Testing, testing…state testing

Someone once told me that a test doesn’t define who I am as an individual or what I accomplish. This is something that I try so hard to instill in my students.

However, high stakes testing is a reality in public schools across Texas. The word test, or let alone STAAR, brings mixed emotions to many students and teachers across the state. It’s a snapshot view, so to speak, and can’t define who students are and what they have to offer. However, students are so much MORE than what a test shows.

Testing doesn’t show a student’s heart, intent, or creative abilities. High stakes testing shows what students can do on one day, at a specific moment, and how they answer specific questions. It leaves no room to show if a student doesn’t understand a specific question other than them scoring it wrong. So many students do great because they can analyze a test question and choose the right answer.

However, what about those that are not good test takers? What about the students who are not on grade level and work below a grade level test? What about the students who just have a bad day and don’t do well? Those students are left feeling vulnerable, unsure, and uneasy. As someone who used to fit into struggling learner category, high stakes testing brings back many emotions. The feeling of frustration bares its ugly head in so many capacities.

We can say all day long it’s just a test and it is. However, so many of our students have anxiety, act out, and have difficult days before, during, and after this test. I don’t have an answer on a solution. I just have a heart and an open mind for what is to come each day before, during, and after testing days.

However, as an educator, I ask for educators to have patience with our students during testing times. I ask for us to remember what it felt like to test and what emotions it brought to our lives. Our students have real fears, emotions, and anxiety.

It is up to us, as educators, to keep stability, consistency, and support THEM each and every day! Our students are WORTH IT and, even on testing days, I look forward to every opportunity to be surrounded by students each and every day!

Set the tone, BREATHE, and enjoy every opportunity you have to be with your students!

State test (1)

Gratitude & Appreciation

Appreciation

Gratitude, something that is not always voiced or given. However, shown or intended to be bestowed upon each day. The day to day impact and wisdom shared is coveted and appreciated by so many. The random acts of kindness and little encouraging notes mean so much too.

Gratitude and appreciation look so different based on the culture of the schools and who the team players are. However, there are still similarities in all settings. There is hard work appreciated, kindness throughout, difficult decisions made. and impact made each day. There are students making our day, laughter to deal with difficult days, and decisions coming down that impact the students and staff each and every day.

Something I realized as an early teacher (and before) was you must give gratitude and appreciation specifically to others. It can be a simple note or email or text (nowadays) but, as educators, we must acknowledge what we see, note who has gone above and beyond, and recognize each other. It’s not about the number of notes; it’s about the recognition and value of others. Every person deserves to be recognized for their hard work and dedication. It must be specific, real, and to the point.

So many times, however, we all get busy and the recognition and appreciation gets put on the back burner. It’s not intentional, it’s life! However, as people who know what it’s like to be appreciated, I am asking for the intentional recognition to be a priority when something good occurs. It doesn’t have to be long, it just has to be specific to the person. The specific gratitude will, in turn, bring out appreciation each time.

Intentional recognition not only builds the culture around us. It gives meaning and purpose to those around us too. It is intentional, specific, and purposeful to show gratitude. In a field of juggling so much and making decisions that impact and change paths often, gratitude and appreciation must be an intentional priority to celebrate the good, appreciate those around us, and to move forward as a cohesive unit. A unit who knows others realize the good they bring to the table and the impact they see too.

Gratitude & Appreciation: an intentional priority for cultivating the culture around us! See it, acknowledge it, recognize it, and celebrate the good it brings each day. 

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!