Insanity of Motherhood

Motherhood, marriage, and midlife.


2 Comments

Win Some. Lose Some.

A conversation between a preschool teacher and preschool students.

Win

Teacher is sitting on floor building blocks with children.

Mrs. M. How old are you?” – Boy Student

“I’m 51 years old.” – Teacher

“Oh.  Okay.” – Boy Student

“Why do you ask?  How old did you think I was?” – Teacher

“Same age as my mom.” – Boy Student

“Oh.  How old is your, Mom?” – Teacher

“She’s 33.  I thought you were younger than she was.” – Boy Student

Lose

Teacher sitting at table outdoors coloring with children.  Preschool student is looking at teacher’s photo on name badge.

“Mrs. M. Is that a picture of you?” – Girl Student

“Yes it is.” – Teacher

“Why doesn’t it look like you?” – Girl Student

“Well, maybe the photo has different lighting.  Don’t you think the photo looks like me?” – Teacher

“No.  You have a lot more wrinkles in real life.” – Girl Student


24 Comments

Now

I told myself I wasn’t going to do it. I told myself I would not go public with my feelings about the recent tragedy in Connecticut…until yesterday.

A Facebook friend posted something that changed my mind.

“We need to arm our teachers with guns so this situation can be prevented.”

The man is no longer my Facebook friend.

I know this statement does not reflect the average gun owner nor does it reflect the views of most Americans, but if this man believes this is a solution to the crisis Americans are facing there must be others.

I have been an educator for 30 years.  I have worked with children from infants to highschool.  My role as an educator has been to support, nurture, inspire, and educate.  If you know me personally you know children have always been my passion.   This statement to put guns in the hands of educators was irresponsible and contradicts everything a good teacher is supposed to do.

I can’t debate guns on an intellectual level.  I don’t own a gun.  I have never been hunting.  I have only seen a real gun on one occasion when I was babysitting and the father showed me where the family gun was located.  I don’t know the facts between semi-automatic rifles or handguns.  I know nothing about shooting statistics.

But I can discuss gun control on an emotional level.  The other night my husband took my two teenagers and a friend to the midnight showing of the Hobbit.   When my husband left for the show that night I told him to take care of the boys and to be safe.  The movie place was close enough to walk to so I wasn’t worried about a car accident.  I was concerned for my family in light of the last midnight show they went to where another mass shooting occurred in Aurora, Colorado.  I stayed awake until all my family returned safely back home.

Like most Americans the recent tragedy in Connecticut has affected me deeply.  The shootings occurred in the most innocent of settings…an elementary school.  No one would have ever predicted that would be a place someone would want to destroy.

Having teachers armed with guns is not the answer to our crisis.  The statement may have been said to provoke a reaction (it worked), but we can’t allow this way of thinking to continue.  I would never want my children to attend a school where loaded guns were the norm.  I wouldn’t feel safe leaving my child in that situation.

Teachers need to focus on caring and educating our children, not fighting the bad guys.  It’s our job as a society to find a way to prevent this type of thing from happening again.  This is not a movie set.  The bullets hitting people are real.  They are dying.  And yet no one seems willing to stand up and do something…anything.

We need to discuss the mental illness situation in our country.  We need to stop glorifying movies, television and video games that show killing.  We need recognize electronic media is creating social isolation.  We need to create laws to restrict certain types of guns.  We need to discuss all these ideas and many more because problem we face is very complex.  We need to do it now.

But the one thing we don’t need is to arm teachers with guns.


11 Comments

Guest Writer – Dad English Teacher

Today, you are in for a treat.  I have asked my blogger friend Larry, at Me Myself and Kids to be my  guest writer.  He is a gifted writer, father of two young boys and high school English teacher.  When Larry recently asked me to write a post for his blog, I was a bit intimidated.  I felt like I was back to high school writing a paper for English class.  However, he was a good sport and only made a few minor corrections.  Whew.

With school just around the corner (thank GOD), I asked Larry to write from the perspective of being a teacher.  Today’s post is explains what it is like to be a parent/teacher and how he often brings his work as a teacher home to his boys.   Enjoy and for more of Larry’s work, please check out Me Myself and Kids. 

Dad English Teacher

“How did the setting contribute to the story? Sure the setting looked nice and was glamorous, but I don’t see how it added to the story in the least. You can have a marital conflict anywhere?”

My wife and I had just finished watching the movie Descendants. Everybody talks after a movie – some do during the movie (including me), but that’s another story. The actor/tress was great, I love the scene when …, that character was hilarious. However, I talk about conflict, symbolism, and plot development. After all, I am an English teacher.

My wife and I have been reading with the boys since they were born. Well, maybe we waited till they got home from the hospital. I don’t just read to the children or now listen to them read. I question them.

Why do you think the boy looks sad?

What does exhausted mean?

How would you feel if you were the character?

What do you see in the picture?

Reading with dad english teacher is a chance to teach a lesson.

We were packing up in order to go to the local pool/beach recently. Shovels, boogie boards, noodles, snack. Check, check, check, check.There was one more thing we needed.

“Just bring a book.”

“I don’t want to bring a book.”

