Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Teacher Tip # 13

Teacher Tip #13: Take time to talk to your students

I am lucky in my "classroom." I have a lot of educational/instructional freedom. We currently only have two high school students. We spent an hour this morning talking about addictions and methods to help overcome them (a continuation talk that started after their morning session with our counselor).

We then talked about owning your mistakes and how accepting responsibility helps you develop into a responsible adult. A student finally realized how bad his situation could have gotten and since he was finally able to realize the whole situation, he had a break through. We are now comfortable recommending him to the alternative school for his next step the educational journey.

After lunch we spent 30 minutes teaching the students how to complete Sudoku puzzles. The one student loved it! We found a way to reach out to him. I printed out several puzzles from the Internet and struck a deal with him (he isn't the most motivated student in the world). For each assignment that he thoroughly completes, he can take time to do one Sudoku puzzle. He jumped at that offer right away and is diligently chugging away at his work.

Since we were able to take the time to talk with our kids, we were able to help one student have a realization and find a motivation tool for another student. It is amazing what teachers can learn if they just take the time to talk with their students. The key word is "with." Talking down does nothing but berate the students and make them more defiant. This is important in my "school" because we have to develop that trust. Without that trust, it will be an uphill struggle the entire time they are under my care.

I encourage each teacher to take some time each day to just talk to their students. What is going on in their lives? You will be surprised what connections you can make from their personal lives to the curriculum you are hoping to teach. Take the time and talk. It is amazing what you will be able to teach the student and even more amazing what your students will be able to teach you.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Moment of Reflection

Yesterday, shortly at noon, I checked the website. It's a habit of mine. I don't get time to actually watch the news, so I check the website. I learned of a fatal crash at the DeKalb County / Allen County Line. I had a feeling. I can't even describe the feeling, it was just this feeling.

On the drive home from work I passed the wrecker that was towing the SUV involved in the crash. I had to pull over for a moment. There was nothing left of the SUV. That feeling came back and I actually became physically ill. I started crying and just praying for the family. At that time, the name of the deceased had not been released. I still couldn't shake the feeling, so I just kept praying. I prayed off and on all night. Nothing glamours, just small little, "Lord, be with that family."

Right before dinner I received a text from a friend and I discovered the lady who passed was the daughter in law of my favorite teacher, Mrs. McCurdy. My heart broke. I know Mrs. McCurdy both in and out of school. Her and my father acted together in the Auburn Actors Theater and she often played his wife. She was hysterical and inspired me to become a teacher. My heart broke for her and her son. She lost her daughter in law and her son lost his wife. Their children lost their mother, parents lost their daughter.

I couldn't sleep last night, the sight of the SUV on the back of the wrecker kept haunting me. I finally realized why. We are coming up on the 4 year anniversary of Nikki's accident. I remember driving to the school to pick up my nieces and when we pulled out of the school parking lot, we passed the wrecker towing Nikki's newly compacted car. Thank God my nieces didn't realize that crumple piece of white paper was really their mom's car. I remember having this pit in my stomach. When we got the call, we didn't know if Nikki was alive or dead. We didn't know what to expect when we got to the hospital. It was a nightmare for all involved. We are lucky that four years later we still have our daughter/wife/sister/mother with us.

I don't know what caused Amy to run the stop sign, we may never know. But I am taking her accident as a wake up call to be more alert in the car. To avoid the distractions of texting and ipod surfing. I urge the rest of you to avoid those distractions as well. It's crazy to think that one minute you can be here, and the next your family is mourning.

My thoughts and prayers go out to the McCurdy family during this time. May they find peace and understanding. May the Lord provide them with comfort and words of wisdom.

Touchdown Tuesday

Check out this heartwarming video from a high school football team. If it doesn't make you smile, you have something seriously wrong with you!

Monday, September 27, 2010

Monday Morning Funny

My sister posted this video on facebook this morning and it cracked me up. I think Apple should turn it into a commercial and make the grouchy curly haired girl a pc user!

Homework Help

I am currently taking an on line course (Detective and Mystery Literature) through IPFW for my license renewal. Our one big paper has me stumped. Here are the directions from the syllabus.

Monograph 7 contains a “top-ten” listing of books, movies, and TV mysteries that I have selected as among the best mysteries of all time on TV, in books, and in movies. Most items listed are not covered in the semester. The purpose of the list is to provide a reading and viewing list for those who want to sample the best of what is out there. Obviously, there are many outstanding books, movies, and TV shows not represented. I am very much interested in expanding the list to include the best 25 in each category. The purpose of this assignment is to give you a role in determining the list. Here are the steps involved.

