my job

Feeling Uninspired?

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When I’m unhappy I don’t put forth my best effort.  If I cannot fully utilize my creativity on things I’m passionate about then I become complacent and irritable.

I find it difficult to be fully engaged when I am bored.  This is a frustrating situation because for the past three years I have felt stuck and uninspired.

My typical work day leaves me feeling empty. Then I come home, sit in my writing space and let my creative juices flow.  I can belt out 300 words in a matter of minutes.

So, the key is to take your inspiration with you. Do not allow life to stifle your creativity. Be driven by your passion and let that drive overshadow any feelings of uselessness or boredom you may feel.

Cheers to a passion filled day!

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A Lesson in Exercising My Faith

tumblr_m4gfh1mqJT1qhmhdfo1_500Exercising one’s faith takes a great deal of determination.  Its difficult to believe a thing when all your senses point to rejection. A few days ago I had an amazing opportunity to work at incredible company.  I was ecstatic at the chance.

I felt that this was the place God wanted me to be. On a large white board in my home office I wrote a declaration that I would be employed by the company.  I spoke that declaration every day leading up to the moment of the interview.  I continuously thanked God for the job offer I had yet to receive. I believed!

The interview went swimmingly well. I was a bit nervous- but I remained confident that the job was mine.

Receiving The Call

My interview was on a Monday.  I spent that evening and all of the next day thanking God for giving me this job.  It wasn’t easy . And doubt would often push its way in my thoughts. But I replaced that doubt with praise for my new position.  Wednesday morning I received the call. “Mrs. Grant, we would like to offer you the position.” I was beyond excited! I was careful to thank God for honoring my faith and helping me land the job.  I was so thankful.  This was the first instance in my entire life that I had truly exercised my faith in god. I was astounded.

The Next Day

Thursday afternoon, still reeling from my triumph, I received another phone call. “Mrs. Grant, we have to rescind the offer.” Through no fault of my own  the job that I had been offered just 24 hours before was now being taken back from me.   The company had decided that the position was, in fact, not available.  I was incredibly disappointed.

Remaining Faithful

Though disappointed and shaken by this news, my faith in God and his willingness to act on my behalf remains in tact.  I don’t know what will happen tomorrow. But I do know that God is already there waiting for me.

What disappointments have you faced in your life that have tested your faith? Let me know in the comments.

Click here to read “Exercising My Faith,Part II”

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My Dream Job

3299c04Many months ago a friend posted the following question on Facebook: “What would be your dream job?” I didn’t respond to the post initially. But over the past few weeks, I’ve given it much consideration.

The first thought that entered my mind was an online teaching job that would allow me to work from home. Then, I thought better of it and decided that my dream job would be working as an editor for an online magazine….still, working from home.

But neither of those professions would allow for much human interaction, and I desperately need human interaction. I’m quite a bit of a social butterfly at times. I MUST talk to people.

Moreover, working from home would be a dead weight on my fashion sense. I love creating outfits to wear, applying my make up and styling my hair each day. Yes, I’m a bit of a princess.

After more thought I finally settled on a career that would suit me perfectly. Teaching literature courses to English majors at an HBCU would be the quintessential job.

I was an English major in college and I am totally in love with all things literature. I am such an avid reader! And I’ve even written a book or two, so being an English instructor would suit me just fine.

I had the opportunity to teach high school English for many years. And while I enjoyed it, the politics of the education system and the behavior of public school children can be overwhelming and disheartening. So, I believe that moving up to the university level will cut down on the distractions of discipline and give me a chance to focus on the students’ learning.

I desire a Historically Black College or University because I have a soft spot for HBCU’s. A few years ago I created a web series to highlight the amazing work that HBCU’s are doing for our nation. It’s my way of promoting these colleges in order to raise awareness and hopefully increase funding to the schools.

Teaching at an HBCU would be another way of giving back to my community.

I’m not sure if I’ll ever land my dream job. But  I’ve put my desire  into the atmosphere hoping to yield a positive outcome.

Tell me about your dream job?

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Have Peace, Fellow Educators

Elementary classroom setting.  Focus on teacher and chalkboard.Have peace, fellow educators. May is upon us. The end is in sight! Normally, around this time of year I am spent….totally exhausted, disgusted, flabbergasted and down right through.

The end of a school year can be a trying time for educators. Standardized testing, finalizing grades, exams, textbook collection, classroom cleanup and students riddled with spring fever all take a huge toll on an educator’s physical and mental prowess.

I have crawled to the finish line on more occasions than one, unsure if I’d make it to the last day of school with my peace of mind in tact. And this year is no different.

While it certainly has been one of my least challenging school years, I’m definitely counting down to the last day, when I can submit my final grades, lock my classroom doors and shout “au revoir!” to the troubles and headaches of the 2013-2014 school year.

I need a break. All teachers need a break. And in just about three weeks my break will come!

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Crawling To The Finish Line

last day of schoolThis school year had been a success. Do you know how I know? Well, for the past eight or so years I’ve been crawling to the finish line that is the last day of school. I’ve been panting, on my knees, dripping with sweat unsure I’d make it to the end of the year.

Teachers have so much to contend with when it comes to end of the year preparations. There are final exams, attendance reports, averaging grades, preparing failure lists, end of the year check lists and cleaning/packing the classroom.

If you’re not organized it can be a big fat ugly mess. And there have been many years that I was smack dab in the middle of that big fat ugly mess.

But this year, since I left the public school system and decided to take a less stressful job at a private elementary school, I have been exempt from the daily struggles and hazards of my old high school English classes.

This year was fun and exciting. I have been quite indifferent about the last day of school. I wasn’t pressured to complete any reports,  pack any boxes or turn in any final exams.

The school year ended on a fabulous, stress free note. I have to say that I will miss my students so much that I wish I could teach them another year. This is definitely a first. Maybe I should have considered leaving high school a long time ago.

How did you prepare your kids for the last day of school? What are your summer plans?

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Redefining Myself

MH900436161For the past eleven years when people have asked me what I do, I’ve answered with pride “I’m a teacher”. There was one time being a teacher brought me an immense amount of joy and satisfaction. I used to, and still think, that teaching is the greatest, most noble profession there is.

Growing up, I’d sit and listen to my parents tell stories about their daily classroom adventures. I’d watch as my dad graded papers at the dining room table. I’d spend my summers in my mom’s classroom while she taught summer school in Summerton, South Carolina.

I wanted to be like them. I wanted to have a classroom all my own and be able to share my daily adventures with my parents and sisters.  I have now collected over a decade of stories.  I’m responsible for the education of hundreds of fascinating young people, many of whom I am still in contact with today.

But now, my personal paradigm has shifted. While I still believe that teaching is a noble career, my passion for it has diminished. And since publishing my book  my focus is no longer on my classroom, but my next novel.

It scares me to think that one day soon, when someone asks me what I do, I won’t be able to tell them that I teach. But it gives me such a rush of pride to know that I can, instead, tell them “I’m an author”.

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Dreams Really Do Come True

This is the moment right before my dreams come true. I was lucky enough to get a picture of it….for posterity’s sake.

It’s not my intention to be elusive but this news is so big I just want to wrap it up in my arms and keep it to myself  just for a little while. I’ll be sure to share very, very soon!

In the mean time let me encourage you to hold on to whatever dreams you have for your life.

Believe in yourself and your ability to do anything you set your mind to. God has a plan for you and with determination and a willingness to work you will receive all the blessings he has in store.

Go do it!  I believe in you!

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Modern Day Rembrant

Coloring calms my nerves. Say what you want. I don’t care. It makes me feel better. Just recently, I was mad at someone, really mad.  So angry I was gonna go up to this person and let every profane word I know spill out of my mouth onto them. Instead, I colored. I pulled out a Minnie Mouse coloring sheet and some colored pencils then went to work.

Don’t laugh. It gave me a chance to breathe and forget about the subject of my ire. After the picture was completed I signed my name as if it was Rembrant and stuck it on my wall….forgetting all about the crazy lady who made me angry.

