Monday, September 28, 2015

School Days- September 2015

School Days- September 2015
"Just Keep the Faith"

It is now 5 full weeks into the school year and we are underway for what seems to be a very challenging year for us all. Lots of faith will be needed to make it to June but I know with God all things are possible.

Luke has started going to a ½ day Pre-K 3 program offered by my school district to teacher’s kids. This is a FANTASTIC program and we have been waiting to get into this program for years. The teacher, Mrs. Sharpen, is one of the absolute best teachers in the district and really has a heart of gold for these little ones, not to mention the patience of Job. Luke has learned SO much in these 5 short weeks. I know Chris and I worked all summer with him on his letters and numbers and it seemed like he had forgotten it all or not took any of it in; but now he comes home singing his “ABCs” and other learning songs and can even spell a few words. He LOVES Pre-K and Mrs. Sharpen thus far.

Luke is also going to a daycare in Willis during the afternoon time when he is finished with Pre-K and I also drop him off in the early morning time before I go to school. This daycare busses him over to his Pre-K campus around 8:15 and then picks him up when his school day is complete at 11:30. Luke does not mind the bus ride but I don’t think he likes the daycare very much. In the morning times, he is put into a “schoolers” room with all the other school aged kids who ride the bus to school from daycare. This puts him in with kids any age from 3-12 and I can tell he doesn’t have very many friends. There is only 1 other kid who rides the bus to his program with him and Luke and her try to hang out together but usually when I drop Luke off he goes straight to the teacher. He has always done this type of thing at church and other “nursery” locations but usually will find a friend and digress from that tactic. I can tell he does not like this part of his day and just this week he has started fussing and even crying as we turn into the daycare in the mornings. I am continuing to look for alternative childcare with no luck. I am hoping that if I could get him to school myself or by other means, not the daycare, then at least he might not be as upset in the mornings which in turn should improve his day.

He doesn’t seem to mind his afternoon daycare situation as much but that is in an actual 3 year old classroom with a teacher and all. In fact, it is a certified Pre-K program as well. However, there has not a consistent teacher in his room since August and that has proven to be difficult from a parent’s perspective and even Luke does know who he teacher is at daycare even after 5 weeks. There is also nearly 20 kids in that classroom with only 1 “teacher” and another “aide” of some kind, both of which are hardly the same person from day to day. For a child like Luke who thrives from routines, this has not been a good situation.

The daycare itself I have not been pleased with since the first week of school. Despite the non-consistent teacher, the staff seems to be not the brightest crayons in the box and very flippant about every situation I have brought to their attention. In addition, they seem to have a very liberal security program as both Chris and Jackie, my mother in-law, have been able to walk right in and pick Luke up without the workers even asking who they were or why they were there to pick Luke up instead of me. This scares me… I’m going to be honest! I do not like that! However, the thing that bothers me the most is how dirty this place seems to be. The smell alone can give me a migraine the minute I walk in the door. Not to mention the classroom where he is at is typically covered in dirt and paint and just 3 year old filth all the time. Those of you that know me know that I am OCD about cleanliness but this is just too much. He does not have his own cubby so therefore all of his nap supplies are shared with another kids nap supplies and that is just gross. The clientele of this place is also… well, not the best!

I am continuing to look for other childcare needs for the afternoons with no avail. I know there is a lesson in patience or something in this mess and I am praying daily for an answer but until then… it is what it is!

Kids World Fall Pictures 2015

My little handsome guy... He looks so adorable
(Well except for the ugly purple and gold :) )

His daddy is so proud of the LSU outfit and smile!

I like this one too! He looks SO BIG!

Our precious Natalie is thriving once again in 1st grade and despite all of the distractions and non-optimal situations she is just flourishing right along. We chose to put Natalie in a class with her friend Bella who is also a teacher’s kid and their teacher, Mrs. Spencer, is a great teacher who has a heart of gold and is very patient and loving which is just what Natalie needs.

During the 2nd week of school the entire 1st grade had a shift in teachers and classes as one of the 6 teachers had to be removed from our campus due to small class sizes and that teacher’s class had to be spread out amongst the remaining teachers. This teacher also happened to be the “inclusion” teacher so that meant that all of those Special Education kids also had to be moved to another classroom. Survey says… they are going to Mrs. Spencer’s class. This shift brought some turmoil to not only this class but all the classes and my school lost one of its best teachers. However, over the course of the next few weeks all of the kids and teachers adjusted and the grade level is running smoothly again.
Natalie is very bright and intelligent and is ahead of her class as far as academics go. Chris and I (but mainly Chris) worked VERY hard over the summer to keep her aligned with her grade level and hoped to have her above her grade level by August. We did just that as she is reading 2nd grade level books and doing late 1st grade to early 2nd grade math. Of course, she still has several areas in which she can improve, like her hand writing (I swear she will become a doctor… I can barely read it at times), but she is doing very well. She does however, get distracted in class as some students required additional attention and needs from Mrs. Spencer. In fact, I went to observe her earlier last week and found Natalie’s desk to be at the front of the classroom near the board, almost as if she was in trouble.