1. Read Monograph 7 and the accompanying lists.

2. Pick a movie, TV mystery, or novel that you have seen or read, or one you would like to read or see. Note that if you choose a TV show, you must see at least three episodes. You can not use any book, movie, or TV show already on the list.

3. In a two or three page, non-research paper, argue for the inclusion of your book, movie, or TV show in an expanded best 25 list, or show why your book, movie, or TV show does not belong on the list.

4. You may talk about plot, characters, or devices used that make your selection unique. For example, the movie “Lady in the Lake,” which is included in the top 10 list, is cited for the unique viewpoint (The detective is always behind the camera). You might argue for inclusion of the TV show “Numbers” because of the unique view of mathematics as a crime-fighting tool. If you chose the TV show “Bones,” you might say you liked all the eccentric characters; then list each one with examples of their eccentricities.

5. You should include lots of examples to illustrate your reasons.

6. You may submit this assignment at any time up until the week before final exams. I suggest that it is best to do this paper at a time when assignments for other courses are light. Note that two bonus points are available for completing this assignment by the date listed in the syllabus above. This the date is November 6.

7. Also, submit to the default bulletin board a list of 5 reasons (no examples) for placing your choice on the list or not.

8. To repeat, length of assignment should be about two to three pages. No references other than the show or book itself are needed.

I have read Monograph 7 (written by my professor) and can't come up with any ideas! HELP! All of the topics I had, I don't want to use because my professor uses them as examples in Monograph 7. I don't want to have him think that I couldn't come up with my own topic, but at this moment I can't! I really want to write this paper this weekend and get it out of the way, but I am stumped. The only other mystery thing I can think of is Murder She Wrote and we all know how thrilling that show was!

I just read the line, "does not belong on the list." Hmm... I wonder if that means he wants use to take one of his examples from the list and tell why we think it shouldn't be there, or come up with our own topic then tell why it doesn't fit. The later idea seems a bit silly, so I am going to guess it's the first option.

Keep in mind this is only a 200 level class (why strain my brain to renew my license?) and my professor has told me on more than on occasion that I over think my assignments. I just can't come up with any good ideas!

Monday, September 20, 2010


Every morning I pass the construction site for what will become The ABC, The Auburn Birthing Center. The ABC is being built by the Auburn OB GYN which consists of Dr. Chaffee, Dr. Weghorst, Midwife Stephanie Vanderhorst, and Midwife Michelle Hileman. The new "home" is on CR 40A, just past Smith Farms Manor.

I have nothing but love for the medical staff at Auburn OB GYN. I have been utilizing Stephanie Vanderhorst's skills for years. She helped us conceive TJ, and was there for every minute of TJ's crazy birth (If you don't know that story, trust me, he came out sideways, elbow first, umbilical cord in his hand, I stopped breathing, the whole ten yards). Stephanie jokes that TJ caused her to grow her first grey hair. He was birth 565 (or something close to that) and the first one where she used vacuum extraction, and it failed! Dr. Chaffee was called in, and without those two, I would not have been able to deliver TJ. They were able to keep me calm during the whole process, even when they were probably freaking out on the inside. Stephanie has been with us through the conception and first tri-mester of Baby #2. The point being, I thoroughly trust these people!

I was ecstatic to learn that the birthing center will be open long before I am due. So I am faced with a I deliver at the hospital or at ABC? I know each have their pros and cons, but I think it boils down to the fact that I am scared to give birth again. TJ's delivery was traumatic, to say the least. Don't get me wrong, I am thankful he is here and extremely thankful to all the OB staff (as they were all crowded in my tiny delivery room) at DeKalb, but I am afraid this delivery will be like that last. I know, I know, "every baby is different." So with that in mind, what is to say this birth won't be worse?

I have been weighing the pros and cons of each and I think what it comes down to is fear over two subjects: pain management and after care.

