22 things I DON’T CARE about…

I don’t care that I buy second hand clothing even for my unborn child because I don’t care to be broke or waste money

I don’t care that I am publicly liberal or opinionated about hands-on education, or pro-common core because I don’t care to have that kind of hate or ignorance in my life

I don’t care if my wood floors are full of dog hair when you come over because I don’t care to keep up with the Jones’

I don’t care if I blast my country music to loud while I am driving next to you because I don’t care to have that kind of negativity in my life

I don’t care if you don’t like that I tell it how it is because I don’t care to be a fake person

I don’t care if you think my job of teaching immigrants, some illegal, English is irritating because I don’t care to be a part of the problem but rather the solution.

I don’t care if you don’t like that I don’t wear make up to cover up my bad skin because I don’t care to look like plastic surgeon barbie or an orange donut.

I don’t care if you don’t think I should roller skate, play ball or hold heavy objects while pregnant because I don’t care if you are drinking your liver to death every night

I don’t care if I watch crappy TV, childish movies, or only read teen novels because I don’t care for your boring form of entertainment

I don’t care if my weekly napping schedule means I can’t go out because I don’t care to be grumpy in public

I don’t care if you judge me because I use paper plates to eat dinner every night because I don’t care to do dishes.

I just don’t care.

What in the World….

I am 4 days and 30 minutes away from graduation. I am currently sitting at my desktop trying to plunge through a literature review about content integration of social studies and reading which is 2 weeks late and I have 2 assignments in addition to that which must be finished by Friday at midnight. We are having a celebration Saturday (assuming I finish) which means plans and preparation needs to begin…Friday night? So what in the world am I doing utilizing my brain cells on anything else other than what I should be doing. Well my world, my history, my legacy is creeping in my brain. I can’t get it out. I am only assuming other than pissing off my husband since I am supposed to be focusing on finishing my work that this blog will help clear my mind and allow me to go back to work. Wait- isn’t that what a fresh cup of coffee is for? Ya, I have that too.

This last year I have taken a deep dive into education. Not only my education but our education system, the one we are ever changing and building for our children/students. The one I am emerged in and has me left with the feeling that I am buried 6 feet under. One year ago I took a dive and all I have been doing since is writing and talking about fantasy teaching situations and awful education structure. Oh wait, maybe that’s what I have been reading. At this point I am not sure I know my butt from head. As a teacher who is obviously in love with education, as most educators are, it is sad that we spend our time scrutinizing the system more then we do something about it. I have preached from day on that there is always something positive you just have to look for the loop hole. Loopholes are everywhere. No, this doesn’t take away that something might be awful. What it does do is help reenergize what is important, learning.

Monday, I was in the middle of an office meeting when I burst into laughter. My co-workers have come to expect this from me, but this time I had no good reason to give them for my chuckle. The valid reasoning would just piss my boss off and really it was kind of fun to feel what my husband feels often while he is in meetings- the feeling of being the most intelligent person in the world. Our meeting was based on our yearly accountability, you know with summer fast arriving. Anyone in the education system knows it’s a teachers gravestone. The number that is. Not that I feel like my students are not successful, but that the 85% of them that I have making exponential progress now will falter into the 50-60% range come testing. Why? Because standardized testing is bogus. But at what point do we stop and fix the solution? Not nationally, not state wide, or district wide, but in our own school our own classroom, with us- the teacher.

After asking a series of questions on particular student placements in my classroom (mind you I am still new to my program) I had realized within 3 questions I had 10 students out of 55 that do not have any business being in my classroom (to low) and an additional 7 that have no business being in our school (to high). However, there was not a damn thing I could do about it as it will all effect my “score”….

