Courage to be seen

Courage is the most important of all the virtues because without courage, you can’t practice any other virtue consistently. –Maya Angelou

Courage: Something people are born with an innate sense of knowing while others have to build up over time. It seems some have more courage or the ability to be seen without difficulty. Courage looks different on so many people.

The Merriam Webster dictionary defines courage as “mental or moral strength to venture, persevere, and withstand danger, fear, or difficulty.” Strength is something that isn’t defined as how much you can lift or withstand. It’s how much you can take, how much you can endure, and how much you can hold and manage without breaking. In education, strength looks so different on so many due to the different capacities we work in.

However, we all face different capacities (or so it seems) each day. Decisions and trials, though, still make us have a unique bond. A bond that is so great that it gives us a community of strength as the days and weeks go on. A bond on strength, camaraderie, endurance, and hope. A bond that gives a net of encouragement on those days when we wonder what we can give when our internal tank is empty. A bond that encourages us to have courage and to be the best we can be to serve our students and our community each and every day.

As educators, we must have the courage to be seen and the moral strength to take on the day to day difficulties. It’s tough! No class or book can prepare you for the trenches you endure and face each day. Some days can be amazing and others can be really, really difficult. Difficult can continue on for days and that makes you appreciate the really good days even more. As people, we must have the courage to endure the trials, overcome the struggles, and continue to lead with the willingness to show up and have the courage to keep going.

Courage may look so different on so many but having the courage to show up is the first step in moving forward. Move forward for the better as well as the ability to keep going and to be seen. Take a breath, have a plan, and have the courage to be present day in and out.

Courage starts with showing up and letting outselves be seen.

Stronger than you realize

You are stronger than you know

Someone once told me “you’re stronger than you know” and the words remind me every so often that I really am stronger than I realize. Whether it is when a tough call is made or a situation that just isn’t how you saw it coming, YOU are stronger than you realize!

Every day, we face decisions and circumstances that make us stronger. Whether it’s a tough call or a tough situation, YOUR input vastly makes or breaks a situation. Your strength is shown in how you handle situations, how you recover from tough calls, and how you move forward for the better.

Kelly Clarkson has a song, “Stronger,” and some of the lyrics hit home.

“What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger, stronger
Just me, myself and I
What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger
Stand a little taller
Doesn’t mean I’m lonely when I’m alone”

YOU are strong and YOU are stronger than you realize!

Winston Churchill said, “never, never, never give up!” As we move forward with a task or circumstance, know YOU have so much potential. You are stronger than you realize and can take on your situation head on.

No matter the circumstance, you make it happen! How you face situations, circumstances, and events all show how strong you really are. Stand tall, stand firm, and realize that you are so much STRONGER than YOU realize!

Oxygen first

Oxygen, a necessity of life. Something we need on a daily basis. Oxygen can be something we’re willing to receive and give out without hesitation. It can surround us and, at times, we can ignore the deprivation as we press on to meet a need or to complete a task.
Decisions, stress, outbursts, behavior, needs to be met, and the list goes on. Every day as educators, we are pulled in many directions. From before the sun to many hours after us, many seek our attention and need our input. It’s a continuous cycle that repeats day after day and week after week too.
The nature of the beast is that we, as educators, are in a profession that pulls us so many ways. It happens in a blink of an eye and can be rewarding and exhausting simultaneously. The need to meet our own needs and recognize the fact that we need oxygen to continue gets left behind or overlooked in a sense.
I, for one, am guilty of ignoring the exhaustion and don’t always remember to breathe first. It’s a vicious cycle and have a great support system to remind me but it happens.
We’re human and this is just a friendly reminder to be sure to breathe and take the oxygen first before you put your best foot forward each and every day.
Oxygen first...

Lighthearted comedy club

WigmanSelf proclaimed “Wigman”

Laughter, it’s something that gets us through the day and makes a mark on many hearts. Laughter keeps us going, provides entertainment, and makes the world a better place. People respond well and it etches memories into the heart.

My students are smart, quirky, creative, and make my world go around and around on a daily basis. Just because they think and act differently doesn’t mean they don’t make the world go around for others.

This year, I have the opportunity to work with a group of students who have multiple and varied disabilities all together. To paint you a picture, I have Autism of different varieties, Intellectual disabilities, OHI, Learning Disabilities, and much more. Their labels don’t define my students and they LOVE becoming famous on my quotes of the day I post on social media.  They’ve been coined “the comedy club” and it’s really a highlight of my and many others’ day.

A few highlights from my comedy club that make me smile & laugh.

“Flu symptoms are sore throat and other symptoms. I’m fine since I just look off. I don’t have that.” Earlier in the day, “I survived the worstest flu of the season this year.”

“Can I get a hair head or a hair and a head?”

“Miss Hahne, do I need to have condoms (he meant commas) in my composition?” After asking him to repeat it, he said “oh yeah, I meant commas. Duh!”

“Hey Aliens, it’s a great day today.” “Great day today, isn’t it?”

“When you behave bad, you go to the depths of hell.”

“Sit back and watch the clouds go by. Relax”

“I work-did already ready. Give me my reward.”

“No candy today. I lose control. No candy today.”

“How about no work and just free time today, I’m tired.”

“Take a deep breath and laugh.”

