March 29, 2013 come on!! I’m such a huge Tyler Perry fan. And this is perhaps one of my favorite plays written by him. Check out the preview below.
2012 in a nutshell:
1. I witnessed Bama win the National Championship in New Orleans, LA.
2. I was accepted into one of the greatest teaching programs on the planet: Teach For America.
3. I graduated from college and earned my bachelor’s degree, something most people said I wouldn’t accomplish.
4. I traveled to some of the places I once only dreamed about: New York, London, Paris, Rome, and Vatican City.
5. I started teaching in a middle school.
6. I started graduate school.
7. Dallas turned the big “7.”
8. God blessed me with a new apartment, a new doggy (Tobey), and a new car (Pearl).
9. I sustained some very healthy friendships with people who keep me motivated and moving and I met some amazing new friends too.
I’m not a fan of resolutions, but my goal for 2013 is simply: MOVE WITH PURPOSE. If I’m not moving with some sort of purpose, I’m not doing it. Most of my focuses will remain the same: Dallas, motherhood, my family, my spiritual relationship with God, my true friendships, teaching, my kids at school, and my education.
After a year of blessings galore in 2012, here’s to 2013.
So to my knowledge my kids (students) learned things galore last semester, especially considering I treat them exactly like I treat Dallas in terms of teaching them new things and helping them understand how to apply those things to their lives. That’s definitely one of the benefits of being a mommy and a teacher. Every day as my kids walk in, I greet them in a very high pitched, disturbing for sure “hello, hello, hello.” I think it has become my signature considering my kids sometimes say it before I do and other teachers are beginning to say it now too. As they file in I hug each of them and tell them how much I love them. My logic: What if I’m the only one who does it daily? So yes, that three to five minutes is so worth it.
Below is a list of skills I taught during the first semester. I think we did a pretty good job. We made this list in each class and the students received extra credit for taking it home, getting it signed, and getting a parent to write a one-sentence statement in response.
The Most Startling Conversation
I teach four classes and an enhancement class (8th Grade, 8th Grade Pre-AP, 7th Grade, and 7th Grade Pre-AP). With each of the four classes, I made it my business to have a conversation about the achievement gap. At first, I did not think it would really matter to a group of twelve-year-olds to fourteen-year-olds. Turns out I was wrong. I started the discussion with a simple stand and sit activity where I posed statements similar to this one: Stand up if you have a mom, dad, brother, or sister who is a teacher, doctor, lawyer, professor, principal, engineer, etc. We went through several professions that require at least a bachelor’s degree. In each class I had maybe a total of four or five students stand. Next, I displayed the following statistic courtesy of TeachForAmerica.org.
Students wrote individually what the photo meant to them and then we discussed what the photo meant to them as a group. Next, I showed the following video and asked my students what they thought of the content.
“A Tale of Two Schools”
I had many students who simply wanted to make it an issue of color, but I pushed them beyond just skin color to the more deeper issues like drive, commitment, motivation, and focus. It wasn’t until I got to my last class of the day, my 7th Grade Pre-AP class, that I realized the magnitude of the conversation I was having with my students. After the lesson was over, paragraphs had been written, and discussion had ended, I had one student raise her hand and ask: “So Ms. Beck, if a person lives in the projects, are they living in poverty?” I immediately thought about the question itself. It was in that moment I realized my students envisioned poverty as what they saw on television commercials with people raising money for children in foreign countries as opposed to a single parent with two children making less than $18,000 per year or a two parent household with two children making less than $23,000. As I was thinking, I could see curiosity peeking in the eyes of most of my students. Thoughts were rapid on my end too. I can remember asking myself, do I crush what these children know as their everyday lives or do I allow them to stay in the dark forever? I could not do it. I could not sell them a dream. So I responded with a simple, “yes.” Of course my response sparked another discussion with that particular class that carried well over into the next day.
I can honestly say I think they got it. I think that last class truly understands that poverty is a cyclical thing and education is the only way to end the cycle. Their work reflects their belief in themselves and their hunger to gain more education. My final verdict is that there have been some good days and there have been some not so good days, but I love my job, I love my kids, and I love everything about what I do every day. In January, I’m going to start with another achievement gap conversation and present a few other statistics to ensure that my kids truly understand why we do what we do every day.
Anywho, until next semester,
Y’all, I’m late on sharing this, but my first grader Dallas is reading like crazy. Literally everywhere we go now he’s sounding out syllables and connecting them to make words. For example, we were in Target and he was sounding out all the food labels and reading all the posted signage. We were walking through the doors of the store and we had to stop so he could read “Automatic Door.” The only words that give him issues as of right now are those weird phonics rules like ch, y, ph, etc. It’s super exciting to experience this with him. Being literate is such a precious gift. I’m not sure he understands that part just yet but, as long as he’s learning and reading, I’m happy.
Here’s a funny: We went to see Wreck-It Ralph last weekend and he asked me if I could tell them to slow the previews down so he could finish reading one before it went to the next one. Lol.
Sn: Wreck-It Ralph was soooo good. Go see it immediately.
LoveFran.com has suffered tremendously due to my first three months of teaching. Yep, I’ve been teaching since August. Wow!! That’s still surreal to me. I’ve had some pretty amazing experiences so far and I’m happy to declare something that most people are not able to: I absolutely, positively love my job. Anywho, here’s an update to the infamous list. I’ll be 23 in January, so I’ve got a lot of work to do in the next couple of years. Sidenote: I’ve made four changes to the list, but only because my interest have changed and it’s my list. Lol.
Here’s to continuing this fabulous thing we like to call life and enjoying every bit of mommyhood, traveling, creating (without an ounce of creativity in my body), loving, and learning along the way.
Graduate from college AND enroll in graduate school AND start my teaching career.
Touch at least one of my student’s lives AND indulge in random acts of kindness–at least one per week. (Ongoing)
Become financially self-sufficient AND get Dallas involved in the sport of his choice (anything besides football).
Visit a castle OR visit an African country.
Start a stock portfolio. (Ongoing)
6. Attend a music festival.
7. Attend a Los Angeles Lakers game.
8. Learn to speak Spanish, fluently.
Finish a book every two months including a reread of some of my favorites like The Bible and The Giver AND read at least 10 banned books AND read The Hunger Games and The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo trilogies. (Ongoing)
Expand my cooking skill set. (Ongoing)
Visit London, Paris, and Italy (take gondola ride in Venice, preferably a romantic one).
12. Start a business or nonprofit. *Changed*
13. Teach Dallas to read fluently. *Changed* (Ongoing)
Develop and follow a workout plan. (Ongoing)
15. Take Dallas to Disney World in California and Florida AND
visit New York and Vegas. (I have been to Vegas, but not as an adult.)
Maintain The Guide to Scholarships, my personal blog, AND launch Within Reach. (Ongoing)
Grow hair back fully and continue natural journey, meaning do NOT cut, color, or perm under any circumstances. (Ongoing)
18. Obtain my master’s degree. *Changed*
19. Write a short story OR write a collection of short stories OR write a picture book OR write a novel.
20. Buy a home. *Changed*
Try an exotic food I cannot pronounce.
See a Broadway musical AND visit an opera performance.
23. Spend New Year’s Eve in Times Square of New York City.
24. Drink out of a coconut in Hawaii.
25. Buy a piece of jewelry to later use as a meaningful family heirloom.
Be blessed and happy Sunday all!!