Now, you may ask why I had access to a Minnie Mouse coloring sheet. Well, keep in mind that I’ve been spending time with 18 five year olds lately. So yes, I have coloring sheets…. lots and lots of coloring sheets.

The next time you get angry, pull out a box of crayons and go to work. It will help, I promise.

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Movie Night With The Kids

The joy that I feel each afternoon at 3:30 is indescribable. I punch the clock (yes, I’m punching a clock now), rush to my truck and kiss my work day goodbye.

My heart palpitates as I anticipate seeing my kids. We’re enjoying our afternoons so much more now since I’ve gotten rid of certain work-related stresses. I’m more of a relaxed mom. And they appreciate that.

Friday’s are especially fantastic. We’ve started a little tradition to kick off our weekends. For the past month or so we’ve begun stopping by Best Buy or Target to pick up a DVD.  Then we go home, order pizza and wings then plop in front of the TV for hours with our blankets and pillows while watching our choice of movie.

It’s great to spend time with them laughing and being silly. And I can tell they look forward to our Friday movie nights. I hope this tradition continues because they’re getting older and pretty soon they’ll be off to college. For now, I’ll enjoy this time I get with them while the still consider me a cool mom.

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Wake Up Call

I’m tired. Since my work hours changed a few weeks ago, I’ve had to awake at 5:00 am each day. It’s been difficult. I’ve done a pretty decent job of going to bed early to insure I get enough hours of sleep. But that 5 am wake up call is still tough.

When the alarm sounds, I ball my fist and punch the clock as hard as I can, hoping to break it. But it never breaks. It just keeps screaming at me to get out of bed.

Who invented the alarm clock anyway? And why didn’t he/she invent a clock that plays soft, calming music instead of that loud, annoying buzz that gives you a headache before you even get out of bed?

Truth be told, I’d like it much better if there were no alarm clocks. We should all just move at our own paces each day. ..go into work whenever we wanted and spend as much leisure time as we needed. Now that is a great fantasy!

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Call Me Mrs. Bindergarten

There are several things I said I’d NEVER do in my life. 1) Bungee jump 2) swim with sharks 3) sky dive 4) teach kindergarten

Numbers one through three I’ve managed to keep away from. But somehow, some way, I’ve stumbled upon number 4. Yes, I’m a kindergarten teacher. Just call me “Mrs. Bindergarten”.

On my first day of school I was exhausted by the time the clock struck 9:00 am! I knew being a kindergarten teacher required energy. I just had no idea it required me to run like an energizer bunny.

I purchased a new pair of sneakers complete with insoles. This was a necessity as I’d come home in the afternoons with swollen ankles and aching heels.

There is so much lifting, bending, squatting, hand holding, crying and encouraging required in this new position I barely find time to teach. But I guess that’s the nature of the job.

It has definitely been an adjustment. And I’m not sure I’ve acclimated to this new lane in which I’m driving. But each day, I’m trying my best not to crash and burn in front of this group of 20 five-year-olds.

I suffered a terrible fall in class a few days ago that left me shell shocked with a bad back and a limp that lasted a day or two. Other than that it’s been an uneventful start to a new year.

It’s not easy hearing children call you “momma” that you didn’t give birth to. But it’s definitely nice to have a child look up at you and smile for no reason.

Just call me, Mrs. Bindergarten!

We Fall Down, But We Get Up

I slipped on a bed sheet then slid across the room in a complete spread eagle. I tried to break my fall but ended up pounding my backside and wrist into the floor. It hurt like hell. The pain moved from my butt, through my spine and into my neck.

It was an unbelievable pain. I closed my eyes and waited for the ache to subside- legs still spread eagle. After a few seconds, the pain in my back went away, but it took a few minutes for my wrist to stop throbbing. I sloppily raised myself up from the floor. I was a little stiff, but had work to do. So I continued my labor.

How stupid of me. I didn’t notify anyone of the fall. And even an hour later, after my back tightened and I was unable to walk upright I continued to work. I went  home in complete distress, helped my kids with homework, made dinner, gave them baths and put them to bed- as if nothing was wrong.  I eventually crawed into bed and tried to pray the agony away.

Now twenty-four hours later, I’m able to walk upright and move around, but there’s a discomfort in my lower back that won’t go away. And the pain in my wrist has spread to my elbow. I’m sure something’s wrong. But I probably won’t go to a doctor, or tell anyone that I fell.

Time For Change

I’m normally a “go with the flow” kind of girl. But I am about to experience a major life change and I’m not sure how to handle it.

My life was moving along a particular path that I wasn’t not happy with. A few months ago, everything came to a screeching halt. Well, now I’m moving again but I’ve  had an unexpected change of direction.

I’m quite unsure of things now-a-days but I am so thankful that God is moving in my life and leading me on this new path. My blog posts may be a little inconsistent as I acclimate to my new surroundings; so I hope you’ll be patient.

I’m treading very carefully and remaining calm through all of this as not to get too frazzled. But sometimes, I admit, I cry. Only God knows what the outcome will be. I just pray that he changes my attitude and helps me adjust.

Click  here to find out how this all started.


The Joy of Teaching

A teacher’s job can be challenging at times. The day to day hustle and bustle of public school will certainly give a teacher stress headaches during the school year. It’s a thankless job, for sure.

I often wonder how my parents spent thirty years each in the profession. I admit, I don’t think I’ll last that long. It’s been twelve years for me and I’m certain my teaching career will come to an end sooner than later.

While I spend most days complaining to my family members, friends, and anyone who’ll listen, about my crazy students I have experienced many joys throughout my career.

Just yesterday, as I was shopping for my children’s school uniforms and supplies, I passed a man that looked vaguely familiar. I couldn’t see him well so I asked my kids a strange question, “Does that man have one arm?” Yes, they replied.

I quickly called the gentleman over to me and asked him various questions. He responded positively and that’s when I knew it was him. It was Jeff, my student.

After I graduated from college I got my first teaching assignment as a language arts teacher at a middle school in South Carolina. I was twenty-two years old.

Among all the 8th graders there was one boy who stood out from the crowd. He was kind, obedient and maintained a positive attitude. He was an avid baseball player and seemed to be very athletic. Jeff was his name. I remember Jeff so well because he was quite popular among his peers.  I also remember Jeff because he was born with one arm.

I’ve thought of him a few times over the years and wondered what became of him. Now I know. Jeff is a baseball coach, still living in South Carolina. He is just as pleasant and kind as he was all those years ago. And guess what…14 years later, he remembers me.

This is the best part of my job. While these moments are few and far between, it’s an absolute joy for a teacher to see her students years later. We remember them as they were and marvel in their lives now.

So, while most days I feel that my teaching is in vain seeing Jeff made me realize that all my hard work does make a difference in the lives of my students.

Vacation, Here I Come!

Have you noticed? I’m rocking new digs. I spent this past weekend updating my blog. The header has been redesigned. And the background has been replaced. I felt the previous background was kinda drab and boring looking so I lightened it up for the summer. The plaid isn’t so exciting or fancy, but I guess it will do for the next month or so.

The next few days are gonna be crazy busy. I’m wrapping up the last three school days of the year. That involves lots and lots of packing (I resigned from my position so I will not be returning to my classroom for the next school year). I also have exams to give, grades to average and an endless amount of cleaning. It’s a major task. It all seems a little insurmountable.

So, don’t worry about me if I go MIA over the next few days. Just know that for the remainder of the week I’ll be checking off thing on my to-do list. But once this week is over, I’ll be all yours!

My Blog Traffic Sucks

Last June I started a 30 Days of Blogging Campaign. I challenged myself to post on my blog for thirty straight days. I succeeded. As a matter of fact, I excelled. My 30 days campaign lasted for two and a half  months. That little exercise in blogging really got my writing  juices flowing. And while I have skipped a few days here and there I’ve remained pretty consistent with my posting schedule…..up until last month.

My readers are used to me posting  Monday through Friday (I force myself to take a break on the weekends). And I’ve prided myself on giving you fresh content to read each day. This consistency has proven to be wonderful for my site stats. My blog traffic has increased exponentially.  And I get amazing feedback from my readers. But a few months ago, my life went into a little tail spin. I’m not sure what happened, but I was having major trouble at my job. My stress level sky rocketed and it seemed I couldn’t get back on track.