Then I come home and spend an additional few hours reading scholarly journals about things that work that we don’t DO! I take some notes come up with some ideas. Spend some time on my thinking throne (toilet) and realize that it will never matter what I think about students in my classroom, but what will matter is the impression and learning they have been given from their time in my classroom, the tools they have discovered and the knowledge they have created. Although this ideology might not be “Standardized Approved” it will all forever be in their minds and have a dendrite connection back to me. So, I might not get the highest score outcomes and I might come home and complain to Levi about how unfair things are, but at the end of the day the legacy I am leaving within my students with my combined learning travels (Upland USD, Chaffey, CUSUB, Glasgow USD, Liberty, Garden City USD, GCCC), their life experience and what I did today in our classroom will somehow affect everyone of their minds throughout out their lives. So what I did today or do tomorrow for them might not matter to a lousy test or an admissions counselor who could care less about my students stories and more about the scores, but it will matter. I found the loophole and that my friends is what I LIVE, TEACH, & DIE for..What in the world did you do today?

My last year as a Christian

Those who know me know Baby J and I are pretty tight {for those of you outsiders who don’t know me very well Baby J is Jesus}. They also know that my spirt and soul are dedicated to the moral guide of what he and our father stands for. The good, the passionate, the compassionate, the ever loving. Living the simple life of being one with yourself and presenting your best self to all.

Also, if you know me you know at 19 I stop going to and serving at church. I have made a few trips back, but my decision has been made for then and now that I would not go.  There were many things that contributed to my decision. There was a change in the world with Christians that I saw and did not like. There was a nature about the way that the church was being portrayed that I did not want to associate with. See the Jesus I know loves EVERYONE, has no political affiliation, and dreams of a world with peace and understanding. The Jesus I was brought to love is one that loved everyone for everything that they were, are and a going to be.

I would say that this is also a large part to do with my parents. Obviously we take the paths our parents take and the one my mom sent us down was that of the loving Lord, the moral code, the jump of faith that he is with you wherever you go, but you have to make that connection with him yourself- my parents couldn’t do that for me. My parents also set good examples as people. They are generous, kind-hearted, and loving everything their own walks with the Lord has led them to be.

When I stopped going to church it wasn’t a tough decision. See, because my parents are so diverse in religion and politics they have always led us kids to decided what is best for our life is in making our own choices. As parents many times this is a hard battle to fight, but they always supported that it’s my relationship with Baby J and not theirs. I believe for a few years my mom saw that I lost my way with where Baby J and I stood and much of it had to do with my relationships and people I associated myself with. Not that they were bad- everyone was put in my life for season and a reason, but these people showed me another part of who I was or could be (Ecclesiastes 3:1).

To this day, 7 years later, I still attest that church is not my thing, but Baby J and I are alive and well and I would say this is a large part because of my husband. So, those of you who know my husband I’m sure just smirked in confusion. It is widely know he is Agnostic. For those of you not in the faith realm I have provided you with a text book definition:

A person who believes that nothing is known or can be known of the existence or nature of God or of anything beyond material phenomena; a person who claims neither faith nor disbelief in God.

Although my husband has no definitive distinction of what God is, was or could be it doesn’t mean he is any less of a person. His heart is bigger then any true Christian I know. His love is sweet and sincere and his actions are ever giving. But, when I was 20 (1 year out of the church) we started to date and my relationship with Baby J became different. As with all new relationships you start to get to know one another. Levi and I had been friends for many years before, but friends don’t always really know each other.  So as we explored each other lives seeing if we were compatible for a longer thing we explored religion. Anyone who knows Levi knows that he is a very good interrogator (Journalism skills), he leaves no stones unturned and he is never short on thoughts. It was then I discovered a new side to Baby J.

Without getting into particulars Levi’s questions and thoughts led me to a very deep understanding of where I stood with Baby J and the church. I don’t think I knew until then the scope of my relationship with it all, but it was freeing and comforting that what I knew and believed was just the way I built my relationship with Baby J. I finally understood that my longing to find a place in Christianity and being a liberal Christian- or I suppose the PC term is progressive Christian- was understood and known. Thankfully, Levi loved me for my beliefs, amongst other things, and decided to keep me around for a while :).

