Teaching

We All Need a Little Encouraging

Photo Credit: http://epitec.com/thankfulness/

With less than seven weeks before the long awaited summer vacation my ambition is beginning to wane. I look at the calendar of end-of-year testing and I cannot shake the daunting feeling that my valuable instructional time as a teacher is coming to a close. Before long, testing mode will begin and I’m struggling with finding time to fit in all of the lessons yet to be done. Additionally,  the beautiful sunshine and temperatures outside make it really hard to stay motivated. But over the past few days God has thrown me a reminder that I am currently doing what I’m supposed to do and that I’m where I am supposed to be.

Over the weekend while enjoying my family date for the week (more on this in an upcoming post) I ran into a current student and her mother. We were at a mall, and my daughter was playing in every parent’s worst nightmare, the germ-infested play area. From a seat on the perimeter of the playground I caught a glimpse of this student. Let’s be real for a second- I teach ninth grade students. More often than not when I see a student in public they tend to avoid eye contact and act as though I don’t exist. Most of the time that doesn’t bother me one bit, but this student’s reaction was so encouraging. I saw her motion to her mother in my direction and I read her lips as she said, “There’s Mrs. Sisley.”

Her mother could have nodded and continued her parade from store to store. She was a busy shopper with an armful of bags toting newly purchased goods. But her mother’s reaction was more surprising than her daughter’s. The woman left her b-line to the next shop and came right up to the play area. At first, I was astounded to see her approaching me, but when her arms went out to embrace me I was completely taken aback.

I maybe should have explained that a few months back this particular student had struggled with a personal battle and as a member of the FCA which I advise she came to me in need of some guidance. I talked with her as much as I could about what was going on and then pointed her to some of the student leaders of FCA to help her out on a deeper level than I really could as a teacher. I’ve prayed for her often and she updates me on the situation as well. She is a student I have grown close to and whom I enjoy very much. She has grown so much this year and it is a blessing as a teacher to see students grow both in and out of the classroom as I have witnessed with this particular student.

Anyway, the mother hugged me right in the middle of the mall. Yes, I’m sure it caused a little bit of a scene, but it touched me nonetheless. As she was hugging me she said, “You will never know how much you mean to me and my family.” We both teared up. I realized then that my impact is so much bigger than I thought. I had never met this woman, but my influence had reached her. I am so thankful for this encouraging reminder that God has placed me in a position to directly influence my community. It isn’t just the students I’m impacting…it is whole families and groups of people. This was such a humbling experience as well. God is taking me (someone who has my own struggles) and is using me despite my struggles to positively infect my world.

This experience got me thinking. I’m no different than any other teacher. All of us works hard to be positive role models and change the world (or at the very least change our students). Sometimes this can be a thankless job. Luckily, very few of us are into teaching for recognition. It’s not necessarily that students take us for granted, but it ends up that students tend not to be as expressive as they should. They may talk about their favorite teachers at home or with their friends, but rarely do they show their appreciation directly to their teachers. So, today I asked my English students to write 1-3 paragraphs naming and describing a teacher who made a difference in their lives. After I checked their work they were to give their writing to the teacher whom they chose as their subject. My thinking is that sometimes it is nice to get that letter of gratitude or thankfulness.

In closing, I want to encourage you, readers, to remember that your influence reaches far beyond what is seen. Sometimes people spread their kind words and thoughts about you and it never returns. Just because the “thanks” isn’t heard doesn’t mean that it isn’t there. I also encourage you to take some time to thank someone that has had a big influence in your life.

Awards

The Versatile Blogger Award

The blogging world can be so many things. In the beginning of my blogging days I would describe it as overwhelming. When I began to learn about some of the ins and outs I described blogging as creative. Now, as I have been introduced to so many new people and become a part of their daily lives I describe blogging as inspirational. Blogging can be so much more than these adjectives, but these are three that quickly come to mind. Although my goal is to ultimately publish my writing in a traditional medium, blogging has helped me to find my voice and niche. Blogging has allowed me the opportunity to write on several of my insights and interests to see what I am best at and to teach me some creative techniques. I am grateful for all of the praise I have received for my blog (both those who have spoken to me in person about my blog and those who have met me via the blogging world and offered encouragement in the form of comments and messages).

This post is in response to yet another blogging award that I received from the lovely Autumn at Welcome to My World. Some of you may remember her blog from a previous post of mine. The author of this blog is a very inspirational mother whose superpowers rival that of my favorite superhero, Spiderman. She’s overcome a lot in the short time she has been a parent and I am inspired by her story and can relate to her on so many levels about life as a mother of a toddler. Please take some time and check out her awesome blog and let her know you found her through my post!

versatile-blogger-award-flowers[1]

The following is the list of rules for my newest award. All of the information on this award can be found on the VBA website:

If you are nominated, you’ve been awarded the Versatile Blogger award.