I have very little pain meds with TJ. I started on some through my IV, but had them turn it off after only 30 minutes because I didn't like the feeling. I felt like I wasn't in control of my body and I couldn't feel what my body was doing. I know that is the point of pain meds, but I had studied the Bradley Birthing Method and for my own peace of mind, I needed to feel what my body was doing. I am afraid that this time around, I won't be strong enough to deliver without pain meds. I don't have any grand philosophical thing against pain meds, I will use them if I see necessary. But I also feel that babies who are born without the mother having pain meds are just more alert. TJ came out bright eyed (although he had given himself a lovely shiner) and I didn't have to have a giant needle in my spine! I will also admit that I am a bit afraid of a giant needle in my spine. I know, I know. I have a tattoo that runs along my spine, but that was different. That needle didn't go INTO my vertebra! I have other ways of coping with the pain. Breathing and the blessed birthing tub! (Disclaimer, the staff at Auburn OB GYN does not do underwater births, the tubs are simply there to help with labor pains). I loved the birthing tub with TJ and when asked what I want this time around, I stressed that I want a birthing tub. Luckily for me, The ABC will have tubs.

After care is also something I am curious about. Most birthing centers have you on your way home anywhere from 6 to 24 hours later. I guess not knowing how long their aftercare is, has my mind going. What about the 96 hour test? What if it's a boy? Do we take it to the doctor's office for a circumcision? TJ's jaundice didn't kick in until we got him home 3 days later and even then it was a pain to figure out why he was so sick (he didn't turn really yellow till several days after so we had no physical clue as to what was wrong).

I meet with Stephanie at the beginning of October and boy do I have a long list of questions for her. All of this "weighing of the pros and cons" might end up being a mute point. She might not consider me a good candidate for The ABC. There are just so many unknowns. I know I have a ton of time to plan, but every morning I drive past the construction site on my way to work and it gets my mind going.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

That's Your Defense?

I was watching the news last night and saw this clip. I was disgusted. Really Mr. Brown, your defense of your actions was pathetic. "They are misdemeanors." SO WHAT?! Why should you be trusted with the responsibility of a school districts decisions when you can't even be trusted to have a valid license, registration, current plates, and insurance. Let's not forget you were under the influence of alcohol and driving. What qualifies you to make decent decisions for tomorrows leaders when you can't even be trusted to not drink and drive?

As for the whole, learning from your mistakes, you obviously haven't. You were arrested in 2007 for domestic battery and again in 2001 for OWI. Shouldn't elected officials to such offices as school boards be citizens that students can look up to as role models? You may always represent what your constituents want, but you sir are no role model!

I don't live in FWCS district, nor do I work for that district. I understand that people make mistakes and forgiveness should be given. He obviously hasn't learned from his past (2001 OWI charge) nor does he accept any responsibility for his actions. I might have more respect for him if he had said, "You know what? I screwed up again. I realize I have a problem and I am going to take all the steps necessary to rectify the situation." I will always have more respect for people who own up to their mistakes than those who just say "BS" in an attempt to save their hide.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Picture Time

I am in the mood to blog, but the lack of precious sleep prevents me from being able to actually write anything. Instead of words, I'll share pictures from the past week. Keep in mind they were taken with my cell phone so the quality is a bit cruddy.
Tj studying a caterpillar we found by Martha's Popcorn Stand.

TJ in the library's "Secret Garden." We were the only ones who came for Saturday morning Mother Goose Story Time.
Rocking out to Guitar Hero at Uncle Phil's.

First time swinging on a "big boy" swing at J.R. Watson Elementary School. He was a bit freaked out at first (notice the open mouth).

Monday, September 13, 2010

Please Don't Compare

This past weekend I was compared to a lady's daughter. Her daughter teaches at a local high school. I had to hear all about how she decorated her classroom, what she is teaching, her extra curricular assignments, etc. I like the person she was talking about, I know her personally. She then looked at me and asked, "How does that compare to what you do?" How do I answer that? I thought about it and then just said, "While we were are both teachers, we couldn't be more opposite during our work day." It hit me, how many people don't really understand what it is I do on a daily basis.

I run a type of alternative school (or "day reporting" for those of you with some criminal justice education) for students in Steuben County. Students who have been suspended or expelled can be referred to my program. This keeps the schools happy because the trouble makers aren't in their building (they are in mine) and the parents stay happy because their child is still working on state approved curriculum and working toward graduation. I also accept referrals from DCS and the courts. Often times my program is used as "last chance" or "first stop out." Juvenile placement costs are ridiculously high. The cost for 1 day of placement runs anywhere between $175 to $200 a day. If the juvenile has medications that need monitored, or they need mental help, the cost jumps close to $300 a day. The Judge likes to avoid paying that much when local resources (Northeastern Center, Cameron Counseling, etc) go unused. In a "last chance" manner, the kids are court ordered into my program. We will work with them, but if they cannot prove they deserve to stay home, we will make a motion for placement. We are their last chance to prove they can/want to change. When it comes to "first stop out" the judge will sentence kids coming out of placement into our program for a period of time. Coming out of a strict placement center into a public high school can be a shock that will cause the kids to revert back to their old ways. By having them make a brief "stop" with us, they can be slowly integrated back into their home and school life.

