Thursday, July 13, 2017

Tell your Story

Back to writing. I really love podcasting as a medium to express what I think. I hate to write. It is time-consuming and I always find mistakes after I hit publish. I am never sure if what I have to say is worth someone's time to read it. I have become complacent. I have not written in a while, but the #oklaed chat from Sunday evening (July 9th) was all about telling your story. I thought it might be a good piece to bring me back into the medium in which I ruin regularly. I also find my vocabulary limits my ability to get across my true feelings, but what the hell.

So my story...where do I start. I do not want this post to thrown shade on any person or persons from my life, but mine is not your typical teacher story. I have alluded to getting into this line of work for the summers off, folks that's the truth. Here's the short version...
I hated school growing up.
I was labeled LD and thrown into remedial math classes from 4th grade on. This label defined me. To my peers and to myself it defined me.
In HS I cheated my way through much of the math. Actually, Geometry made more sense than anything.
My primary household had very little governance and even fewer rules and my secondary residence was 6 hours away. It was where I spent 6 weeks of my summer so little could be done from there to help my situation.
Trouble was way too easy to find.
From the 6th grade on, we moved at least once a year.
When I was finally busted for the cheating (12th grade), I was told I would have to come back the year AFTER my senior year to take more math. There was no stinking way on this planet I could face a shaming like that at a time when the world revolved around only me, so I quit.
That was not going to stop me from going to college (1yr late) where all my friends were, so I got my GED.
The GED was my ticket into college admissions. How? I now have no clue. I had never taken an ACT or SAT. They did ask that I take a math remediation class, but at the college and nobody needed to know how dumb I was except the other dummies in the class with me. I had no clue this course was just as expensive as the other classes I was signed up for but had no credit to go along with it.
The state university was pretty nice about letting me in but turns out with little governance in early life and none in college life, they weren't big fans of letting my laissez-faire self, stick around.
Professors did NOT remind you that things were due. There was nobody telling you to get to class.
Eventually, they kicked me out...I could come back, but I had to attend a community college to retake my classes to bring up my 1.4 GPA. I did not know that withdrawing from a course could/SHOULD be done if you decide not to go. So all of those classes became F's.
Here I am in a huge hole. The debt taken on for this decision to go to college, F's making my GPA a daunting mountain to climb, and lack of money or guidance sent me to work.

All of this is a portion, a partial glimpse of my pre-life story.

Something happened in 2003. A boy moved next door to me.
We went on a date and it was determined straight away that this would never work out. We did not see eye to eye on much of anything...except, that we were unexplainably attracted to each other. I was not used to being told no. I was not used to being told I couldn't do something. I was in the throes with life's quicksand and sinking in the struggle, but this boy...he told me I was going about life all wrong.

There's a-whole-nother story here, so I am skipping ahead a bit. You want to know that story and we can go out for coffee. 

I got back into school. I was re-taking all of those stupid classes again. I was going slowly because I now had a full-time job. And soon a baby. And soon a second baby.
I decided to go for an education degree because I had kids and it would be the best degree to let me raise my kids.
It was in these education classes that a professor was teaching us HOW to teach math that a lightbulb clicked on. I was understanding math.
I cried. I cried hard. I felt this conviction. If only it had been taught to me this way would I have struggled?
I was going to go into my future classroom and teach kids how to do something THEIR way. I was going to form relationships with my students and use their passions to teach them. Turns out that something I got into to make my life easier became my second biggest passion in life (family being my first).
Today if you step into my classroom or any of the professional development sessions I am offering you will see that my work centers around the kids, their multiple intelligences, and their passions.
People I know joke that I will put so much work into a project for one or two students that I keep myself busier than I should be. If your kiddo doesn't hate a subject now and can say they get it because of my project, then I feel like my job is done.

This is not my only story. This story does not define ME, but only my role as an educator. We all have many stories to tell. We are the onions of life. We have many layers. We have many stories. This is ONE I needed to tell after the inspiring chat.

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