Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Rise and Shine, Ready or Not!

At the beginning of the year, I took on a position teaching a tutorial class before-school.  Since I don't mind early mornings (once I get up), I thought this was a great opportunity for some extra money.  Little did I know that when the program ended for the year last Thursday that I would miss my before-school class each day.
My before-school class consisted of a small group (typically around 8 - 10) of students that needed a little extra boost to succeed in first grade.  They each came from various first grade classes and were from many different backgrounds.  I grew to love seeing them each morning and to hear what all happened from the day before. 

Each day, they would come to my classroom when the school first opened (7 o'clock).  I would be waiting on them to see how things were going, get them started on some flash cards or file folder games, and help them with any life problems. (Oh if you could only be a fly on the wall to hear about their problems sometimes.  It could be as minor as their jacket not unzipping and the students making fun of them or as major as a huge problem with another student.)  At around 7:15, once everyone had gotten to the classroom we would join together for some time to learn the skills for the week.  I would concentrate on what I knew they needed to know to do well in their class.  They were excited to work on the Promethean Board in my room since most of them do not have one in their own classroom.  After almost 30 minutes of reteaching/reviewing/introducing, I would walk the students to the cafeteria for breakfast.  This was where I said good-bye each day.

When I took this job on, I thought my position as their before-school teacher would stop there (when I dropped them off at the cafeteria for breakfast).  Oh was I wrong!  Many times throughout the day, the students would stop me in the hall when they saw me to tell me how they were doing.  Occasionally, I would have one come visit me in my classroom to show me their proud accomplishments on a paper.  In the afternoons during dismissal, one would even stop to give me a good-bye hug and to make sure I would be waiting on her first thing in the morning.  What a rewarding experience! 

The kids were disappointed last week when I told them that Thursday would be the last day for before-school.  I have to say I was a little disappointed too.  Now, it wasn't for the extra money, but it was because I was wanting to finish the year with these kids.  We had grown a bond together just like I do each year with my precious students in my regular classroom.  I explained to the students that they could stop by anytime to see me.  However, I wasn't sure if they really would especially early in the morning.

Wow was I wrong!  Yesterday morning (Monday morning and the first week without before-school), I was working in my room at 7 o'clock (I told you I like early mornings!) when a little boy from before-school walked in my room.  I explained to him that we didn't have class anymore, and he inreturn said that he knew this but he wanted to get a hug from me to get his day started off right and so that he would do good on his TCAP.  My heart broke!  Here was a kid who I struggled to get to come to me at first, because he thought it was punishment.  Now, he was wanting to come see me.  Well, he came again this morning and right behind him was a girl from before-school.  I thought she was coming because she saw him, but instead she was coming to say hi and to get a hug.  Here was a girl that barely spoke two words to me during class time.

I don't take the credits for this.  I primarily started this for the money, but God sure did have a different plan for me.  I will forever remember my first before-school class and each student in it.  I hope to keep track of them throughout the years and see how far they go.  I hope to be able to do this again next year if given the opportunity.  Please pray for these students as well as the ones that I have the great privilege to teach each day.  Please pray for me day to day to be the example they need in their lives, to say what God would want me to say, and to help them learn all they need to succeed.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Falling in Love of Water?

In January, I read the book Made to Crave by Lysa Turkeurst.  Oh what a life changing moment that was for me! 

Right before I began to read the book, I had decided that I was going to take out all caffeine drinks and sweet tea from my everyday routine.  I have done this many times before, but I always had a criteria for it.  (Ex. - I'll drink whatever I want at a meal but only drink water any other time.  I'll drink water throughout the week and whatever I want on the weekends.  And the list goes on.)  My life revolved around going to Sonic at Happy Hour and getting a Large Sweet Tea to drink or walking during my planning time to the break room to get a Dr. Pepper out of the coke machine.  I knew this was not good for my health, and I wanted to do better.  Therefore, I decided at the beginning of January to only drink water.  I knew I would still have to leave in milk and orange juice for the mornings, but otherwise I wanted to only drink water.  I mean I could do this right?  I could always put Crystal Light in my water if the taste got old.  Oh, how I wish it was that easy!  Thank goodness that I began reading this book right after I decided to do all this.

Now everytime I crave a sweet tea to drink, I am able to take a moment to thank God for all he has done and reflect on my relationship with him.  It has not been easy, but with God's help and my loving husband I have been able to go over 3 months with water! 

My students have even gotten in on it and have become my accountability partners at school.  My new water bottle keeps up with how much I drink a day, and they are constantly coming to see what number it is on and pushing me to drink more.  I'm so glad that I am able to be a good example for them.

I'm not stopping at 3 months so check back to see how long I last!  I encourage you to read Made to Crave.  It is a great book that will change you!


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