Short story long this last year was another, I would say, bridge between Baby J and I . When it came down to going back to school  for my graduate degree there were a few choices of schools I could go to. I had been looking into two schools intently when a friend of mine recommend Liberty. I thought I was going to die in laughter. See- Liberty’s reputation, more so, Jerry Fallwell’s is tough to resonate with if you are a progressive Christian or a liberal as I am. Seriously, there is a huge gap of beliefs of what is one with Baby J. But, again after long discussion with Levi he made me realize how uplifting this experience could be for me. To explore what my relationship means to being a teacher, wife, and future mother (No, I am not pregnant – stop asking). He knew it mattered to me as he is thoughtful and remembers those confessions I made over 6 years ago.

This last year has opened my spirt and commitment of living in the way the Lord planned for me in my unique way more then anyone can say.  I have met some amazing people and of different faiths all around the country. I have been so blessed of how accepted I felt in the Christian realm although I am a little off beat. Finding my adult self and being comfortable expressing my views has been extraordinary and fulfilling. This journey I have taken in the last year was not just about my education- I know I am a good teacher, but I feel it was more about finding myself and feeling understood. Again things happen in seasons and reasons and this experience was meant for me to gallivant. The people I have in my life because of my adventure this last year were placed there on purpose to help me understand it all. This year I have been more blessed then ever and I own it all to a big man named Baby J who knows my heart, sees my soul, believes in my spirit.

Proverbs 3:13

B

Diversity Education

The purpose of teaching programs across the United States is to prepare teachers for addressing all of the issues head on inside and outside of the classroom. Recently, the role of diversity has become a huge forefront on the classroom. Past civil right and educational equality our classrooms are filled with differences. Different children, different genders, different cultures, different races, different faces, different learning styles for each and every child. You would think this would mean that properly educated teachers have been given the tools to deal with all the diversity filling our classrooms toady right? Wrong!

In the journal article “Preparing Teachers for Diversity: Examination of Teacher Certification and Program Accreditation Standards in the 50 States and Washington, DC.” (2010) researchers revealed that there are eight states that have no diversity content for their accredited teacher education programs and only few that allow diversity to take shot gun in K-12 classrooms. This alongside correlation to studies of our less preforming ethnic students who have been paired up with under qualified educated teachers shows a huge gap in multicultural education here in the United States. “Multicultural teacher education can play a major role in reforming the nature of instruction and school climate by educating teachers to provide equal educational opportunities to all students” (Akiba, Cockerel, Simmons, Han, and Agarwal, 2010, p. 446)

Researchers also were interested in the type of diversity education a majority of teacher preparation programs focused on. The categories included exceptional and culturally different, human relations, single-group studies, multicultural educations and social reconstructionist (allowing diversity to play an active part in educational and social equality). While only two states, North Dakota and Wisconsin, have all categories in the content approach of there programs most states only have about one or two. However, 43 states do have content approaches in human relations.

While diversity curriculum for teachers preparation programs are not required they should be. The only people we are failing with the lack of knowledge is the students inside the classrooms. The amount of injustice these statistics bring is also the amount of discrimination many students are feeling. Students need to feel involved in their education and what better way to do it then allow them to develop it by means of that they know and discovering who they are through learning. When we lack  diversity and present students with an ineffective teaching staff we are asking them to fit a mold that they should never belong in. Allowing students to be prideful of who they are and learning more about themselves and others is only going to produce a more socially responsible citizens who are bound to make changes in the world, like make diversity education mandatory.

Defining you…

MLK’s birthday always excites me. It’s such a great time of year to talk about equality, dreams, and hope in humanity. This year I was uber excited to bring some character education to the forefront of the classroom.

Last week we worked on Facebook profiles where my kids described the feelings MLK might have been experiencing around the time of his speech and friends he might of had who are either dead or alive. This went really well and the kids created some really original work!

Today I introduced a week long creation of a “When I grow up…” book. This will be laced with college dreams, skills and famous people who tried and failed. I will post final pictures on Friday, but the kids have some really great creations happening.

I introduced the lesson with positive words about my students goals and how they can make it to college. This conversation and idea for the project followed after one of my kids told me last week that stupid people don’t go to college -__- . Oh, the joys a teacher has of having to debunk what society instills in my students heads. Luckily I was stupid, or their idea of stupid, and I can relate many personal testimonies.

