Thursday, October 25, 2007

Time for Parent Teacher Conferences. . . blah, blah, blah

"Tis the season- for Parent Teacher Conferences! I've been in the PT conference mode for about two weeks now. It's one of my least favorite things about teaching, along with paperwork, grading, planning- Oh, heck! That's what teaching is! What have I been doing for 15 years???!!!

No, really, if I could JUST teach, I would absolutey LOVE my job! It can be a bit "thankless", to say the least. I feel that I have great ideas, keep my kids engaged for the most part, and have great communication with my parents, however, sometimes, it never fails, I always have to have at least ONE, sometimes more than one parent who has to try and make me feel "incompetent." It shouldn't amaze me about some of the kids I teach, after meeting their parents, I realize that "the apple certainly doesn't fall far from the tree!"

For example, I've had students in the past that can NOT take responsibility for ANYTHING they do wrong. Aren't we all human? Don't we learn from our mistakes? Or better yet, shouldn't we? I have always taught my own kids, as well as my students that we make mistakes, but we actually learn more from our mistakes. Take many famous scientists and inventors for that matter. Look at Thomas Edison- almost 700 tries to get the light bulb right- aren't we glad he didn't give up. I'm sure some other Joe Blow would have eventually figured it out, and we'd be learning about Joe Blow's invention instead of Thomas Who??? Regardless, he didn't give up. He was resilient, even when folks made fun and wondered when he'd throw in the towel.

No today- we have kids that want to give up, or better yet, blame others if something isn't the way they want it to be. The worst part of that is that the parents "enable" this behavior. If little "Johnny" comes home with his agenda signed, and he had to sit for 5 minutes filling out a "Reflection" paper about what happened, what s/he could have done differently, and what they can do in the future, most times Mom and Dad are emailing the teacher, or calling the Principal/Superintendent/School Board, or their attorney to file a complaint with the State Board of Educators to have your teaching certificate revoked so that you can "NEVER HARM A CHILD AGAIN, OR TEACH FOR ANY STATE IN THE UNION!" Because, little Johnny was just throwing the whole roll of toilet paper down the toilet in the bathroom, because someone dared him to! Instead of having little Johnny understand that it's NOT o.k. to waste paper, clog a toilet, and then lie to the teacher about who did it because they don't take responsibility anywhere else, so why start now!? Anyway, mom will come cuss the teacher out, so it's not like it really matters what the teacher says anyway.

A-M-A-Z-I-N-G!!!! I don't get it. I see now, why so many kids grow up to become disgruntled employees that must be led out of the building with a police escort, so that they don't go all "postal" on the company. I am sure that they never dealt with a small failure when they were younger. Or, better yet, mom or dad always "bailed" them out, so what the heck is this boss talking about- "You're fired!" Wait 'til he meets my momma! Sad, but true.

I'm always shocked, and don't know "WHY?" when Parent/Teacher Conferences roll around, and I get some mom or dad who thinks "Little Sue" hung the moon, yet she is the class bully at school under your care, or she is failing third grade math, because she is counting on her fingers still to get 3 + 4! "But she made straight A's last year!" "You must not know what you are doing!" Then, I have to go and burst their bubble and show them what Little Sue and Little Johnny are producing for me. Wow, compared to other third graders, your right! They do need help- but it must be YOUR fault, as you should be teaching them their addition facts for heaven sakes! What do you teachers do all day? Paperwork? Conferences? Planning? Grading?

YEP!!! That's exactly what I do- AND think up ways to fail your child, because that's what teachers go to school to do- to learn all the tricks of the trade and be labeled- "incompetent." How many years 'til retirement?


P.S. I really DO love the teaching part- it's just all of the other "junk" that makes it seem "thankless."

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Not Usually a Political Person, but. . .

Well, for those of you who know me, you may or may not even know my political affiliation, but you DO know my religious affiliaton. So, today, I'm stepping out of my "comfort zone" on two such topics that I shouldn't have a problem discussing. My religion and my political affiliations do not define me, but they do make up who I am. So, here goes. . .