Our program can take up to 15 students at a time. We work with students in grades 6-12. At one point two years ago, I had a student in every grade doing a different level of Math. It can get crazy having 12 or 13 kids all working on a different class. I think I thrive on the craziness!

I often say that we work with the kids that public schools can't/won't/don't care to work with. But I realize now that may come across wrong. I have been a public school teacher before and I know how hard it is to have 100+ students a day and that one student can just ruin every one's day. We allow those teachers the option to remove those students and know that the "trouble maker" will not fall behind in their education. In most cases, we can not only help a student maintain the proper class standing (credit wise) but allow them to catch up.

Someone once told me, "You work with the worse of the worst." I used to think that, but I don't anymore. We simply get the misunderstood and confused students. Many of our students have had a "moron moment" that got them kicked out of school. They realize they screwed up, and are now taking the proper steps to rectify the situation.

What I do, really can't be compared to a public school teacher. Both jobs have their pros and cons. At times I miss the convocations, pep rally's, and seeing all the players in their uniforms before a big game. I also have to remember that I have a lot of flexibility with my job and if I need to take a day to just talk with a student and help them deal with their home life, I can do that! We can take Friday afternoon's and have "fun days." I get to know another side of these kids that their public school teachers will never get to see. I have made so many connections and love to run into former students when I am out running errands. A former student actually lives across the street from my office. He is working towards his college degree and has a beautiful fiance and two great kids. I find myself watching them play through my office window. Watching those moments, I realize why I do what I do. Had I not been willing to work with that one student, he would have been shipped off to placement till he was 18 and then who knows what his life would be like now.

Thursday, September 09, 2010

Belly Laughs

The following is an excerpt from a weekly email that is sent to me from "The Baby Center" website.

The five best prenatal yoga postures

• The Pringle: Lie on your back with a can of chips balanced on your stomach. See if you can eat them all before you fall asleep.

• The Sneeze: As the sneeze approaches, squeeze your knees together, breathe in and out, and try to remember what it used to feel like to "hold it in." Keep this pose while you hobble to the bathroom to change your underwear.

• The Calf Cramp: Try to stretch around your belly and rub your leg while simultaneously screaming loudly enough to wake everyone in your zip code.

• The Pesto Burp: Bring your chin to your chest and exhale as silently as you can through your closed mouth. Reward yourself with a nice, meditative Fudgesicle.

• The Sleeping Hip: Lie on your side until you lose all feeling. Roll onto your other side and repeat.


Wednesday, September 08, 2010

Things Educators Won't Tell Parents

I found this article on yahoo this morning and decided to pass it along. My thoughts are in italics.

13 Things Your Child's Teacher Won't Tell You
by Reader's Digest Magazine, on Tue Aug 17, 2010 11:19am

A look inside a teacher's mind could help you understand lesson plans and maybe even guide your child to perform better.

1. If we teach small children, don’t tell us that our jobs are “so cute” and that you wish you could glue and color all day long. God bless elementary educators, I don't have the patience for it!

2. I’m not a marriage counselor. At parent-teacher conferences, let’s stick to Dakota’s progress, not how your husband won’t help you around the house. AMEN! I can reccomend a great therapist/counselor but I really don't care to know how your husband drinks all night and never wants to come to bed. I don't care people!

3. We’re sick of standardized testing and having to “teach to the test.” TOTALLY!

4. Kids used to go out and play after school and resolve problems on their own. Now, with computers and TV, they lack the skills to communicate. They don’t know how to get past hurt feelings without telling the teacher and having her fix it. I get high schoolers that are unable to talk things out. I hate when a 17 year old will "tattle" and say, "Jenny said something mean about me. Can you make her stop?" Really? Can you not go up to Jenny and say, "That hurt my feelings and I would appreciate it if you'd stop." Or, what about just letting it "roll off your back."

5. When I hear a loud belch, I remember that a student’s manners are a reflection of his parents’. Manners people, they will get you far in life.

6. Your child may be the center of your universe, but I have to share mine with 25 others. I sometimes wish the parents I worked with saw their child as the center of their universe.

