Saturday, October 17, 2015

Book: Fish In A Tree

Fish In A Tree: You know it's a good - GREAT book when you crack the page and cry almost the whole way through. You can buy the book HERE. Your students need it and your family at home needs it for read-alouds. 

My heart sings louder, I can do better!

My heart pounds stronger, be the change!

My heart was not prepared to be broken as it was. I feel so completely broken from reading this because of my striving to meet edu-professional responsibilities. 

I have come to the end of my road. 

I'm a teacher who is madly in love with learning and empowering students to go on a journey of learning...and that has nothing to do with ed policies. This book is why I am a teacher madly in love with helping students know they belong.  

A long, long time ago when I was a wee little girl I learned this song by the Gaithers:

"I am a promise,
I am a possibility
I am a promise with a capital "P";
I can be anything, anything God wants me to be..."

We are all a promise. Each gift of life that is in our classroom is there, not to just take up space in a desk or a name in a grade book of some kind...they are there because they are our promise. 

My name is Kimberly, each day I teach knowing that my audience is an audience full of promises. They ARE the promise. 

In a world of education where students are being compared, say ENOUGH!

In a world where teachers are being compared, say ENOUGH!

In a world of brokenness, with people seeking accolades to be better than each other, will you join me in saying You Are Enough? Come, just as you are. You are worthy of being in this great big world..full of your gifts, talents and dreams.  It is so crucial for hearts to know and for minds to hear and for actions to speak that the student is ENOUGH!

 It's time to say ENOUGH.

Worth More Thank Gold: Britt Nicole


Saturday, October 10, 2015

Speak Life!

Race to the Top and No Child Left Behind is a lie. A big fat lie. I am tired of it and I am going to stare it down and swing my one stone and knock it down.

My whole squad of dollies and stuffies that I used to teach when I was five and I are ready. Yes, I always wanted to be a teacher, that is not a secret. I wanted to help people fall in love with learning and I have known this since I was that little. Years of planning for this in life prior to university studies could not have prepared me for how my mind races now, and it is not racing to the top. Yes, maybe we did leave no child behind (wait that is NOT true) but this whole agenda HAS left great teachers behind and in many cases without sanity.

Am I to be congratulated because my students tested well? Am I to be lead to the stockades for ridicule because they don't? It is so much pressure and you know what happens when people are under pressure, they break.

Displaying 2015-10-10 19.33.56.jpgIt is sham...I mean, it is a shame that we are trying so hard to stay present and live in the moment that education IS right now. It  will wear on you. The pressure is intense and there is NO way that anyone can say that they can't feel it, because we are being turned into scapegoats for everything going wrong in education and the goats are being led to a death trap. So here are your choices: Stay in. Bite your tongue. Do it this way. Or get out.

Those are your choices.

What is sacrificed? love of teaching is on the butchering block and it is becoming more my job, not my joy. The creative aspects that all teachers bring to the table, the respect of professionalism that teachers have is questioned when we are brave enough to question.

But I AM questioning, because I know in the depths of my heart this focus on data as we race to the top is wrong. The way teachers are measured on data is wrong. I know it and so do you.

Today, I went to a funeral for a student's mom. He has moved on from my room and is now a sixth grader and yet like you, once a student of ours, always a student of ours..right? Right.

And in a room where we all have gathered because of a death, life was celebrated.

Its the life of children that need to be celebrated, not scores. It is their hopes and dreams that matter, not a test score. It is their talents that matter, not a test score.

I have felt trapped. I have felt like the walls of school are not speaking life. They are speaking death. In a place buzzing with noise and people, there is a feeling of death. Maybe you like me have come home from work burnt out and on the verge of tears. Who am I kidding, not even on the verge, the tears just come. School....doing school is like this right now.

Where as, at a funeral where we ponder life's final whispers here on earth, life was spoken.


No one in that room was there to talk about test scores that she may have received on the back in the day the Iowa Basics which were given once a year. No, they were there to talk about how Mrs. P. lived her life. What made her unique, not standardized.

What mattered? Her laughter, the way she put others needs ahead of her own, the bravery she had to fight her battle, the way she loved with no limits her husband her two children. The way the faith she had changed how she "did life."

My student is more than a test score, he is now a boy that lost his mother and if we don't recognize and honor the journeys that the students are on outside our doors, we won't know the student. Data tracked from testing intensely doesn't help us know a student. Guess what? It ends up that no one discussed even Mrs. P's report card.

Don't wait for the funeral to speak life! Do it now!
This is a call from my heart to speak life!

Shout it loudly from the rooftops, whisper it in the corner where people are hiding. You matter! You have a purpose and it is a valid one! You are a gift! You are unique! Say it over and over the students. Say it over over their families.

Speak life into the walls of your classroom, of your school. It starts with seeing the child and looking at the student..finding their why..and helping them discover elements of understanding so they know that they are not a data point. They are human beings.

You don't need to be a scapegoat for an agenda that has nothing to do with mattering. You can be the change. The change needs to start with each of us as individuals..and then collectively saying WE are not test scores and neither are our students.

Speak life, before it is too late and you burn out the light in your own heart and in the hearts of the students. Don't hide it under a bushel. Let your light shine. Be the best you you can be because the world needs you to whisper not data points but to speak life.

I am worthy of this. You are worthy of this and so are all your students and staff.

Speak Life: Toby Mac

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Dear Diary

October 7, 2015

Dear Diary,

It is only October and I am wiped out. I come home every single day and I am so worn out.  Oh, please don't tell me that I need to drink a energy shake and push it through. No, that will not do. I don't need to rejoin a fitness club and burn off my stress.

I need for the stress to subside.

But how did I get this stressed anyhow? Goodness! I mean my MEd program is over and for awhile, I don't have any papers left to write. That was teach, parent and go to school myself.

I have backed off social media and became more of a stalker. I have not participated in Twitter chats since...when? I don't even know.

What is my stress? It is hard to nail that down. Is it the insane amount of crazy and unrealistic expectations that keep coming down the line?

No, I think that is a huge problem, but not the source of my stress.

I think it is more like a fight inside of me. I am trying to do my best at so many things that are expected of teachers but feel like I don't do any of them well. I want to do things well. I want to "exceed" at all the things that I do.  How is that possible to exceed when I can't ever catch up, take a breath without drowning in what is not yet done. I think I am stressed because I am trying to keep it all together...this ruse I cover myself with is drowning me.

So, I am just going to come clean. I don't have it all together and instead of comparing myself to others, I am going to own my load and try to shift things around so that I can balance better. I am taking the advice of my pastor...when you bring one thing new into your life, do everything possible to take two things out.

So if I have not been keeping up with my own blog or yours lately, I am sorry. If I have not been in your Twitter chat, I am sorry. If I have skipped over your voxes, I am sorry. I am sorry and yet, not sorry. What I gained back and brought back into balance was my family. That matters.

Perspective matters. This is my fight song.