Thursday, January 28, 2010
As most of you know, I have returned to college to get credentialed in Early Childhood Education so I can continue teaching Pre-Kindergarten. I have my degree in English and began my MFA in Creative Writing before getting derailed by marriage, family and life - and that's okay. But new regulations in Colorado demand that every lead teacher must now have an education in ECE. We must take two classes initially, building to an associates degree over time. Although I wasn't fired up about it, I now see this is a good thing, albeit slightly inconvenient.
Last night was my first class in Child Guidance Strategies. We started last week but the professor had to miss because she was busy rescuing 32 orphans from Haiti and placing them with adopting families here in Colorado. Needless to say, we accepted her excuse for being absent! Subsequently, last night was our first class discussion - and we went deep.
To understand how to guide a child in our classroom we need to understand where the children are coming from. What is happening at home? What have they been exposed to in their short lives? How are they disciplined? How consistant is their rountine? How much affection are they shown? Who are their primary caregivers? An endless list of questions we can never get all the answers to. And, it turns out, endless variations in answering those questions.
But because we can't ask the children for their answers, the teacher asked us for ours.
We were invited to be frank in sharing our own answers to those questions, to share our own stories. Stories of abuse, of neglect, of rape by a stepfather, of divorce, of punitive discipline, of jailed mothers and taking custody of siblings, of drug and alcohol dependence, of parental mental and physical illness, of special needs and emotional needs, of death, separation and running away.
Out of a class of 16 women only four could claim to come from an intact, healthy family. Merely one quarter of the women had the "nuclear family" we used to see on TV. This tells me that what most of us thought was the norm was really abnormal in our generation. And I would venture to say, even more so in the current genration of preschoolers.
I have 16 kids in my classroom. The same number as the amount women in my college class. Although I live and work in a pretty affluent neighborhood, how many of these children have some of these issues in their homes? Judging by the varied answers of 16 women in my class? Probably more than I would ever guess.
So maybe next time that child that never stops whinning, or the one that always claims he's too tired to try his table work, the biter, or the girl that bursts into tears at the slightest offense start to try my patience, I can remember that I don't know their story and my patient smile might be the only one they see all day.
And that can make all the diffence - right then.
So this is what I learned last night:
Life is hard.
I mean really hard. But people are tougher. We overcome. We are built to bounce back for the most part. We are able to learn, grow stronger, and make different or better choices in the next generation. We don't have to be stuck with what we were dished out. We can dream of making a difference in our own lives and in other people's lives.
We can touch the future - one child at a time.
Monday, January 18, 2010
School is now in session!
Yes, tomorrow I officially go back to college to take the two classes I need to stay certified to teach preschool in the state of Colorado. To say I am nervous would be overstating it but I certainly have some trepidation. It's not that I think it will be hard work or a difficult course of study. Actually, probably not since I have been doing this for years and most of the knowledge is common sense (or mother sense) with some requsite fact regurgitation concerning child development and developmental psychology.
No, it's the disruption of my comfort zone, the change to my daily routine, the addition of tasks, responsibilities, and homework. These are the things I dread. I don't do BUSY well. Even with 3 teens we don't do a lot of constant running around in our house - yet. I love laid-back, curled up on the couch with a good book, sleeping until 10am, lazy days. I won't have a lot of those for the next 4 1/2 months (*sigh*).
I know I'll end up loving going back to school. I've always loved school - mostly for the social aspects, but still. So I am trying to face tomorrow with a positive attitude, an open mind, and a willing heart. And if that fails there's always the phrase I lived by when the kids were little and going through difficult stages, "This too shall pass."
And it will.
Thursday, January 14, 2010
As some of you may remember in my January 1st post, New Beginnings, one of my goals was to get at least 15 minutes of exercise a day even if it is just walking the dog.
Well, I am happy to report that so far - 14 days into it, I have kept my goal! I have logged 446 minutes and burned 2697 calories. Yeah, I know it's not even a pound yet but combined with my eating focus it is working to release weight and allow me to climb the stairs in my house without getting winded. Hooray!
The workouts have not been all blood, sweat and tears. A lot of them have been fun, moderate workouts on the Wii Fit Plus. And the Wii keeps track of my calories burned. That there is some motivation, Boy Howdy! The hard workouts are the ones on the elliptical. Those are no fun. Halfway through the first one I wanted to cry. I know it will get easier so I'm going to stick with it.
I have a few tools that have been helping me. One is http://www.dailymile.com/, a Facebook-type social network that keeps track of your posted workouts and goals. The other is my fitness blog Desperately Seeking Size-Ten where I connect to a group of like-minded people who cheer me on and inspire me. It has made all the difference. If you care to, join me as I chronicle my trials and tribulations on the road to getting fit.
Because getting fit is what it's all about.
In the long run I want to bike, run, swim, kayak, play baseball, golf, soccer, and field hockey. And I want to do cartwheels. Okay, maybe I won't do all these things, after all I'm no spring chicken anymore, but I want to at least be able to try!
Friday, January 8, 2010
A little something for everyone!
Since beginning my foray into blogging 8 months ago I have been delighted by the humor, inspiration, wisdom, and kinship I have found with fellow bloggers by reading and following their written journeys through life.
One of my favorite fellow bloggers, Blue Cotton Memory, has given me an award!
Put the logo on your blog/post
Nominate and link up to 9 blogs which allure, amuse, bewitch, impress or inspire you.
Let them know that they have been splashed by commenting on their blog.
Remember to link the person from whom you received your Splash Award.
Here are some of the writers who are always making me come back for more: more laughs, more inspiration, more wisdom, and more encouragement!
Sunday, January 3, 2010
Another school break is over and I have nothing to show for it. No list of projects crossed off. No proudly-organized craft room, curriculum files, or kitchen junk drawer. My jewelry sits unpolished and in disarray all over my dresser. My closet still needs an overhaul. The kids clothes need to be weeded through for too-small items that my sons will undoubtedly choose to wear first. I still need to dust.
Forget all the high hopes and resolutions for the New Year, I can't even get my To Do List accomplished over a two week break. I did, however, get a lot of relaxing in during my time off.
So I say 'no' to resolutions and 'yes' to goals & dreams. I listed some in my last post and the good news is I have not failed any of them because my life, unlike my winter break, is not over yet - thank you, God.
The good news is, as most procrastinators know, there's always tomorrow!
Friday, January 1, 2010
Unbelievably we have entered a new decade today!
Even more unbelievable my sons cut their hair short again! After a long stint of collar-brushing, over the eyes, covering the ears, hiding behind my hair, my twins have emerged. It is so wonderful to see them confident and styling!
I never fought the battle over their hair. I let them decide how they wanted to wear it and to my knowledge I never harrassed them. I didn't need to. My daughter harassed them endlessly! She is also sporting a new shorter 'do and loving it.
My hair can't get much shorter so I am making some other changes. It is time to get fit. I have decided to start a weight-loss blog and I hope it will offer me some accountability, encouragement, and therapy! I am recommiting to the Wii Fit and want to be active everyday for at least 15 minutes - even if it's only walking the dog. I also ordered new glasses. This is where the kiddos took this stylish photo I have posted!.
Besides my fitness goals I also have some other goals for 2010:
- Serve others more. Like my family and I did in the post Teens Will Be Teens.
- Consider going back to school after I finish my two classes for my ECE credential.
- Blog more.
- Spend more time with God.
- Fearlessly start writing book ideas without always second-guessing myself.
Happy New Year, 2010!