Finding My Purpose

Finding My Purpose

high-school 

Day in and out we all have thousands of experiences that form a lifetime of memories. I had many significant experiences in high school, but I believe that the most valuable high school experiences were those that impacted my life long after high school was over. As I walked the same halls day in and out I wasnt simply learning about history and science I was finding my purpose. As a high school student, I made many choices because I understood that I was forming a future for myself. One of those choices was to take a career teaching class. As a result of taking this class, I had the single most significant experience of my high school career. I found purpose and direction in life by mentoring a seven-year-old boy named Josh.

One day, while volunteering at the local elementary school, I met Josh. Josh was painfully shy, an unwilling worker, he showed signs of a mental disablity. For weeks, I worked with Josh as he struggled to pay attention and complete his assignments. He required constant reminders to stay on task. One day, as Josh and I were struggling through yet another worksheet, he looked up at me and said, “Miss Annie, thank you.” It was the first time I ever heard him speak after weeks of unanswered questions and written answers, he spoke! I looked down at him through my tears and said, “You’re welcome, Josh.” I almost danced as I left the school.

The next day, I came into the school with high hopes for my student. They were met. As I walked in, Josh ran up to me and proudly showed me that not only had he done the sheet I asked him to do, but another worksheet as well. I had often spent thirty to forty minutes helping Josh complete a simple worksheet and had to wonder how long he had labored to be able to finish these two sheets. He felt successful and it motivated him to work even harder. He gave up his time because he wanted to succeed. And Josh did just that. He began to excel in school. I saw him keeping pace with the other children and our visits together become less frequent and less necessary.

The truth is, Josh helped me more than I could have ever helped him. Because of him, I want to be an elementary school teacher. He showed me the struggle and joy of teaching and that all the trials are definitely worth the reward. This experience became my most significant high school experience because it gave me direction for my life. Josh helped me find my purpose.

 

School Lunches as a Teacher

With early mornings and long days, there’s not a lot of time to make well-thought-out lunches. Schools may have made their lunch menus more healthy, but they can quickly get old and don’t always fill your stomach.

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So what do you do?

 

Here is one great idea to help lunch making be easier and faster each morning:

Start by getting two containers, one for the fridge and one for the pantry. In the fridge container, fill it with a week’s worth of lunch sides. Some good ideas include yogurt, string cheese, veggies (i.e. carrots), fruits (i.e. apples, grapes, etc.), etc. With the pantry container, fill it with a week’s worth of lunch snacks. Some good snacks include small bags of chips, granola bars, fruit snacks, crackers, cookies, etc.

For your main dish, sandwiches can be made the night before or in the morning. Leftovers also make great lunches.

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Do this each weekend and you’ll be ready for the week!

The King of Suspense

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Anyone who knows me understands my deep love for anything from the 1940’s and 50’s. I have a deep respect for the people during this time and their resiliency. Last night during one of my Alfred Hitchcock marathons, I learned a new and interesting lesson about the greatest generation. For those of you who don’t know, Alfred Hitchcock is the king of suspense. From Psycho to The Birds, Vertigo to Rear Window, Alfred Hitchcock understood how to create suspense without any special effects or fancy editing. Last night I watched Rear Window, a movie about a man who, while homebound due to a leg injury, becomes obsessed with looking out his window and observing his neighbors’ comings and goings. During this time he witnesses mysterious circumstances that lead him to deduce that one of his neighbors is a brutal murderer. Wow! It is suspenseful and a movie that I would highly recommend. But this movie is far more than a horror flick; it taught me an interesting lesson about teaching.

First, it taught me that in today’s day and age, teachers are competing with screens. Whether these screens belong to cell phones, computers, tablets, or TVs, teachers are fighting to be as entertaining as the enhanced images on the screen. So how do we cope? I think we could all take a lesson from Alfred Hitchcock. He didn’t have fancy technology at his fingertips. Instead, Alfred Hitchcock utilizes music to capture the viewer. He uses intriguing scenarios and characters. And, most importantly, he used his imagination. So as we enter the classroom use these “special” effects, play music and sing songs, act as funny characters, and place your students in interesting scenarios. Capture their attention with simple means.

The second lesson I learned from Alfred Hitchcock came specifically from Rear Window. During this movie, the main character has a front row seat to all the comings and goings of his neighbors: their hardships, their triumphs, and their secrets. Now, if there was an observer in your classroom logging your every move, do you think you would behave differently? Of course. But what this movie taught me is that there’s always someone watching. Whether it is our students, their parents, administration, or fellow teachers, the actions we take on a daily basis may seem simple, but they do not go unnoticed. Be the best teacher you can be every minute of every day. The actions we take are being cataloged.

You can find inspiration for teaching everywhere. Open your eyes and let the examples around you teach you how to be the best teacher you can be.

Battle of the Books

Do you have students who feel like this about reading?

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Do you wish all your students were eager to read?

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Try getting them excited through a program called Battle of the Books! This program is designed to make reading “fun and exciting” for students in third through sixth grade through a competition within their grade. Each grade does not need to participate. This can be done by one grade-level team. As a teacher, you may choose to create your own book lists and questions for your grade level team, as well as adapt to younger grades. You may even choose to only have your own students participate in the competition as a class.

Preparing for the Competition
Each grade, third through sixth, is given a list of 10-15 books that are on their reading level. Teachers introduce these books through Book Talks to help get students excited about reading them. Students in each class then volunteer to read the books for the competition. A schedule is created for the students to know when they need to have the books finished by and when the competition will take place. Students are usually given three to four months to read all of the books.

Competition
As the competition draws near, teachers should get the students excited by making this a big event. Parents should be invited to come watch. Within each grade, a competition that is similar to a jeopardy style trivia tournament about information from the books is held. At the end, a prizes can be given to the winners.

This is a great way to combine literacy with students’ competitiveness. If they don’t already, they may even grow to love books!

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