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EXTRA, EXTRA, FAKE NEWS FOR DAYS

Let’s talk about Facebook. Like, remember when Facebook started and it was like, those pins and poking each other and writing your statuses like this? “Kayla Nicole is eating ice cream and it’s great!” Yeah I do. Better times, honestly. Anyway these days I find myself increasingly more annoyed at all my friends on Facebook. I understand that politics are what’s happening right now, and even as I type this, Betsy DeVos was just voted Education Secretary in an unprecedented tie-breaking vote. This is big. Life is big. But my Facebook feed is absolutely SOAKING IN IT. 

downloadWait what does that even mean, crazy lady? What I mean is that I miss selfies and pictures of people’s food and invitations to Candy Crush (Actually I don’t miss those invitations at all, please don’t start inviting me again, mom). Everybody’s an expert these days. Everyone has an opinion. My Facebook friends are split right down the middle – half über liberal left-wing democrats, half super conservative right-wing republicans. So I get articles, one right after the other, saying in turn things like “Trump and his family LIED ABOUT EVERYTHING AND WANT TO EAT YOUR BABIES” and then “Trump shows himself a godly saint who wants to PERSONALLY PAY OFF YOUR CRIPPLING STUDENT LOANS!” fakenewsNow, the discerning eye would look at both of these headlines and say “That’s probably fake news, I shouldn’t bother myself with reading it.” However I find many of my friends, who I once thought to be well-informed and possessing wisdom, to be liking or even sharing these articles with gusto.

And now the real problem here to me is not the fake news. Fake news has, and always will exist. The problem is the rampant lack of critical understanding. I have posted on Facebook before my feelings on this, but in this trying time, I find myself having to repeat it. Do not believe every half-baked article that comes across your Facebook feed. 

A recent example: You probably saw the video of the dog actor used in “A Dog’s Purpose”. a_dogs_purpose_filmIt was a rather disturbing video of a German Shepherd being coaxed into the water and clearly he was afraid. Then the next scene was the dog swimming in said water. The point of the video was “Boycott this movie! Animals *were* harmed in the making!” Anyone who looked closely though could see that 1) the trainer was being very gentle, and 2) there was a huge cut in the video showing an undisclosed amount of time between the coaxing and the dog actually being in the water. It has recently been found that the video was taken over several different days and the dog was never forced against its will unkindly. All the necessary and right precautions were taken and no animal was harmed or even taken advantage of. But the damage has been done. Thousands of people shared this video saying that the movie is terrible and should be boycotted at all costs. But the movie is about the importance of adopting shelter animals! Boycotters are actually harming their own cause!

snake_dove-214x300So bottom line here, is please please take half a second when circulating information to verify its truth. If we can’t know for sure, don’t spread it. It’s that easy.  For Christians, the bible admonishes us in Matthew 10:16 –

“Behold, I am sending you out as sheep in the midst of wolves, so be wise as serpents and innocent as doves. (ESV)

Wisdom begins with discernment. Innocence begins with restraint. If you don’t know for sure, don’t do it. In James 1:19 the Bible tells us to be quick to listen and slow to speak. Even if you don’t profess Christianity, I think it’s still pretty sound advice. As the old saying goes, God gave us two ears to listen and only one mouth to speak. The more carefully you choose your words, the more impact they carry. SO SHUT YO MOUTH. And listen critically. 🙂

That is all.

 

 

 

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Nothing ever changes.

I would just like to take a moment to personally thank Mark Twain. Mark the beautiful, Mark the hilarious, Mark the magnificent Samuel Langhorne Clemens Twain. See, I’m starting Tom Sawyer with my kiddos today and I’ve been a bit apprehensive about it. If aprilfool_tomsawye_540462114you know anything about my school and my students, this should not surprise you.

I work in a low-income school in a rough neighborhood. My kids are a challenge. I love them, and I choose to be here, but its tough. And Tom Sawyer deals strongly with racism and as a white girl (the only white person in the room for most of my classes) it becomes… tricky to approach the topic. Like, it was tricky before all of the recent race related riots and movements, and now, in an ever increasingly divided nation, it becomes even more tricky.

This is all on top of the fact that getting my kids interested in a book at all is like trying to rip out their own eyelids. BUT. Tom Sawyer’s first chapter begins with a redneck kid ditching school and charming his way out of trouble, 13422092then getting into a fight with a snooty rich kid. I of course assumed they would find it amusing, but my kids – my kids are totally into it. I guess I probably should have known, but my gosh they love it.

