Saturday, May 26, 2012

A Bittersweet Year

Usually by this time of year, I am MORE than ready for summer vacation.  I'm tired of grading essays; I'm tired of ARDs, I'm tired of paperwork, but mostly?  I'm tired of kids trying to chew gum in my class.

But this year, I find that I'm not craving summer like I usually am.  I've only felt this way once before - May of 2008 - when I was packing up and leaving Cameron...& some of the best kids I've taught in my career.

In the fall of 2008, I started teaching at Consol:  2 sophomore & 3 freshmen classes.  I hated the thought of teaching freshmen & I wasn't looking forward to it.  Little did I know, that I would fall in love with those kids and move up with them every year.

Fall of 2009, I had 2 sophomore classes and 3 senior classes.  I had some repeater kids in my 10th grade class and it was fun teaching kids I'd taught before.  It was my first year teaching seniors and they were challenging, so my sophomores became my comfort zone.  I adored them and thoroughly enjoyed getting to spend my time with them.

Fall of 2010, I got my wish:  all juniors all day!  My favorite age group & my favorite group of kids.  I had some old kids from my previous 2 years and it was one of my best years ever.  

Fall of 2011, I was back to a split:  honors juniors (3 classes) & seniors (2 classes).  I wasn't happy about the honors classes (more on that later), but I was tickled to be teaching seniors.  This would be my 4th year with this class and when I looked at my rolls, I noticed that I had taught half of the kids before.  I actually have taught one kid all 4 years!

The year started great & then my dad had his stroke in September.  I remember thinking that I wouldn't have the energy or the patience to deal with things and I wondered how in the world I was going to get through an entire teaching year when I had to deal with the health issues of my dad.  

I shouldn't have worried.  I'm a firm believer in the fact that God puts people in your life when & where you need them.  These kids were who I needed to be around for 9 months while I dealt with his health issues & subsequent passing.  They brought me cokes, coffee, chocolate...all sorts of things.  I rec'd handwritten notes and texts from them asking about me and checking on me in the early days of his hospital stays.  I even rec'd messages from parents asking about me and letting me know that they were praying for me.  

The health issues with my dad prompted Stan & I to get our lives on track and get healthy.  Since mid-October, he has lost 135 lbs. and I've lost 50 lbs.  I've enjoyed our lifestyle shift.  Where we used to come home, sit on the couch, & watch TV, we now come home and work out, go on walks; we're much more active now.  I hate that the impetus was so tragic, but I'm thankful that we're healthier and we're making sure Caden is growing up healthier as well.

Having somewhere to go and something to focus on has made my days, not just bearable, but exciting.  For 8 hours a day, I get to be Mrs. Aalbers and enter full 'teacher-mode.'  And these kids have made it easy.  I saw kids who struggled as freshmen and sophomores blossom this year.  I've seen kids I thought would drop out, enter the military or start making plans to go to college.  I've written countless recommendation letters and received countless thank you letters this year.   

I thank God every day for my job and the chance to catch these kids at the end of the 'assembly line' before they go off into the world on their own.  I hope that I've given them as much as they've given me this year.  I am thankful that God put me with my seniors and the honors kids this year.  My honors classes weren't where I wanted to be & I didn't go into it open-minded, but I learned so much about myself as a teacher and I loved the challenge.  They presented their own challenges, but they're so smart & fun; I LOVED them!

All of this is to say that this has been both the worst year, & the best year.  And I'm sad that it's ending and I have to say goodbye to my kids.  Because that's how I feel about them - that they're my kids.  I'm so excited for them and proud of them, but I feel like a parent watching the birds leave the nest.  I am thankful for what they've meant to me this year and I wish them nothing but the best.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Melatonin Review

So, Caden & I get home yesterday afternoon & the melatonin landed on the counter.

Don't you like my organization style?

Later, Stan got testy b/c the kitchen wasn't spic & span for him to create his lasagna masterpiece (Wednesdays are 'eat what we want' dinners...God bless Wednesdays.)

After cleaning things up for him (I'm a great wife), we (HE) got down to business & the house started smelling great.

Fast forward a couple of hours...

The directions for the melatonin say to take it 30 minutes before bedtime. My body has always had different timing, so I wanted to take it at 7:30. I went into the kitchen & looked on the counter.

No melatonin.

I asked Caden where he put it b/c he brought the bottle in when we got home. He walked around and then got upset b/c he couldn't find them & he thought it was his fault. Bless his sensitive heart.

I got Stan on the job b/c seriously, the man is a bloodhound. You need to sniff something out? Stan's the man.

We looked in every room in the house, even the LAUNDRY go.

I am FREAKING out b/c this is the miracle drug everyone recommended AND WE CAN'T FIND IT!!!!

Stan keeps his calm & opens the cabinet where we keep our medicine, & the melatonin bottle.

I had put it up when he was being snarky about the kitchen.

Ladies & gentlemen: I have been SOOOOO tired the past few days; I had NOOO idea I'd put them up.

Le sigh...

REVIEW: I give it a B- & here's why:

  • It helped me go to sleep, but my mind was still racing.
  • I got up at 3:30 to go to the bathroom & couldn't go back to sleep, BUT...
  • I felt rested.

I got up & cleaned the kitchen.

Is it just me or am I always cleaning the kitchen???

I did 2 loads of laundry.

And Stan & I got to spend some quality kidless time together.

So...I will take it again tonight & give it another shot. I can't fully blame the melatonin for not being able to go back to sleep. 'Anything Goes for Dinner' Wednesdays aren't really as fun as they sound & I wasn't feeling good when I woke up so that probably had more to do with it than anything else.

Stay tuned for 'Melatonin - the Sequel'


Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Still Learning

Working on night 3 of insomnia & trying not to play the 'If I go to sleep right this second, I'll get x hours of sleep.'

I do really well until about 10 or so. I get tired, turn off the laptop, lie down, then try to relax.

And then the brain starts going into overdrive: lesson plans, how to engage seniors after Spring Break, oh wow, I need to write that rec letter, & I need to read the novel that we assigned as extra credit over the break for the honors kids. WHY did we assign a novel??? Now I have to read it too!

And the list goes on.

After tossing and turning for 2 hours, I pulled out my bible & sat on my couch. Why is it, that this is my go-to fix-it when all else has failed?

Sleeping pills? Check
Relaxing music? Check
Aromatherapy? Check

Only after I've checked off the other, ME-centered items, do I choose to look at what I know is going to work.

I have a proven track record of going to the Word as a last ditch effort to solve a crisis, only to turn to the page of reading, and find the verse I need staring up at me. Tonight was no different, except it was a note I took in Sunday School a while back:

Rest cannot be achieved without faith and obedience.


Now, let me explain something. I do a lot of things right and I know I'm going to Heaven, but (& this is a biggie) I want to do things on my timetable, on my schedule, and for my reasons.

I've learned a lot & grown significantly in my walk with Christ since I walked the aisle at FBC Bryan at 16...but this is an ongoing battle with me.

I am not always faithful. I am not always obedient.

And right now, I most certainly am not achieving rest.

But I leave you with this verse I found as I scoured my bible for all references to rest:

Jer 6:16

Stand at the crossroads and look, ask for the ancient paths, ask where the good way is, & walk in it, and you will find rest for your souls.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Getting My Feet Wet Again

Wow - it's been quite awhile since I used this blog.  Once I found Facebook, I really never looked back & I stopped posting on here.  I think I'd like to get back to it; I've missed writing (in detail) my thoughts on teaching, parenting, & 'wife'ing :)

I have big plans for 2012 - stay tuned...