4 am.

I was at home. I was sleeping on the couch.  I often slept on my couch when my children were with their dad because I wanted to hear if someone tried to break in.  I was single, and I thought it would make a difference if I heard them.  I was wrong.

It was 4 am. I remember because I looked at my phone when I heard the noise of someone messing with my doorknob. My worst nightmare come true. Someone is trying to come inside my home. I’m alone. All these thoughts are coming through my mind of what should I do. I have my phone. I go to the door to see who it is trying to come in my home at 4 am when I am home alone.

When I look through the window on my door I see a familiar face.  Someone I know. Someone I dated once and was in a relationship with.  Also someone I had broken up with recently and who was angry with me.  I could tell by the look on his face that he wasn’t happy with me.  This wasn’t going to be a friendly visit. He wasn’t there to say hello and see how I’ve been.  Remember it’s 4 am.

I pleaded with him through my front door to leave. Please just go home. I promised we would talk tomorrow if he would just leave my house.  I could tell he had been drinking. He had sent text messages to my phone all day.  He told me he was in Tulsa bar hopping the entire day. He had been drinking since early that afternoon.  How did he even manage to make it to my house 50 miles from Tulsa.

It was then he busted through my front door. Threw me to the couch. Threw my phone against my living room wall and it busted into pieces. I knew this wasn’t going to be good for me. I knew my life was about to change forever. The question was to what extent. I remember thinking I’ve always heard don’t let them move you to another location. I kept trying to reason with him.  Still pleading if he would just leave I would talk to him tomorrow.

He didn’t listen.  There was no reasoning with him. He had been drinking the entire day and night.  He was so angry with me for breaking up with him. I won’t go into the details of exactly what took place in my house at 4 am.  I will say that after a while he did leave. My phone busted. I can’t call the cops. I got in my car, clothes ripped to shreds, drove to a convenience store, called the Sheriff’s department because I lived outside of city limits.  A Sheriff’s deputy came quickly to my home. Took my report and took my ripped up clothes into evidence.  I could tell he felt horrible and felt sorry for me.  He was so kind. We’ve seen each other since then and I can tell he remembers the night.  So do i.

I made one mistake.  When it was time to go to court I didn’t press charges.  I was so scared and didn’t want my children to be burdened by this getting out.  I settled for a lifetime protective order, which is still effective today. The judge was angry with me for not pressing charges.  He told him he faced 50 years plus in prison if I pressed charges.  I know if my kids knew the extent of what I went through that night they would be angry with me for not pressing charges.  I guess they will know now.  I’ve only told a couple people about this happening to me.  I don’t like being a victim.  Date rape is strange because I found myself questioning if I was really raped or not.  I knew him.  I dated him. but when he was assaulting me I was screaming no.  He did rape me. and I can finally admit to that.

Thank you to all the strong women out there sharing their stories.  You made me finally brave enough to share my story.  I am forever grateful. I am telling my story to hopefully help anyone out there scared to tell theirs.  Don’t be afraid. By sharing our stories we empower other women and ourselves.

Thanks for reading.

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Closure

I often wonder when someone speaks the words I needed closure so I messaged him/her, emailed, or text him/her is it really closure you’re wanting, or did you convince yourself that calling it closure would excuse you reaching out. 
Why do we hang so tightly onto someone or something that has already let us go. They have released their grip on us but yet we can’t fathom another day without their approval, their pursuit of us. 

I wonder.. is it the rejection or are we really so emotionally attached to this person that these feelings are true fear. Sadness. Fear of how will I go on without the daily approval, pursuit of  this person? Sadness of mourning the loss of what was. 

Or it could be that this person rejected us so now we feel like we must do everything within our power to reverse the rejection when we know it was for the best. 

How do we know? 

The thing is it’s hard to know.. this is why life is complicated. But at the same time without these experiences we wouldn’t grow, we wouldn’t know how to appreciate a great person when they come along. 

I have found you have to just focus on your friendships. On your work. On whatever it is that you’re doing that is positive. Lose yourself in serving others. Go workout. Stop looking for closure, and open your mind to a new you. New beginnings. 

Stop trying to open a locked door. 

It’s been locked, bolted shut.  And yet you keep shaking the door knob. Stop it! 

Move on. Try another door. You may be surprised what you find. One may be unlocked. You may even find yourself on the other side. 

This blog post is for some people I cherish that need to let go. I love you and I am here. 

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That’s just what teachers do.

As I sit here gazing out my window I think about the many children I am leaving by switching districts this year.  I have been thinking about this very thing for days now.  It keeps me awake at night and although I have avoided the inevitable breakdown thus far, I know it’s coming.

I think as a teacher it’s much harder for us to ‘switch jobs’ or in the teacher world that is usually switching districts.  We can’t just collect the items in our office into a cardboard box and say our goodbyes or don’t and just move on.  It’s way more complicated than that.  We lose a part of ourselves and we leave it at that school.

My former district (to avoid naming schools or people) was the only place I had ever taught before.  It was home and my students were my children.  Switching districts is tricky because you’re so excited for the unknown yet afraid to let go of the familiar.