I spoke with Mrs. Spencer and she said that Natalie requested to be by herself as she said “I can focus more by myself”. This led to a whole new discussion with both Natalie and Mrs. Spencer about her social behavior. I learned that Natalie has been playing a lot by herself at recess and while Mrs. Spencer says she is still a social butterfly she has moments where she just wants to be by herself. This is something new for us all as she has ALWAYS wanted to be with us or Luke or more often, friends. I am not really sure what to think.

Being a teacher at this school I am able to tell her which friends are good and which are not-so-good. In fact, I have told her “You can play with so-and-so but be careful when hanging out with so-and-so”. I did this last year in hopes that our 5 year old would make good friends and not get caught up with the wrong crowd. That worked wonders as she had a PERFECT year and did very well in Kindergarten. She is also doing very well this year following these guidelines but I can’t help but wonder if my influence of who to hang out with and who not to hang out with has brought her to her location of sitting in the front alone. For all I know she is thinking “Well, mommy said do not hang out with ____, so I might as well just be by myself”. This really saddens my heart but she assures me she just likes to be by herself sometimes. I have been lifting her and this specific situation up in prayers for the whole week. I am sure she is fine but I am a worrier!

Overall, her year is off to good but shaky start. These situations can and hopefully will improve… we just have to keep the faith!

She is ready for College Day and week 6!
Keep up the good work Natalie Grace!
Mommy and Daddy are PROUD of you!


Chris is in his 5th year of teaching at Aldine and continues to love his job. This year he does not have the ESL classes like he did last year but he has mentioned that the load is still just as full. He is still the Academic Decathlon Club Chair and works with these students before and after school on occasion. Unfortunately, he was not able to get this club to be a class period for him which means more additional practices for that group and he also now has a “Grad-prep”, or lower academic, class that in general is the worst behaving group and needs additional tutoring and academic prep. This has seemed to take up most of his time. This also means a lot more “outside” or additional time. Chris mentioned to me just yesterday that he is “tired and worn out” and it is only September. There have been countless after school events like “open house” and “Meet the teacher” type of nights which are also wearing him out. I know that this comes with the gigue but it sure does make the job extra difficult. Chris has high hopes for this year and I know that with his amazing experience and passion for student learning he will end up having a great year… the road to the end just may be a little bumpy!

I too have not had a great start to my year. I am in my 11th year of teaching (wow, I feel REALLY old) and am in my 3rd year at my current school. I teach K-5 music AND art. This has proven to be a challenge for me the past 2 years and this year will be no different as I have to teach even more art on a daily basis. I also have to take on a fuller load this year as I have to help with additional class time tutoring and other classroom help which in turn takes away from my teaching time.  I also have morning, lunch and afternoon duty, which is not uncommon but still makes for a long day. About 47% of my day is spent doing something other than teach music or art. And if I dug even further I would see that over 65% of my day is spent NOT teaching music. That is NOT ok with me… I almost feel burnt out and it is not because of the TEACHING! It is all the “other” stuff.  In addition, the lack of appreciation or gratitude makes me nearly dread going into work each morning. I have NEVER felt this in all of my years of teaching, at least not at this capacity. Sure there have been times where I have thought of doing something else, but nowadays I practically dream about it. This makes me so sad because that is NOT ME AT ALL!

My mother always told me to “Bloom where you are planted” and I feel like I am really trying but my roots are not growing at this time. Maybe I need some more water or sunshine or just a little TLC… I am not sure, but I know I am missing something! I am sure these things will all pan out and I know God not only has a plan but he KNOWS that plan so once again, I just have to keep the faith!

This year has only just begun and even though it seems like we can barely keep our heads above water, we are keeping our heads held high. We have high hopes and know that with God on our right side, it will all work out. Romans 8:28 says “All things work together for the good for those who are called according to his purpose”.  We know these things will all work out as they always do. God has truly blessed us with these jobs and opportunities and know he has a plan for us: “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord”, Jeremiah 29:11. This is only the 1st 5 weeks… I cannot wait to how things have come along in a month or two!

Thank you Lord for these and so many other blessings!

God is good… All the time!