I've Got Writes!

Teacher, Writer, Proofreader

Archive for the category “Inspiring Minds”

Working On Me!

Since the whole Tinder-scammer fiasco last year (see posts below), I have had some pleasant dates with actual, real non-scamming dudes. However, I’m still trying to figure out this whole dating gig, even after being single for {cough}, let’s just say, a while now.

I’ve been on another dating site that has been a little less scammy, but I’m finding out more and more about myself as I trek along.

I don’t remember exactly how, but last summer, I stumbled upon multiple YouTube channels of these guys who provide dating and relationship advice to women. I’m a teacher, so that whole lifelong learner mantra stands true with me. I’m a sponge for information, especially when it’s secret intelligence that promises to enlighten me about the male psyche and how the hell I can avoid the emotional peril and perplexities I’ve encountered throughout my not-so-impressive dating life. So, I subscribed to a few of these guys’ YouTube channels.

Now, these experts charge for classes, webinars, downloads, and videos because these are their businesses. But, they also offer free tid-bits, to lure you in. I don’t mean that negatively, though. Truly, the only reason I haven’t already purchased one or more of their programs is because I’m an Oklahoma teacher, and I HAVE. NO. MONEY.

Let me tell you what their videos have done for me thus far.

  • They have encouraged me.
  • They have reminded me that I’m valuable, and that I need to act like it.
  • They have made me more aware of times when my behavior or attitude exudes insecurities instead of confidence.
  • They have shown me that I sometimes allow the negative and hurtful things from past relationships (dating or platonic) to dictate how I perceive the world, my circumstances, and men.
The main takeaway for me is this: Work on me. Make sure I’m happy within myself before I add a long-term relationship to the mix.

Now, I’ve known this in my head for a long time, and I thought just knowing it to be true was all that was necessary. But it’s not. I have to work on it, apply it, keep learning about myself and adjusting accordingly as I go. It’s not an overnight thing. It’s not a I’ve got it, I’ve arrived thing, either. It’s a growing, cultivating work of art. Yep, I’m a work of art and God is the artist. I know that analogy is overused, but it’s true. And I like it, so there. 😉

Does this mean I’m not allowing myself to meet and talk to guys? Nope! I’m just doing it with incremental confidence. Baby steps. Keep learning, keep trying, keep enjoying.

Tell me in the comment sections what you’ve learned about relationships and yourself lately.

Below are the aforementioned Tinder posts, in case you missed them. Know someone on Tinder? Share these posts!
  1. My Tinder Mission
  2. Tinder BS-O-Meter Sounds Again
  3. Actual Tinder Scamming Profile
  4. Tinder Photo Swiping
  5. Bye Tinder, I’m Swiped Out!

Writing Prompt Day 9: Something I Crave A Lot

Crave physically? Mentally? Emotionally?

Physically

Sometimes I crave french fries dipped in a chocolate malt. Yumminess.

Mentally

I crave intelligent and inspiring conversation.

Emotionally

I crave love and companionship from a man who will love me inspite of my flaws. I also crave to reciprocate that.

Let me be clear. I know how to be single. I’m independent and do enjoy facets of my singleness. Alone time is important and necessary for me to recharge and regroup. I can come and go as I please. I can decide when or if I’ll cook or do the dishes. However, singleness and loneliness are sometimes synonymous.

I don’t NEED someone in order to function and thrive, but I WANT to share life with someone. Someone who can bring out the best parts of me that I wouldn’t easily discover without that significant other to inspire and encourage me toward new adventures.

I know that some people in the world have found their perfect match or soulmate. You might scoff at that word, soulmate. Scoff if you must, but I choose to believe it can happen. To me. No one’s perfect, I get that. But, perfect simply means a perfect fit for me.

I’m going to keep growing and learning, to keep cultivating a better and better version of me. I’ll continue on my journey, hoping, trusting, moving, enjoying, fighting, and loving. He’s bound to show up, ready to be my fitting soulmate.

