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.

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!

Realize & Recognize the amazing

Everyday, we as educators, have goals, items to attend to, and tasks to meet. We strive for our best in a society that doesn’t always appreciate what we do. We deal with questions, emails, and roadblocks in our path.

Unless you’re in school, an organization, or have been in school, society doesn’t always realize what we face day in and out. The meltdowns of many students, discipline, lesson planning, long term planning, curriculum, parent complaints, conferences, and the list continues. Society also doesn’t see the light bulb moments, the AHA moments, the connections, and the smiles and love our students give and receive.


resizedYou are amazing

As educators, we have got to stop & realize and recognize we are amazing! Society may not say it or recognize it but we, as an amazing community of educators, need to say it and recognize it daily. When we see amazing in our schools and communities, we need to recognize and acknowledge it. We need to note it. We need to say it! We need to cultivate and grow an amazing culture of educators. We must recognize the good that comes our way!

YOU can move mountains & be an amazing educator day in and out! Own it!

Memories etched into the heart

Yesterday afternoon hit me like a ton of bricks & I found myself staring at the wall (in my empty & quiet classroom). The quiet & stillness reminded me of the memories students have etched into my heart during the day & every other day since being in the classroom and around students.

There are moments of uncertainty, difficulty, frustration, and more. However, the good moments always seem to outweigh the bad each and every time. Even when you’re ready to scream, cry, or just wonder what you got yourself into, there’s always something to come out of each memory. The mind works in mysterious ways and I am grateful for those memories that have been etched into my heart and mind.


Memories make a HUGE difference in our lives as educators. It’s those moments of Aha! & Oh my goodness from our students that matter. It’s the positivity & excitement that students bring to our world that matters. It’s the interaction and growth of a student that matters most. It is also the JOY students bring each and every day. Every day is a journey and those memories are etched into my heart.

Sharing our hearts, minds, and laughter helps on the really tough days. Those days you feel like you’ve run 2 marathons. However, you still have memories attached to make the day memorable. It may not be easy or fabulous everyday but my world is surrounded by laughter, memories, and moments that truly mean the world to me.

Memories last a lifetime & those memories of what your students mean to you, as well as how they etched memories into your heart and mind, will last. Remember the good & recall the memories etched into your teacher heart each and every day.


Seize the moment & shine the light

The arrival and dismissal line, the hallways, the interactions with students, and the moments we have to make a difference. Every opportunity has the potential to be the light in someone’s world.

Every day, students and staff fill the hallways of schools with the baggage of what goes on in their world.  Their experiences, their pain, their struggles, and the moments they wish they could relive again. However each person, that enters the halls of the schools, has the potential to make an impact on someone else’s life.

Think about it this way. You’re having a tough morning and you have a wonderful discussion with a student or colleague, once you get to your campus, which turns your whole day around. You’re confident and ready to seize the day of wonder ahead of you.

What was it that someone said? Who truly knows. Sometimes it’s just the acknowledgment and the interaction that matters. Sometimes people need to be validated and other times people need to be told they’re doing a great job. Sometimes it’s the time someone takes to make you shine in the light. Their intentions, interactions with you matter. Whatever the reason, staff and students need to know they matter to someone each day. 

SHINE into the lives of others

You have the power to shine the light into the lives of others by words and actions. Seizing the moment may just turn someone’s day around for the better. Your move. Will you make someone’s day by a comment or compliment? It will matter in the lives of others. It can be a compliment, smile, or a mixture of a few things.

Every person deserves to have the light shined on them daily.  Every interaction has the power to have an impact in someone’s life.

Seize the moments as they come!