The posting schedule that you all had become accustomed to fell to the wayside and my blog traffic plummeted. I admit that my blog traffic now  sucks- it sucks bad. I’ve never been big on numbers. I’m truly happy for each person that visits this site, even if that only amounts to 50 people a day. But it certainly makes my spine quiver when I check my stats and I have a major amount of hits.

I haven’t been getting those hits lately. And I know it’s because of my inconsistency with writing. But since my stress level at work has  drastically decreased and my mid-life crisis has dulled for the moment, I’ll be able to jump back on the writing horse and post regularly.

Thanks to everyone who’s stuck with me as I fumble through my life.

The Social Media Strategist

I’m afraid. I’ve never had an opportunity like this. Having googled the company that called me in for an interview this Friday, I am now panicked. Who told me I could be a social media strategist? Of course, I am just that…. a social media strategist. But I strategize for myself, my blog, my twitter account, my Facebook pages, my various YouTube channels. And I do it with nominal risk. The only one affected if things don’t go quite as planned is me.

And yes, I’m the site manager for MyBlogalicious. But there is minimal risk involved there as well. The people I work with are my friends. I KNOW them; they know me. So I’m comfortable.

But this. This thing I have to do Friday. I have to sell myself. I have to explain my capabilities. I have to be bold and daring. I have to walk into a room, possibly filled with strangers, and convince them that I am brilliant. I have to brandish my brain power-show them what I know.

What do I know? I know that I’m a social media enthusiast. I know that I love connecting with people online. I know that I’m obsessed with blogging. I know that Facebook is an ingenious invention that had found a way to amalgamate the world’s population. I also know that I have a knack for helping people increase their online presence to expand their brand, whether it be a personal brand or professional one.

So, just as a heap of self doubt began to set in concerning this upcoming job interview, I get this message:

“Stop the self-sabotage, ma’am. Immediately. You drew a nerve to apply so be big and bad enough to go get it. The End.”

This made me smile. So, with a deep breath I closed my eyes and began to believe that I could and would get this position. I am a social media strategist. And I can do anything.

A Broken GPS

This is the moment. I’m standing here at the crossroads. Turning back is no longer an option. And moving forward is scary as hell. There are a million roads ahead of me. I can go this way or that. But my GPS is currently not working so I have no clue which way to turn.

That sounds like a song doesn’t it?  It really isn’t a song. It’s honestly where I am in my life at this very moment. This job…the job I’ve been complaining about for well over a year is coming to an end. In May I’ll pack my work space and shout “bon debarras” to the bullshit.

 I should be happy about it. I am happy.

But I guess I feel like the Freedmen  of 1865…happy as hell that slavery has ended…but wondering “Now what?” “What will I do?”

I’ve been on my metaphorical plantation so long that I’ve forgotten what it’s like to be free. And here I am…finally free, not knowing which way is north.

“What do you do when you have nothing to fall back on? You fly.”


Self Reflection Sucks

I’ve entered into a phase of self-reflection. And it kinda sucks. I’ve learned a few things about myself in the last few weeks that I’m not sure I’m happy about. Life’s challenges will do that to you…give you greater insight about the person you’ve become. Here’s what I learned:

1)  I am certainly NOT the easiest person to work with! Ha! Why is this a revelation to me? And why did my coworker choose to tell me this in front of a room filled with students? As you can guess I did not handle his assertion very well. Normally, when people say stupid comments to me, I let them slide for fear of confrontation. But sometimes life calls for a little confrontation. So, I put on my big girl panties and had a conversation with my coworker that was long overdue.

2) The first time you curse at me, I retreat. But if you have balls enough to do it a second time, I attack. And attack is what I did when a 16 year old told me to “Shut the f*ck up”. Mind you, this is the same sixteen-year-old that called me a b*tch a few weeks prior. So, with this second offense, I mustered up every piece of profanity that was in my brain and let it spill out of my mouth onto the little disrespectful sixteen-year-old. Believe me, ladies and gentlemen, he will never make the mistake of cursing me again.

3) If you light someone’s hair on fire, it will burn. I  never thought I’d witness someone’s hair being burnt. But certainly, there is a first time for everything. There I was, teaching all there is to know about Greek mythology. Suddenly, there was a shreik. I turn and look behind me to see a cloud of heavy, black smoke surrounding a girl’s head. The boy, who sat beside her was hurriedly stuffing something in his pocket. Yes, it was a lighter. Yes, her hair burned. Yes, it smelled like nothing I had even enhaled before. I was sick. It took me hours to recover from the sight. The girl ended up with a new hairdo. And I may need a therapist.

So that, my dear readers, is the tale of my very exciting week. I pray this week turns out to be much calmer that last. Otherwise, I will soon have to check myself into the nearest psychiatric facility.

I Graduated. Now What?

My Master’s Degree arrived in the mail. I think I’m happy about that. The last six months of my program were awful. I wasn’t sure I’d graduate. I almost didn’t. I missed the graduation application deadline so I had to go through a long, tedious process of reapplying. Then, two weeks before my graduation date, I find out that I wasn’t eligible for my degree.

Luckily, things were worked out and I did, in fact, graduate. So now what? What does a Master’s Degree in Educational Leadership mean for me? I’m not exactly sure. Really, I have absolutely no clue.  People with my degree would normally work in public school administration. But that job isn’t for me.

I desperately want to get out of the classroom. I have no desire to teach anymore. But I don’t want to be a school principal.

Only God knows what’s next. I’ve asked him many times, but he hasn’t told me anything. So, I’ll place my degree in a brand new  frame and hang on the wall in my home office and wait.

Social Media Resume! What’s That?

I’m preparing for a career change. But I’m having a difficult time. It’s not the job search that’s giving me trouble. There are plenty of social media jobs that I’ve located…. everything from “digital media specialist” to “social media director”. I’ve found a number of jobs that have caught my eye. I’ve even applied for one or two. It’s just my resume that’s giving me such a headache. That stupid, one sheet scroll. It is the current bane of my existence.

I’ve held the same position for the past 11 years, so I haven’t thought about my resume in a long, long time. Moreover, this new position that I’m looking for is much different than my current career, so my resume needs a complete overhaul. It’s difficult. I don’t know how to sum up all of my endeavors  into one silly sheet of paper.

I’ve requested sample social media resumes from friends that work in the field. And I’ve sought advice from others. So, I have lots of help. Yet, I’m still stuck. Every time my fingers lay on my keyboard to type, nothing happens. And I end up on Facebook for hours posting about my troubles instead of working on my curriculum vitae.

What’s a girl to do? Dammit! If Oprah would just hurry up and call me I’d not have to worry about such things. I’d just pack up my family and head on over to California to the OWN network and start filming my brand new show. A girl can dream, can’t she. Oh well, I guess I should stop procrastinating and log back on to Microsoft Word to begin working on that stupid, dumb, ugly, resume. *insert sad face here*

Longing for the Weekend

Yesterday, I walked in my house and immediately got happy. It was weird but I started smiling  once I opened the door to my garage. I’m usually relieved to be home after a long workday, but yesterday was different. Being in my home and staring at my carpet brought a visible smile to my face.

I’m having such a rough time. I don’t know if it’s the changing job locations at the end of 2010 that I still haven’t adjusted to, or my mother’s death that I’m trying not to think about. But my spirit has shifted to a bad place. And all I want to do is be at home….with my family.

My weekends are magical. I get to wake up early and lie in bed until I fall back to sleep. Then one or two, sometimes all three of my little monkeys wake me up and beg for breakfast. I don’t mind being awakened by them at all because I know we have the whole day together to do whatever it is we choose to do.

I wish everyday could be like the weekend.

A Heavy Heart

Doing something that you’ve never done before is terribly frightening. I’m about to embark on a new venture and I’ve found 100 different ways to talk myself out of it. I’m scared. My heart is heavy. But I must move forward because if I sit still I might burst at the seams.