“I want you to bring one.”

“Fine. I’ll bring one.”

No, I didn’t expect the boys to get out of the pool, so they could read just a few more pages.  I want to instill in them the believe that they should always carry a book. You never know when you will have some spare time. So, why not have a book? Read, feed your brain, learn, and grow.  Yes, my students, I mean children, this is what dad english teacher wants for you.

“Did he just say that word?”

“I think he did.”

“How does he know that word?”

“SY (5.5 year old) how do you know that word?”

“I don’t know.”

“Did you read it somewhere?”

“Stop asking me!”

Despite my displeasure with his tone, I hug him tight. Good vocabulary makes me happy. I am dad english teacher you know.

Common grammar mistakes make me cringe.  I correct. I know I can be annoying when I do this. I try to hold back, but my brain shouts out “That is wrong. Make it right!” I’ve gotten many an annoyed look upon correction.  It’s worth it. My children, on the other hand, are willing learners and when they use proper grammar… well, let’s just say that’s one of my simple pleasures.

As we walk in from a long day, BR announces,

“SY and I are going downstairs.” As they go downstairs, he adds to his little brother, “No were neither watching Thomas nor playing with Lego.” He put the other person first and used neither nor. How beautiful is that?  I have to give him a high-five.  It bring a smile to dad english teacher.

Yes, I bring the job home. I get excited over weird things. Literary elements, reading, and grammar make me happy.  Odd. I can accept that. In my defense, I am an english teacher.


8 Comments

Photo Friday – A Child’s Center of Wonder and Discovery Preschool

Wednesday was my little son’s last day of preschool.  I enrolled him in the summer program to extend his preschool experience.  Old Boy volunteered at the program for the last two weeks too.  I love my little son’s preschool.  You may recall, I had difficulty making a choice for preschool a while back.

Being an  early childhood educator has made me very particular, when it comes to selecting schools for my boys.  Although I had difficulty in making the final choice, I know the preschool I chose was the best.  My little son enjoyed  it and so did I.  We will both miss the wonderful teachers and families we grew to know in the program.

Today I thought I would share with you some of the fun photos, taken by the talented teachers of the preschool.  Everyday was a new experience for my son.  So much to explore, learn and see.  It was easy to see why my little son loved going to school each morning.   If only every school could be so inviting.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

For more information about this wonderful preschool, amazing teachers and its unique history please contact A Child’s Center of Wonder and Discovery Preschool.

Thank you to all the wonderful staff at Wonder and Discovery.  You have helped develop a young boy’s love of learning and established an education foundation that will continue for a lifetime.


Leave a comment

Parent Education

A conversation between a mother, a little boy and a fabulous teacher.

Mother volunteers in preschool classroom.  Mother is assigned to art table to aid children in decorating paper hats. Mother notices her child is not coming to the art table.

Paper Hat

“Buddy, do you want to decorate  a paper hat?” – Mother

“No thank you.” – Little Boy

Mother wrinkles brow and feels disappointed.  Mother speaks to fabulous teacher about her son’s lack of interest in decorating a hat.

“My son didn’t want to decorate a hat today.  I’ve noticed he doesn’t bring artwork home.  Doesn’t he like doing art at school?” – Mother

“We offer art to him every day at school, but he chooses to play imagination with his friends instead.  We are not concerned.  He seems to need to play with his friends.” – Fabulous Teacher

“Oh?  Oohh…I understand.” – Mother

Thank you fabulous teacher


1 Comment

Wednesday Words of Wisdom – Race to Nowhere

Day 25: Race To Nowhere

Image by Visions By Vicky via Flickr

Earlier this week I read something on Facebook that disturbed me.  It was a posting for a high school boy.

I feel like punching a wall. Could this week been any more stressful and awful? … oh wait that’s just about how my whole junior year has been!

SATs here I come …

just took my first 5 hour energy… hopefully this works and I can finish all my work I am now going onto hour 39 without sleep

Finally almost 45 hours later I’m finally going to get to sleep for 4 hours till I have to wake up again!! Woo hoo.

These postings are from friend of mine’s 16-year-old son.  He is a bright boy and does very well in school.  The first time I read his postings, I was shocked.  Earlier this year, he mentioned his life was ‘hell’ and he did not think he would survive his junior year. He is preparing for his SATs.  As you can read, the preparation process has been difficult.

Seeing his posting made me wonder, “What has happened to our system for educating children?”  Pressure to perform in high school is greater today than when I was young.  Sure, I stayed up late studying, but pulling an “all nighter” for high school? No, it did not happen.  I thought that type of studying was reserved for college.

The educational goal most parents hope for their child, is college.  Parents say they want their child to just to be educated, but most parents want their kids to go to college, graduate and make enough money to be self-supporting.  Graduating college is what many feel leads to a more successful and happy life.

I recently spoke with a high school girl who showed me her artwork.  She is a gifted artist.  We talked about her future.

“You work is amazing. You must be so proud.  Do you see yourself having a career as a painter or pursing an art college?’ – Me

“Well, I don’t think so.  Being an art major would not be a good idea.  Artists do not make a lot of money.” – High school girl

“Who cares about money?  I am sure you parents won’t mind if you are poor, but living as a happy, talented artist. ” – Me.