I don’t have any ill feelings toward my former district.  I am leaving for all the obvious reasons.  Closer to home, more pay, bigger district which usually equates to more resources.  Yet, I am left with a feeling of was that enough?  Was the reasons I was staying at my former district more than what I left for?

Don’t get me wrong, I believe I will find all the warm and fuzzys at my new school.  I will fall in love w/my new students and parents and coworkers.  I already have. That is not what this blog post is about.  What I am questioning is was it worth leaving the children I had already invested in? This keeps me awake at night. I’m not kidding ask my husband. I am holding back the tears as I write.

Now the mushy stuff.   There is one beautiful, amazing little girl that inspired this blog post.  I won’t name her but just know she is perfect.  The cutest now 4th grader you would ever meet.  I have mentored her since she was in 1st grade.  She doesn’t have a mom in her life, only a dad and his family.  We are super close. Which is why I feel like I betrayed her by leaving. Was it enough? How do I come to terms w/leaving when she only had 2 more years left at the Elementary.

Before you judge me and think I am the worst ever I have since contacted my former coworkers and found out her teacher and am planning on going to see her every chance I get.  Again, was it enough? Will it be enough?

I wish people outside of the education world understood the torment teachers deal with every single day.  We don’t just worry about if they pass a test.  We don’t just worry about if they learn their math facts. We worry about are they okay? Are they eating? Will they understand why I left? Will they think I abandoned them too? Ugh, tears.  Not now. Not yet. I’m not ready to deal with these emotions. Think of something else.

Reality.  I can’t just keep thinking about something else.  These are feelings and questions I have to face and hopefully find the answer to.  I have to make this work, and I will.  I’m not sure what the purpose of this post was other than  me finally writing these feelings down.  If you take one thing from this post I hope that it is something like this.. I really care about my students.  Not care about their scores, I care about them as people.  I am invested, and by that I mean even if I switch districts, I am still here and I’m not going anywhere.

That’s just what teachers do.

Thanks for reading. Now I need a tissue.

 

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Good-bye to my 5th graders.

As the school year winds down I can’t help but get emotional over the impending good-bye I will have to tell my students.  I looped with my students last year and so I have spent two wonderful years with them.  When the idea of looping was presented to me by my administrator, I jumped at the chance because the idea of spending another year with my same group of kiddos excited me.  I didn’t hesitate for a second. What I didn’t consider though was the good-bye. How would I be able to let them go off to middle school?  How would I be able to let go?  After one year these kids became my family but after two years it seems impossible to imagine having another class.  I realize I am not the first teacher in the world to ever loop with her students.  What I am though is a fairly new teacher.  I have taught for three years and two of those years have been spent with this group of amazing children.   What makes them so great? Where do I start? I think it’s the growth that you see in them after being with them for two years.  It’s thinking back to where they started at two years ago, and knowing that they are only just beginning.  Seeing the potential in them to absolutely change the world.  It’s hearing their hopes and dreams and knowing that they will in fact make them a reality.  It’s that they tell you you are their second mom.  It’s the student that was always reluctant to get close to you now hugging you and high- fiving you every chance he gets.  It’s the girls that use to constantly fight with each other, now taking care of each other.  See we have all become a big family.  We are not classmates and teacher.  We are family. We have a connection that everyone notices.  I went from having 3 children to having 28.  Looping with students helps you and your students form a bond that is irreplaceable.  I will forever remember this group of students.  I’m not sure they understand how much I’m going to miss them.  I tell them but there is no way they could comprehend it.  I dread the day we have their graduation.  I’m not sure yet how I’m going to make it through that day.  I almost wish I could just stay home that day.  I know that I won’t but part of me just wants to not experience that feeling of loss.  I hope they know that I love them.  I hope they know that I want them to come visit me daily.. okay I know that is a big request so I would settle for weekly.  I need them to still be part of my life.  I need to know how they’re doing and how they’re loving or hating middle school.  I know they will love middle school because they’re all very successful students.  They’re high achievers.  I am so proud of them all! They changed my life and made me so happy that I became a teacher.  So Grace, Shay, Colton, Victoria, Charles, Karleigh, Gabrielle, Joshua, Kami, James, Alexis, Conner, Kylie, Nicholas, Amanda, Emma, Azure, Kayleigh, Seth, Izabel, Hunter, and those that moved away but are never forgotten, Hailey, Jeremiah, Isaac, Kennedy, Garrett, Serenity.  I love you all!  Thank you for changing my life! Thank you for coming into my life! I will forever miss being your teacher.  Enjoy middle school, high school, college, beyond.  Where ever your path leads you have my support and love.

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Not ready to make nice.

You’ve seen the headlines, you’ve read the news.  “Worst financial crisis to education in decades”  “Budget cuts having direct effect on the education of your child”, “We’re just down to the bone, Oklahoma schools forced to make deeper cuts to their budget”

Oklahoma educators are Mad as hell!!!!

