Posts tagged teacher problems
It is almost done...

WHOA! I am never been so MIA from my blog. First, I want to apologize. The truth is that I was having a major writer's block, I have been feeling super overwhelmed, and have leaned into the 365 photo project as a way to keep me connected without having to commit to writing anything more than a sentence or two. The is for sure a hard season, for me and for many. The short days just send out strong hibernation vibes and the courses I taught this winter term were very demanding. Crushed under grading was the truth of it. This dynamic though was double edged. The students in my classes were curious, investment, high-achieving, and excited to learn which pushed me to raise the bar over and over again for them. I know, I know isn't this a teacher's literal dream? And, yes it was and is. But at the same time this meant more time crafting lesson plans, designing projects, and leaning into hard grading and feedback sessions. I stopped eating in the cafeteria in order to sneak in more time for grading and arrived to school an hour before classes and graded way past my bedtime. It was exhilarating but a bit disconnecting and definitely exhausting.

Most of these winter months felt hard to balance all the plates that were spinning around me. This impossible task of: being a wife, parent, daughter, friend, potter, and teacher had me thinking often of that story of the philosophy professor that has been shared throughout social media for years now:

One day a philosophy professor brought a large glass jar and some beautiful river rocks to class with him.

"Raise your hands when the jar is full," he instructed his students, and he began putting the big rocks into the jar.

Soon the lid would no longer fit, and all the students raised their hands to indicate the jar was full. The professor then pulled out a bag of smaller black and white pebbles and poured them into the jar. As the pebbles rolled down, they filled in the little gaps between the big river rocks.

The students smiled and raised their hands. This time the jar was completely full. Then the professor produced a bag of sand and began pouring it into the jar. When the sand had filled the tiny gaps between the rocks and pebbles he triumphantly placed the lid on the jar and asked his class if the jar was now full. They all clapped and agreed, “Yes, it is full!” At that point, the professor opened the lid and slowly poured two cups of coffee into the jar. The coffee completely filled the tiniest gaps between the rocks, the pebbles, and the grains of sand.

"Now, life is very much like this jar," he said.

The river rocks represent the most important things in life, such as your ethics, your family, your loved ones, your health. Even if you lost everything else, your life would still be full with these most important things in it.

The pebbles are the things in our lives that are pretty
important - but our happiness shouldn’t depend on them. Things like our job, house, car, etc.

Finally the sand represents everything else - the countless small, busy things in our lives. If we fill up our jar with sand first, then we won’t have any room for the river rocks or pebbles.

If we fill our lives with just the small stuff or the busy stuff, we won’t have any room or time for the things that mean the most of us.”
After a brief moment of silence one of the students asked,

"Professor, what does the coffee represent?"

"Ah, I’m glad you asked, replied the professor. "It means that no matter how full your life is, there’s always room for a cup of coffee with a friend"

I am glad this season in which my coffee pot was overfilling feels like it is coming to an end. The afternoons are sneaking in some more daylight and I feel like a switch is flipping from winter survival mode into a more calm, create, breathe, and explore mode.

a snowy studio

0J7A3180 Today is the last day of the Fall Term at my school. It is exciting because it ushers in the holiday season and students (despite taking final assessments today) are in pretty awesome moods knowing that today is the end of the first third of the school year and the last day before a week break and the end of these courses. When we come back to school in 8 days, students will start all new classes, with teachers, and with new classmates. It is like the first day of the school year all over again and while some of the logistics on the teacher end of this can feel overwhelming to grade and finish one set of courses while prepping new courses, it is also a fresh start for everyone and a new chapter. So it is an exciting day and it is snowing! Yes, the last day of the Fall term is letting us know hard that today marks the beginning of the Winter season and I am totally ready for it. With cozy times and more festive spirits, I cannot wait to spend time in my little studio making pottery in-between the family and school moments. I am busy making orders for Naomi Mugs, ornaments, platters, and berry colanders, and I love love love making these items knowing they will go to someone's home and become a part of their daily landscape.

0J7A31480J7A3394-20J7A3199

Whoa.Ten.Years.

Graduating from college and moving into my first apartment with David and my bestie, Laura, feels like a lifetime ago. I remember buying some "grown-up" clothes and playing dress-up and make-believe as we all interviewed for first jobs. The idea of not being a student was so foreign. My only memories in life were of being a student. The cycle of September to June classes and school work and a sweet summer vacay were all any of ever knew. And then, it was done. What do you mean I only get 9 vacation days? What do you mean I only have 4 sick days a year? And staring into adulthood was terrifying! How exactly do I pay an electric bill? Like how does the electric company know where I live and do I have to write them a check? Is a security deposit just a scam to make you give the landlord more money? Then ten years happened. From thinking that adulthood was awkward and uncomfortable, I now love being a teacher, having a family, and dare I say being an adult. It is funny to think that it has been a decade of adulting in this particular career path. Never could I have imagined art 23 that I would put such firm roots down. I am excited for what's ahead and for embracing some new and some well-worn mentalities heading into the next ten: Flexibility, Patience, Empathy, Diligence, Laughter, Kindness, Engaging, Contemporary, Real, In-Depth.

With Open Arms

This morning the commute marked the last 40 minute long journey of my ninth year of teaching! And with Journey on my mind, I cannot help but think of that great 80s band. While I won't stop believing that summer is really, finally, beautifully hear, it is their song "Open Arms" that is playing on repeat this morning. An odd choice you might at first think, but then when you realize the destination is summer vacation, an almost 11 week hiatus from the daily grinding commute, endless e-mails, piles of grading, and consuming lesson planning, there can be no doubt that I am charging into summer with these words on my lips: So now I come to you With open arms Nothing to hide Believe what I say So here I am With open arms Hoping you'll see What your love means to me Open arms

Do you hear Steve Perry too? And then the school threw 8 hours of training on Canvas at us this morning and summer vacation could not start fast enough! Each summer I worry about what we will do to cherish the time, it would be so much more fun too if David was home everyday. But with Labor Day's inevitable return, I am going to just try to soak it up, recharge, and check my attitude both for the sun-soaked happenings of summer and for a positive restart for the 2018-2019 school year.

You can find me in the sand until then!