Thursday, April 19, 2018

Parenting Advice

Dear Parents,

I think you love your children.

I say think, because based on the evidence: they come to school without signs of physical abuse, they seem to bathe on a semi regular basis, and they actually come to school, you could make a case that you care.

But, there is an emotional component to loving as well. When you give your child everything they want in order to avoid a temper tantrum or an argument, you are not showing love.
When you let them stay up until 10, 11, or "until they fall asleep," you are not showing love.
When they claim they "can't sleep without the TV on" so you have a TV in their room, you are not showing love.
When you allow them to talk back to you and others, you are not showing them love.
When you allow them to swear, you are not showing them love.
When you take them to movies you want to see, or let them watch movies with violence, sex, and killing, you are not showing them love.
When you allow them to make fun of others and join in the cruelty, you are not showing love.
When you swoop in to "fix," every little slight by putting your child on the pedestal of perfection, you are not showing love.
And when you have your child's nose glued to a screen so they don't bug you, you are not showing love.

Your children are a reflection of you. If you say you love your children, be more than the adult that lives with them. Be willing to do the hard things. Say, "No," more than you want to. Set limits. Teach self regulation. Teach kindness. Demand respect.     Be present.

The world you are creating right now...the world we all will have to live in... is up to you. It can be full of self centered, helpless individuals, who demand their own way (as it is now), or it can be full of people who see and do what needs to be done, not for the spotlights or applause, but for the simple reason it needed to be done.

Parents, grow up so your kids can to.

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Encyclopedia of Me: Volume I

Loosely based on Amy Krause Rosenthal's Encyclopedia of an Ordinary Life. 

Encyclopedia of Me: Volume I

Ice Cream: I am not a big ice cream person. I'm actually kind of boring when it comes to ice cream. But... I am also an ice cream snob. I like hard ice cream, not soft serve. From the store, it is usually vanilla - any kind that is all natural ingredients. I like a sprinkle of my coffee, homemade blackberry syrup, or a shot of Kahlua stirred in. We make homemade magic shell with coconut oil and chocolate chips melted together and sometimes whipped cream to top it off.
If getting from an ice cream store, I like coffee ice cream, which I started to like after trying some from Hot Licks in Fairbanks, Alaska. There is a place in Michigan that sells homemade ice cream with blackberry syrup swirled in (that is where we got the idea), that is fantastic.
But. The best ice cream ever, was a kind I tried last summer, at a place called Ursa Major. I think it was called Sleeping Bear Latte. It was coffee ice cream with cinnamon and honey swirled in. Ah-mazing.
So if I'm having ice cream, it has to be real.

Introvert: I am an introvert. True introvert or extrovert is where you get your energy. I can talk in front of people. I can sing camp songs to a crowd. Nervous perhaps, depending on the situation, but not stage fright. But I don't like crowds to just mingle. If I have to I need to get away or I feel the walls close in. And going to the store, wears me out. The lights and high ceilings and wandering people are exhausting. I get home and I need some time to reorient.

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

ISTEP What Else?

This time of year, people like to comment on the fact that, "kids are not numbers," and "tests are not an indication of what kids are capable of," and all that is true, but can we take a moment to discuss the elephant in the room?

I don't think it's the potential test scores that stress us all out. No. I think it is the CIA level security we have to have.

Tests are in a locked room in the office where few have keys to open. Teachers have to sign out the tote with their class's information.
The totes are not to leave the teacher's sight.
Teachers must have proctors to help monitor the room.
Instructions must be read in the same way every test, every time.
The teacher and proctor must circle the room over and over and over, annoying the kids, in an attempt to be sure they aren't cheating.
The teacher and proctor may only say, "I'm sorry, I can't help you. Just do the best you can."
The teacher and proctor must keep their faces neutral so as not to indicate what the answer might be.
Once the test is over, scrap paper must be collected and counted to be sure no one copied questions.
Pencils must be collected and counted, because they can't use their own pencils-- they may use the wrong kind.
Every manipulative handed out must be collected and counted.
Once everything has been collected and counted, they are returned to the tote.
The teacher then must return the tote to the locked room.
The kids are told not to discuss the test with ANYONE.
Staff are forbidden to talk about the test with ANYONE including each other.