Writing Prompt Day 6: Something You Were Proud of in the Last Few Days

This one is tough. The last few days have not been my best. But, I guess I can talk about my 6th graders. I prepped them this week before beginning a novel with them. I have a “prediction board” (see photo below) that I created, dangling hints about the story.

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I showed them the board and had them discuss with each other what they thought the book would be about. Then, I had them write a prediction paragraph. So, for two days, we discussed, we questioned, and we predicted. I loved watching the anticipation rising in them.

Right before reading, I had them raise their right hands and repeat after me.
“I do solemnly swear that I will not, under any circumstances, be a book spoiler.” (I make a huge deal about this.)

So, we read (I read it aloud to them while they followed along) the first chapter of the book Thursday, then I made them close the book. I’ve taught this book three times before. As ususal, they were shocked, moved, and begged to keep reading. They peppered me with questions, to which my repeated reply was, “That’s a great question!”

Even students who “hate reading” are hooked, as I knew they would be. These are the times when I feel like my job is worth something, when I am actually making a difference and enjoying it.

What’s the title of this awesome book? That’s a great question!

The Mailbox by Audrey Shafer

Writing Prompt Day 3: A Habit I Wish I Didn’t Have

 

I hate that I have Cool Project ADD. Is that a thing?? If not, it is now.

I have experience with students who struggle with ADD/ADHD or whatever the current acronym is for having an attention deficit. My question is, can a person have ADD when it comes to particular parts of their lives? Namely, for me, it’s This-would-be-a-cool-project! ADD or I-can-do-that! ADD or That-shouldn’t-be-too-difficult ADD. Do these exist for you?

I can’t tell you how many crochet projects I’ve begun and been distracted from before that last stitch. There are some successes, even items I’ve made and given as beautiful gifts to friends. Even sold a few. But, the crates of yarn and bags of partly constructed … hats? gloves? sweaters? tank tops? I don’t remember and have no idea what pattern, if any, I was using when I started.

I have tried to turn an old dresser into a new and improved dresser with an additional shelving unit made from the drawers. I started on it last summer, and the shelf is still not finished. Also, it looked much better in my head–thank you, Pinterest images.

This blog is certainly an ADD issue for me as well. Sticking with a daily writing plan or pattern is challenging, but I’m trying again!!

Back to Day 1: Selfie and 15 interesting facts

Back to Day 2: Background on my blog title

 

30 Day Writing Prompts Day 2: The Meaning Behind My Blog Name

After playing with words and trying to close in on a certain niche or area of expertise, I finally decided I would just start with a writing blog that would give me a place to vent, to be creative, and to play with different topics of interest. My hope was that I would eventually cultivate a more specific blog. Ummmm … still cultivating.

I enjoy a good play on words, so I’ve Got Writes conveys my freedom (rights) to express my thoughts through the written word. One of the perks of those pesky English homophones. 🙂

I’m trying to catch up, so this will be posted the same day as Day 1. My apologies if that messes with your OCD.

A Teacher’s Decade: Suck it up, Buttercup!

Wednesday the 25th marked the official ending of my tenth year of teaching and my second year at Hefner MS. Unfortunately, the infamous Oklahoma budget cuts have forced me and many other teachers to leave our exceptional coworkers and administrators. Apparently, reading classes aren’t important enough to keep as core subjects if your school isn’t already a Title I school. But, whatever.

Experience and college degrees speak volumes in education, right?

Let’s talk a second about tenure and years of experience. The two are not compatible unless you stay in the same district forever. My 10 years of experience doesn’t count. My coworker’s 16 years of experience makes no difference. One of my social studies friends who has taught for ten years and enhances classroom learning with his military and travel expertise is still job hunting after being “let go.” We three have only one or two years each in the district. So, we are in the group that gets cut first.

Additionally, some districts and states won’t accept all of a teacher’s years of experience from another district or state. One of my colleagues has moved to Colorado. She already has a job lined up, but the Colorado district won’t accept all of her years of teaching science.