All of this is to say that things never change. My kids may feel like some fresh horror
on many days, but Mark Twain knew. He understood kids in a way that I think we forget. Kids are kids. They like humor and getting out of trouble and playing hooky and getting scrappy. So as much as we try to keep up with this new generation, we can’t even forget that kids will always be kids. At the heart of it, kids want to just have a childhood. I hope that in the midst of how hard school can be and what a tumultuous world we live in, we can give our kids a chance to be what they really are.

That is all.

 

0

Barack, Donald, Jesus.

Today is the inauguration. (Side note, what a weirdly difficult word to spell.)

It is a very divisive day. I have friends on my facebook who were at the inaugural ball last night loving and cheering on our new president. I have friends who were angry and have continued to become more and more discouraged since the election and today is hard for them. I have friends who are just posting crappy memes and making jokes to try to keep things light and non-political (I usually fall in to that category).

I published a note to my facebook page in November of 2008 after Obama was elected that said this:

Maybe I’m a little left wing about this, but I believe that God himself ordained for Obama to be our next president. Because God ordains EVERYTHING.

So I’m going to do what Christians should do. I’m gonna pray for the person that God put in authority over our country.

Now I edited the crap out of this just now because my freshly 18 year old first-time voter self was quite the little jerk and didn’t give a crap about punctuation. BUT I do think I still agree with the overall message.

God didn’t stay up on election night watching the news biting his fingers. God didn’t have to do a victory dance or sit in a cry room after the results were announced. God is not surprised. And He is not moved. God ordains all things.

And I also said this in that note over 8 years ago: “Our issues are not going to be resolved by a president. Only by revival.”

So for those of us who claim Christianity it is our sacred duty today and every day to do one thing for our new president. Pray. Pray hard. Pray often. Pray specifically. Pray passionately. If you are rejoicing in the streets today, continue to pray. If you are weeping or in anguish, continue to pray. If you find yourself somewhere in the middle, cautiously optimistic or carefully skeptical: pray, pray, pray.

And then you know what? Pray some more.

In the meantime, while we are waiting for the huge changes that are to come, be kind to each other. Be empathetic. Be understanding. Be loving. Be generous.

 

Oh, and here’s a crap meme, just for fun.
mr-bean-food

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

That is all.

2

I’m positive I’m negative. 

So I’m not sure how this plays out in other career fields, but as a teacher I have noticed that there is a single unifying factor among all teachers. It isn’t love of students or passion for content… It’s trash talk.

Seriously. I have never met a teacher who didn’t have a lot to gripe about. And I guess I always knew this was true, but it’s become especially clear to me in recent weeks.

See I’m just coming out of a pretty nasty bout of post-partum positivity1depression (I’m working on a vlog about it) and I’m making a new concerted effort to be positive and optimistic. So far, it hasn’t actually been that hard. We have a new curriculum this year that I actually love, we got an awesome new tech panel to use in our classroom that is totally useful, I’m teaching a super exciting elective class, and I just have a whole new lease on life. I feel good about my job and my life in general.

I’m also being required to attend some extra training days this year regarding English language learners in the classroom. It stinks that I have to take days out of the classroom, but I am actually really enjoying the training. It’s interesting and really useful.

So I’m like, asking questions and actively participating in the training when I realize… Holy crap. I’m that girl. You know, the one who keeps us all late in class when nobody else cares… And I leave the training and am chit chatting with another person in the training and I start to say how I’m enjoying it… This other teacher looked at me funny and said the training was BS. A few expletives (from her) later and I say something to the effect that it’s a bummer to have to miss out on work for it and she begins to nod her head and rip into how terrible it is to have a sub.

Apparently I was not supposed to be positive. You know the phrase “misery loves company”? I think that person was probably a teacher. Since I’ve been paying attention, I’ve noticed that teachers  love to complain about everything from principals to pencils. Interruptions to IEPs. Trainings to technology. Parents to placement testing. (Alliteration!)

66632004Now. Teachers have to put up with a ton of garbage just to do their job. In fact, at this very moment I can think of about twenty things that are hindering me from actually doing me job well. There’s so much policy, bureaucracy, and legislation that I can even send a kid to the office without being afraid of a lawsuit. And the moment I learn a new grade book system or technological device it seems like I have to learn something else. Oh and by the way, the first thing never did work right and I still don’t have a working teacher computer.