Then you have to take into account the kids who are sick and need to make up a test. The Sped kids who have accommodations need certified teachers to give the tests.

Life as usual, literally grinds to a halt, so the entire state can take spend thousands of dollars, not on resources to enhance education, but to testing companies who develop and implement tests that spotlight what we haven't taught properly (according to them). Doing well on the tests gives us money so we can afford next years tests.

So, no, The Test is not a representation of what our kids know, it is a representation of how we can keep secrets.


Monday, April 16, 2018

Indiana Weather

Life in Indiana.

 Friday temperatures in the upper '60s.
 Torrential rain for Saturday and Sunday
 Monday the temps plummet
 to turn the rain to snow
 And strong winds blow
 And guess what the forecast predicts...
 60's by the weekend.

Life in Indiana.
If you don't like the weather
just wait.

Sunday, April 15, 2018

Movie instead of Blog

Spending today watching The Greatest Showman and relaxing. Blogging resumes tomorrow.

Saturday, April 14, 2018

Encyclopedia of Me: Volume H

Loosely based on Encyclopedia of an Ordinary Life by Amy Krause Rosenthal.

Volume H

Hard Moments: Everyone has hard moments in life. The hard moments don't have to be negative, just life changing. Here are a few of mine.

Moving to Alaska: I had never been so far from home and family. We didn't know how long we'd be there or what it would be like. When we left, we didn't know when we'd see family and friends again. Being there wasn't as hard as I thought, even the 50 below wasn't bad. The dark all the time was the worst. But we strengthened our marriage by only having each other to rely on.

Delaware: Living in Delaware made us appreciate our life growing up in the Midwest. (see defining moments)

Parents dying: My parents died two years apart. It is hard to no longer have your link to your heritage.

High School: I liked my high school. We were the La Porte Slicers. I had jobs, and wasn't able to go to games -- not that I would have anyway. I did, however, go to the dances every home game. My friends and I and later Mark and his friends had a blast. Usually followed by Burger King and cruising Lincolnway. I was in the top 15% academically. I learned typing on a typewriter that had blank keys. I took 4 years of French. I took Math as far as Geometry because that's all I had to. I was in Choir. I hated Gym. I took Government in Summer School, because it was easier. I lost friends and gained others. But most importantly, I gained my soul mate.

Husband: My husband is my hero. He is the calming force in my life. He is the epitome of character. In the y, in the 90's there was the Character Counts iniative, for which the corner stones were: caring, honesty, respect, and responsibility.
Mark is caring and compassionate to everyone he interacts with. He is able to calm situations that arise in his job and handles them in a way that allows everyone to leave with dignity.
Honesty is as important to him as it is to me and the way to get him angry is to lie to or about him. He is honest and can be trusted without doubt.
Respect comes naturally for him. He meets with CEOs and politicians as well as tough kids and single moms and treats them all with the same respect and dignity.
Responsibility- When we decided to have kids, I tried to juggle having our son with us at work. When that didn't work, he supported and agreed with the decision to have me stay home with our kids. Because of that decision, he took on the role of sole provider for an eventual family of 4.
Because of who he is, heart and soul, people are drawn to him and instinctively trust he is doing things for the greater good.
He is a good man and I'm so proud of him and all he's accomplished, and I am lucky he chose me.

Friday, April 13, 2018

Friday the 13th

Today's score card

1 assistant quit before break. She was responsible for K and 1. Her replacement starts Monday.

1 assistant out for two weeks at least because of knee surgery.

2 assistants out for CPI training

1 teacher out and sub a no show

Dean of students leading the CPI training

Solution

I subbed

Speech teacher, tech coach, gym teacher, and special needs teacher fill in as lunch and recess for missing IAs.

Everyone made it through the day in one piece and most of there sanity intact.

Take that, Friday the 13th!!!