My life has to change because I’m miserable. Waking up every morning is so depressing to me. I thank God for allowing me to see another day and I’m certainly happy to be able to earn a paycheck. But I hate my job so much that I can’t hide it anymore.

I’m so unhappy at work I get a headache almost everyday. And the weird part is I’m doing a great job. My students’ test scores were “excellent”, so I was told. I was recognized with a few other teacher for having the highest test scores in the whole school. And guess what? I don’t give a shit. I really don’t.

So, it’s time for me to do something that I care about -something that won’t give me a headache or make me miserable. Exactly what? I’m not ready to share yet…because I haven’t figured out what that is. But for now, I’ll just go to the nearest gas station and buy a lottery ticket. Keep your fingers crossed!

Slight Headache with a Side of Vomit

I’m so sad my baby girl got sick at school. I went to pick her up and she immediately looked at me and burst into tears. She complained of a terrible headache and cried all the way home. Once we arrived she disappeared down the hall and I didn’t see her again until I heard her meekly call my name.

My girl was bent over the toilet with her head immersed in the bowl. She had vomited. I stood there rubbing her back while she continued to dispense her lunch into the toilet.

Once her stomach was empty I helped her change clothes and brush her teeth. I gave her strict instructions to lie down in her bed. A few minutes later I go up to check on my girl and she had fallen asleep. She was snoring softly so I gently touched her forehead to check for fever. She was cool to the touch.

I knew that sleeping would make her feel much better and I wasn’t too worried because she didn’t show signs of fever. But I quickly, and without hesitation called into work. I informed my job that I would, in fact, be out the next day. I smiled the entire time I was on the phone -surly thought to be deranged.

During our “sick day” my girl and I danced in the bathroom while doing our hair, turned the TV up as loud as we could and sang with the commercials, walked through Target and had lunch in the mall’s food court. It was magical. We were both thrilled to be taking the day off.

Now, I’m not one for wishing any type of sickness on a child, but sometimes a slight headache with a side of vomit is all you need to make your day a little brighter.

{re}Treat Yourself

I’m so overwhelmed. I’ve been this way for a long, long time. It seems that I’m always on the verge of tears, or a nervous breakdown. My attempts to hold it all together are steadily failing and I’m cracking under pressure. Seriously.

My job is getting the best of me and I’m contemplating NOT signing my contract for the upcoming school year (haven’t I said this before?). Lauryn Hill wrote a song a few years ago called “I gotta find peace of mind”. Well, if there are any working mothers out there who have found their peace of mind I certainly wish you’d help me locate mine.

My life seems like a big jumbled mess of what I desire to do and what I’m required to do. Oh! If I could just win the lottery…..

And just before I check myself into a mental institution from the stresses of daily life that have driven me mad, Stacey Ferguson comes and saves the day. She is the creator of a brand new event that caters to women like myself who are trying desperately to balance it all. 

 {re}Treat Yourself-a lifestyle redesign getaway for working mothers taking place on April 13th and 14th 2012 at the AAA Four Diamond Lansdowne Resort in Leesburg, VA is just what I need.

 This event will offer busy mothers workshops on topics such as: fitness and relaxation; meal planning; developing support systems; home and office organization; and more.

It sounds like this is the breath of fresh air that I need to regain a sense of self and restructure my unorganized, hectic life.

If you are like me and need to find a little peace of mind click here to register for{re}Treat Yourself. It will be phenomenal. 

Office Romances Suck

There are certain wild and domesticated animals that will pee in certain spots to show ownership. We call it “marking your territory”. I learned about this practice in grade school during science class. But my teacher neglected to tell me that not only do animals mark their territory, but humans do it as well.

The off thing about dating a coworker is that the water can get all muddy and then, aside from dealing with the stresses of a maniacal boss you are now faced with a potentially wild animal- like partner who spends too much time peeing around you as to let the entire office know you are taken.

This is ridiculous. And it is precisely the reason that so many companies have strict policies against dating. Becoming romantically involved with someone makes you lose your mind and get all silly and irrational. And you job is no place for silliness or irrationality.

It sometimes happens that one person will develop stronger feelings that the other. So, God forbid you partner takes issue with you having lunch with a coworker. There they go peeing all around you to mark their territory just in case your lunch companion happens to be a little prettier, or more handsome.

It can turn out to be quite a mess, especially for immature people. So can everyone just keep their zippers fastened and skirt tales down when it comes to coworkers? Office romances suck!

The Color Purple

I’m an English teacher. I’m sure most of you knew that. It’s my job to read lots and lots of books. I have to know the characters and plot inside and out so I can accurately present that information to my high school students.

I’ve read many classic novels throughout the years- everything from Shakespeare to Elie Wiesel to Sandra Cisneros. My personal collection of books has grown exponentially. I love books.

But there’s one book in particular that I’m ashamed to say I’ve never read. The book has been made into a movie.  I’ve watched it countless times and I’ve even seen the  Broadway play version of the book when it came to Atlanta. Needless to say, I’ve memorized the sequence of events and can tell you almost everything there is to know about The Color Purple.

I’m so ashamed to say that I’ve never read this award winning novel. But a few weeks ago, I stared at the book as it sat on my shelf and decided that it was time for me to read it.

It started off beautifully. I flipped page after page reading about characters I knew so well. I could not put the book down. And after just two days I only had a few pages left.

My heart beat quickly as Nettie drove up to Celie’s house with her children in tow. As I read their embrace tears flowed down my eyes.

Why was I crying? I knew exactly what would happen. I had seen this story played out numerous times. I knew Celie and Nettie would finally be reunited. So why was I emotional?

I guess that’s the power of literature.  Alice Walker wrote this story so beautifully and I was able to connect with Celie in such a way that even though I knew the outcome I was overwhelmed by the power of Walker’s writing.

The book was wonderful. I’m so glad I finally took the time to read it.

Notes From An English Teacher (I’ve Been Found Out)

As I struggled to explain the ancient feud between the Capulets and Montagues to a class filled with 26 uninterested  fourteen- year- olds one student looked up at me and said “Mrs. Grant, it was a mushroom”. Totally confused, I blankly started at my student and said “huh?” He softly said, “never mind” in an attempt to thwart my wrath for disrupting me during my lecture. They know I hate that.

After a minute or two I thought back to my student’s statement and fear came over me! I realized that I had been found out. My student had discovered my latest YouTube video!

I tried to maintain my composure but my heart was beating faster and faster just as the dismembered old man’s heart beat with increasing speed in Edgar Alan Poe’s The Tell Tale Heart. I began to sweat. I was angry. I was embarrassed. I HAD BEEN FOUND OUT!

Just a few days prior( with the same group of students) a girl exclaimed before the class that she had Googled me and lots and lots of “stuff” came up. I called her a stalker and went on with my lesson. I didn’t think much of it because she had not mentioned anything specific she’d “found”.

But the mention of the “mushroom” had me totally discombobulated. I felt so violated. I felt so exposed.

You must understand. In my classroom I’m a hard-ass, no nonsense teacher. I don’t let my students get the best of me. I barely smile and try to stay away from small talk. I’m all about business- William Shakespeare, Maya Angelou, Robert Louis Stevenson, Lord Byron. I teach and teach and teach until the bell rings. Then, another class comes in and I do it all over again.

But online I’m a complete nut who makes crazy YouTube videos wearing  furry hats. On my blog I use profanity frequently and display my wry sense of humor.

My students CANNOT know about me. They cannot know that I’m…….fun.

What am I to do? I’m sure they are reading this right now. If they are I have lost all control of my classroom. I feel like I need to run and hide.

Get off of my blog dammit! Leave me alone! Let me have a life! Go read a damn book or something. Do your homework. LEAVE ME ALONE!!!!!!!!!

If I Wasn’t Afraid

I wonder what my next career will be. In a few months I’ll graduate from Georgia State University with a masters degree in Educational Leadership. Naturally, one would attempt to gain a position as an assistant principal in a public school system. But I’m not sure if that’s the path I want to take. As a matter of fact, I’m POSITIVE that’s not the path I want to take.