Is there any other profession that doesn’t really take into account all of your education and experience besides Monster Ed.? If there is, please inform me.

I call our educational system Monster Ed. because students are not a priority, at least not to those who are making the laws and mandates. It’s never really about the kids, and it certainly isn’t about the teachers. It’s about the almighty dollar, of course.

Perspective

However, since April, when my principal reluctantly conveyed that I would be looking for another job, my mind was bombarded by words that I say so often to my students.

In response to their, “That’s not fair!” declarations:

Life’s not fair. If anyone tells you that it is, they are lying to you. But, that doesn’t mean you can’t overcome the obstacle. There’s always hope.

  • [sidebar] This reminds me of a Princess Bride line when Whestley says, “Life is pain, Highness. Anyone who says differently is selling something.”

Then, there’s the less formal bit ‘o wisdom:

Suck it up, Buttercup! Put on your big-girl pants!

  • [another sidebar] Oh, look! Another reminder of The Princess Bride. Happy coincidence!

So, that’s what I’m doing. Just call me Buttercup ’cause I’m suckin’ it up, putting on my big-girl pants, and thanking God that I have a job in place at another school, same district. Change is never easy, but it prompts us to learn and grow. What’s happening in our state’s budget crisis isn’t fair, but I have to go with hope and overcoming the obstacle. If I don’t, then my words to my students are empty–and I don’t like that.

Thanks for reading. I’d like to hear your stories of “suckin’ it up” during this budget fiasco (link to my letter to legislators). Please share! 🙂

My First Letter to Oklahoma Legislators

Instead of joining educators at Oklahoma’s state capitol Thursday, I composed a letter to my local officials, for the first time. It took me much longer than I care to admit, and was sent late last night to my district senator and representative. As I reread it, my editing brain was wishing I would’ve started writing the letter before yesterday to give myself more time to polish it. Ha! Oh, and the next time educators invade the capitol, I plan to be there.

Today, the proposed state budget passed. From what I understand, meeting after the normal session could have produced a less detrimental budget, regardless of the extra money it would have cost taxpayers. But, it is what it is, for now anyway.

I’ve come to terms with the fact that our upcoming presidential election is truly the most ridiculous and infuriating political show I’ve ever seen. I’ve also realized that I need to get my butt in gear and make better efforts to educate myself about my local government and get involved in the process. Maybe, just maybe, I can have a voice in my state.

Here’s the body of what I emailed last night.

My name is Amanda and I just finished my 10th year of teaching middle schoolers. The entire 10 years have been a struggle, but this year has been the one in which we educators have felt enough is enough. 

Due to budget cuts, I had to leave my current position because all core reading classes at my school were eliminated~~reading classes where I taught reading comprehension strategies and skills that students need in order to be successful in EVERY class and EVERY subject.

Additionally, my team of teachers who worked extremely well together has been completely dismantled. When a group of teachers can collaborate successfully together, the students benefit, the teachers benefit, the administration benefits, and the parents benefit~~what happened to “Don’t mess with success“?

 

Below is a snapshot of a letter that one of my sixth graders wrote to our principal last Friday, the last day of school. My principal shared it with me and the other teacher mentioned, and now I’m sharing it with you. I’ll let her words speak for themselves. 

 

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Thankfully, my principal recommended me to another principal in the district, so I do have a job for next year; however, I know great teachers who don’t. And that’s unacceptable.

I don’t know all of the inner workings of the government and politics, but I’m trying to learn and listen to people who know. I can’t tell you how to do your job any more than you can tell me how to do mine. But, your decisions do affect my job, my livelihood, my co-workers, and my students. So, please listen to educators and encourage your colleagues to listen. REALLY listen.

We cannot take any more cuts. Period. I’m in debt because my paycheck only goes so far and things tend to break. Like, hot water heaters, fan motors on the air conditioner, car stuff. I drive an ’02 Honda Civic with an oil leak, a beat-up back end and 207,000 miles on the odometer. I live in a 950-square-foot house built in 1946. I don’t subscribe to cable or Netflix because that’s an unnecessary expense that I can’t afford. I wish my college degree would pay off more than I paid in. 