I am a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, better known as "Mormons." I've been a member my entire life- almost 40 years now. Our church is considered a "baby" compared to other religions, but it is also one of the fastest growing religions in the world. In fact, we have over 13,000,000 members across the world, and there are now more members OUTSIDE of the U.S., than inside it. Yes, I say religion, NOT cult. There are still those that believe that we are a "cult" - a group that brainwashes people into our belief system. That we worship other "gods", such as Joseph Smith, etc. This has always floored me, as from the mere title of our church, it is NOT about Joseph Smith, or any other gods. It is Christ's church. We worship our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. He is the head of our religion, and will always be. He is the Messiah, the Chosen One, and the one who Atoned for our sins.

It is hard for me to understand the "hangups" of other religions with our church having Modern Day Prophets, Apostles, and evangelists, as well as more scriptures (in addition to the Holy Bible), as this is how I was raised. My husband is a convert (raised Southern Baptist, but joined after we were married in 1990.) When I ask him what the differences are, he shared with me that it's just that. . . "different." People don't like "different." Change is usually hard on most people. We do what we are comfortable with. If we are raised a certain way, we don't want to "chunk" all of that away and "betray" what our families have taught us, or raised us to be. Even if we don't feel that it is completely right. Even children that are raised Mormon, have to gain their own testimony of it's truthfulness. You can't rely on someone else's faith, to see you through. I remember being 16 years old, and wondering why I was so different that my peers. Why was my religion part of my everyday life- in the clothing I wore, the friends I chose, the things I ate, or drank, the movies I watched, the parties I attended, the books I read, etc. It's HARD to be a Mormon in this world! But to me, it's the right thing for me. I found it on my OWN, not by brainwashing. I had to search the scriptures, pray, and listen to that soft prompting from the Holy Spirit. I did those things, and even though I do stray from time to time, I know that I am doing what I am supposed to be doing. I am where I should be.

My church doesn't dictate what I can or can't do, however, we are very fortunate to have a church set up as the primitive church, when Christ was on the Earth. We have a prophet living today that provides us with counsel and revelations from our Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ. I know he is a man of God. He is 97 years old, and continues to bear his testimony of the Saviour and His Father. We also have 12 apostles, as in Jesus' time. They also are men of God, who share his counsel with us. These are as the scriptures that most Christian people have today. No one questions Paul, Timothy, Matthew, Luke, or Abraham's counsel, because they are dead and buried, or that is what they were taught as children. However, many people are "afraid" of Mormons and their "new" religion with apostles and prophets, because these men are actually alive and speaking to us today. Why would a kind and loving God take prophets away from the world in these latter days? Why would he want us floundering around and trying to apply words from thousands of years ago to today? Why would he not have "new" counsel for us when we live in such a wicked world? I am thankful for these great men. I know that my Father in Heaven loves me, and wants me to be happy and receive blessings by living a Christ-like life. I feel blessed to have that in my life, as well as my family's lives. We are truly blessed.

Now, what does this have to do with politics? Well, I read another article today about Mitt Romney running for President, and how other religions were fearful of him, because of the "cult" that he belonged to. (He is a member of our church.) They were afraid that our church leaders would influence him if he were elected to this office. As if that is a BAD thing! (OOOHH, those Mormons are going to brainwash the world and take over! Moooo, hhaaaa hahhaaa!! ) He assured them that they would not be influencing his politics, if that is of concern. However, please know, that as far as anyone would be concerned, it wouldn't be BAD! Let me tell you about the "politics" of our church.

The clergy of our church, as well as local leaders (Bishops), teachers, etc. are VOLUNTEERS. They are not paid for serving the Lord. Serving the Lord is a blessing not only to those who serve, but to those who are being served. We do not pay our Bishopric, they take time out of the their busy work, family, social lives to serve the Lord. We do not even pay those that clean our churches weekly. WE do it! We volunteer our time to make sure that the Lord's house is clean and ready for the Sabbath.

Next, we have a church welfare program. If someone within our church is in need of assistance, there are Bishop's Storehouses in every state in the U.S. and around the world, to assist those who need groceries, money for bills, etc. Even though this is FREE, it is EXPECTED that you help out by working in the storehouse to help others in need, or you donate to the Fast Offering/Tithing when you are "back on your feet." (Wouldn't our country be better off if things weren't just HANDED to you, but you were expected to serve others as well.) You are also expected to continue attending church, serving others, and paying your tithes of 10% to the Lord.

