Life through my iPhone

Hello, friends! Here is my life lately:

IMG_1458We have finally started to have the beautiful Knoxville fall weather I love. Avery has been enjoying it as well. I’m glad she is a good dog and we can just sit on the back porch without her running all over the place.

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I made another Boston butt to have more shredded pork, which pairs REALLY well with some onion straws to create a really yummy taco.

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And if I am going to cook something salty, I have to have something sweet…

IMG_1453These have happened…twice. PB rice krispy treats, dipped in chocolate of course. That recipe is coming up soon! They are so simple and so yummy.

IMG_1438Of course, plenty of football has been watched already…

IMG_1415I’m thankful for good friends who will come cheer on the Rebels (and Nat!) with me.

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So far it has been a great season 3-1!

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This is my life motto lately. IB is creating a very stressed Sarah, but the kids are great and I am never bored that is for sure.

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I got to spend the weekend with my family. They came to cheer on the Rebels and spend some time with Nat and I. It was such a great blessing! I can’t believe the next time I see my sister we will know if she is going to be having a boy or a girl!

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My parents got to come to my school and see my classroom. This really was a blessing. They are the reasons I am a teacher and they are such a great support system. I am immeasurably blessed by great parents.

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Life has been busy and I am exhausted and pretty sure I am coming down with the flu, but it is good and I can only thank the Lord for that.

And of course, in the last few weeks we have had a little fun with our dog child.

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I mustache you a question….

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Am I the only one who takes selfies with their dog?

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Things new teachers don’t need to hear

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I am a new teacher. This year is only my second year in the classroom, and I am still stumbling around like I started yesterday.

In my roughly year and 2 months of teaching, I have been given a lot of “advice” and heard a lot of opinions. Someone of these things were helpful, others, not so much.

These are just a few things that I beg, no I implore you, never to say to a new teacher.

1) “If I were you, I would get out of teaching right now…”

Here is the thing about this statement: I am obviously not going to get out of teaching right now. I didn’t spend 5 years in school to just change my mind. I know what goes on in politics; I know all of the changes that are coming down the pipe for education. They didn’t shelter us from those things in our education classes, because they wanted us to be prepared when we became real teachers.

I am not planning on quitting my job; what else would I do? A call is a call.  A new teacher doesn’t need to hear someone say “ignore the hard work you put in for 5 years; go do something you don’t care as much about!”

A new teacher needs to hear “Education is a difficult field to be in, but if you love it, it is worth it”

Teachers, especially new teachers, need encouragement, not discouragement telling us that the choice we made was, apparently, wrong. We aren’t planning on getting out of education.

2) “You look much too young to be a teacher…”

If I had a dollar for every time someone said that to me, I would be able to retire early. (And then I would hear, “You look much too young to be retired.”)

First, I don’t think it is ever appropriate to comment on a person’s age- especially in the work place. I don’t know what it is about education, but it creates a free-reign atmosphere for personal opinion.

Second, I know this seems like a rant, and it sort of is, but even if I look young, I am still a professional. I still went through 5 years of school, I went through job interviews, I got hired. I didn’t trick anyone into hiring me. I never lied about my age. I am old enough and certified for the position.

3) “It is only going to get worse…”

YIKES! Don’t say those things to me or anyone unless you are a medical professional and someone really needs to hear that.

New teachers (especially this new teacher) need encouragement. We obviously know that somethings might not get better until they get worse. This can mean anything: the state of education as a whole, a child’s behavior, the panic and frustration. We know those things are going to be crazy, but please don’t be a pessimist towards a new teacher. PLEASE.

4) “I don’t know if it is worth it…”

I have heard this in regards to the salary, the hours spent working, the money spent, the discipline issues. I have heard it in every situation.

I know I don’t get paid a lot. There is a chance I will never get paid a lot. I didn’t get into it for the money.

I know I spend way more of my “off” time working than I should. I didn’t get into teaching to off work by 3:45

I know I spend way more of my own money than I should. Most people would never dream of buying things for their job. I didn’t get into teaching for an expense account (even though that would be great!)

I know I spend a lot of my time figuring out ways to reach that one, or two kids. I spend a lot of my heart on children that will walk out of my class in May and never think of me again. I didn’t get into teaching to be remembered.

At the end of the day, being underpaid, overworked, and tired can feel just like those things should feel. But, if you ask any teacher, there are those days, and they come, that you know that it was all completely worth it.

I say all of these things not to rant about the hardships of being a first year teacher. I say all these to things to maybe help people remember, this is not just a chosen career, but it is also a calling. Teachers choose to teach not because they don’t have anything better to do, but rather, because this is the best.

Being a new teacher is scary and difficult and exhausting. We are watching our friends start jobs that probably have higher salaries, better benefits, and hours that (really) end at 5.

New teachers are learning how to manage behavior, differentiate education, grade hundreds of papers, all while trying to stay above water and hopefully have a life. So please- instead of telling that new teacher you know to “get out while you can,” why don’t you tell them them thank you and maybe give them a hug. Or a cup of coffee (or a iced mocha).

This Year

Here is the thing about me- I don’t love myself well. I sell myself short and doubt most of the things I do.

This year I am up for a major challenge. I am teaching IB English. What is IB English you ask? The best way I can describe it is English for the really motivated high school student. (I will probably get flogged for my terrible answer.)

Here is the thing about IB English- it is a major challenge for this girl. I thought last year, my first year of teaching, would be the hardest year, but once again, God says “not quite.”

This summer I prayed that I would find my spot at West, that I would feel like I belong somewhere. I prayed and prayed and all summer I waited for answer- what would it be that God would plant in my heart? Well, here is the thing about praying and asking for things- God answers.

