Posts with tag: "Teaching"


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Know Your Why
Know Your Why

 About five months ago, I hit rock bottom, healthwise.  I was overweight, out of shape, exhausted, and just plain old sad over having lost the athlete I once was.  I knew I had to do something to get strong and healthy again, but the thought of trying again was daunting.  I’d climbed this mountain so many times before.  Self doubt and fear loomed.  Why try again?  Wouldn’t I just fail… again?I decided that I needed to try a new way, so I sought the help of a professional.  I called a trainer who I’d found online, one who specialized in health and fitness for those of us in the “over forty” club.  One phone call with Dave McGarry and I knew I had found a gem.  He helped me set goals, and then he helped me crush them!  I think the most important thing that I learned from Dave was the very first lesson he taught me.  He had me sit down and write out my “why”.  Even beyond that, he had me write down several layers of “whys” so that every reason I had for wanting to get healthy had a deeper “why”.  I would consider a goal, say to lose 20 lbs, and I would write down why I wanted to lose that weight.  I wanted to be able to spend a day at the pool with my kids and be comfortable in my swimsuit.  But why?  I would continue ...

Life's Greatest Lesson: Are You Learning It Too?
Know Your Why

 Ever have a moment where everything around you just seems to freeze, and you hear the voice of your heart speaking as clear as day to you?  I had that moment early last month, and it’s the reason why I’m back here blogging. Let me back up a bit.  To the week when everything came to a head.  The week when my 12 year old daughter shared with me some of the struggles she’s been having at school.  (isn’t middle school just the best???)  The same week my teaching contract came up for next year, and the question of whether to continue in the classroom or return to my passion resurfaced.  The week when all three of my worlds collided, and then settled into a peaceful clarity. I’m sure many of you can relate to the truth that being a mom is insanely hard!  From the moment our kids arrive, we are a basket of emotions, in love with them in a way we’ve never known, exhausted to a degree we’ve never experienced, worried like we never knew we could worry.  But this.  This tween and teenage phase, particularly with a daughter.  Well, this is a whole different kind of beast! MY MOTHER WARNED ME ABOUT THIS! My mother warned me about this (a story for another post), but I really had no idea.  Raising a young lady is hard!  One minute my heart is aching over whether ...

Building Something I Can Believe In
Know Your Why

It’s been awhile since I sat down to write a blog post, and even longer since I tried to write one this meaningful.  Perhaps, like so many others, I have come to the end of one year, preparing to start the next, and have these deep moments of reflection and planning.  This year seems so similar to past ones in that sense, and yet it feels so completely unlike anything I’ve felt in past years. The last time I wrote here, I spoke of a new journey I felt led to start.  At the time, I had very little idea about that journey, only that it involved a desire to give and to serve.  That was about five months ago. A lot has happened since then, both in my business, in our home, and in our country and world.  I’m sure you could say the same.  Five months gives a person a lot of time to think, to live, to experience, to grow.  Our family experienced the joy of moving into our “long term” home.  We lived through a few bumps and bruises, and were grateful for nothing too serious.  Business got busy through the beautiful autumn months, and we celebrated another holiday season together, thankful for each other and for the many gifts we all gave and received.   We also witnessed a lot in our city, in our country, and throughout the world.  We watched the news, like all of you, and we discussed ...

Ten Things I Learned By Going Back To Teaching
Know Your Why

I look around the room at the sea of teenage faces, and I sometimes think "What am I doing here?  How did I get here again?"  Eleven years ago, when I walked out of the classroom to become a "stay at home mom" I didn't really think I'd ever return.  Yet, here I am, back in the classroom, teaching high school English to juniors and seniors.  Some days I wake up in a cold sweat.  They're going to know I'm a fraud.  They're going to see right through me.  They're going to end up worse for having had me as their teacher.  But on most days, I wake up nervous but excited for the day ahead.  I happen to teach some of THE GREATEST teenagers on the planet (I know this for a fact), and so the nervousness usually gives way to joy (and some fatigue!).Going back into the classroom this year has taught me quite a bit.  I love that.  Teaching has taught me!  Here's what I've learned. 1. I LOVE TEACHINGThis is so ironic because the one thing I remember teling people as a child was that I did not know what I wanted to be when I grew up, I just knew I did NOT want to become a teacher.  How crazy is that?  And yet here I am in love with teaching.  Now to be honest, it's not the lesson plans that set my heart a flutter.  Not really loving all the grading either.  But I love being surrounded by young, ...

Lessons Learned By Teaching
Know Your Why

 Seventy minutes can be a long time!  That was pretty much the first lesson I learned upon returning to the classroom this year.  At our school, classes run (for the most part) in seventy-minute blocks.  That's seventy minutes of my kids listening to me drone on and on about vocabulary (drone was one of their words last week), or how to write an essay outline, or what Ralph Waldo Emerson was trying to say in his essay, Self-Reliance.  I don't even want to hear MYSELF talk for that long, so I certainly know they don't want to listen for that long.And so I've discovered the joy of small groups!  I try to break up a portion of every long class block into some sort of small group work.  Some days my students discuss questions I've given them.  On other days, they may be compiling evidence for a mock trial they'll have in class.  Some days I might even bring in markers and poster paper and let their creativity take on colors as well as words.  But no matter what it might be, I try always to break them into smaller groups.Small groups are wonderful.  First of all, students can no longer hide!  Even my quietest students are encouraged to contribute to whatever their group is working on.  Students who aren't comfortable sharing with the entire class are more comfortable in smaller settings, and those slackers who didn't ...