We also watched a video about famous people who were failures. We read the book “Oh, the places you will go.” Hey! Dr. Seuss was a failure too! Adding in a song by Britt Nicole about how we are all GOLD! Talk about pounding in all the learning styles!!

Then something annoying occurred. I was asked to make sure my student attend the school spelling bee. Now this probably would be really exciting for some teachers, for me it was awful. Every class was represented with at least one student- but mine. My students did not know many of the students who were in the spelling bee, because lets be real most of their friends aren’t in the general population that was selected for the spelling bee. THEN they want my kiddos who cannot sit in one place for more then 5 minutes to sit QUIETLY for 1 hour??? ARE THEY KIDDING!!!!! Talk about wanting to rip out my hair. But because I believe in my students I knew they could do it- while we did have some placement issues and a student that needed his back rubbed before he exploded-we got through it.

However, as I had just spent an entire afternoon talking about how Special Education doesn’t define my students- their peers and school were telling them different. Enough so that even my best speller wasn’t selected to participate even though I believed she could have made it passed 4 students in the 1st and 2nd rounds. -__-

As I was prewriting for this blog tonight my mom was telling me how she shared my “testing” story with a co-worker of hers that has lost faith in himself becoming a nurse because of tests. Much like I had once, and still occasionally do. Tests are my enemy and I always believe they matter when I fail — like I have multiple time in my life. How test scores have told me that I am nothing; or at best average. How in the last year I have elaborated words of encouragement from my husband and mother that tests don’t DEFINE me.

Tests don’t explain who I am or my life story. They don’t show how many learning difficulties I have overcome or how I am a wicked good teacher and have helped many children overcome their own struggles. They don’t show a depth of my knowledge or the expansion of my skills. They simply state that when I am in the same uncomfortable chair for more then an hour with the air turned down to 60 my brain become dull and thinks about bathroom breaks, strong coffee and butt cushions instead of algorithmic functions, the breakdown of different types of folktales or completing an essay.

I often forget this in preparation for tests and my family is always quick to remind me of my own words and explanations of my learning abilities. Things, such as spelling bees, society and standardized test don’t define us. They want us to think they do, but they are all just part of a screwed up system to make us feel down about our special abilities.   Find out what those are my friends and do not let any one dull your sparkle. DEFINE YOU.

quote-everybody-can-be-great-because-anybody-can-serve-you-don-t-have-to-have-a-college-degree-to-martin-luther-king-jr-290433

 YES, MLK preach!

10 on Tuesday: Sister Inspired Edition.

  1. S/O to my sister Susie who is unknowingly getting me out of my negative blog funk by reminding me about 10 on Tuesday! Read hers here: http://susiesincock.typepad.com/decorate_your_soul/2014/01/ten-on-tuesday-1.html 🙂 The last three entires I have attempted would make some angry friends. I have opinions. Not all need to be read but I feels good to write them. Maybe in my future book.
  2. I had a kid call me stupid today. It hurt. I cried. His counselor let me know I was doing a good job with him- No, that did not make me feel any better. A hug from my husband did though.
  3. I like to be warm, but not hot. My husband has A/C rules so it’s often you will find me under blankets or traveling with my space heather that goes on and off every 10 minutes or so. You know, because I’m hot –then I’m cold! This is not a menstruational thing its a Katy Perry one.
  4. I don’t think I am funny. Although, I have been told by some that they look forward to my status updates everyday for a good laugh I still don’t believe them.
  5. It is still surreal that this week last year I was magically accepted into the MAT program at Liberty and  with a snap of a finger my journey is coming to an end. I am feeling very weird about it… Specialist degree next?? – I know my husband is rolling his eyes somewhere.
  6. The Telegram, the paper Levi writes for, was having some problems with paper routes and changing from mail-based to personal delivery. For four weeks we got one paper. So I stopped checking for them. After 21 days it becomes a habit, right? Well, Levi asked me to go to the front porch today where I discovered 6 papers rolled up. He took a walk out to the yard where he found two more. Apparently both of us gave up on the process, but rest assured delivery is in full force again.
  7. My mom got me addicted to three new singers Jamie Grace, Jason Castro and Britt Nicole and  (I don’t think she knows this). Take a listen!!!  We’re all diamonds in the rough- Britt Nicole!
  8. If anyone asked me my favorite genre of music I never say I have a favorite. Country, Indie Rock/pop, Hip-hop, and Christian top my hot list….I guess I catch myself in the country twang more often- it’s how I was raised. S/O to my daddy! But nothing like being so far different from one another. I guess  I find inspiration and encouragement in it all.
  9. One of my students told me her favorite singer was Demi Lovato. My reaction was something in the matter of WHO? AM I OLD? WHAT? That’s okay life is good. She sung the Frozen “let it go” song. I totally know her now. BFF’s. LOL. I’m losing touch my friends.
  10. Our temporary kitty, Sandy, is currently enjoying many of her free toys that we have came up with for her. An empty spool, a piece of wrapping string, and small empty chip bag, a post office box, and a ball of stuffing form Kennedy’s last adventure with a squeaky toy… Our future kids are going to be so deprived from toys…Don’t fret imagination is key!

