Giving Praise

This afternoon we had an assembly to celebrate reading month.  Our High School principal, a former NBA player, came to the school to talk to our students.

He began by calling two students up to the front, one of which is my student.  Mr. J said that he had asked our principal which two, of all of her students, had improved their behavior the most.  These were the two students he called up.  He gave them each a gold dollar and celebrated their accomplishments and progress.

This was so great for my student!  While we’ve been having a rougher week than normal, he has definitely turned his behavior around.  Last year he was a runner.  This year he is generally able to turn his behavior issues around in a few short minutes.

I am so proud of the progress he’s made, and I’m glad it was acknowledged by the whole student body. To see his face- grinning ear to ear- was priceless!




Today was so refreshing.

1- I felt better enough to go back to school.  I think I would have gone in no matter what, but it’s nice to go back feeling a little better.  I think I’m on the upswing of this cold now. 

2- My student who has been walking out of my class each day this week decided to stay!  It’s nice to be able to focus on teaching and not be interrupted by behavioral challenges.

3- I will be getting a student teacher next year, as long as I stay in my same position.  This excites me because it will force me to better my own practice, share what I know with others, and will allow me to give back to my Alma Mater.

4- I met with my Balanced Literacy cohort.  This year I’m part of a balanced literacy pilot, and as a group we meet to learn, grow, and share.  I love being able to share ideas and learn what others are thinking.  It’s a great support group, especially because I feel so isolated teaching balanced literacy in special ed.  I may be the only sped teacher, but I still have colleagues working toward the same goal.

5- Because of my knowledge of balanced literacy I’ve been asked to go to a conference this summer.  I would be going with our literacy coach and would be 1 of 2 elementary positions. It is such an honor to be asked, and it feels great to be recognized.

Looking forward to tomorrow- Friday!  Hoping it’s as good a day as today!


5 more months

This morning, my husband looked at me and said “5 more months until Hawaii!”

While 5 months seems like a long ways away, in 5 more months I get to…

– Go in the Pacific Ocean again


-Eat tons of AMAZING food I’ve been missing for 2 years


-Lay out on the beach

-Climb a volcano

-Visit a vanilla field

-Go to at least one arts and crafts festival

-Go to the North Shore Farmers Market

-Enjoy the North Shore

-See sea turtles basking

-Watch the waves at Sunset Beach

-Enjoy my favorite morning trip ever- Starbucks and Great Harvest at the Blow Hole

-Visit our favorite breweries

-Enjoy some wine at the top of a volcano

-Meet some little ones who have been born since we moved away

-Most importantly, see our Ohana again.  It’s been too long!

5 months and counting… I can’t wait!



Why is it that I always try to avoid taking sick days?

I know part of it is that it always ends up being more work to stay home than it takes to just go into school.

I also know that I have this complex (I think many teachers do) that only I can teach my students.

As much as both of these statements are true- I’m actually taking the day off tomorrow to try and get healthy.  Tomorrow is my only day without pressing meetings- I have to be at school every other day this week.  And having not slept well last night today was a bit rough.  I’m hoping that a little bit of extra sleep and some time to just veg will have me ready for the rest of the week.

Hopefully all of the extra time it took to write sub plans today will be worth it!



I’m new-ish at my school this year (last year I was a long-term substitute in the same position). There have been lots of changes and mandates this year, so the climate is quite stressed.  I’ve noticed that I’m not as happy teaching as I have been in years past and I’ve been trying to figure out why.

Today I figured out that one of the reasons is my colleagues, though it seems quite harsh to put that idea out there.  Many people complain about all of the new changes that have been made.  I know change is hard, and I don’t always like change either, but I have grown to learn that change is going to happen whether I like it or not. I have learned to trust the system, knowing that things will work out the way they are supposed to.

Knowing that I can trust the changes that are made, I’m having a hard time dealing with the negativity. I’m still trying to find my place in the school. I find it hard to find like-minded people who are willing to give things a chance.  I can only spend time in my classroom so long before I need some adult interaction.  When most of that interaction is negative about the school, I want to escape.  It’s beginning to become a vicious cycle.

What I find so interesting is that our latest change- having three of our teachers become instructional coaches full or part time- is meant to benefit everyone in the school, teachers and students alike.  I think it will really help address our instructional issues and has the potential to positively impact student growth.  There has been so much push-back though; many people finding issues to complain about before we even get started.

I’ve also realized that I think coaching would be an ideal job for me, which makes hearing the negativity that much more difficult.  It’s hard to hear negative things about a position you would really like.  I know that if the positions are available again next year, and I get hired to fill one of the spots, I will likely be up against the same criticisms.

I believe in the efforts my school is making and am pretty sure I could be happy there, but I am finding myself continually wondering whether it’s the right place for me or not.  I don’t really want to start job hunting again- I’ve done it the previous two years- but I also want to be happy.  How can one be an optimist in an environment full of pessimists and still thrive?



Today I am grateful it’s the weekend.  My weekends are my time to refresh from the week and to work on grad school work.  This weekend is especially needed, since I came down with the cold my husband had all last week. 

I love knowing that I can take things easy and sleep when I need to, in order to get healthy.  I feel lucky that my cold isn’t too bad, just enough to slow me down, but I think that’s a great reminder that I need some time for myself.  Yesterday I made sure to get a few things done- taxes and FAFSA- things that needed to get done in order to get financial aid.

Today brings a much less pressing agenda- I already finished reading a book for pleasure.  I might read some of my textbook later, but if I don’t it’s ok because this coming week is spring break for grad school, so if I’m a little behind I won’t have additional work piling up.  I’m also looking forward to today’s basketball game- UofM vs. MSU.  It will be nice to just relax in front of the tv.

I’m hoping that taking some time for myself today will mean that I’m more refreshed and healthier for the busy, upcoming week.  Hope all of you are enjoying a weekend full of relaxation and not too much work!




I’ve been married for 9.5 years and in December we finally bought a house.  It’s strange and refreshing to know that we’ve finally put down some roots.

We spent our first 8 years in Hawaii enjoying the weather and some great experiences.  We always planned on moving back to the mainland so that we could buy a house and potentially start a family. 

I love owning a house.  Thankfully, we haven’t had any unexpected surprises come up.  I am enjoying decorating the way I want to and making small improvements.  There is so much freedom owning a place of our own after renting.  I’m finding that I’m also impatient.  I want things to be done now and don’t really want to wait to have money in order to make the changes we want.  Our house felt like “home” from the very beginning, and I want to keep adding touches of ourselves to it.

Today we’re going out to get some more things to make our house even more homey and inviting!