Our buildings/temples are completely PAID for, BEFORE ground is broken. Since we are a world-wide church. My tithes can go to help someone in Africa, as well as right here in Plano. Where there is a need for a church building, the funds will be sent there. We don't put our members in debt to build a huge, fancy building to worship in, just for that status symbol of saying, "Look at how big my church building is?" The church buildings in Sweden, Norway, Africa and China look just like my building here in Plano, TX. They are used by more than one ward, as well. We have three different congregations that meet in our building each week. There is a Chinese speaking ward that meets from 8:00-11:00, then my ward meets from 11:00-2:00, and another one meets from 1:00-4:00. With the staggering of times, many more people can worship without having to build another building somewhere. This saves much money. No waste!

So, when people ask will Mitt Romney be "influenced" by his church. My answer is "I hope so!" We need to watch our spending, take care of our own, and serve one another." If our government would look more at his churches examples, they would definitely not be so wasteful with taxpayer's money- MY money!

I will get off of my soapbox, for now. I am not usually so OPEN about these two topics, but after reading and rereading such negative comments, I would exhort you to go to the source. ASK a Mormon, not someone who claims to know their beliefs. I would be more than happy to share my beliefs with you. Those that know me, know that I could never be a part of a "cult." I love my Father in Heaven and Jesus too much to NOT give the glory to them. It is my hope and prayer to just be a "tenth" of what my Savior is to me. I can't wait for the day that he will return to earth again. I am not fearful, because it has been said that we will live in peace and love- no wars, contention, anger. I hope and pray that I will be alive to witness his glory on this earth. May God Bless you, as you find the answers to your prayers.


Sunday, October 14, 2007

Fall is in the Air!

For those of you who live in Texas, or have visited Texas, you know that we only have TWO seasons. . .HOT as HECK, and FREAKIN' FREEZIN'! I do miss the seasons. Back in Mississippi, we did have Fall and Spring, although, they aren't as beautiful as some places, with the color in the flora and fauna. But in Texas, yes, it's BIG, but it's also a BIG OLE' flat, dry, colorless state, for the area we live in. Plano- just that PLAIN-O Texas!

However, today is a little bit different. There's a nice breeze, and since we had so much rain this summer, everything isn't all brown and shriveled up as it usually is this time of year. There is a crispness out there, ever so slight, but better than last week with the upper 90's!

I'm actually getting excited about the possibility of having to bundle up a little bit for Halloween, instead of makeup dripping off of the kids faces before we leave our front porch! It always makes Trick-or-Treating a little more exciting to see fake ghosts blowing in the breeze, leaves rustling in the wind, and kids bounding from one front porch to the next holding onto their masks and hats so they don't blow away.

We always go to our church parking lot for the annual "Trunk-or-Treat" outing. I never heard of this back in Mississippi. We always had to load up in our car and head for town, since we lived on the outskirts of town. We'd go to the affluent neighborhoods, because they always had the best candy- NAME BRAND Chocolate! None of those fake marshmallowy peanut shaped junk! (You have to hear Jerry Seinfeld's act about Halloween- it's a HOOT!) "Trunk or Treat" is where everyone brings their candy up to the church parking lot and pops open their trunk- usually decorated all spookily, with scary Halloween sounds coming from the stereo speakers inside their cars. You whip out the old lawnchair and bucket of candy to pass out as the trick or treaters travel through the parking lot to each car. It's loads of fun seeing everyones costumes, and visiting, sometimes more than once or twice at the parked cars! Let's just say that in about 15-20 mins., your pumpkin is brimming to the top and spilling onto the parking lot! It's a kid's dream come true!

So, I hope that this "Fall" season that we are in for the time being, will last, at least for a couple of weeks. That's about as long a "Fall" season as we get here. Then, it's off to "Freakin' Freezin'!


Saturday, October 13, 2007


Well, it's been a crazy couple of weeks in our house! Most of the stress has been with my job, however. Unfortunately, it spills over into the homefront, so then it seems to be everywhere! Last week was the end of our first six weeks of the school year. With that, comes all of the "busyness" that comes with teaching- which does NOT include actual "teaching." That's the part I don't enjoy about my job. If I could just "teach" all day, I'd be a happy camper. I didn't choose to be a secretary, technology specialist, analyst, nurse, accountant, etc. etc. It's like being a mom 24-7.

