Back-to-School Facebook Repost Request

I’m not one to repost things or to ask people to repost things, but I saw this on Facebook today and thought I’d share it in a different way:

Special request to all you kids returning to school in the next few days: If you see someone who is struggling to make friends or being bullied because he/ she doesn’t have many friends or because they are shy or not as pretty or not dressed in the most “in” clothes –PLEASE step up. Say hi or at least smile at them in the hallway. You never know what that person might be facing outside of school. Your kindness might just make a BIG difference in someone’s life! PLEASE REPOST THIS.

I certainly agree with this thought and am so glad that I have kids that would never treat others this way and that don’t pick their friends based on what clothes they wear or however else they look on the outside. That doesn’t mean they’re never on the other end of this scenario. When they are, it really hurts. Especially when it’s received for no apparent reason and completely unexpected.

Once upon a time, there were two girls who were great friends (at least it appeared that way to me). They were able to share a lot with each other. One of them received some pretty heavy news and decided to keep it to herself, possibly fearing judgment. The news involved the need for surgery that would have life-long implications. She finally revealed all of this to her dear friend, and that friend was there with her the day of surgery. She was amazing at offering support and keeping spirits up!

Cut to several months later (probably along with the normal life changes that teenagers go through) and there came along what resembled a break-up. A new best friend came along. I get it – I really do. Interests change and when that’s not mutual, we find someone else with common interests to spend time with. When that happens, people usually don’t sever ties completely creating awkward silences when group situations bring them together in the same place. It’s kind of sad, and it does fit with the quoted repost request above. Step up (and I know that one half of the former duo has tried) and say “Hi!” A little casual conversation won’t kill, either.

That’s really all I have to say about this – and for the longest time, I chose not to say anything at all. However, this is my blog and my thoughts so there it is … out there.

A Letter to God Regarding Time

Dear God,

I was wondering if I might put in a request for the addition of one day to the week? I know it would completely obliterate the original story in Genesis, but perhaps we could revise the Bible to say that on the seventh and eight day, you rested. Technically, on our seventh day, we don’t completely rest because we have to get up early and rush to get ready to gather in Your house to for worship and fellowship. An eighth day would be marvelous to be able to sleep in and just lounge about the house the entire day.

This wouldn’t change work or school schedules of course! Work and school would still only be five days per week. We would have a three-day weekend, though. How many times do you hear pleas for more hours in a day? So give us a whole 24 hours more and call it a day!

Amen

Tenure – Education Reform’s Roadblock?

Photo by Sheila KarnerAccountability Enforcement

If school budgets continue to be slashed,  innovative, energetic new instructors will be the first to be let go because they aren’t protected by the teachers union seniority rules.  Tenure is something that I sincerely hope that teachers with seniority aren’t taking advantage of and relaxing in their teaching styles.

A recent article in Time Magazine, Making the Grade, points out that unless these rules are eradicated, education reform will be nothing more than “good intentions, extra dollars, and insufficient results”.  This sounds a little anti-union to me, and I don’t think the rules need to be completely eradicated.  They definitely need to be amended, though.

Tenure guarantees that a teacher cannot be let go without “just cause”.  I don’t know if there is a list in existence of circumstances that would constitute “just cause”, but it would seem that there should be. If there is such a list, it should be updated to include changes being brought about by reform.

President Obama is in favor of continuing to measure the performance of schools.  He’s also in favor of evaluating individual teachers based on student performance.  “Don’t blame the teacher!” stands out in my mind and is something my father once said to me when I was in school.  As a parent today, I now see that a student’s performance can absolutely depend on the teacher.

A superior learning institution will recognize and cater to the many different learning styles of students.  I understand that many teachers with tenure have not achieved that status without proving themselves to be good educators.  However, a great educator will have a higher percentage of students with strong grades because they are able to reach all of their students.

Once our teachers have the freedom to show how great they can be because they aren’t being held back by the necessity to “teach to the test”, then we will have reached a new level in education reform.

First Day Blues & Brotherly Love

Technically, it was the second day of school but with a block schedule, it was another first for high school.  Ali took a wrong turn before her last class, and it took a bit longer to get to class.  They now have attendance stations before the hallways, and if they see that there is limited time left, they will stop students and require them to get a tardy slip before continuing to class.  Well, Ali got caught up in that sweep, which took far more time than had she just gone on to class.  So the attendance had already been taken, and she was marked absent.

Now the school calls the parents during the period the child is marked absent to see if it is an excused absence.  I got a call and freaked out a little.  I expressed my concern that this is not something Ali would do and that I knew if she were lost, she would be in tears somewhere.  They said they would track her down and call me back.  She was in class, of course.  Thank God!

The teacher of that class called me after school as well and said she had spoken with Ali at the end of class to let her know everything is okay, and there would be no consequences for new students this first week of school.  She told me at that point, Ali burst into tears.  I was misting up as the teacher told me this, too.  So when she walked in the door, I grabbed her, and we both hugged and cried.

The most poignant moment, though, was when Jason walked up and saw us standing there hugging and crying, and he rubbed her back briefly to comfort her, too!  My kids really do love one another!!!  This is one of those moments I will never forget!

Nauseating Pain

Have you ever felt pain so bad that you felt like you might throw up?  When will this all work it’s way out of my system?

It was exactly a week ago Saturday that I woke up hurting all over.  The next day, either side of the base of my skull felt bruised to the touch.  Slowly, all week, that has been working it’s way down my neck, and is now settled across my shoulders and shooting pain down my right arm.  It aches deep inside.  This is so frustrating!  Tonight, I have another headache.  I wonder if this is the kind of pain people with fibromyalgia deal with all the time.  It’s downright depressing because I want to do everything I would normally do, but I can’t.  I’m taking 600 mg of ibuprofen at a time just so I can function.

My hair dryer fried this morning.   In the middle of drying my hair, it shorted out and died.

I did manage to get out today and get Miranda new shoes for school.  One can only live in flip-flops for so long, and those summer days are rapidly approaching their end here in Colorado.  Of course, I couldn’t resist the cutest pair of flats for myself – a steal at $2.99 at Payless!  I am so glad leggings and longer, flowy tops are coming back.  Finally, I can be comfortable again.

Greg has to work nights this week and will be crashing in Jason’s room in the basement during the day.  I’m facing some overtime this week.  Some glitch happened that prevented a few hundred email from uploading the week before last, and we have some catching up to do.  Being on vacation last week was actually a blessing.  I wouldn’t have been able to work overtime anyway.  It sucks that I had to spend my vacation recuperating from that allergic reaction, but at least I was able to rest.

My weekends for the next few weeks are busy as usual.  Next weekend I have a photo shoot for one of the SCTC groups.  That will be on location in an urban setting.  The following weekend I want to take the girls somewhere to take their portraits to match the boys’.  The next weekend is my scheduled Saturday to work.  The weekend after that I’m singing with a new worship team!

Yep!  I decided it was time to get back into the music ministry.  I won’t be singing with my old team, though.  To do that, I would need to also sing on another team.  I can’t do two teams.  It’s just too much.  In October and November, my team is scheduled to sing the same weekends I’m scheduled to work.  When I work on a Saturday, I only work until 2:00, and rehearsal starts at 3:00.  I actually prefer to sing the same weekend I work.

School starts tomorrow!  I should get to bed so I can get up early enough to make sure all THREE high schoolers are up on time!  Miranda doesn’t have to wake up until an hour after them.