When I got the call that I was going to teach IB, all I could say was “yes” and “yikes.”
That is what I am still saying- “yes, I will, do this, but yikes, can I do this.”

I am trying to battle the little demon buttheads that tell me I can’t do this.
I am also trying to battle the lazy spells and the procrastination.
I am going to have to STUDY and read and be 2 steps ahead at all time. I will,but it will be worth it.

I am desperately trying not to sell myself short, because the thing is…if you don’t think you can do it- you won’t do it.

All I can do right now is walk in the truth and just keep believing that this new job is an answered prayer.

Here we go, I’m looking forward to seeing what this year is going to bring.

End of Summer…

I have officially recognized that summer is over. We have been back at work for a week and in 2 days students will come back into the school building and another school year will begin. Where did the time go?!? Seriously though, it has been a very quick summer. I think the fact that I travelled for over half of it added to the feeling of a short summer for us. I am so blessed to have had the summer I did, and I can’t believe all of the things I got to experience.

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We got to spend an amazing 10 days traveling in Europe where we celebrated our one year anniversary! I can’t believe time has gone by that quickly. Heck, as I write this post we are over the 14 month mark 🙂

DSC_0762We went on our first annual friend vacation to Charleston, SC. We love having good friends to travel with. What a blessing!

We spent a good amount of time this summer with family and friends, and we grew our little family by one!

IMG_1119We love our sweet Baby Avery!

Anyway, this was a major season of change for my family. My parents moved to Wisconsin and my sister and brother in law moved to my parents’ old house and now my brother gets married in a week.

I feel like this last year or two has been quite huge in the change area. Nothing has stayed the same, but I am so grateful for everything that has happened.

This school year is definitely going to be a test of my patience, sanity, and ability. I am shifting gears from teaching low level students to the high performing IB students. I am seriously dumbfounded that I was chosen for this position and completely humbled, but I am ready to get this show on the road and see where this year takes me.

Anyway, I have made some goals for this school year and by the grace of God I will keep them. I didn’t do very well this first week of inservice, but really, I am giving myself a little time to get adjusted to getting back to work.

Goals for the year:

  • have a quiet time @ least 5 days a week (I get really bad at doing this and making excuses, but seriously, my attitude is so much better when I stay in the Word)
  • update blog @ least 2-3 times a week
  • Run 15-20 miles a week. We will see how this goes. I desperately want to be in good running shape, but I need to learn to block out my thoughts when I talk myself out of it.
  • Encourage the heck out of Nat. Last year was really difficult for us learning how to be a teaching/coaching family. I am seriously praying that I can bite my poor attitude in the butt and be supportive, rather than a thorn in his side about football.

Anyway, that is where I am at. Tomorrow I am posting about making sweet tea, or rather, Nat is going to “guest post” because my sister has been asking for it for a month. Happy Weekend!

The First Year

Today is the last day of school. Actually, the last day of school is over.

Before I really get into anything thoughtful let me just say one big:

HALLELUJAH, THANK YOU JESUS! 

OK, but really, this school year is over and I am so thankful for summertime. I am incredibly reflective right now and a little sappy. I have learned a lot this year and I have grown a lot this year. Here are a few things.

1) I love teaching.

If you had asked me in January/February I would have told you that I wasn’t sure about teaching. I was exhausted, beaten down, and unsure of everything. I made it through that low point, and now, with one year under my belt I am certain that I am supposed to be a teacher. I am also incredibly hopeful knowing that it can only go up from here. I am no longer completely inexperienced. I have some (a very small amount) idea of what I am doing. There is still a long way to go and a lot to learn, but I hope that I always have something to learn.

2) Co-workers really are worth being friends with.

Only teachers really understand what it is like to be a teacher. Only teachers at your school really understand what it is like to be a teacher at your school. I have been blessed this year to be around supportive people who let me cry, scream, whine, and laugh inappropriately without any judgement. It has been fun to learn from more experienced teachers and also just get to know them as people, not just as teachers.

3) It is OK not to know everything.

I feel like I have embarrassed myself at least once a day this year, and while it is slightly humiliating, I am learning that it is definitely normal. I am OK not knowing all of the answers, because that means I still have a lot to learn! I want my students to know that I am human, and that learning never ends. Yes, it would be nice to have all of the answers, but I don’t believe that is realistic.

4) Being co-workers with your husband really is fun.

Nat and I have a weird life. Our first year of marriage coincided with our first year of working, which got even more strange when we found out we were working at the same school. I think we were a little nervous about what the dynamic would be, but seriously, it has been the most fun year. I love working with my husband, especially at a school that is big enough where we don’t run into each other all the time. It is fun to know the same students and to be a part of the same community.

5) My apartment will never be clean.

I have learned this year that my apartment will never be as clean as I want it to be. The laundry will never be done. We won’t always have a home cooked meal. My hair won’t always be clean.

Having a full time teaching job is exhausting. It is wonderful, but it is exhausting. I have had to let go of the type A part of me that exists this year, and allow life to get a little messy. I’ve chosen sleep over having laundry, just to make it to the next day. I am learning that that is ok. Summer is the time that is meant for cleaning/cooking/working out 🙂

6) It gets better.

I could cry thinking about this year. The beginning was tough, and I wasn’t sure if I did anything right. On the last day of school, however, my students said precious things to me, and showed me that patience with people pays off. I can’t base the entire year off of the first few months.

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I have learned so much this year. There are not enough words in the English language to describe how I feel today. My emotions are all over the place, but the emotion that is dominate right now is JOY. I am looking forward to next year, but you better believe it, I am going to enjoy this summer.