Got to come home from work to this beauty!!! So exciting, and can’t wait to connect with educators that find it helpful! 😍😍😍 Thank you Free Spirit Publishing for making a dream come true!
Check out my latest post with Free Spirit Publishing for a lesson you can use with your kids (or staff!) to combat trauma response and learn self-care! ❤️
I’m participating in my second linocut print exchange! This one is inspired by a student from a couple of years ago. The title is 8th Grader, and I drew an image of her that haunts my mind often.
She would sleep on my office couch during times when her home was particularly unsettled. She had more life experience than me and taught me a lot about struggles that had previously felt so far away from my world- intense familial drug use at young ages, assault, generational prostitution, addiction, abuse, and the many things a family will go through to get by. I have unfortunately had many students who live in crisis, but her situation was a different universe of normalized trauma. She never disclosed these circumstances as complaints, they were peppered throughout our everyday communication. It was no different from other students who stop in daily to tell me about their relationship.
She disappeared to Florida, had said she would be fine once she could secure a financial set-up like her mom and the trucker. I think about her almost daily still. I miss being able to put eyes on my students to see that they’re still safe, or still there.
During Winter Break I got to regroup with family and become re-energized by searching out new books and resources for good information that I can return to school with and hit the ground running. This break I was delighted to find a series called “What Were You Thinking?” on the Audible audio platform. If you haven’t listened to it yet, you HAVE TO. It was just what I needed to be able to take a step back and get my head back in the crazy mind of my middle school kids.
In every language and for many generations parents have been asking their children, “what were you thinking?!”. I know I heard this repeatedly in my own teen years, and now instinctively say it to my 12 and 7 year olds. Spoiler alert: they’re not thinking.
It really got me thinking about just how much technology and sleep deprivation plays in the decision making of students. Every generation has it’s own level of knuckleheadedness, but with the advent of accessible and constant internet (think: smartphones, tablet, gaming consoles, Google Docs, social media, oh my!) has added a whole new layer, and we’re not even close to being in control.
I started thinking about all of the educators who have said “I can’t do this forever” burnt out from constant 504 meetings, student apathy with assignments, and unfiltered student communication. How much more can we handle?! But alas! We are only in the infancy of seeing the ramifications of putting an iphone in the hands of a toddler, and as we learn more about that, we may also learn more about how to curtail these hazy side-effects and rise our kids up to their true potential.
More to come on this, as I was so inspired I had to write it out. I submitted a blog post to my beloved Free Spirit Publishing and can’t wait to hash out the details!
I am so in love with Twitter. Still. One of the things that have been my favorite part of joining is growing a professional network through Twitter chats! (Hmph. My Middle School self is rolling her eyes at my dorkyness. As per usual.)
I like to hop on and off of chats, and have made a small chart of chats I have participated in or have been recommended because my brain is on beginning-of-the-year overload and I can no longer think in linked strands of thought. <—that was a run-on sentence but I am too lazy to think through a restructure. See?
Twitter chats move quickly, but if you don’t get caught up in trying to keep up with every detail, it gets easier to participate. Questions are posted in sequence every 3-5 minutes, and you respond with the hashtag associated with the chat you are on. Check one out and get involved! Even if you can only answer a question here or there, I promise you will gain insight and ideas for your school!
I HAVE FOUR MORE DAYS OF SUMMER
Yep. Four more days. What a Summer it has been. We have had some serious changes this Summer in my family, some super sad and some exciting. It always seems to happen that way that the Summer is so seldom a slow burn. I can’t decide which way I like more. But I am ready to head back.
The crazyiness will begin soon, as I step into a new school. After my babies left for High School I’ve decided to take the leap and start a new adventure. As sad as I am to say goodbye to my old school, I am really excited to get my hands into a new place, new population, and forge new friendships. I get so much inspiration from the people around me, sometimes I think they get fatigued from my harassment! So now it’s time to give someone else a turn.