I started graduate school because I began to feel stuck in the classroom. Teaching can do that to you. After 11 years as a teacher my classroom walls have started closing in on me and I’m getting a little claustrophobic.

Before Oprah decided to start her network she asked herself, “What would I do if I wasn’t afraid”? I need to ask myself that same question, but I’m afraid. J I’m scared to think of what I would actually do sans fear because I might just get bold enough to do it.

Let’s see….If I wasn’t afraid I’d quit my job and dedicated myself to my writing. I’d finish the book I’ve been talking about for years. I’d submit my writing to various publishing companies and wait for a huge writing contract.

If I wasn’t afraid, I’d send my resume to Essence magazine and make plans to move to New York City to become a staff writer.

If I wasn’t afraid I’d workout everyday with no regard to sweating my hair out and walking around with an afro.

If I wasn’t afraid I’d tell people when they say things to hurt my feelings instead of holding my hurt in.

If I wasn’t afraid I’d go to every open casting call held in Atlanta. I really want to be on TV.

There are so many other things I’d do if I wasn’t afraid. How about you? Has fear affected your life in any way?

Don’t Wanna Be A Panther

So….I don’t wanna be a panther anymore. A few years ago I did everything I could to get into Georgia State University. It was my mission, my goal. I was obsessed. So when they denied my admission to my grad school program I pressed on. I appealed their decision and was finally accepted.

Now, as I near my graduation date I could care less. I have one more semester to go before I get my Master’s degree and I don’t know if it really matters to me. Well, it matters a little because getting my Master’s means that I can finally get OUT of the classroom and move into a big corner office with lots of windows, a Mac computer, and a big comfy couch- well, not really. But at least I’ll be out of the classroom.

I’m not sure if having another degree will make me feel any different that I already feel. It doesn’t particularly matter to me. I don’t really care about a piece of paper that says I’m a little smarter than I was 2 years ago.

This program (Educational Leadership) is not my calling (I don’t think). I’m obviously still trying to figure out what I want to be when I grow up. I guess now would be a good time to resume my reading of “Purpose Driven Life” by Rick Warren. I’ve been stuck on Day 3 for a little over a week now. I guess now’s a good time to crack open the book again and find out what my life’s purpose is because being a part of the public school system is definitely not it.

Excited About My Job? Are You Kidding?

This begins my second week back at work. Astonishingly, I’m not depressed about it. A few months ago I would have been pounding my skull into the wall with frustration and sadness over going to my job yet another day.

Today, I feel calm and at peace.  Part of it is me realizing that if I want to eat, I must work.  And part of it is the fact that I’m majorly prepared for the upcoming week. My lesson plans are complete, my classroom is orderly and unlike past years I have put on the “don’t mess with me attitude”.  My students know I’m about business. And I think they are a little afraid of me.

I’m sure their fear has a little to do with my red, spikey hair. But a lot of it comes from my no-nonsense approach to teaching this year. I’m about business. And my kids know it.

I’m actually excited about moving forward and becoming a better teacher. This is odd because  I remember writing a “Dear John” blog post to my profession. Yes, I was quitting. Yes, I hated my job. No, I didn’t care about the kids.

This school year is different. Being in a new environment certainly helps. Along with this new environment definitely came a new attitude because I’m ready and raring to go. Let’s see how long this new and improved attitude lasts.

Back In The Swing of Things

We made it. The first week of school went on without a hitch. We were all able to wake up on time and leave the house on schedule. I made it to work early every day this week. And the kids did well in school even though their bodies were a little tired.

Now that we’re back in the swing of things I’m sure next week will be even better. If only I can resist the urge to stay up late watching my favorite reality TV shows. And only, if only I can resist hitting the snooze button 2 and 3 times each morning.

I’m not sure the kids will continue eating school lunch because they aren’t always happy with the day’s menu. Besides, it cost $17.50 per child, each week.  So they may be brown bagging it for the remainder of the school year. Which is perfectly fine with me, and them.

That being said, there are a few minor adjustments that  must be made to ensure that we continue having the peaceful mornings and happy days  we’ve enjoyed this week. But overall, this first week back at school was a major success.

To celebrate a fantastic week this weekend will be spent lying around playing the Wii, visiting my sister-in-law, and having a great time at the movies. I’ve been waiting for weeks to see The Rise of the Planet of the Apes. I’ve forced Mr. Incredible to agree to take me to see these crazy monkeys. So I’ll let you guys know how great the movie is.

I hope you enjoy your weekend as much as I will enjoy mine.

Krispy Kreme Donuts

My ankles are swollen. They look like two big brown Krispy Kreme donuts sitting at the bottom of my legs. They hurt too. I took a bath in epsom salt last night in hopes to ease the soreness. But it didn’t help much.

I guess that’s what I get for trying to be cute. Note to self: You cannot wear high heels to work and stand up all day long on concrete floors. This makes your ankles swell up like big brown Krispy Kreme donuts. Wow! The hazards of my job!

Oh, you didn’t know? I’m a teacher. High school. English. Ninth grade. Blah.

Surprisingly, the kids have been OK. I say that very carefully because we are only three days into the new school year. But things have been quite peaceful. Nice. I’m waiting for a bomb to drop, or lightening to strike, or a desk to be thrown at my head.

Oh, you didn’t know? Last year I worked at a school I likened to East Side High. Joe Clark. Lean On Me. HNIC. Blah.

I’ve moved to another school and so far, so good. Very good. But back to my  ankles…..

Since I’ve been able to actually teach my students a thing or two these past few days, my body has worn down. My lazy days of summer where I did nothing all day but post to Facebook and Twitter, snack on potato chips and Coca Cola and watch Phineas and Ferb have caught up with me.

I’ve been up at 5:30 each morning throughout the week to make my half hour commute. I get in my room and start my work day doing something that I haven’t done in a long time….I work!

At my last school I was a high-priced baby sitter who dealt with the threat of experiencing various forms of bodily harm on a daily basis. So, as not to suffer injury,  I sat quietly at my desk and tried not to be noticed by the pack of wolves who came into my classroom each day.

But this year, it’s been all about the books. Instruction is taking place, people. That’s why my ankles look like big brown Krispy Kreme donuts.


Where Are My Doors of Opportunity?

Today is the first day back at school and I am bummed. I’m happy that my children  will be learning reading, writing, and ‘rithmetic instead of fighting over the Wii controlers. And I’m relieved that my grocery bill will drastically be reduced.

 But I really, really don’t want to go back to work. I truly thought that this past school year would be my last. But alas! It is not. Today I return to the classroom with a room filled with students. I’ll be rigoroulsy instructing them on all the things they need to know before taking the End of Course Test.

My career as a teacher is really drawing to an end. I graduate from Georgia State’s Master’s program in December and I truly hope that some major doors of opportunity open up for me so I can move on to the next phase of my life.

I’m really bummed.


Here I Go Again…

Well, tomorrow I’ll do something I didn’t think I’d do again. I begin teaching. The kids will come in ready to talk about their summer vacations, show off their new school clothes, and reunite with their friends.

We’ll see how this goes. I thought that last school year would be my last but I was wrong. Hopefully, this year will turn out much, much better than last year did.

I’m no longer at “East Side High” so I’m wishing for the best. I’ll let you know how my first day turns out.

Glue Guns and Burnt Fingers

Note to self: Never, ever touch glue immediately after it comes out of a glue gun. It’s hot, sticky and dangerous.

While organizing my classroom for the start of a new school year I decided to use a glue stick to hang my decorations. A glue gun is a teacher’s best friend. It would make things quick and easy. Using it would ensure that my posters would be secure all year long. I wouldn’t have to worry about them falling on the floor halfway through the year. 

All day I was really careful with the glue gun I made sure the glue only touched the posters I wanted to hang.  But by the end of the day I was hot, tired and ready to go home. So I got a little careless.

I picked up my gun and squeezed the trigger. The glue oozed out onto my poster. Without thinking I picked up the poster and screamed. My fingers had touched the burning hot glue. I couldn’t  pull it off of my fingers because the glue was too sticky. It would only attach itself to my other fingers if I attempted to pull it with my other hand.

