Wednesday, January 27, 2010

My Fourth Period

One of my students came into class today and told me that he wasn't supposed to be in my class all semester. He said he went to the counselor and got switched from drama into my class. A's taking English 9 again as an elective. I didn't even know that kids could do that or would want to. A said that he told the counselor that even though he'd taken English 9 already, he wanted to take it again so he could improve his skills. I know that he wants to be in my class for his friends that are in there, but I think it's so crazy that he wants to take another English class as an elective...

This afternoon E. passed me a note that said, "OMG. Can I have ur phone #?"
I said, "No." Of course he wanted to know why not and asked if it was because he was Hispanic. I told him that it was actually not because he was Hispanic but because he was 15. How crazy!

Yesterday my princiPAL came into my classroom with a student and informed me, "I'm returning Mr. H to class."
I said, "Is he supposed to be in here? I've never seem him before."
This child was in my classroom 10 minutes, maybe before he decided he was going to get up and walk out. I told him if he left I'd call the princiPAL. He left and I called. Today I saw this student at lunch, but he definitely wasn't in my class today. I said, "Hi B! Do I need to write you up for skipping?" He just stared at me. I checked with the attendance office today and he hadn't checked out. I then marched to the office and got a stack of write up slips and wrote one for B. I didn't write ANYONE up last semester, and now I have written up two within a week. And I think if one more child in 4th period says "the N" word after I've asked them not to, I am going to write them up too. I'm on a roll.

I have found myself so challenged and exhausted by my 4th period kids. They are a rough bunch. They are students that are typically classified as "bad" or "disruptive" or "impossible." While those are descriptive words that could possibly be ascribed to my students, I want to look deeper and see children that need to be loved. I don't know how people that don't believe in the redeeming love of Christ flowing through their veins teach. I don't know how they walk in a classroom day in and day out and never lose their cool or their desire to love and help children learn. I am learning so much. I have this one student who is so difficult and all I want to do is love him. At first glance, he looks like a hoodlum, a thug, someone to fear or to dislike because he is disrespectful, unkind and disruptive. Every time that I look into T's eyes though I see a small, scared little boy. It breaks my heart. He is trying desperately to get attention through his misbehavior and sometimes my only option is to write him up. I want to love him. I want the redeeming love of Christ to flow out of me to him and to never give up on him. I, in my own power and strength, can't even begin to make this happen.

I am so weary and just want to rest in the power of Christ.

Father, show me your character so I can show it to these precious children every day.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Who knew when I signed up to be a teacher, I signed up to lose my MIND?!

Oh wait, I probably did. But somehow I'd blocked it out between student teaching and graduation.

All I could remember were the good parts. I hope this year is like that too.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

I looked over my journal this morning and saw that I have felt unsettled since I moved back to Greensboro.

Once again, I am feeling that same sense as things with my land-lord still aren't settled. I have had no power since January 5th. I have been sleeping on people's couches and waiting til I can have a functional space of my own again. I have involved the city of Greensboro, and have been fighting it out with my land-lord which has been anything but fun. This has been anything but restful.

This past week, I also began my full-time job as a teacher. While I am very excited about this, I have been exhausted from taking on three new classes. I still don't feel as though I know what I am doing. My 10th graders informed me that their former teacher hadn't taught them anything about writing and so I scrapped all my lessons in an effort to begin at the basics of writing an essay so they can be prepared for the writing test on March tenth. My ninth graders also present a challenge, as they are all taking the class for the second time. It's my job to prepare them to pass the 9th grade EOC. And then I have my sweetheart 11th graders which have been my sanity. They have been so sweet in checking in on me, talking to me while I have lunch duty, saying goodbye to me at the end of the day, cutting me off coffee when I get too nervous. I know that in a few weeks I will have adjusted to being at school full time, but for now I just feel overwhelmed by the combination of both my home life and my school life being unsettled.

I know that God is using this year to make me a person of character, but I am not really enjoying it.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

I wrote a kid up for the first time ever today. Big fun.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

I'd like to live this out.

"Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on Thee: because he trusteth in Thee" (Isa. 26:3)

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Perhaps this is Morbid? There is no way around death.