Even with that though, I still love me job. I love my students. And you know what? All of the new stuff we have to use just means we’re at least trying to keep up with the changing times.

I say all that to say this: I am not a positive person. My personality tends very easily toward cynicism. So when I’m the most optimistic person in a group… It’s a problem. We as Americans, as teachers, as humans in general, are so lucky. We are so incredibly blessed. We live in an incredible time and place  in history.

Teacher especially – it is our duty to influence our students for good. If we hate everything, what are they supposed to do? I want my imagesstudents and their parents to be proud of the school they attend. I want to be a bright spot in dark times.

 

I admonish us all, but specifically educators, to work hard at being positive. Even when everything sucks, which it often does, complaining doesn’t help. I’ve learned that first hand. Last year was a super easy year for me as far as workload, but I complained about a lot. This year is insane and crazy and difficult and busy… But I’m loving it. And the biggest change is my attitude.

Take it from a generally negative person… Negativity sucks. Choose to be excited and your circumstances will become exciting. Like my dad always says – right actions follow right emotions.

That is all.

🙂

2

Love’s conditions.

My son is six months old! He’s the best baby that’s ever existed, which I’m sure you know. He’s doing all the normal things a six month old should do: putting every possible thing in his mouth, drooling enough to drown a small animal, peeing mid diaper change, getting mad because he can’t crawl, accidentally head butting whoever happens to get in his face, pulling out my hair, yelling for fun, and pooping much, much more than seems humanly possible. He’s also becoming unbelievably adorable. Everybody says so, y’all.
We’re having a blast! We are more tired, stressed, pressured, overwhelmed, and under prepared than we have ever been. I personally fluctuate between feeling like “okay I might kind of know what’s going on here” and “holy lord of all, what am I even doing” so that’s fun. I’ve become that person who snapchats exclusively about her child and can hardly talk about anything that isn’t baby related. I hardly recognize myself sometimes but I feel more myself than I ever have. It’s amazing to me how with my wedding I felt I was adding a part of myself I didn’t know I was missing, and now, it’s happened again with this tiny baby.

It’s interesting too because the term “unconditional love” has totally new meaning. I always knew in my brain that unconditional love never ended or lessened but now I see it as so much more. I have a tiny, completely dependent creature that can’t talk, walk, or keep his dang food in his mouth, but I am still so proud of him. He does nothing to deserve my pride, he doesn’t know when he’s pleasing me or behaving properly, but I am nonetheless so deeply appreciative of him and his actions. This child doesn’t have the means to pay us back for what we do for him. He doesn’t even know that we sacrifice for him or that there are things for which he owes us. But we are so happy to give and provide for him. We are so filled with love and affection for him that those things don’t even cross our minds. He smiles that big goofy toothless smile and I’m putty.

I am an imperfect person (Duh, right?). I am small and insignificant. Granted, I don’t poop my pants and I am capable of intelligent conversation, but in the grand scheme of things, I am like a child. I mess up, I am needy, and I do nothing to deserve unconditional love. But WOW. God gives it anyway. I’m not sure where the breakdown is, because I’ve had this conversation with other moms, but it’s hard to reconcile the ideals of unconditional love from us to our children, and unconditional love from God to His children. If Asher spits up in my mouth while laughing, I love him. If he poops in my hand while I’m changing him, I love him. If he gives me a fat lip when he hits me with that giant egghead, I love him. If he pees through his diaper onto my freshly cleaned sheets, I love him. If he starts to cry because he spit out his pacifier but now he wants it back, and it happens to be the very moment I drift off to sleep, I still love him. (It may seem like I’m speaking from experience here…) practice uncondi love_75 I love him so much more than what even makes sense. He is imperfect, but he is perfect to me.

Why then is it so hard to understand God’s love for us? If we slip up with a repeated sin, he loves us. If we gossip, he loves us. If we forget to thank Him or even talk to Him, he loves us. If we lie, or cheat, or covet, or steal, or even if we decide to live in a way that we know is not what God approves of, or do drugs or get drunk… He loves us. He is not always pleased, no. Our actions hurt him sometimes. And many times our choices break his heart. He can be overwhelmed with grief at our distance from him – but. He. Loves. Us.