Oklahoma public schools are having to remove microwaves from classrooms, remove refrigerators from classrooms, face reprimand if your computer is not turned off at the end of the day, take out 1/2 of the light bulbs at schools, fire janitors, school counselors, etc.  Cancel bus routes and let go of bus drivers, no more athletics, art, or music.  This is the worst education crisis I have ever known.

Who do we turn to for help? Our leaders of course.  Our State leaders.  Except for one thing. Our state leader is responsible for all of this.  Who do we think handles our money? Well that would be Preston Doerflinger, who just last year was arrested in Oklahoma City on a complaint of driving while under the influence of alcohol.  This is who is in charge of the finances of the state of Oklahoma.  This is a person appointed by our Governor Mary Fallin.

This is who she trusts with our state finances.  No wonder right?

Meanwhile, teachers are facing lay offs, increased class sizes, limited resources, and all our state leaders are concerned with is will the ESA bill pass?  Going around endorsing a bill that will give tax dollars to private schools, and parents that choose to home school in the form of a voucher.  Money that should be going to public education.  Yet public education is facing all of these cuts?  I’m at a loss.  I don’t understand.  How can we be doing both at the same time?  Cutting Public Ed, and giving tax dollars to private schools, and home schooling?

Someone explain this to me.

I’m just a public school teacher, apparently I know nothing.  I just try to do what is best for my students.  My PUBLIC school students.  I didn’t know I was the only one that cared about them. I just didn’t know.

Signed,

Mad as hell public school teacher

 

 

 

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1, 2, 3, 4, 5 Challenge.

I saw this challenge on Twitter and took it upon myself to accept it, and so here goes. I like to talk about life in my classroom.  I spend so much time there it really is my home away from home.

What has been your ONE biggest struggle during this school year?

My biggest struggle this year has been things happening that are beyond my control.  Seeing my students struggle with issues going on at home, or at school with another student or students.  I feel helpless a lot, and unsure of my abilities to genuinely help them. Teaching math and science is the easy part of my job.  The struggle comes when I need to be a Mom, counselor, friend, or all 3 to a student.  The struggle isn’t that I can’t or don’t want to do that for them, because believe me I do.  No, the struggle is how can I be that for them? How can I help them enough? Do I help them enough? Are their needs being met? This keeps me up at night. I have shed many tears worrying about the well being of my students.  How can I expect them to learn math and science when all they can focus on is what is going on outside the classroom?

Share TWO accomplishments that you are proud of from this school year.

My best and most favorite accomplishment is the relationships I have developed with my students over the last couple years.  I looped up with my students so I could spend one more year with them before I send them off to Middle School.  It was important to me to stay with them, and help them grow and learn more. It has nurtured a relationship that I will forever be grateful for.  I may not teach these kiddos anymore after this year but I will follow this group from 4th to 12th grade and beyond.

My second accomplishment is finding #oklaed on twitter, because that led to me blogging.  I’m still very new at it, and don’t do it as often as I would like, but I am a work in progress.  I will get there.  Baby steps.

What are THREE things that you wish to accomplish before the end of the school year?

First, I want to know that I made a difference in the lives of my students.  I want to know that I am sending them off to middle school better people.  That I not only taught them math and science, but more importantly, I taught them to be kind, generous, and to have empathy.  Also, I hope that they know what all they taught me. I hope that they know the impact they had on my life. I believe I am the one that truly received the gift.

Second, I hope that my students will be life-long learners. I hope that I have instilled in my students the desire to learn and question everything. To always be curious. To always be kind.  To always do the right thing.

Last, I hope that my students create change in this world. I hope that the lessons I have taught them stay with them from now on, and they take that information, and be truth seekers, change makers.

Give FOUR reasons why you remain in education in today’s rough culture.

Oh a tough one… okay, not tough, but I questioned for a second if I was going to be brutally honest, and the answer is Yes, always!

Reason 1. Easy, breezy, For the kids. Point blank. No other way to say it. At the end of the day I know my students feel loved by me, and I know that they need that.

Reason 2. For the pay. I can’t even type that with a straight face. That was a joke people. They can take a lot from me, but they can’t have my sense of humor.  No really, fortunately for me my husband has a pretty good job so I don’t have to work for the income.. so I work for the outcome.  So reason 2 is also for the kids.

Reason 3. I always knew I would end up in a service field.  I wanted to contribute to the world in a positive way.  I feel I do that through my students.

Reason 4. The relationships with colleagues, Twitter peeps, parents, students. It’s all about relationships.

(wonders did anyone say the summers off)… That is my reason 4b. Brutally honest to a fault.

Which FIVE people do you hope will take the challenge of answering these questions?

  1. My co-workers.  Could be good conversation at our PLC meetings.
  2. I would love for legislators to take the challenge and think about how they would answer the questions if they were a teacher.
  3. My twitter peeps that haven’t yet.
  4. My daughter that is a pre-service teacher.
  5. Other pre-service teachers.

 

That concludes my challenge. That was fun.  Thanks for reading. Happy blogging.

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