This past week was the mad dash to get grades entered into a really crappy software that our school district uses, export those grades to be put onto report cards and HOPE that there were no errors. I still use the old fashioned grade book, as I'm not fully trusting of technology. :O) (I guess that would explain my just now jumping on the bandwagon for "blogs." ) With the grades, came wrapping up our units of study and getting my kids at school to actually turn in their work for me to grade, Day of Discovery Science, which was a lot of fun, but a lot of prep work to rotate 150+ kids in third grade through the classes to do science experiments. Then, I had to prepare for a substitute for Tuesday of the next week, because I was going to my Technology Specialists Training after Fall Break. Needless to say, I was at the school until 7:00 p.m. last week! Pile on top of that, and add lesson plans with details and TEK Obj. for every lesson to turn in to my principal, and there you have it- BUSY, BUSY, BUSY- STRESS, STRESS, and more STRESS!

On to other things- my oldest daughter, Lauren, is in the ninth grade this year. It makes me so sad to see how time has flown by and she has become a young woman so quickly. She has been going to early morning Seminary at our church since the beginning of school. It begins at 6:00 a.m. Monday through Friday before school. I usually hop out of bed at 5:45 and take her. She never complains, and always seems to enjoy learning about the scriptures. They are studying the Old Testament this year. She started a new school this year, after attending the same district that we live in since Kindergarten. I started working in a new district last year, and my younger daughter, Kaitlin came with me then. My husband works from our home, and we only have a 3 bedroom home with 4 kids, so it's quite cramped! We decided to relocate to the town where my job is to make life "easier" and to find a larger home. With that, I transferred the kids this year to my new district. Lauren really handled it well. She has made many new friends and really enjoys the new school and her teachers. We are hoping to sell our home in the next few months and make the move, but it will be easier since the kids are already in school there.

Chris, on the other hand, didn't start off as excited about going to a new school. He sort of "dug in his heels" and had a bit of an attitude with his new teachers. However, I think that we finally got through that part, and he has made some new friends. He seems happier, and talks about his new buddies and their silliness. I asked him if he was enjoying his new school and he said, "Yes." He really enjoys being in the Honor Band, which is made up of mostly 8th graders. So, as a 7th grader, he is feeling pretty "big" right now. :O) He has been able to play with the entire high school band and other middle schools at a Tailgate party last month. There were over 1,000 kids on the football field with instruments! Wow! It was pretty cool to see and hear!

Kaitlin is fitting in great at our elementary, too. She loves 4th grade, and her teachers. She made it into the Gifted and Talented program, as did Lauren and Chris. She is really enjoying that on Wednesdays, as she is out of the regular classroom all day. She has tons of friends, and has made all A's this first six weeks. She also made the Puppet Team, which gets to video tape a puppet show for the entire school. They teach Life Skills to the student body, relating to a Life Principle that we are studying for the week. It airs on the Morning Annoucements, via television into the classrooms.

Kylie also is loving her new preschool. She has several "buddies" that she calls her "best friends". She loves snacks and nap time, go figure! She also is taking ballet and tap at the school weekly. She really likes that. She has always loved dancing and singing. She was so cute last night. She was singing "Tricky Triangle" to the tune of "Frere Jacques". It went "Tricky triangle, tricky triangle, has three sides, has three sides. Here is the roof top and the bottom, tricky triangle, tricky triangle." She loves to teach me songs that she has learned. :O) Of course, we still read fifty million books a night before bedtime, too. We also enjoy "playing dolls" with her stuffed princesses, Barbies or Polly's.

Well, it's Saturday and I have a million things to get finished. I'll try to post later. I'm actually feeling less stressed as I type, so I could actually just keep typing, however, I really need to get things finished, or I'll be REALLY stressed out! :O)


Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Finally! 21st Century, I've arrived!

I'm sitting here in a Technology Institute learning about Blogs. I've been following several blogs since following several CaringBridge families with cancer. Several of those families journaled their child's journey with cancer, and then found that journaling was a wonderful, therapeutic way to deal with everyday "life." I often feel guilty that I don't make the time to journal anymore, but find lots of time to read about other's lives through their blogs. So. . . here I am, creating a blog to share about myself and my family here in Texas. I hope that it will be a great way to share my immediate family with my extended family and friends that aren't near us. So, here's to me finally arriving into the 21st Century!