Wasteful Eaters: Mindful Eating

We are family that loves to eat. Neither one of us has ever missed a meal if we are hungry, we eat. Im mean come on food is amazing.

We are also a family that hates new year’s resolutions. Both of us don’t stick to anything. Resolutions typically become pretty pointless after day 6 (give or take a day). It actually bothers us to see all of these people we know state something on the first and then by the 20th they have fallen off the face of the earth to the next new thing. We decided to give up on the fact that we will never again start anything new in the new year. And that’s ok.

This year though there has been something on my heart. I have a few friends who have been traveling around the world and getting to see what the rest of the world does that we don’t. I only wish to have some of these opportunities someday, but school never seems to end and traveling is expensive for a teacher salary. Nevertheless I virtually live through my friends amazing experiences.

With all of them in different places in the world I have found one common thread, something that has been worldly publicized, yet cannot seem to be controlled. People don’t have the same luxury as me, yes it’s a luxury, to eat food each and every day. To create, combined and discover the secrets all foods have.

After some research I have found out some crappy shit. Below are some stats that I believe we should all know about world hunger. (if you don’t care about the sats just scroll to my writing below):

**** YOU CAN CLICK THE IMAGES TO SEE THE TEXT BIGGER.

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Want to know what is really sad….

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In Montana I met a lady who was very food savvy. Not only was she a great cook, but she never wasted anything and always tried to grow what she consumed. Even her meat. One day we were talking about a TV show her and I both watch and she was explaining to me how appalled she was that the cook threw away the egg yoke when only an egg white was needed for a recipe. It made her so mad she never watched the show again. I left that conversation thinking- its only an egg yoke. To her its was a perfectly good egg yoke that could be used for something else without throwing it away.

One more set of crazy facts about food waste:

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It is just appalling that all of these numbers I have presented you just keep growing. And year after year I just sit here scarfing down my food and while others go without. Throwing away leftovers when some have nothing left to eat. So this year the Burnfin’s are taking a stance (not a resolution– we break those) to doing our part in consuming food we buy and food we have. Sadly we fall into some of these stats being almost below the poverty level and college graduates and our hearts wish we could do more.  As we are advocates for many things in this world we believe the best thing we can do is at least practice what we preach and spreading the word to those who will listen.

So we will be going into our 3rd week of buying less and using more. We have a pantry of ingredients we have been fully enjoying without running to the store every night for that one ingredient, for that one meal, that sounds the best tonight when there are 6 meals we can make at home with what we have. Hey, we are saving gas and family time too! Making what our family can eat and not a penny more. Reuse things that are not fully used, like the egg yoke when we only need the egg white. And in the spring we will plant editable foods once again for us to use in the summer and fall.

Although we know this is only a very small contribution it helps us remember each and every day why we are doing it. Because mindful food matters.