I’m not trying to lay out a sob story for you, I’m just being honest and trying to do what we teachers teach our students to do: think critically, problem solve, fight for what is just, contribute to society instead of sucking it dry, and be a person of integrity.

 

So, that’s what I’m asking of you. Please use your political power to do what’s right for all of us. Do not pass the budget as it is. Rework it. Use the rainy day funds to calm this storm for our state. Or please explain to me why that wouldn’t be a good idea. I’m teachable!

One other item I’d like to address: We do NOT need standardized testing companies making profits off of our kids. We do NOT need to spend millions of dollars on standardized tests. These tests do NOT facilitate learning, nor do they assess and measure all types of learning. They steal ridiculous amounts of instruction time and cause unnecessary stress. For what? We teachers can’t look at the tests to see where our students had trouble. The students can’t even see what items they missed in order to figure out what they’re not understanding. Don’t you think eliminating standardized tests would make more sense than eliminating teachers?

Thank you for your time and service! Have a blessed day.

I’m sharing this in order to encourage those of you who have been like me for way too long. We are disconnected from those who are making decisions for us. We take for granted that those decisions will be right and will allow us to go about our daily grind as usual. But, I realize I have to take more responsibility for what’s going on in my state. I can’t allow myself to be disengaged any longer with my go-to excuse, “I don’t like politics.” (I really don’t, though.)

I’m tired of sitting on the sideline and just accepting that nobody’s going to listen to me. That the powers that be are going to do what they want and we just have to roll with it, make the best of it, etc.

Though, I do believe these mottos have their places, I’m tired of teachers (and others) cowering and feeling defeated because they’re afraid of losing their jobs if they stir up trouble. Irony glares at us when we teach our students to think critically and to actively spark positive changes in their worlds while teachers walk on eggshells and jump through illogical hoops in order to appease mandates that only hinder the learning process. ARRGGGG!!! It makes me feel like a hypocrite!

But, I’m encouraged.

Educators are running for state offices!

I’ve connected with a group of Oklahomans who are, like me, absolutely fed up and ready to do something about it. Finally!! Check it out if you are so inclined.

Thanks for taking the time to read my “writes”! It’s late and my eyes are crossing. G’nite.

How Does Writing Fit?

While perusing my “Blogs I Follow” page, I landed upon the following quote by Suddenly Jamie, and it hit home.

“I find myself wanting to better understand how this writing thing fits into my life.”

That’s exactly what I’ve been doing lately. Smooshed under the layers of work, stress, being too tired from dealing with precious sixth graders all day, trying to keep up with housework (or at least, thinking about it), and plugging through all the chores of life, this thought has been there. Nagging, poking, scratching like a June bug on the window screen of my soul. It’s been annoying me that I “have no time” to write and keep up my blogs. I have no real opportunities to apply myself to writing because all of the necessities of life are getting in the way. I have to do all the things that help me bring home a paycheck, as minuscule as it is. I don’t have a choice. If only I were married to a guy who made enough money that would allow me to be at home, or at a Starbucks or Panera for hours a day, musing, writing, editing my next masterpiece. I guess another way to put that is, “I need a sugar daddy!”

Yeah. That’s what I need. But, that’s not what I’m going to get.

So, how does my writing fit into my life?

Well, as I say to my students, “You need to learn to take responsibility for your actions.” The same stands true for your NON-action. I must take my own advice. I must take responsibility and require myself to write consistently, regardless of all the other distractions. I need to be free from the relentless hounding that I’m not fulfilling all of who I am if I’m not writing. I need the personal satisfaction that what I’m writing matters. If not to anyone else, though I hope some of it does, then to me. It matters. And we make time for the things and people who matter, right? So, it’s time to put on my big girl pants (another mantra that I frequently share with my students) and get on with it, already! Write! Make it happen!

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