I had no choice. I could only sit in pain while the glue cooled. It took about 10 minutes for the glue to finally get cool and dry on my fingers. Then I was able to pull it off piece by piece. My fingers were red and swollen. I wanted to cry. I thought I’d have to go to the emergency room.

Now they are red and swollen and I’m developing huge blisters. It really, really hurts. I will never use a glue gun again.


Last week I wrote about a job interview that I totally bombed. I was told by my interviewer that I’d hear something within 24 hours. Well, 7 days later I get this email:

Thank you for interviewing for the position at ******.  Although you possessed the necessary qualifications for the position you were not the final recommendation.  If another position becomes available please take the opportunity to apply.  Again, thank you.

Wow. I don’t handle rejection well. So before I knew it I was typing Mr. So and So a response that included words like “ass hole” and “screw you”. But common sense quickly set in and I deleted the message before my angry finger hit the send button.

So I didn’t get the position. But I  knew that I wouldn’t be offered a job. I sucked that day. My beautiful personality and picture perfect smile did not shine through. My intelligence was overshadowed with that ugly nail polish and inappropriate suit. I sucked. And I got rejected.

Now what do I do? I accept the fact that the only way my situation will change is if my attitude changes. So, just as I have dedicated myself to posting to this blog daily, I’m going to dedicate myself to speaking positively about the job that I have. There are two more weeks left in my summer vacation and I’ll spend those days preparing my mind for another 9 months in the classroom.

If you don’t like something change it; if you can’t change it, change the way you think about it.  ~Mary Engelbreit

Blue Nail Polish and Power Suits

I haven’t quite figured out what I wanna be when I grow up. So, I aimlessly send my resume to companies across Atlanta and keep my fingers crossed in hopes of being granted an interview. This haphazard pursuit of a job usually turns up unsuccessful. So when I got a call from a company that I really, really want to work for, I was quite surprised.

So…..yesterday I put on my power suit. Which was absolutely inappropriate because it was black with lining on the interior. This would be fine if it were… say…. November or December. But being that it’s the middle of July and yesterday’s temperature was 94 degrees, the suit was totally, utterly unacceptable.

But, since it is the only business suit I own I said a little prayer which went something like this: “Jesus, be an air conditioner“, and went on my way.  I smiled all the way to the interview even though my armpits were sweating profusely. I smiled because this was my second call back. I had interviewed with the company in May and I thought the interview went phenomenally well.  But since I hadn’t heard anything I assumed I had boogers hanging out of my nose or lettuce sticking from my teeth which cause me to be looked over for the job.

But getting this call back, I thought, meant that I’d go there to sign my new contract. I sat and waited for the HNIC to call me into his office. I fiddled around with my earring, scratched my elbow and looked down at my blue nail polish. DAMN. DAMN. Just DAMN. Why didn’t I take the blue nail polish off and replace it with a clear polish? I looked like freaking Smurfette with that bright blue polish on my nails. I had no time to consider the various ways I could hide my hands from my interviewer because he stuck his head out of his office, peered at me and said, “Mrs. Grant, I’m ready for you”.

I walked in and whipped out my pen to sign my new contract. But Mr. So and So made it clear to me that he had no recollection of interviewing me those 2 months earlier and this would be a regular, never-seen-my-ass-before, interview. We talked. I made eye contact and made sure to articulated all the buzz words like differentiated instruction, collaborative grouping, parental contact and high expectations– all the crap that teachers are supposed to be able to expound upon.

The interview lasted exactly 30 minutes. I talked, he listened. He asked questions, I bullshitted my way around an answer. He smiled, I hid my blue nail polish. And then he said, ” You’ll hear something from us by the end of the day tomorrow”.  But I knew what he meant. He really wanted to say, “I don’t know why you wore that hot ass suit when it’s 94 degrees outside. And who told you that bright blue nail polish was cute? We won’t be calling you because you, my dear, are the weakest link. Goodbye”.


Today I’m Sad

I feel like I should stop dreaming. I’m tired of wanting to be more than I am right now. It’s depressing. My hopes and aspirations are nothing more than hopes and aspirations. I’ve been so busy wanting to be someone else that I’m not living my life.

In a recent interview with Piers Morgan Beyonce said, ” You can have anything you want as long as you work at it”. Well the problem with that is…I don’t know what I want. I just know that I don’t want this. I’m sad. And my mother’s death has made my sadness much, much worse.

This is post number 28 in my “30 Days of Blogging” series. Check back tomorrow for more.

Redemption Song

“You become exactly what you believe”. This is such a beautiful and powerful quote. I know that it is true because the Bible says “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” (Philippians 4:13). So the question becomes: What is it that I’m believing for my life? Who is it that I want to become? At the age of 34 it seems that I should already “be” that person. But I’m realizing more and more that life is truly a journey; a slow and tedious process. Every day, we learn more ways to live better, be kinder and gentler, and do more good.

It’s only my faith, however weak at times, that carries me through each day. I remind myself constantly that God has more for me that “this”. There is more to my life than this constant frustration, uneasiness, and exhaustion. My current predicament has overwhelmed me and I’m not fighting the good fight. But I’ve learned. I’ve learned that I am by no means perfect (yes, I used to think I was). I’ve learned that one bad decision can have lasting effects. I’ve learned that I must show gratitude. I’ve learned that comparing myself to others will hinder my blessings. I’ve learned that without God I have nothing.

I’ve been in the driver’s seat too long and I’m going in the wrong direction. My life is out of control. So it’s best that I allow the Lord to take back the wheel and lead me where he wants me to go. I’m way off my path and feel like I’m out of gas. But one of the great things about God is that he will supply all of my needs (Philippians 4:19). He is faithful and just. He is kind and tender-hearted. He loves me in spite of me. And I am grateful.


Any time my life gets a little hectic, my blog is the first thing that is neglected. 2010 didn’t end on a great note for me. And 2011 definitely had a bad start. Three months later, I’m not sure if I’ve recovered from that disappointing new year. I’ve never been one to adjust to change very well. And I know I’m beating a dead horse by continuing to talk about my new job. But after 3 months I’m still struggling to transition into this new position. This job is much more demanding than my last one and my commute is longer.

I’ve always considered myself a super woman but I’m not tackling these changes to my schedule like I normally would. I haven’t been posting much, and my house looks like a tornado hit it. This has been a huge adjustment for my family and truly, it’s getting the best of me. There’s definitely light at the end of the tunnel because the school year will soon be over and my family will begin our summer vacation.

Hopefully I can get back on a regular posting schedule because I miss my blog. I know I’m not the first person to experience a major life shift. So how do you adjust to these types of changes? How do you ensure that you don’t neglect the things that are important? What keeps you organized?

Thou Shalt Not Steal

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Yesterday someone stole something from me. The thing that was stolen is of no real importance. It was easily replaced. At first I was angry because I felt so violated, but then I became sad. Sad not because my personal property was lost but sad because the theft was so unnecessary.

It wasn’t as if this person was hungry and stole money to get something to eat. It wasn’t that he stole my coat because he was cold. No, he took my cell phone. That act of thievery was so senseless. What could he possibly do with my phone? No one will buy it and before they could actually use it, the phone would be turned off by my wireless provider. They can’t take it apart and sell the pieces of it. What was this fool thinking?

He wasn’t thinking anything. He wasn’t thinking about his future. He wasn’t thinking that I might be a person who actually cared about him. He didn’t consider that what he did might affect me in some negative way. He just saw me as an opportunity. This smiling, happy-go-lucky teacher with a tattoo and a funky mohawk who seems vulnerable might be naive enough to trust him just because he pretends to pay attention in class. I betcha he’d been watching me since the beginning of the semester waiting for the perfect time to search my purse and grab my phone.

He’s such a jackass.

I Am Joe Clark

My boss paid me a great compliment today. I should be proud; but I’m not. I feel like a super huge boulder has been placed on my back and I must carry it for the remainder of the school year. My principal, who I’ve worked with for only 2 months, and who I’ve had a total of 3 very short conversations with, looked at me today and said “You are so impressive, I can’t wait until I get a chance to visit your classroom”. WTF?

