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.

Pour out joyful gratitude

Last week, I participated in the #Kidsdeserveit twitter chat & something that was brought up sparked an interest and had me thinking for the rest of the week. The question was posed and so many great responses were given.

How can we show gratitude all year long in meaningful and lasting ways? More than “tell them” or “write them notes”. Think deep!

Think about it. It’s not just about students. It’s about each person we encounter each and every day. Whether it is students, family, or anyone in proximity. It’s the people we smile at, say hello to, and are surrounded by each and every day.  So the question remains, how can we show gratitude each and every day in a meaningful way? 

It’s not hard…you SHOW others your appreciation by doing. You give back, you participate in random acts of kindness, you make their day, and you show kindness. Kindness goes beyond just the simple hello; kindness digs deeper. It allows you to make a connection with the other party. It’s the act of time that makes the world of difference.

The act of time and showing others how grateful you are for them day in & out goes above and beyond telling them. You act, curate a bond, show kindness, & build someone up with gratitude. Don’t overthink it! Get to know the people you are surrounded by each and every day. Take a moment to ask about their interests and their families. Notice what makes each person unique.

Act through joyful gratitude for the person! It will mean the world to someone each and every day. No act is too small or too great; it’s the act of gratitude that means the world to each person. Fill the world with joyful gratitude towards others each & every day.

Color the world with joyful gratitude through actions


Kindness: pass it on!

Be Kind whenever possible

Did you know today is World Kindness day? I recently learned about it and was really intrigued by the concept for two reasons. Reason one is the the idea of adding it to the calendar. A day in the whole year to celebrate kindness. However, it’s only a day. Shouldn’t we, as people, celebrate kindness as much as possible? Shouldn’t there be a wave and a desire to be kind daily?

I digress, kindness is a simple act. A smile, a conversation asking about another family, holding the door for someone, striking up conversation, giving a compliment, and the list continues. Kindness can be a grand gesture to one or the world to another. Kindness doesn’t take time; kindness takes heart!

Reason two is the fact that we as educators must model kindness day in and out for those watching our every move, comment, and heart. In my classroom or around school, I even find my students repeating what I’ve said to each other and in the tone or time I say it in. Bottom line is the fact that our students are watching each and every move that we make.  Take it as an opportunity to instill kindness into their hearts each and every day. Show love, show kindness, and take the time to give kindness day in and out.

Be kind & pass it on!