Friday, April 12, 2013

high five for friday

Linking up with Lauren at From my Grey Desk for this High Five for Friday post!

This has been a week of ups and downs, but I'm trying to focus on the ups!

1.  My sweet fiancé always reminds me what is important, and always takes care of me, even from thousands of miles away.  He's seriously such a blessing, and too sweet for words.

 2.  When I'm down, my wonderful friends can always make me laugh if nothing else!
3.  My good friend Pamela reminded me that retail therapy can cure all wounds (sorry, bank account...) So I found some great shops on the River Walk here in San Antonio and scores some great coral and mint maxis, AMAZING pink tribal sandals, a wonderful floral sundress, some cardis, and a darker mint sleeveless button down.  This store we don't have in Memphis called Papaya was such a success!!
4.  When I'm down my students can ALWAYS cheer me up. Like this goofball trying to convince me his wolf sweatshirt is "uniform" approved.  My kids have to wear a white or navy polo shirt and khakis.  No logos or print on their sweatshirts.  Wolves are def not uniform approved...But sir here was trying to get past.  No-go, mister, although I might be trying to steal that great crewneck for my own use ;)
5.  I've had too much fun making wallpaper for my iPhone and MacBook pro that are monogrammed lately.  I got an app and then have been making them using powerpoint and a website... And make too many cute ones and keep switching them on the reg because I can't pick which one I like the best.  Which one do you like?  Let me know if you want one!  

What are your high fives for this week?

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Thankful Thursday

Judging by my last post, I have had a not so wonderful week.  Finding out I no longer have a job for next year, less than two months away from my wedding... Not the best week of my life.  But I am trying to look on the bright side.  God has a plan for my fiancé and myself, and we will figure it out in His time.  For now, I am on a National Science Teacher's Association conference in San Antonio, which has  been a wonderful blessing of a retreat from real life.

I got the terrible news about my job on Monday, and flew out of Memphis bright and early Tuesday morning.  What a needed break from school!
Monday night before I left, fiancé and I went out for dinner and drinks at one of our favorite places in Midtown Memphis - Young Avenue Deli.  He's so sweet and knew I needed a treat after my terrible day.  
Then to make my day even BETTER, we went to the best place ever known to man...
Jerry's Sno Cones.  Life changing good.  I get the Shrek, which is green apple and caramel with ice cream inside.  Mmmm.  If you're ever in Memph, let me know and I will take you - my treat!  I will eat jerry's on the daily if given the option!

Last weekend I scored this ADORBS hair barrette from Urban Outfitters and it matches my hair color perfectly, and looks as if I did that complicated bow hair-do floating around pinterest, minus some mad skills.  Gotta love it!  


This sweet fellow was waiting in the San Antonio airport greeting people... Oh howdy y'all.  
Check out that hat and those boots, that vest... Oh herroooo.   You know you're in Texas when...
Not  that I can talk... Here's my fiancé before he went off to work last Saturday:
How's your week?  What are you thankful for this Thursday?

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Teaching Turmoil

As you may know, I teach in Memphis at a low-income, low-performing school.  I absolutely adore my school and the children I am blessed to work with daily.  It has been very hard, but for the last two years I have cherished every moment of every day with my babies.  I taught eighth grade science last year and teach seventh grade science this year.

Since our school is so low-performing, we were taken over by a special district called the "i-zone" for innovation zone of schools last year, within our regular school district and throughout the state of Tennessee.  Every spring, we get evaluated based on a cumulative average of our evaluations throughout the year, surveys our students take rating our performance and something called TVAAS- where we are evaluated based on our test data.  Some teachers do not have TVAAS data- librarians, gym and band teachers, first and second year teachers and special education teacher.  TVAAS is based on a three year average of your test scores from state standardized tests.  When you do not have TVAAS data, you do not have a choice but to have your score averaged based upon the school's score.  Since my school is a low performing school, our school received a 1 out of 5 last year on this scale.  This means that our librarian, gym teacher, special education teachers and first year teachers all got 1 out of 5 on TVAAS- regardless of our own successes or failures in the classroom.

To be hired in a low-performing school, a teacher must earn a 3 out of 5 in their cumulative score.  Because of being averaged with the school's low score of a 1, this group of us would have theoretically been out of the running.  However, since we were all actually high-performing teachers with good observation scores and our own test data (regardless of the school's data) was quite high, we were allowed to reapply for our jobs and stay another year.

I love the teachers I work with and am blessed to work with supportive, loving, believing, faithful wonderful men and women.  These people truly care for the children they serve and work hard all day in their classrooms and stay hours after work, tutoring and mentoring, coaching and praying.

Yesterday, we were told that because of our TVAAS, we would not be allowed to return to our school next year.  Even though our own data is fine, even though our own evaluations are 5 out of 5, even though we love these children with our whole beings and give our entire lives to serve and teach them- a flaw in the system and an administrator who is not willing to fight for us is meaning we have to lose these opportunities and apply to work at other schools in the school district that are higher performing. 

Yes I can work at another school.  But I have a heart for my Hamilton Wildcats.  This was my first school after working in summer school in Atlanta and doing my student teaching in Virginia.  These are my babies.  They taught me to love.  They taught me what caring is.  They taught me about commitment, about inner strength, about never giving up.  And I'm not ready to give up this part of my life yet.  

No more connect four to review parts of a cell and cell organelles.  

No more cheerleading practice.  

No more adorable quotes: "Ms dean what if I took off Desmond's arm? It would grow back?" " can you eat starfish?" Can that starfish see us? What do they taste like? Why is it red? How many starfish are in Japan? (?) why didn't nemos fin grow back?"
No more having my sweet fiancé come to Saturday school and work with my boys on their math skills. He's wonderful with my kids and they LOVE and need positive male role models.

No more little lovelies begging to play with my hair and asking adorable questions about why it feels that way, why it grows that way, why it doesn't hold a curl or a braid like theirs does.

No more twin days.

No more having my facebook hacked when I leave my phone on my desk and my ladies upload selfies to my facebook instagram and twitter (happens weekly! haha)
No more cheerleading practices and basketball games, the girls convincing me to put on a uniform and show them my "flips" and do a back handspring (and be limping for weeks afterward!)

No more notes from my eighth graders as they leave to go onto high school and accomplishing every dream their sweet hearts can ever dream.

I don't want to leave.