Immediately I felt this great weight take over me. Her compliment was totally unexpected because she hasn’t had much contact with me so I was not sure why she was so impressed. I know my interview went well. I was confident I’d get the job. But I’m not sure it was so great that she’s be this “impressed” with me.

I know I should be happy with what she said but I feel pressure to perform some type of magic trick in my classroom.  I’m a good teacher, but usually you don’t get labeled as a “good teacher” until someone actually sees your interactions with the students.  And you guys consider me a good writer (I think) because you continue to come to my blog. But those opinions are based off of things I’ve already done. I have a good track record, right? But at this new school, I have no track record. I haven’t worked there long. So how is it that I’m “impressive”?

I’m confused, and scared. I feel that she’s placed me on such a high pedestal that I have nowhere to go but down. What if she comes in my classroom and I totally bomb? That would be tragic. Or what if she soon realized that this lady that gave such a great interview is truly lacking in her skills as a teacher?

This is a big weight on my shoulders. I guess I’d feel better if people expected nothing of me. That way, I can gain their respect. But now since I already have my principal’s respect, it’s going to be 10 times harder to keep it. So tomorrow, I’m gonna try my best to be a Jaime Escalante or Joe Clarke and work a miracle at East Side High.

I Hate My Job

Sometimes, many times, things happen in your life that you don’t hope for. When those things occur you have certain choices to make. You can either A. Cry about it, whine and complain. Or B. Suck it up, make the best of it and move on.

I  recently had something to occur in my life that I didn’t wish for. Many if you who follow me on twitter or Facebook know exactly what I’m speaking of.

I’ve been bitching and complaining about this for many, many weeks. I have thrown an outright temper tantrum. I have wallowed in self pity, rolled on the floor crying, and kicked and screamed in anger.

I have been ridiculous. I admit, I’m a huge baby and didn’t really realize it until now. What’s a girl to do when she’s always gotten exactly what she wanted but now she’s left to eat scraps from the bottom of the garbage can?

I’ll tell you what I’ll do. I’ll unfold my arms and tuck my lip back into my face. I’ll get up everyday and go to this crappy new job and work my ass off until my contract ends.

Yeah, that’s what I’ll do. And since my family is absolutely sick of me complaining about it, I’ll just blog and tell you my woes (until I start getting e mails asking me to stop).

What do you do when you are faced with a huge, seemingly insurmountable life obstacle?

Exit Strategy

When you are threatened at your place of employment it’s time to look for another job. Recently, I had such an experience. A female student in my 9th grade literature class looked me in the face and told me she was going to shoot me. WTF?

In all my 10 years of teaching I have never experienced this. I’ve had students curse me, yell at me, even throw a desk against a wall in anger. But never has my life been threatened. Never. And it’s not so much that I fear the student will follow through with her threat (although I am fully aware it is possible); I’m just saddened and shaken by the state of public schools today.

No longer are teachers able to give instruction in the classroom. We are now little more than baby sitters to a bunch of wanna-be adults who have no clear understanding of the real world and no concrete goals for their future. So, this blog post marks the beginning of my exit strategy out of the classroom. This school year will be the official end of my teaching career because it is clear that I care more about my student’s education than they do.

*When the threat was reported the school’s resource officer discouraged me from documenting the incident. He stated the student was “a good kid who just doesn’t think before she speaks”. The student was returned to my classed 45 minutes later after the resource officer called her mother. Two days after  reporting the incident I testified in the student’s discipline hearing concerning the matter. I haven’t learned the outcome of that hearing.

Who’s In Control Of Your Life?

Without God in control, we certainly can make a mess of our lives. I have developed the habit of claiming to trust and believe in God but always find a way to manipulate situations to my advantage. I’m quite spoiled, and I always want my own way. The problem with that is: I’m never sure of what I want. One day, I want long hair, the next day, I’m at the salon getting it all shaved off. My spoiled attitude extends far beyond trivialities such as my hair. I decided to write a book about two months ago, but as soon as the plot got too complicated, I bailed on my much publicized future novel.

For almost a year, I complained about my job. Night after night Mr. Incredible was forced to watch his wife cry over the job she hated so very much. I begged and pleaded with God to open up another opportunity for me. And as soon as I began to question His true power, the call came. Within 2 days I had received an interview and a job offer. It was Hallelujah time. I submitted my 2 week notice to my employer with lightening speed.

And then, fear struck like a ton of bricks. I thought of every possible reason I should NOT take the new position. So, I went to my employer and  rescinded my resignation. For two days I went back and forth reminding him of the reasons he should allow me to stay. I cried, lost sleep, and threw an outright temper tantrum because I wasn’t getting my way.

This was a battle that I lost. I was not going to keep my current job, so I was forced to accept the job offer that I did not want, yet had prayed so long for.

So, I am at a crossroads. I realize now that if I don’t allow God the freedom to do as he pleases with my life I will remain as a hamster on a spinning wheel….going in circles and never covering any real ground.

How Much I Really Care

As a teacher I have many opportunities to meet various types of people.  I get to see them grow, mature, and flourish into young adults who learn to make their mark on the world.  I have had some amazing students.  I’ve developed meaningful relationships and allowed some of these people into my life.

But this year, I’ve experienced something totally unexpected and uncontrollable.   Two  individuals, whom I hardly know, have begun to pull on my heartstrings in a way no other students have.  I’m sitting here in tears because I can’t figure out what it is about them or why I care so much.  I can’t understand why I found myself literally on my knees begging to “save them”.  I looked like a total idiot but I didn’t care. I felt like I was fighting for their lives because if they weren’t going to be with me, the person who cares about them most, then where would they be? I couldn’t let them go, not when their futures are so uncertain.

The sad thing about this is they don’t understand it and I’m not sure if they ever will.  They probably view me as a crazy teacher who talks really loud and smiles all the time. They don’t really understand , but that’s OK.  So I’ll prepare for another day of yelling at them for not bringing their books to class, or forgetting to turn in their homework, and never tell them how much I really care.

Spread Too Thin

When was the last time you made a peanut butter sandwich? It’s been a while for me. But the last time I had one, I made the mistake of spreading the peanut butter too thin. My sandwich ended up being tasteless and boring. I don’t believe I ate the entire thing.  That is what my life had become over these past few months…..peanut butter that has been thinly spread.  I’m not enjoying where I am right now because I’ve taken on too many responsibilities.  I remember not so long ago when I was cruising on easy street: Get up, go to work, come home, play with the kids, go to bed.  But in the past year or so I’ve added some major responsibilities to my job. And my kids are older so they need assistance with their homework and projects.  I’m also in my second semester of grad school and my blog has become more popular. What’s a girl to do when she’s being pulled in all directions and doesn’t know which way to turn? I realize there are some things that will have to be put on the back-burner and I’m definitely going  to streamline my schedule to accommodate the important things.

As my life gets busier and busier I dream of the day I can be a stay at home mom.  By no means do I think being a stay at home mom is a cake walk.  I’ve gone down that path of 24 hours at home with a child, constant feedings, diaper changes, doctor’s appointments, etc. I stayed home with my first two babies for a year each and it was definitely no walk in the park.

I was quite excited about going back to work after being deprived of adult interaction all those months. But my life has come full circle now and I need to be at home for my children.  I feel that they are being ignored because of the other demands I have in my life.  I wish I was able to chaperone their field trips, volunteer at their school, and not be too busy to have a conversation with them once they get home.

I want to just shake off all the demands of work and just be “mommy” when they need me to be. But that’s not possible right now.   My 1-year-old was sick last week with a terrible cold and fever.  I was up with him all night while he coughed and cried.  Shamefully, that morning I loaded him up with medicine and sent him off to school because I knew it was an almost impossibility for me to get time off from work.  This was so disheartening to me and I realize that my priorities need to be shifted back in the proper direction. I don’t want to be thinly spread peanut butter. My children deserve better.

So now I’m on a quest to be an at home mom. I’m not sure how this will come to fruition and I don’t know how long it will take. But it’s a necessary journey and I hope it comes sooner than later.