 

 

 

 

 

Information Credit:

Feeding America (FA). 2010. “Hunger in America” http://feedingamerica.org/hunger-in-america.aspx

Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO). 2002 & 2012. “The State of Food Insecurity in the World 2012” http://www.fao.org

United Nations Environmental Programme (UNEP). 2009. “The environmental crisis: The environment’s role in averting future food crisis” http://www.unep.org

Why the MID-WEST is not the NORTH-WEST

Many of you know I recently encountered some awful traveling hazards during my trip to Liberty. If you can recall I have not had such luck with either of my trips to Liberty. As this was truly my last trip and I am currently nestled behind my keyboard typing this blog I am beyond blessed and thankful to have made it through both adventures.

The last time I headed to Liberty for 2 1/2 weeks the travel problems stemmed from one flight out of six that got delayed due to an engine leak. It took me three flights to get there and because of this delay I missed my 2 connections and it took me  2 days to arrive at my final destination. This time, I thought, I would take matters into my own hands being as five hour drives do not seem to phase me anymore. I was going to drive, to Denver, to the main airport and then fly. It was a great idea, tickets were cheap and there was only one layover. Except I seemed to bypass two things. DENVER. DECEMBER. Yes, this means the chances of snow were significantly high and why I didn’t take this into consideration — I am assuming my wallet is whispering something.

So, I weather watched all up until the day of. Why not the day off? I was busy. Only to be shocked when I hit Limon to be showered with snow and horrendous visibility. It was drivable for about 20 minutes, then I started panicking followed by tears, self-talk and concurring. I got behind a truck and felt all was right in the world until I had to get on a toll road that surrounds the Denver airport when I started to realize the epic fail of the midwest.

Side note: Now understand I know my geography. I understand that Colorado is what is considered mountain-west just as my future example of Montana is, but my noticeable events also occurred in Kansas and Nebraska which are apart of the Midwest. P.S. Colorado is close enough. 

The list of epic-failures on the Midwest behalf

  1. Windy road absolutely everywhere is just stupid. I get it a turn or two is needed but a 180 degree or 360 one is setting drivers up to fail. I don’t care how many lights you have on the turn-pike. (On that note Montana’s lack of lights is an issue.)
  2. Because it only snows maybe three months out of the year new drivers are not exposed to snowy roads in their potty training stages. Leaving a large amount of drivers reckless and uneducated… Midwest snow more (like 7 months).
  3. Can we talk about the lack of snow plows? Even on the snow routes. Which lead no where but to more packed snowy roads and less plowed ones.
  4. Walmart gets filled with the cray (typically chillins sent out by there mothers [ refer to problem 2]) who are out on the unplowed snowy roads (Refer to problem 3.) Squirrel-up in October rookies.  I guess when you have no Walmart you’ll learn (right, Glaswegians?).
  5. Apparently, speed limits and snow limitations mean nothing to those here in the midwest. Packed snow roads (refer to problem 3, again) and the ability to drive at a normal speed is apparently acceptable. Until they slid, skid or worse…

SMH… Snow-up midwest.

When play kicks you in the a$$

First day back to school and I believed it would be a great idea to have a nice easy, relaxed review day. Educational and full of writing, but an ease into the new year. All was right in the world until Math when I realized play kicked my butt.

Math in my classroom is at the end of the day. The worst part of day to put math– when students are least likely to be engaged. It is school wide planned time due to other inclusion students that need to be in my classroom, but nonetheless awful. Tuesday review session (No school Monday) left my class in anger. I was mad, my chillins were confused, my aides were pulling their hair out. Yes, math came in like a wrecking ball.

I came home exhausted. Reflecting on how it went so bad when the was going so right. I searched, scoured and concluded that I was not practicing what I preach. I thought the best way to engage students is worksheets with fun colors, right? Mostly, never, always WRONG! I preach play education!!!!! So what the h-e-double-hockey-sticks was I giving out worksheets, even if they had fun colors on them?

Today I walked in with my preaching hand strong and we played jeopardy. All kids were engaged, reviewing, and enjoying math…