7. Please help us by turning off the texting feature on your child’s phone during school hours. Don't get mad when I require that your child put their cell phone in a box upon walking in my building. They will get it back at the end of the day, I have my own phone, I don't need to "steal" your child's.

8. Guys who dribble a ball for a couple of hours a game can make up to $20 million a year. We educate future leaders and make about $51,000 a year. I wish I made that much! And as for summers off, I WISH! I work year round, and I hate when teachers complain, "Is it summer yet?"

9. We take on the role of mother, father, psychologist, friend, and adviser every day. Plus, we’re watching for learning disabilities, issues at home, peer pressure, drug abuse, and bullying. Don't forget doctor, teacher, conselor, enemy, etc.

10. Kids dish on your secrets all the time—money, religion, politics, even Dad’s vasectomy. Or even about how they couldn't sleep last night because mom and her boyfriend were making too much noise. Really, kids talk people!

11. Please, no more mugs, frames, or stuffed animals. A gift card to Starbucks or Staples would be more than enough. A thank-you note: even better. I have had over 100 students in 4 years and have only received 3 verbal thank you's.

12. We love snow days and three-day weekends as much as your kid does. I wish I could stay at home on snow days. I still get up and come to work.

13. The students we remember are happy, respectful, and good-hearted, not necessarily the ones with the highest grades. AMEN!

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

Boy or Girl?

I hate to post about prego things because I know what it's like to be trying to get pregnant and reading peoples blogs about how happy they are, etc. I have several friends who are currently trying to get pregnant or just recently experienced a miscarriage. I hope they know how genuinely concerned I am for them and how badly I want them to conceive. That being said, blogging helps me clear my mind and share information with those far away relatives.

This past weekend I had 3 random people stop me and tell me, "I have this feeling you are having a boy." Two of those people didn't even know I was pregnant! I was wearing a baggy hooded sweatshirt so I didn't look all big and bloated (like I feel). It struck me as odd because I have never had that feeling. When I was pregnant with TJ I never thought, "Yep, I know it's a boy." We had to wait an extra month to find out with TJ was because his long legs were crossed and blocking our view!

I would love to have a boy, but I also would love to have a girl. As long as the child is healthy, we don't care. Heck, even if the child isn't healthy, we will love it anyway. I guess I look at it this way....if we have another boy, we already have all the boy clothes, toys, etc. Since my kids will be almost exactly 3 years apart (probably within 1 week of being exactly 3 years apart) the seasons of the clothes will match up. If it's a girl....she'll be wearing a lot of blue and sports themed sleeper sacks and onesies around the house.

I have a friend who is also pregnant with her second and probably about two weeks behind me. Her first child was a girl and they are hoping for a boy (Come on, we all know that Josh needs a boy to go hunting and do all that stuff with! Not saying that Claire can't do that too. I can just picture Kelly looking out her back window to see two shadows in the tree stand, one of Josh and the other of child #2). We have joked about if she has a boy and I have a girl, that we should just swap all of our clothes, so that would help save a lot of money for us if we do have a girl!

One Down, Many To Go!

Classical Event Auctions had their first car auction this past Labor Day weekend. While Friday and Saturday started off slow, Sunday made it all worth it!

I had the privilege of riding in the Saturday night Cruise-In parade with my brother...the car??? was just a simple FERRARI!!!! It was cool! We took up the street legal Indy car and 3 Ferrari's! I couldn't talk Phil into goofing around with the Ferrari because, "It isn't mine and I don't want to screw it up!" Oh well! We had fun anyways!

Sunday turned out to be a great day for us. We had several pieces of taxidermy to sell for a family friend who will be starting her second tour of duty over seas next week. She needed to downsize and decided to sell her grandfather's taxidermy. Our full mount polar bear sold for over 6K. At 2pm, Ayron and Ryan Jernigan (he was one of our auctioneers) sold the Dusenberg for $1 million! Ryan was ecstatic because that was the highest he had ever auctioned off a car! Ayron was excited because that sale put Classical Event Auctions on the map. We can proudly say that of the 3 auction companies in DeKalb County last weekend, we sold the most expensive car! We currently have some post sale deals in the works for the Ferrari's and things just keep getting better!

I can say that we learned a lot from this first auction. We are in the middle of discussing how to change things and better promote our company. But we are proud to say that we managed to blow the other two companies out of the water our first year by selling the most expensive car!