Sunday, November 27, 2011


I finally finished my presentation for later this week!  Most of the load is lifted, except for the actual presentation.  I think I'll be glad when it's over.

And we named the cat.  Dapper Dan.  It fits.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Old Thanksgiving, New People

I love this time of year.  The colors, the changing temperatures and especially the holidays.  Halloween was fun this year.  Four times I answered the door and heard, "Mrs Hughes!" from behind masks.  They got the good candy. ;)  Our school has wonderful traditions like Grandparent's Day and Turkey Bowl.  And tomorrow I get to enjoy my favorite holiday of the year:  Thanksgiving.  It's the one time of year that everyone gets together to fellowship and catch up.  We take walks, play games, and wake up at ungodly hours to go shopping.  The nice thing, though, is that there really isn't any pressure tradition-wise.  There are so many people in the mix now, and everyone literally brings a little something to the table.  It's a come one, come all venture, and there's always someone new to get to know, some new food to try.  Of course there is the traditional fare:  the turkey and stuffing, gravy and fixin's, but there are also the new things and new people.  The only thing to count on at Thanksgiving is that it's going to be different.

That's a good tradition to have, I think.  We're too big to try and stay the same!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Oh My Word.

So apparently my presentation at the state conference has been selected to be taped for professional development statewide. Game on...

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Our newest addition

We've been pet-less for awhile now.  For about 10 years.  And the iguana doesn't count as a pet.  Not really anyway.  You can't love on an iguana.  They get testy about that.  And getting hit with an iguana tail is much like getting slapped.  It's not loving in any way.

T has been the most vocal about no pets.  He really hates walking into a house and being able to smell that a pet lives there.  So he's been very adamant about no indoor pets.  We've been focused on dogs for awhile, with our minds set on black labs.  Our minds are still set that way...they are just the coolest dogs.  A black lab named Bo adopted us when we lived in Weatherford in 2000.  It followed T everywhere.  He would walk these four mile treks, and that dog would go everywhere he went, playing in streams as it went.  "Now THAT'S a dog!" he would say.  So if we do get a dog at some point, I believe a black lab is the only thing that will do.  But we need a fence first.  That will take some time.

So it was surprising last week when T brought home a cat.  A young, black and white cat.  And it's been taking over our house every since.  We immediately went out and bought it play things and a litter box.  It was tentative at first, but now, the house is his domain.  We know this, because he's willing to take on anything or anyone that gets in his path.  We walk up the stairs and we get pounced.  Downstairs.  Pounced.  By doors, pounced.  He also goes on little rampages and tears through the house, bouncing off walls, running sideways on the couch.  He plays chase with the boys.  They even gang up on him, with each boy scaring him to different rooms, but he just darts by them, turns around in the room and heads back out again, usually with the boys on their hands and knees laughing too hard to pursue.

The cat is T's baby, too.  I pointed out to T that it's funny that he was the one that was so vocal about not having a pet, and this one has him wrapped around it's little paw-pinky.  T said, "Yeah, but you should thank me.  I held out for the best one!"

So now it's on to naming him.  He's been here a week with no name.  We're not real good at that part.  Our last cat was named Big Kitty.  But she lived 22 years. Maybe we should keep it simple again and name it Cat.  If names are any indication, he'll be with us awhile.  It should be fun.

Thursday, November 03, 2011

It takes so little

There's a teacher I admire.  She's been teaching a long time, and is close to retirement, yet she's continually learning and trying new things.  And she has a love and passion for teaching kids.

I got to talk to her at length yesterday, after a district meeting.  As GT teachers, we meet once a month to share ideas, make sure we're all on the same page, and to plan for our summer field trip with our students. Yesterday, the meeting was in my class.  She stayed after, talking about what she was doing in her class, and I always come away with new ideas after talking to her.

But she shared a little more with me yesterday.  She shared her heart.  We were talking about difficult students we've had, and she recently had a moment with one of those students that we teachers only dream about.  Her "difficult" student just got accepted to a University, with scholarships to boot.  She's going to be a missions director.

This student hadn't forgotten my friend, though.  My friend worked with her since kinder, and took time to do little things outside the realm of normal teaching with her.  She walked her from her bus to her class.  She colored with her.  She listened and cared when other teachers didn't.  This teacher saw something in this little girl that no one else did.

So the now-grown-up little girl took my friend to lunch recently.  During the course of the lunch, the "girl" stopped and said, "There's something I need to say to you."  Of course my friend stopped and listened.  "If our paths had never crossed," the girl said, "You would not have changed.  You would be the exact person I'm sitting across today.  I know that.  But..." she continued, "if our paths had never crossed, I would definitely not be the same person sitting across from you today."

Tears.  Lots of them.  And not just between the girl and my friend, but between my friend and me now.

"How many teachers go through their career never really knowing if they made a difference?  You now know!"  I said.  You know what she said to me?  She said, "But that's not what made me cry then or now.  What makes me cry is the fact that it took so little to change the course of her life."

Humble pie.  As always, I took that conversation and made it about our profession, about success as a teacher, about proof that she made a difference.  She on the other hand, saw the real issue at hand.  "How many," she said, "get passed over, without ever having a lifeline.  She was a troubled little girl that didn't fit into our neat little boxes.  How many just get passed over?  It really takes so little."

It was a great question.  One of those life lesson questions that motivates us to do better.  It's the reminder of why we get into teaching.  It's not just about good lessons, great ideas, learning and great questions.  It's about people.  Little people who grow up and become big people.  And those big people can make a difference in this world, good or bad.

Sometimes all they need is a walk.  Or a coloring buddy.

Or someone just to see them.  It makes a difference.