It makes it hard to come up with an excuse to neglect Him, don’t you think?

That is all.

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Deeper than my feet could ever wander.

So two things. I just left my principal’s office (oooh she’s in trouble) and realized that omigosh I just promised him the moon for next year. business-overwhelmedI got so excited about all of the possibilities that I didn’t stop to think “Hey. How about taking it easy? No? Okay.” But before I get into that, a different thing happened this morning that I want to discuss.

I opened my facebook this morning to see that one of my former colleagues was asking for help. She explained that the school district was terminating her because she was “morally unfit to teach” and she believes that the decision was made because of her sexual orientation. Now, having taught next door to this teacher, I can assure you that her sexual orientation is most certainly not the reason she is being terminated. There are a plethora of reasons this woman should not be entrusted with the gift of teaching. But what really struck me is that I have that much more of a responsibility to be a good teacher. While I’ve known her all along, the fact that she has been terminated justdownload brings to light the fact that I may not be doing all I can to be a good influence on my students. Because for every good teacher, there are ten bad ones waiting around the corner.

Please don’t misunderstand me, I don’t dislike this person. But I vehemently disagree with her lack of personal boundaries and even her teaching methods. And I realize that I must do my best to be a light in a dark world for these desperately searching kids.

So, my principal came to my room this afternoon to ask me about a position I had volunteered for. In the course of that conversation, I also volunteered to teach a very technology heavy course I know very RISE+ABOVE-1little about. Aaaaand I found out I’m teaching a different grade than I thought. Oh, and one unit of Pre-AP. So basically I have signed myself up for voluntary slaughter. And you know what? I’m going to love every second. I have been coasting. Sure, I’ve been doing enough to earn my paycheck. But I haven’t been doing enough to earn a “well done, good and faithful.” And I’m embarrassed to admit that I have been complaining about how tired I am when I haven’t been giving it my all.

In the light of the current education crisis, the current lack of Godly teachers, in the current deficit of teachers that bother to give a crap about their kids, I am being called to rise above. Rise above the school politics, the apathy, and the godlessness.

Lord help me. I’m about to work myself into becoming a better person.

That is all.

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An excellent example of WHAT IN THE HOLY HECK.

OMG YOU GUYS. I found this article. A friend posted it and I am dying.

Let me give you a taste.

Screen Shot 2016-04-28 at 1.32.15 PM

wut.

This girl. THIS GIRL. This… girl… is jealous because parents get to leave to pick up their kids while she cant take her friend out for a drink?! She takes all of three minutes to reduce the agonizing process of childbirth and postpartum recovery to a spa day.

I’m having a hard time even finding words because this is the single most offensive thing I HAVE EVER READ (And I’ve been pretty viciously cyber-bullied, y’all). I get what she’s saying about needing some “me time” to reevaluate your own life choices, but in the name of all things holy do not pretend that your cushy, entitled leave of self-actualization is in any way related to creating a human being with your body.

For those of you who have not personally experienced this, take a moment to read one of the hundreds of birth stories available on the internet. Better yet, ask your own mother about giving birth and dealing with uncontrollable mood swings, physical pain, oppressive guilt, and never, ever getting your old body back.

Look. I’m obviously a bit biased on the subject. Please know that if I ever met this woman in person, I would very kindly and gently tell her to jump in front of a bus, in the name of Jesus. Motherhood is a difficult job, requiring the sacrifice of your entire body, heart, mind, and emotional well being. I applaud women who go through the incredible process. I do not applaud women who minimize a single aspect.

Screen Shot 2016-04-28 at 1.55.44 PM

better.

I like this article better.

I don’t mean to be whiney, or say that non parents aren’t also hard-working or valuable people. All I’m saying is that those who choose to not bear the blessing of the burden of parenthood, you forfeit the right to say a single word. About anything related to parental leave. Or pregnancy. Or parenting, really. You think you know. I did. But until you walk the parent road, you know literally nothing. 

Okay BRB, going to go bang my head against the wall.

That is all.

 

P.S. Read Meghann Foye’s account of why she deserves maternity leave without the work here :

http://nypost.com/2016/04/28/i-want-all-the-perks-of-maternity-leave-without-having-any-kids/

And read the only possible sane response here:

http://nypost.com/2016/04/28/parents-should-be-worshipped-by-their-childless-co-workers/