To prep for returning, I started reading The Balanced Teacher Path which has really helped me get into the mood to set my mind right, and remember to support the teachers on my hallway. It’s such an easy read, contains personal stories, and suggestions for the classroom and home. I seriously recommend it, and think it would be an amazing all-school read.
I also got to spend today in training with all of the secondary counseling peeps in VB. It was tough to wake up early, but it was so perfect to get me reignited and ready for the year. I am itching to get in, take care of scheduling conflicts, and get the year rolling. It feels so good to be in a profession that excites me enough to get my tail out of yoga pants and into business.
I’m telling you, these guys are magical! They take my humble thoughts and really refine them and know how to make it look shiny! My second post is about positive peer pressure. I was excited to write about this topic because it is truthfully the most fun part of my job.
Kids are cognitively very self-centered, working more outward as their world expands. But they have so much capacity for kindness, that even developmental psychology doesn’t stand in the way of their impact on each other!
Follow the link and feel free to ask questions or add comments!!
I have had the most exceptional, fun, laid-back, good kids for the last three years. I cannot even begin to imagine what work will be like after this year as I
tearfully drag my feet and throw a fit the size of adolescent attitude move forward and usher in a new group. We rotate at my Middle School, so I will also be back with the littles. It takes adjustment, but it is really exciting to meet a whole new group and start the puzzle all over again.
The 6th graders are so crazy different from 8th graders. It is hard for me to remember my students being those little minis only a couple of years ago. A handful of them cried at the mere expanse of the school, some of those quiet mouths have blossomed, and others walk taller every day. I have also had plenty of time to think about things that may have helped them transition to Middle School and be more successful while there.
One of the things that I would love to know in advance is who will be my frequent fliers from the beginning. How can I help them? I look at plenty of data to get ideas, but who can I keep from flying under the radar for a year causing me to lose essential support time. So I got an idea to send some SOS packets to Elementary counselors. They know them best, they have lived with them for the last 5 years and they have all the dish I need to know who to approach and how. Imagine the time saved in rapport building to already have an in!
I gave each of our feeder schools’ counselors a couple of SOS envelopes, and asked them to write their frequent flyer students a letter that might help them when the hormones hit the fan in Middle School. I can pull them out and have a link for the kid to an easier, more familiar time. I also included some CLMS swag so that they can give some away and also have Middle School stuff around their offices. I figured this might subliminally add some face-time for us.
When I’m not
wagging my finger speaking with my 8th graders, I start to imagine students in 5th grade and what they are doing. They have no idea how different their life will be, and I can’t wait to see another group grow and experience.
Buy these for your office! They are so fun and easy to use (once you look up the syllable configuration because it was only your favorite unit in MS because it was the easiest). I play with all different types of kids and they all get their artsy-mode on and love it!
Find them all over the interwebs or sometimes at Marshall’s!
My husband has been known to drag me out of the house telling me to go to one social event or another and to stop being anti-social. Anti-social?! How could he possibly call me that? I’m a counselor for goodness sakes. I mean, I went through my whole Master’s Degree and have a whole profession surrounded by the fact that my gift, my talent, my -dare I say- genius status is based on my ability to be social (ok, genius might be a stretch, but it sounded cool). And it finally hit me, I am an outgoing and social person who suffers from communication fatigue.
We learn a lot about compassion fatigue in school. I know I am not there at this moment. In fact, I am still at the point in my perfect job illusionment where a good emotional barrier (ok, and maybe a good story too) engages and intrigues me. But, it’s the other stuff, the in between, that drains my social brain. It’s the “got a sec?” And the “can I talk to you?” And the “a parent is here to see you” ‘s that make me tired.
As counselors, we spend all day listening, calculating responses, and making sure that each and every sentence uttered out of every student, teacher, and parent is the most important and fascinating thing we have heard all day. And when I get off? I’m not suddenly anti-social in nature, I’ve got communication fatigue!