I'm sitting in my room in Wake Forest, looking out my window at the back yard. My middle sister Chelsea is holding a brown box. Our/her cat-friend, Patchy, is dead.

We had to put him to sleep this morning. For fourteen years, he was a part of our family. That's over half my life. I remember when he was just a small kitten, and we brought him and my cat Bobbie home.

The amount of tears shed in the Jackson home today might seem silly because he was "just a cat."

But it's hard to say goodbye to a friend, no matter who they were.

I have a cat funeral to attend.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

They done me proud.

Today my students gave "any old bag speeches" for their midterms. For those of you that didn't attend UNCG and have to take a communications course an "any old bag speech" is where you take a bag and three items that symbolize your past, present and future.

I was a little nervous about how this would go because my students had never given speeches before, but I wanted to begin giving them experience because they have the Senior project coming up and that's pretty important.

My students did such a great job. They shared such personal events from their lives, and I was really happy that they felt like my classroom was a safe environment. I had students bring in the first photo that they had with their mom after they got out of foster care, I had students bring in the last photo their parents were in together before they got a divorce, I had students share about leaving their home country and how they would be the first to go to college, I had a student share about how she got shot at as a child in a neighborhood gang fight, I had a student share about how his role as a father was the most important one to him. Over and over, these precious children got up and shared really beautiful parts of their stories.

I was really very proud and honored to listen.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Chief Joseph

Today we read "I will Fight No More Forever," a speech given by Chief Joseph as he surrendered to General Miles in 1877. I was explaining the background of the speech for my students when I noticed that one of my students (Joseph) looked upset. I asked him what was the matter, and he informed me that A. was calling him "Chief Jospeh" and he didn't like it. I had to turn around and face the board because all I could do was laugh, and then of course I told A. not to call J. anything that he didn't want to be called. I really think some days that the maturnity level of my students is the same as any 1st grader.


Also, a week later, I am without power still. Oh man.

But on a super positive note: I have been nominated Rookie Teacher of the Year in Guilford County! I am really excited because if I were to be nominated, I would get graduate school paid for and that would be such a blessing. For now, I am just happy for the encouragement, and the support of my administration who nominated me. (That was a rough draft of my acceptance speech. Juuust kidding!)

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Camping in my own home.

Greetings from the cat and me.

I drove home today from Wake Forest after spending last night in Durham trying on bridesmaid dresses for Bristol's wedding.

I took the way through Granville County because it seemed to suit my pensive mood as the land is wild and lonely there.

After spending a week with Nicole, having a roommate, though temporary and then going home and seeing Megan, Bristol, Allicia and my family, I wasn't looking forward to going home to just the little cat.

When I got here, I went to my room to flip the switch for my bedroom light. As has been the case since Tuesday of this week, nothing happened, so I headed to Target to buy a lantern. It's so tiny and cute. Hopefully it's bright too. I was feeling grumpy about my current powerless home situation, so I bought some graham crackers, chocolate and marshmellows. I can pretend that I'm camping and not just waiting for my land-lord to magically fix whatever is wrong in here.

I am going to try my best to be positive and cheerful, and chocolate will help with that.

Friday, January 8, 2010

A list for January 8th:

1. I like two hour delays because we don't have to make them up and I get to sleep in.
2. I like drinking coffee in the morning, but don't understand how somehow every time I drink it at school I spill it on myself. I got it all over my coat this morning.
3. My students have to give speeches for their midterms, so I gave a speech for my students today as an example of what I expected from them. When I was done, JP raised his hand and kindly informed me that I said "um" 36 times. This is why I am a teacher and not the president of the United States of America.
4. I have some good co-workers.
5. I love my students. I think they are precious and hilarious and I really enjoy teaching them. Today I was thinking about them while I was driving home and I was smiling to myself because they are so delightful. (most days)
6. Today we studied the Gettysburg Address, and while I would have liked to do more with it, I had a lot of fun teaching it.
7. I am sincerely glad that it is the weekend.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Psalms 31: 24

Be of good courage, and He shall strengthen your heart, all you who trust in the Lord.


This verse is interesting to me because in my mind, it seems like it should be the other way around: God will strengthen your heart, and then you will have courage. But as often happens when dealing with the Lord God Almighty, this verse is inverted and God commands that we take courage, and as we are doing that, God will strengthen our hearts. As we trust in God, he will enable us as we strive to be of courage.