I said these words to the high school girl, with her mother standing besides her.  My comment was said in a funny, sarcastic way.  I even gave the girl a wink, to let her know I was kidding.  The thing was, I wish I wasn’t kidding.

The high school girl loves to paint.  It makes her happy.  She posts her artwork on her Facebook page all the time.  She is also very intelligent.  I know her parents love seeing her paint, but the idea that their child would pursue an art career and not use her intelligence in a productive way, would make them very unhappy.  The girl wants her parents to be happy.

A while ago, my friend and I went to a view a film together.  It was titled, Race to Nowhere.  This movie is today’s Wednesday Words of Wisdom.  Perhaps you have heard of it.  The film is being screened in schools all over America.  Here is what the movie is about.

Featuring the heartbreaking stories of young people across the country who have been pushed to the brink, educators who are burned out and worried that students aren’t developing the skills they need, and parents who are trying to do what’s best for their kids, Race to Nowhere points to the silent epidemic in our schools: cheating has become commonplace, students have become disengaged, stress-related illness, depression and burnout are rampant, and young people arrive at college and the workplace unprepared and uninspired.

The film’s director, Vicki H. Abeles, created Race to Nowhere in response to her own daughter’s school experience.  This excerpt is from her director’s letter.

Witnessed strain and fatigue in my own children as they navigated days filled with school, homework, tutoring, and extracurricular activities. Then, after months of watching our 12-year-old daughter spend long evenings battling homework assignments, studying for tests, and suffering panic attacks in the middle of the night, my husband and I found her doubled over in pain, and we rushed her to the emergency room. Her cheerful façade and determination to keep up had hidden her symptoms from us, her friends, and her teachers. When she was diagnosed with a stress-induced illness, I was determined to do something.

Ms. Abeles felt compelled to investigate the current educational system in the United States.  It is a wonderful film.  It highlights some of the pressures that today’s children and teachers are feeling.  The theme focuses on where pressure education leading our children.  And more importantly, where do we want it to lead them.

The film touches upon for good grades, excessive homework and teacher burnout.  Watching the film was upsetting.  My boys do not attends schools that place excessive pressure on their students.  It was difficult to see children crumbling under the pressure of school.

While watching the film, something came to mind.  Where is the happiness?  The students and teachers all seemed to lacking the same thing…joy.  The examples of the children I know fall right into the theme of the movie.

Answers to these questions are not easy to find.  But what I like about this film is creates a dialogue.  It allows for parents, educators and students to discuss what is working and not working with current educational programs.  With dialogue change can happen.  I, for one, want to see changes.  Changes that bring back the ‘joy’ of learning and keep it for life.

I highly recommend viewing this film if you get a chance.  You can request for a viewing at your local school.  It is an eye-opening experience to what is really happening in today’s education.

So glad you chose to spend time with me today. Talk to you soon my friends.


2 Comments

It Is Not Just Preschool

“The prime purpose of being four is to enjoy being four.  Of secondary importance is to prepare for being five.” – Jim Trelease

At a recent social gathering, a friend asked how school was going for the boys.  In particular, she wanted to know things were for my little son in preschool.

“Which preschool is your son going to?”- Friend

“My friend owns a preschool out in Lakeside.   That’s where he goes.  He loves it.” – Me

“What?  Lakeside.  That is a half hour drive from here.  Why aren’t you sending him to a school closer.  For goodness sake, it’s just preschool.” – Friend

I do not make quick parenting decisions.  I take a lot of time to gather information, review and then make a choice.  Choosing my son’s preschool took time.  The director and teacher’s responsiveness and sensitivity to the children,  is why I chose the school.

I am good at selecting good schools for my boys.  As a former preschool director, I know what a quality school program looks like.  The schools they have attended have been excellent.  I am willing, very willing, to drive the distance for a school that is high quality.

Children benefit from a high quality, preschool program.  Attending preschool has been linked to better memory and social skills.  Preschool can encourage development with language, social/emotional skills and fine/gross motor movement.  Children are introduced to math and reading.   The academic edge for children attending a quality program can last for years.

Preschool is one of the rare school experiences that focuses on the whole child.  It looks at the child’s social, emotional, and intellectual needs.  It also takes into account a child’s health, nutrition, creativity and culture.

In a preschool setting teachers plan and create interesting learning activities that are play-based.  A child learns social group skills in a baking activity or develops fine motor skills by painting on an easel.  Learning is the side effect of having fun.

Parents benefit from having their child attend preschool.  They are in contact with knowledgeable, professionals who can help with child concerns.  My middle son’s preschool teacher was able to identify developmental issues, I was unaware of.  She assisted me by providing support resources, prior to him attending elementary school.

Preschool is not babysitting.  It also is not elementary school.  It a rare school experience that should be valued and respected for what it offers.  Preschool creates joy for learning.  It knows the value of play.  But most of all, it the most fun a child will have in their school career.  Who wouldn’t want their child to be part of that?

I drive my son a long way to preschool because I have found a place for him to flourish.  To me, that is worth the drive.