Wednesday, April 27, 2011

month of the military child

We are in the midst of celebrating the Month of the Military Child. One of the activities our school participated in was to interview any teachers who grew up as military kids. Having a third grader interview me about my life as an Army Brat really made me look back at my life. Growing up in so many towns, posts, and cities, I've lived a different life than most people in this country. Honestly, I hated it back then. Every time I'd finally get situated at school and make some good friends, off we'd go to the next place. Even the places we returned to after several years were like new, as those I had been friends with had moved on as well. Now, though, I see it as an important part of who I am. I feel I'm capable of dealing with change better than many of my counterparts. I might not like it or want to embrace it, but I deal with it and move on. With all the upheaval we've had due to the economy and being laid off, I think it was the constant change growing up that helped me to deal with it this time around. Yes, it was devastating to lose my job. Yes, I hated that we had finally gotten to choose where we wanted to live, and now we had to move across the country, where we didn't know a soul. But, move we did. And it was a lot easier than I had envisioned. Not that I see myself staying in North Carolina forever, as we have bigger and better plans...

A few months ago, I went up to Seattle to visit my best friend. While I was there, I was able to go back to Ft. Lewis, where we were stationed several years ago. I was probably 4 or so when we lived there, and it's the first real home I remember. Not having been back since then, all I had were these pictures in my head: some from pictures I've seen of us living there and others, just foggy memories. Going back was an amazing experience - getting to see the park I remember playing at, hiking the paths I remember walking down with my family when I was younger, visiting the lake where we used to feed the ducks. Even though all the houses basically look the same, I was drawn to the one that was ours for that brief time. It made me realize that, yes, we moved a lot and didn't settle down until I was nearly an adult. Though fleeting, that time was real and it made me who I am today.

Walking down memory lane was an eye-opening experience for me. What can it be for you?

Saturday, April 16, 2011

ft. stewart

A few weeks ago, I was asked to lead a training down in Ft. Stewart on guided reading and our new reading curriculum. I would be going with two other teachers from our district, to a school nearly twice the size of ours, to teach other teachers (some of whom have been teaching since I was in elementary school). It also included a two-hour model lesson, where they (along with their principal and district superintendent) would be watching me teach THEIR kids, whom I had never met. What a daunting task!

It felt like every step was another sign that I wasn't cut out for this, though. Any source material or reference I wanted to use mysteriously disappeared from our school and even district office. Videos on the topic with a good lesson to show couldn't be found (and once we found some, they couldn't be downloaded.) After days of creating my own material, asking my tech-savvy husband to rearrange our entire hard drive and download programs that would allow me to download a video, and still running my own classroom, I was ready to go.

And what a trip it was. We felt so totally unprepared once we got there -- we worked tirelessly to revamp everything we had come in prepared to demonstrate. And in return, we got a lot of great ideas and hopefully, some new friendships.

This week, I got something else amazing out of it. Dr. Curtis, our Area Superintendent (meaning the superintendent of not only our district, but of the entire DoD continental U.S., Puerto Rico, and Cuba) sent me a letter, thanking me for my service. What an honor and what a great testament to the organization I work for. That someone so high up would take the time to personally sit down and write a letter to me was just amazing. (And it can't hurt my resume either!!)

You know me...I had the camera with me (of course) but didn't have a whole lot of time to go out and shoot. Here are some I snapped around post on my travel day, before heading back to North Carolina.