I'm trusting in this promise.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010


I accidentally blew a wire in my apartment because I used space heaters. In the lease apparently it said that I wasn't allowed to use space heaters, but I missed that somehow. My land-lord was pretty upset with me because my room, bathroom and kitchen all don't have power and I also blew out the power for my neighbor. He told me that I needed to move my bed and couch away from the heater strip that goes all the way around my room. AND, the heater strip doesn't even really warm anything up. I don't really understand where I am supposed to put them currently then are in the middle of my room and living room. My land-lord doesn't know when I will have power again. I miss summer, and it's warm goodness.

I just feel so disheartened and irresponsible. I am not usually an irresponsible person, and I am so unhappy with myself for causing this to happen.

Monday, January 4, 2010

First Day Back: Oh boy!

I made myself make a list of Things to be Grateful for on a First Day Back:

1. My classroom was warm when I got there.
2. There wasn't a line for the printer this morning.
3. I have a job.
4. My students are entertaining and ridiculous.
5. I had a good lesson to teach today.
6. I had a good chat with a fellow teacher and realized that we had mutual friends.

Today I accidentally said "sex" in class, which of course resulted in a riot of sorts. What I was trying to say was "next six days" and it came out "nes sex blah blah" and all my student heard was "SEX" which caused them to laugh for three minutes while I just stood there waiting for everything to calm down. And also I used the wrong effect/affect even though I know better. Oops. But other than that I made it through my first day back, and I even enjoyed it.

Hurray for one more Monday down!

Sunday, January 3, 2010

I just finished planning out tomorrow's lesson. We are going to talk about why music has an effect on people and causes people to respond in certain ways. Then we are going to read and discuss an excerpt from Frederick Douglass's My Bondage and My Freedom where he talks about slave music and it's effect on those who heard it. We're going to follow that up with listening to and talking about a spiritual, "Go Down Moses". I am oddly excited about it. And oddly excited about getting back into the classroom. I didn't really miss my students per say, but I will be glad to see them again.

Here's a quote that I dig from a book I'm reading called A Circle of Quiet by Madeleine L'Engle, "'But,' I found myself saying, you will find that you cannot help teaching children your own religion, whatever it is. If you are an atheist, that will be clear to them, even if you think you're teaching nothing but social studies. If a belief in God motivates your life, the children are going to know that, too, whether you ever mention God or not. If you are more interested in money than anything else, that's not going to escape them. You've got to accept the fact that you are basically not teach a subject, you are teaching children. Subjects can probably be better taught by machines than by you. But if we teach our children only by machines, what will we get? Little machines. They need you, as persons.' And I quoted Emerson: 'What you are speaks so loudly over your head that I cannot hear what you say.'"

currently listening to: my tea pot and Ingrid Michaelson

Friday, January 1, 2010

two thousand and ten.

Romans 12

I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.

For I say, through the grace given to me, to everyone who is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think soberly, as God has dealt to each one a measure of faith. For as we have many members in one body, but all the members do not have the same function, so we, being many, are one body in Christ, and individually members of one another. Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, let us prophesy in proportion to our faith; or ministry, let us use it in our ministering; he who teaches, in teaching; he who exhorts, in exhortation; he who gives, with liberality; he who leads, with diligence; he who shows mercy, with cheerfulness.

Let love be without hypocrisy. Abhor what is evil. Cling to what is good. Be kindly affectionate to one another with brotherly love, in honor giving preference to one another; not lagging in diligence, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord; rejoicing in hope, patient in tribulation, continuing steadfastly in prayer; distributing to the needs of the saints, given to hospitality.
Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. 15 Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep. Be of the same mind toward one another. Do not set your mind on high things, but associate with the humble. Do not be wise in your own opinion.
Repay no one evil for evil. Have regard for good things in the sight of all men. If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men. 19 Beloved, do not avenge yourselves, but rather give place to wrath; for it is written, “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,” says the Lord. Therefore

“ If your enemy is hungry, feed him;
If he is thirsty, give him a drink;
For in so doing you will heap coals of fire on his head.”

Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

currently listening to: Love Song, Anberlin