Becoming a Gazelle

Isn’t it funny how quickly time goes?  One minute you’re pledging to write at least one blog post a week and the next thing you know it’s halfway through second quarter and you have nothing since… well, since a long time ago.

Recently, I was able to take a mini vacation to Austin, TX.  We drove for 12 hours (my husband likes driving) so I had some time on my hands to do stuff that I normally wouldn’t have time to do, like read.  Usually, I would pick either a Twain or Truman Award Nominee to read, but since it was an adult vacation, I decided to choose an adult book.

Don’t worry, it’s not that type of post.  I chose Total Money Makeover by Dave Ramsey because I had seen a lot of other blogs and Pinterest pins about people that had used it to get out of and stay out of debt.  In the book, Dave tells the reader that to have his strategy work, they need to be “gazelle intense”.  Basically, a gazelle can escape a cheetah, the fastest animal on land, just by out-maneuvering it.  But it can’t be wishy-washy – It’s “go all in” or “get eaten”.


So I got to thinking: What if we all did something with “gazelle-like intensity”?  Sitting with the first quarter of my fifth year of teaching squarely in my rearview mirror, I can feel old habits creeping in and starting to  take over. I’m losing the intensity that starts the year.  

So I’ve started a personal gazelle intervention.  I am making a vow to be more intense about my teaching.  “Go with the flow” is not okay in this classroom.  I’ve joined an Assessment For Learning team and although we haven’t met yet, I’m feeling intense about the whole project.  I’ve looked at some of the habits that are creeping out (not writing lesson plans down, anyone?) and am reeling them back in.  It’s time to get some gazelle intensity!


Let’s not wait so long next time, okay?


Teaching Middle School

It’s a little like this…


It’s Science!

Science fact:  This Friday, August 31st, is the last blue moon (a second full moon in a calendar month) until 2015.  I could have told you that there was a full moon coming up based on the behavior of students in my class.  Isn’t it funny how that works?

So how do I feel at the end of this wonderful second week?  About like this:


Worn out!


(This is my daughter napping earlier this year and is probably one of my favorite pictures of her so far.)

So, I’m Kind Of A Big Deal…

Just kidding!

Today, an email was sent out by David Luther at JCPS showcasing my blog.  If you are coming from there, welcome!  I am not a big deal (at least I don’t think so) and would love to hear any thoughts or comments about how you survived some of the things I’ll be discussing.

Have any of you ever had the stress of being new at school?  Until I was a teacher, I never switched schools.  I went to the same school K-12, stayed at the same university for my bachelor’s and master’s degrees and then went to teach at the school I graduated from.  Being “new” is a little un-nerving, so when I see the uneasy looks on new students’ faces I know exactly how they feel.

“Did you join the PBL for the AFL group that’s talking about the 4 C’s and the 3 R’s?” “We’re going to have a meeting about BIST on red and blue days during encore.  Are you joining the Edmodo group for this?”  “Grab your airliner and your ladibug… or wait, do you have AverVision instead?”  It can be confusing! 🙂

So, for the time being, I’m “hanging in there”.  I know it will get better and I love the challenge!

Back to School… Back to School…

Today, we saw our students for the first time in our classrooms.  Let me tell you – I’m exhausted!  I know that the educational experts say that at the end of the day the students should be the ones that are tired.  I don’t know that it counts for the first day though.  Several staff members must have felt the way I do as well – one great example was our service dog, Scout.

After school today, I walked into the office to check my mail.  As I was walking down the corridor, I noticed a weary-looking golden retriever (Scout) laying in the middle of the vice-principal’s office door.  Her eyes were shut and her whole body posture said, “This was a looooong day.” I rubbed her ears and assured her that she wasn’t the only one that had a rough time.  She didn’t even move.

I love first days!

Open Season… err… House

I know I’m joking when I call open house open season, but for real – I feel like I’ve been put through the wringer as far as meeting new faces, new rules, planning for the first day of school, planning for the second day of school, and so on…  Thank goodness I have such a great team of people here to help me get through it all.

My background before I got to my current school is one of being the lone teacher in a subject.  The school district was so small that there wasn’t anyone that taught the same “stuff” that we did.  It wasn’t miserable by any means, but it’s difficult to be the one that is “on” all the time.

Today, I finally figured out what it meant to be part of a team and what it feels like to take turns making and sharing a final product (our beginning of the year meeting with parents).  I had the awkward task of talking with seventh graders about hygiene. It sort of came out as, “You stink.  Stop that!”  Trust me, it was funnier than it sounds and parents were very in tune with what came out of my mouth.  In fact, most of them were nodding when I was talking – so reassuring!

In summary, I suppose that although this day was long (on the drive home I thought about “yesterday’s breakfast” and realized the memory I was having actually happened this morning), it was rewarding in a lot of ways.

In the beginning…

It’s the most wonderful tiiiiime of the year… !  No, it’s not Christmas.  It’s the beginning of the new school year!  Let me say, this is NOT my first school year.  Obviously, I completed thirteen school years when I was younger, but even if we don’t count those, it’s not my first.  It’s actually the start of my fifth year as a teacher.

Buuuuut, it’s my first year in a new school district.  And if you have ever gotten a new job, it’s a little bit intimidating even if you’ve done a similar job before.  Over the course of this year, I plan on using this blog as an outlet to reflect on my teaching, my first year at my new school (more on that later) and to show some of the ideas and projects I’ve brought into my classroom.  Almost nothing is “off limits” so be prepared to join me for the wild ride!