  •  Thank the person who gave you this award. That’s common courtesy.
  •  Include a link to their blog. That’s also common courtesy — if you can figure out how to do it.
  •  Next, select 15 blogs/bloggers that you’ve recently discovered or follow regularly. ( I would add, pick blogs or bloggers that are excellent!)
  •  Nominate those 15 bloggers for the Versatile Blogger Award — you might include a link to this site.
  •  Finally, tell the person who nominated you 7 things about yourself.

So for those that I nominate for this particular award: (I don’t want to continue to award the same blogs…so it’s not quite 15)

1. Witty ‘N’ Pretty

2. Live to Write

3. Ali Does It Herself

4. Nerdy Book Club

5. The Persistent Platypus

If you’ve enjoyed my blog I recommend subscribing to these blogs as well. All of these blogs are positive and inspirational. The authors write on a variety of topics from fashion to parenting and so much more. Take a few minutes and check out these sites!

And finally…for seven things about myself (I’m going to try not to repeat anything from my last award post)

1. I love to travel. My husband is from England so my family visits the family overseas every summer, but I also enjoy traveling within the United States. I’ve been to a lot of big cities in the east, but look forward to one day venturing out west and traveling through every one of the fifty states.

2. I have two full-time jobs. The first full-time job is being a mommy for a beautiful 2 1/2-year-old girl. My second full-time job is teaching English and History to 9th grade students in Ohio. Both take a lot of work and patience, but both roles are very rewarding.

3. I’ve been married for almost four years to the love of my life. I met my husband the first day of college in an Honors English course and we quickly fell in love and became inseparable. We dated all through college and got married a month after graduation. I wouldn’t trade any of our time together for a thing in this world. He is amazing and I love my husband so much.

4. I really enjoy a good book. Although they are slightly more convienent I do not prefer to read on electronic devices. There’s just something special to me about a physical book. I also love real books because I have the chance to pass it on more readily once I have completed reading it. As a teacher, this is key. My students are always asking for recommendations.

5. I love to cook healthy homemade meals for my family. It is so rewarding for me to set the table with healthy options and entrees most evenings. Yes, we occassionally dine elsewhere, but the principle of gathering and eating together is priceless to me. I can count on one hand the number of days we have not sat down and eaten together as a family (no matter where that meal may have taken place). I think family meal time is not only physically healthy, but emotionally healthy too. This is a habit that my husband and I plan to continue until death do us part.

6. I have a secret craft passion. Of all the things that make me who I am I generally don’t mention my love for a good arts and crafts project. I do, however, enjoy a good project that I’ve created with my own hands. Pinterest is an addiction.

7. I tend to fill my life with positive people. Who has time for negativity?

Well, that’s all folks. Thanks for visiting and supporting. I am a grateful recipient of this Versatile Blogger Award.

Dear Daughter, Family

Dear Daughter

Dear Daughter,

Of all the things that I am in this life I’m proudest to be called your mother. In everything you bring me joy and help me to learn the significance of life, love, and learning. Everyday I awake with gratitude for you and your father. I hop out of bed eager to see your smiling faces and begin a new day of adventures. Sometimes I get busy, but I think of you always and I pray that you’re safe and happy.

I love how you know when I need a hug and kind words. In my wildest dreams I would never have imagined all that you would have accomplished and understood at the age of two and a half. You’ve come a long way in such a small amount of time. You truly sense the feelings of others and are so sensitive to the world around you. You crave knowledge and are so creative.

I’m sorry for any time that I take for granted with you. You are such a special gift to our family and bring us so much joy. Your smile and laughter can turn any of my darkest days into days of pure sunshine. I am blessed to be called your mother and to be given the opportunity to teach and raise you. I look forward to watching you blossom into a wonderful woman, but hold tight to these days where you are so dependent on me. One day those days will be few and far between so I pray that right now I cherish this time. I’m thankful for every minute.

Your Mother

Sometimes I need a reminder of the divine blessing of motherhood. I was reading another blog this week (Welcome to My World) which made me self-aware of the fact that I needed to take a few minutes to be thankful. I am also currently doing a study in the She Reads Truth App about having gratitude no matter your circumstance. My prayer is that no matter how I feel or how exhausted I am that I continue to be thankful for all of my many blessings. When your toddler is going through this wildly unpopular stage it is easy to get burnt out, but a correctly aligned vision of the divinity of parenthood is necessary at all times. We aren’t called to be parents when it is convenient for us. It’s a 24/7 thing. We are called to be parents to teach love, selflessness, and wisdom to those God has entrusted to us at all times. I am blessed beyond measure 🙂