Monday, June 18, 2018

Enjoying Summer

This last school year was a lot for me. I moved to a new school where all teachers and students were new to each other.  Our staff was made up of teachers and support staff from all over the district as well as outside the district. This meant we were able to learn so many new 'best practices' and traditions but also meant that we had to develop ourselves as a team.  All the students were new to the school and many to each other. This meant we spent many hours developing a culture and creating this new building to be a home for the kids that entered the doors every day. 

I worked with both Elementary and Middle School students... I was really excited about TEACHING this wide range of students. The challenge was Elementary I had for an hour in a 6 digital days rotation. I graded K-5 every trimester using an E (Exceeding), M (Meets), P (Partially Meets), and D (Does not Meet) grading scale. The littles were also graded in Trimester. The middle school, however, I saw every day for 45 days straight.  Art is a quarter class for middle school and graded on a traditional A, B, C, D, F grading scale. Their classes were 52 minutes running on a completely different schedule. My brain was so mixed up with this divide and shifting. 

My daughter, Matisse, came to my school for the first time ever. That was a new dynamic where we had to separate when I was a 'teacher' and her 'mom'. That took a bit to figure out, but it was an amazing experience. We rocked out to the radio every day coming into the school. We had inside jokes and I had 20 minutes there and back for one on one conversation with my daughter. I also got to know her friends and teachers well. It was wonderful, however, I discovered there was a lot less time in my day to work when I have my daughter with me. 

Because Matisse was at my school, I found myself signing up for a lot of volunteer opportunities that I hadn't in the past. I was one of our staff PAC (Parent group) representatives which required a meeting once a month.  I also found the opportunity at this new school to take on Yearbook. I also became one of our schools Union Reps, and unfortunately this year we had a 'no' vote on a tentative agreement and therefore, we held many meetings, sit-ins, extra events to try to educate our teaching staff and district staff on what would be a good compromise and why. Finally, I chose to be a coach for a program called Girls on the Run.

I wanted to do all of these things I signed myself up for.  I wanted to bring my skills to share with my new school. I was proud of my finished Yearbook, I enjoyed the curriculum and time spent with my daughter and the 40 other girls during Girls on the Run. I like educating myself on Union concerns and efforts. The PAC group was a highlight of my month. These parents bring so much amazing support to our schools (and I'm going to say it... we had a lot of laughs). I want to work with students from Kindergarten through 8th grade. That is why I applied for this job. But the listed activities didn't include my daughter's basketball, and softball, my son's choir concerts and baseball. It doesn't even come close to highlighting the fact that I want to be the best wife I can be to my husband for our whole life together and an amazing Mom to the two people I brought into this world.  There was no time for my family; my three sisters and their families, my Mom, Dad, Grandparents, Aunts/Uncles, and my Inlaws. Friends?  I remember friends... I hope they remember me.

The year was challenging.

After a meltdown and a lot of self-reflection. I have come up with some goals for the upcoming school year to help me find my balance again. I revisited my family mantra again... Goal or Soul... What are my goals, and what feeds my soul? I had to add another aspect to this idea, Time... Where should my time go at this point in my life. 

Where will I put my TIME?
  • My husband
  • My kids (and their activities-- this part of life is temporary, I want to give myself to them)
  • Myself - I NEED to be creative (watercolor, drawing, creating lessons, creating... just creating)
  • My Family and Friends
  • School- Given my students/coworkers/my tribe

What are my GOALS?
  • To provide for my family (full-time job-- or the equivalent in parts of jobs)
  • To make sure my family knows with all their heart that they are my first priority. 
  • Be known amongst my tribe (educators/art educators/artist) as a giver, and support
  • Create a healthier me (PT for my back, Yoga for my brain and body, workouts for my heart, and drawing for meditation)

What feeds my SOUL?
  • Create a love of Art for the students I teach
  • Continue to connect globally with other Educators
  • Feel the LOVE from my family in hugs, words of affirmation, and support (I know I need this in my life)

Because of this reflection and realization, I have come up with a plan for next year. I will be working K-7 (per my the schedule is given to me). I was told that this was non-negotiable if I wanted to keep working with ISD 728 as a full-time employee... so I will make sure my mindset is prepared for running the two schedules again this next school year with grace and positivity. I will continue to spill my heart and soul into teaching (there is no other way for me) I will let go of the Yearbook, PAC committee, and Girls on the Run for the 2018/19 school year.  I will continue to share on this blog, my Instagram, and Twitter when available to do so. I will go dancing, play pickleball, and go for walks with my husband. I will continue to support my kids with this interest (sports, hunting, conversations, future plans). When there is extra time, I will be with friends and family. 

To start on these efforts I will be taking a break. I will be posting again starting on July 10th when I am participating the 2018 Sew a Softie Blog Crawl. See you then.

Here are a few others to follow for the upcoming Sew a Softie Fun... 

Trixi Symonds
Founder of Sew a Softie

Follow on Instagram these participants:

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