, we owed it to ourselves to figure out what makes us happy and be able to pursue it with the support of one another. We each deal with emotional wounds but learning to get beyond those and to the honest truth of our marriage will be hard work.

Our marriage is a living breathing organism.  It is vital to feed it and nurture it because “love” is a lot of work.  If I went by my husband’s “talk”, we would never make it. Instead, I use his actions to tell where his heart and mind is because he is not a natural born nurturer.  The next day after our date night, I decided to learn how to connect with him and be patient (and ladies it may take a lot of patience LOL).  If your husband is willing and trying to be the man that you need him to be, understand that you may have to teach him a few things and be willing to learn some things (even things you may not want to hear).

DON’T JUST SURVIVE IN YOUR MARRIAGE, PROSPER IN YOUR MARRIAGE.

I love reading a males perspective on marriage and finding activities to try with my partner.  I included a link below to a great article (it is a series)  that you ladies/men may find helpful!

via Pt. 1: How to Get Exactly What You Want From the Man in Your Life (Teach Me…)

Books by Black Authors That You Don’t Want to Miss This Year

If you are an African-American fiction-novel fanatic like myself, then you’re hankering for your next book-fix. In these winter months, I’d rather curl up with a hot cup of mixed berry hibiscus tea and read. I’m currently reading the great Tayari Jones An American Marriage, and it is everything I am looking for in a novel right now. In Jones’ cross-examination of race and incarceration in America, the lives of newlyweds Celestial and Roy are at a turn just 18-months after their nuptial.

Photo credit: Amazon.com

 

“A House Divided Within Itself, Cannot Stand” – A. Lincoln 

They chanted ‘we will not be replaced.’ 

Replaced as … what? I’ll tell you. Replaced as the only voice in public discussions. Replaced as the law makers, replaced as the only bodies in the public and political arenas. Replaced as the only lives that matter or counted as humans.

“Make America great again!”

….well, what part of America’s history did Trump have in mind?

My only concern is that those same men and women (and don’t get it twisted, we know that they have partners who packed their lunch for this rally, so YES [WOMEN] ) get to go back to their jobs as police officers, teachers, bank officers, loan specialists , lawyers, judges, administrators, senators, CEO’s, executives, and presidents.  

Let’s be honest, there is no negative without positive, but being silent about the issue at Virginia University, whether of color or white, is allowing this type of negative thinking to thrive. 

There is no “Make America Great Again”. America was built on the backs of others; stollen and bartered as “The New World”. America is a corporation.  We don’t want to replace you, we want what is rightfully OURS! Life, equality, and the pursuit of happiness.

We repeat part of a National Anthem, that in it’s entirety, was never meant for us.

 “Their blood has wash’d out their foul footstep’s pollution.  No refuge could save the hireling and slave from the terror of flight or the gloom of the grave…”

We send our sons and daughters to a national athletic league that exploits their talent. “The untypical exhibitionism of these athletes also violates the basic standards of good manners and sportsmanship, which are so highly valued in the United States.” …they proclaimed in 1968 as we only raised our fist.

From David Duke’s statement to Trump’s utterance of tasteless ignorance; white supremacy is wrong and needs to be proclaimed as so.  Our nation will always be diverse and we must learn to celebrate each other.  How dare we pretend bigotry does not exist on our own land but fight a war with nations over their own country for economic gains.  

“Don’t tell me about progress the black man has made. You don’t stick a knife 10 inches in my back, pull it out three or four, then tell me I’m making progress.’ ” – Jackie Robinson

America is that burning building Martin Luther King spoke of.  We try to shove our dark history under a rug and throw rocks just to hide our hands. No longer will we be able to pretend that racism is not real or that our country has the best interests of its people.

Many of us believe wholeheartedly in the undeniable truth that people of all races and ethnic backgrounds are, and deserve to be treated as, equal. Let’s continue to teach love and equality to children.  Let’s encourage our children to be leaders that promote the growth and diversity of all.  

Over 300 years of servitude and we are still demanding equality!    

Stony the road we trod.  Bitter the chast’ning rod, felt in the days when hope unborn had died; yet with a steady beat / Have not our weary feet, come to the place for which our fathers sighed?

….Will we ever get to the promised land as “ONE”?