There you have it. A glimpse of the comedy club and their antics on a daily basis. They provide the laughter, smiles, and make the world go around and around each and every day. I am grateful to have the opportunity to be surrounded by such a fun and hilarious group of students daily. Their comedy makes the world a better place.

Going for gold & striving for the best

Striving for the gold medal.png

With the Olympics in full swing and the need for Educators being on their A-game each and every day, I wanted to put a little pep in your educator step & remind you how fabulous you are today. We strive for the best and go for gold each day.

We step out and make a difference in other’s lives everyday.

We do more than just show up and act. We care. We go for the hearts and minds of others. We strive for the best for others each and every day. We take a stand for our community, students, and staff each day. The people that give us flack may truly not understand our purpose or hearts. However, those who we stand and strive for will remember the good and purposeful motives we give each and every day. It’s not about the recognition; it’s about the difference we make.

We strive to be the difference makers in hearts & minds.

The smiles, support, and encouragement you give daily matter to someone. You may not be told how much it means until later but it matters. People depend on us, the educators, as their supporters. From greeting students every morning to solving problems to making plans, we are making a difference each day. The daily heart to hearts as well as guidance you give matters. We make a difference in others each day & that can be the best memory.

Educators go for the gold and strive for excellence.

The support we give each and every day makes a difference. The presence you give matters. The A-game and all in response when things are tough matters. You giving your all for others matters! Giving excellence each and every day matters.

As educators, you have a choice.

Go for the gold and strive for excellence or just show up to do what you can do in those 8 hours a day. While I wish everyone showed up for excellence, it’s not the case. As educators, we must show up, care, and strive for excellence each & every day. It’s a movement. It’s an action. It’s a stance. To be the best you can for others while being on your A-game to move forward for others.

We are difference makers and, collectively, should choose gold and strive for excellence each & every day!

Our students > a state test

This past week I had students ask me about STAAR (Texas state assessment) and when it was slated to be given. My first response was the month but that didn’t stop my wondering minds standing in front of me. They wanted to know the dates and whom would be testing them (they are in small group and individual testing locations). You see, my students are in special ed and this assessment creates a lot of unknown and fear for them. It changes their normal, changes where they attend for the day, and changes what they see. It creates a lot of anxiety for them and adults alike and these are JUST ten and eleven year olds.

When I was able to look up the dates, my students started to look upset, rock, and get very quiet (very unlike them). The FEAR and anxiety had started in January. JANUARY! As an educator and someone who struggled at their age with learning, this breaks my heart into a million pieces.

As a Special Education Teacher, my job isn’t defined by a state assessment. I meet my students individual needs each and every day! My job is defined and reviewed by an IEP (Individualized Education Plan) and meeting the needs of my students each and every day. Do some of my students take the regular STAAR with accommodations, yes. Some of my students also take the STAAR-Alt due to their disabilities. But the STAAR doesn’t define my students or myself each day!

My students are SO MUCH more than just what is on paper and what a snapshot of the test day gives and brings. The STAAR test is a day in their school year. It DOES NOT define who they are and what they have to offer. It’s not individualized or what level they are on. It’s a standardized assessment. Just a test on a given day that is a snapshot of that day not what all a student can and can’t do!

As the STAAR (or a your state assessment) gets closer and closer, I have to stop, take a breath, and tell my students each day that they are SO MUCH more than a state assessment. It DOES NOT define who they are, what they offer, and who they will become. It’s just a TEST. To them, though, it’s a day in the week that throws their who day and schedule off. It has problems that are too difficult compared to the level they are at and it’s tense. To them, it’s a day that is not routine and scheduled like they are used to. To them, it’s so much more than JUST a test.

In a world that assesses our students, we have to remember that our students are still KIDS who have questions, fears, and anxiety just like us but they don’t have the adult attached to them to be able to breathe and process like us.  Our students are SO MUCH more than just a test! 

As state assessments get closer and closer, I challenge educators to have those conversations about when the assessments occur, how STATE assessments do NOT define what students are, and how AMAZING our students are each and every day!

KEEP CALM and TEACH students who are SO much more than a test!

Cherishing holiday memories

The sights around are fulfilling and busy all around. From holiday to holiday cheer, there is so much to take in and celebrate. Whether you celebrate Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, or another holiday, there is so much around to take in each and every day. Each and every one of us celebrate differently but have something in common. It’s a holiday celebration full of memories and more.

The holidays prove exciting for children, enjoyable for most, and difficult for some. Memories tend to make their way into our lives and those last over the good and bad that follows from the days past. Memories of the GOOD make the bad days better for some. The people, the celebrations, the cheer, and the laughter help ease us all through.

As I reflect upon my Christmas and the days before and ahead, I will admit most lately are full of sickness or illnesses but that’s not what I cherish about the memories that are ingrained in my heart. The Christmas decorations, lights, family time, sounds, ads, and presents have filled my heart with great joy. The memories are not filled of what I have received; the memories are filled with the laughter I have had, the times with others, and those times when things are just right to be etched into your heart.

Whether or not holidays prove themselves good or difficult, the memories that you participate in and recall last forever. During the holiday season, it’s fun to recall the good, the bad, and the hilarious with those you spend time with. Whether it’s around a fire or at your home, remembering the memories that have made the holidays worthwhile will last a lifetime.

Memories last a lifetime.