Back To School We Go

first day of school 09

The new school year is fast approaching and soon our morning commute will be impeded by buses trekking young people off to school.  Parents are breathing a sigh of relief because as soon as their kids get on the bus, they will begin to  see a decrease in their grocery and electric bills.  Students are excited to see their old friends and make new ones; and teachers are steadily preparing their classrooms for instruction. 


With this new school year comes a bit of nervousness on all sides.  Students are nervous about fitting in. Teachers are nervous about being well received. And parents are nervous about their children’s teachers.  I’ve been in a unique position at my job because not only am I a parents, I am also a teacher at their school.  For years I have had to draw a fine line with my coworkers. I have to maintain a professional, working relationship with them while simultaneously walking in my “parent’ roll. At times this has caused a bit of confusion for them and frustration for me.  It’s difficult to handle conflict in my “parent” roll with someone who I’ve worked with for years and with whom I’ve developed a friendly relationship.

Teacher’s have such a thankless, difficult job. We are responsible for the education of so many children. And those children come in all different sizes, shapes, backgrounds, and motivations. Sometimes, educating a child is like pulling out your own teeth. It’s painful, frustrating and seemingly impossible at times. And then there are the parents……well, that’s an entirely different blog post.  But I will say that parents, just like their children, come in all different sizes, shapes, backgrounds, and motivations.

So as this new school year begins, I encourage all my readers to be more than kind to their children’s teachers. Be honest and realistic about your expectations. Be the number one supporter of the teacher and communicate with him or her often. Let your children know that you are partnering with the teacher to help them achieve maximum success. Have an awesome school year. And don’t forget to check your child’s homework!

She Said What?!!?

I’m not so sure I should write this post.  And I’m even more uncertain of the direction it will take. But if I don’t let these toxic feelings out, I might burst into flames. Today, someone said one of the most mean-spirited things to me that I’ve ever heard. And it wasn’t so much what she said, it was how she said it.  You know when you and your girls are playing around and you might call each other a silly name. Well this was definitely not that.  This woman called me a name and she meant it. She meant for it to hurt. She looked at me and said “YOUR FAT! THERE, I SAID IT!” Now it wasn’t so much that she called me fat, it was the “There, I said it” part.  It was as if stabbing me in my heart wasn’t enough; she felt she had to twist the knife in deeper.

Now this is a woman who just yesterday literally begged me to let her borrow $20.00. And throughout the past year , she’s made it a habit to take jabs at my ego. She’ll comment on my hair, clothes and makeup. I always let it go in order to maintain a professional working relationship with her (did  I mention she’s my coworker?). But today she reached a new level of evil.

My feelings are quite hurt. But more than being hurt I feel sorry for her. She’s pathetic and envious. I’m gonna try my best to keep my head up and meditate on a quote from Words of Wisdom by Rev Run:

“Who are you? We must constantly remind ourselves that we are not the essence of other people’s opinions.  It takes tons of courage to be who you are and not let the rest of the world tell you what that is.  No one knows how great you are until you show them.”

Dear Summer Vacation,

You are truly the best I’ve ever had.  You, 2010 summer vacation, were even better than the vacation of 2008 when I was pregnant with my last son and did absolutely nothing  but sleep and eat all day.  Yes, you were even better than that! This summer we spent relaxing days at the beach. My girl and I made a concerted effort for her to learn how to ride a bicycle, with little success. And I got a brand new Kodak Zi8 video camera that I used to post lots of crazy YouTube videos. These past two months I’ve exercised more than I’ve ever exercised in my entire life (and even enjoyed it a little). My children learned how to swim and began taking Choi Kwang Do lessons again (they are now gold belts). My baby boy almost got potty trained. And most importantly, I did not think about work one iota. Not one atom of my brain cells did I give to my job. I did not put pen to paper to form even a days worth of lesson plans. I did not think about curriculum mapping, class novels, tests, worksheets, grades, syllabi, etc. 

This was definitely an out-of-the-ordinary summer.  By this time last year, I had all my lessons planned out through the first semester. But tomorrow, I go back to work with not one preparation made for the school year and it feels great! Even though I’m less than prepared for the upcoming year, I will go into this new year feeling less stressed and more relaxed than I ever have.  You, summer vacation, have been awesome. And I will miss you dearly.

The Six

Since school started in August, I haven’t been quite able to get it together. My classroom is in disarray, my lesson plans are undone, and I’ve received several memos from my boss about duties I’ve neglected. Now, after a month of being disorganized, I finally realize what my problem is….I miss my students.

My special babies that I love so dearly have grown up, graduated and gone off to college. After four years of spending so much time with them I feel like I’ve been left behind. They don’t come to steal from my refrigerator between classes. They don’t confide in me about their latest problems. We don’t go bowling anymore, they don’t come to my house to eat chocolate chip cookies or play with my kids. They’re all gone. Gone. Gone. Gone. And even though I have a new crop of students that I’m excited to teach, things just aren’t the same.

I was thrilled when I got a call from A and J. Of course, they wanted help writing an English paper, but they called nonetheless. I got an e mail from Miss Valedictorian telling me how much fun she’s having….go to the library, Ms.Thang, and read a book. And when hubby saw Mr. Salutatorian at church looking down trodden, I had to give him a call. I’ve heard a few “things” about another one of my students that didn’t sit well with my ears. So I called the President of his college to check up on him…Yes, I already told you, I know some high profile people! And I’m still inquiring about my last little darling that hasn’t called me, written me a letter, sent me a message, nothing. (This is the part, Ms. D, where you send your teacher a nice little e mail telling her how much you miss her! )

So…I hope my six are reading this so you all will know how much I miss and love you guys. Have a great time in school! Now get off the internet and go to the library!

As for me, I’ve committed myself to getting organized, working smarter, and developing relationships with my new, wonderful students.

Thanks, guys!

Next week, all of my beautiful seniors will be off to college. But yesterday, while we were having student orientation at my school, my seniors came to see me! They came to see ME! Oh what a simultaneous combination of joy and sadness I felt. Joy because they came to spend some time with Mrs. G. But sadness because this is likely the last time we will all be together in my classroom. These are my babies. The kids I started teaching when they were freshmen. And now, after teaching them for four years, they have grown into men. So, as I pull out my MAC compact to fix my tear-soaked face, let me say ‘thanks guys’ for coming to see me. You made my day.

Happy 16th Birthday, Johnte!

Mommy vs. American Literature

What would make Hester Prynne continue to conceal the name of her baby daddy? She’s a better woman than me because I’d tell the world before I take all the blame for someone else’s actions. I should mention that I’m currently reading The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne. Why, you ask, is a hip 33 year old super-model looking chick like me reading a book that was written in 1692? Well, I’m a high school English teacher and my students think I know everything there is to know about literature. Little do they know I spend all my summer vacations and weekends throughout the school year studying and organizing my lesson plans so they can continue to think I’m smarter than Einstein.

So, this summer I have two classic novels to read up on before the start of my American Literature class….The Scarlet Letter and Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck. I’m done with Of Mice and Men. And I must say that Lenny really pissed me off (sorry momma and daddy for my mild profanity…I only use it for effect). But I can’t understand why George allowed Lenny to follow him around- constantly gettting both of them in trouble. George is kinda like Hester Prynne. I guess he takes the blame and feels the need to protect some dummy who has no concern for his own feelings. Just like Hester. She accepted the public ridicule only to protect Arthur Dimmsdale from the scrutiny of society…. This post is starting to sound very much like a term paper– but you understand that I HAVE to sound smart for my students. …so I’m just practicing.

My little monkeys like to read too….They constantly run around the house with a hand full of books asking me to read to them…

“Now now baby, Mommie has to cook dinner.”

“Not now baby, Mommie has to fold clothes.”

“Not now baby, Mommie has to watch Oprah”

“Not now baby, Mommie has to walk the dog.”

That last excuse never works because my children are quick to remind me that we don’t have a dog!

A Dedication to My Seniors

My wonderful seniors… You are the greatest group of students I’ve ever had. I love you guys. Congratulations and enjoy your college years.
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