Raise your vibration

Last summer in Glenwood Springs, Co, I went to see an Angel card reader who told me that I needed to raise my vibration level. Boy, did I already know that! I had been off kilter for a year or so and realized that this card reader was right on. I began to see how I had let my vibration level dip severely and began to correct my thinking and thoughts. You wouldn’t believe how hard it is to raise your vibration level when you have let it lapse! It is just like that college grade point average; when you put a low grade into the mix, it takes quite a few good numbers to get it back up. That’s how it is with your vibration level. Once it dips… it’s hard to shuck that old, negative way of thinking to get back on the right side of feelings and thoughts.
My card reader said it again, “This card says the same thing. You need to raise your vibration level. Do you understand?” Yep, dahlin, I sure get that. I had been doing quite a bit of judging and some other vibration – lowering things. Come to find out? It is easy to remain mired in the muck! I never doubted that I could easily get back to my natural higher vibration level, but baby, it ain’t that easy! I began by looking into opening my Chakras and doing a little meditation. I couldn’t stay focused enough to meditate. I didn’t have the discipline to cleanse my Chakras and getting back into yoga is almost impossible and I could forget water aerobics.
I get how people just stop doing things because they aren’t easy anymore. I have become unfocused and am working to get back on track. Also, I’m looking at changing course in many ways and look forward to a positive and enlightening future!

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The Invention of Wings & The Songs of Willow Frost

The Invention of Wings by Sue Monk Kidd is the most lyrical and poetically written non-poetry, book I have ever read.  The story is about two sisters who become abolitionists and 2 slaves who finally escape.  (No, not giving anything away.)  It is based in fact and set in Charleston, SC.  The writing is so beautiful that I would not allow myself to read too much each day so that I could savor the book.  Usually I read and do other things at the same time… NOT with this book!  

The characters are so ALIVE they actually breathe!  The women are not your typical mealy-mouths that were the women of the time period, but outspoken women who are able to stand up to injustice and espouse it to the world while handling the negative fall-out from others.

Not intentionally meaning to lessen the impact of slavery or even make a comment on it, but I was a bit put off with the topic and said, “Really another book on slavery?”  BUT it isn’t.  It is about so much more and the research on the treatment of slaves is critical. 

It is on Oprah’s book list and no telling how many other awards that it will win.  Sue Monk Kidd is our modern day equivalent to Margaret Mitchell or dare I say Harper Lee.  She has outdone herself with this book.  The Secret Life of Bees. was an exceptional book, too.

This will go into my favorites list!  Incredible book, well-written, A MUST READ!

Another MUST READ is The Songs of Willow Frost by Jamie Ford, which is another book that I wouldn’t let myself read too many pages a day… I love his writing! The characters are completely whole. He must get Divine inspiration from the Universe. I love Jamie Ford’s artistic writing abilities! His first novel called Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet was an excellent must-read. This book is about American-Japanese interment camps and the lives of the people including the American-Chinese who were thrown into the camps. Both of these stories will linger with you. Jamie Ford can’t write books fast enough for me.
I must say that this was so eloquently written in my head right before I fell asleep and forgot all those beautiful words! Aw, hell!

Teachers change the school environment

The very thing that upsets teachers about the classroom is something they created by turning a blind eye and saying “It’s not my problem.” When a building is so full of people, it is hard to even know faces much less names; it becomes easier for a teacher to say, “That’s not my problem!” The “personal touch” is no longer effective. Without personal touch – student learning is difficult.

To make an experience personal is the only way to make a caring atmosphere. When rules are sensitively enforced, people feel loved and safe. Without safety, no learning can occur.

The only way to ensure student learning is to make it “my” problem. The heart of the school means: we all care, we all work hard for student success. We are all responsible. Students feel loved and safe – how do they many of them even get to school with the odds so against them? They come back because they are well-liked and cared for by all of the school’s family. Not just a few, not just a couple – we all have to work for the benefit of the student. I BELIEVE and that makes students trust that I have their learning and welfare in my heart. Because where I work – It’s Just Better!

Education on the skids

Amazing that our world evolves so quickly now, and yet education plods along in too large shoes making it cumbersome and unwieldy – and certainly obsolete. I think that education is a reflection of our world. The more Washington gets involved in our lives – MIRRORS – The more education becomes bureaucratic, and how is learning assessed? Why testing, you silly rabbit! Because testing is a priority in education. I don’t know about you, but I learn best by doing, not by being tested! In fact, standardized tests make me become anxious and vomit. (Sorry for that picture.)

The days of student learning and educational classroom-time that is stolen from our students is a travesty! Why aren’t parents SCREAMING at the top of their lungs at the State/Nat’l Board of Education? Not only that – our tax dollars are going out of our state(s) to another state to grade the damned tests.

We only have about 182 days with students and take out 50+ (not exact but extremely conservative number) for testing and what do you have? A student who can take tests really well! Where the hell is that job? How much does a test taking job pay?

Side note if you please: If computers are the actual future, then why can’t we use them? Ever student could have a laptop or Ipad with their textbooks loaded – oh no! That’s a whole different story…

Things your teacher said

I’ll venture to say what some teacher along the way in your education has said something that has shaped your life and/or career choice.

We all remember something that a teacher told us. I have had students come up to me years after they were in my class and say, “I remember you wouldn’t let me write junk in your class. I’m a good writer now because you wouldn’t accept junk. When I write something at work, I ask myself what you would think about it and rewrite if necessary.” It is kind of scary how many students remembered something that I said to them on a personal level.

A few years ago a former student said, “Hi, do you remember me? You saved my life.” OMG! That is a bit much, but evidently it was true. I called CPS and she was able to get out of an abusive situation. This was many years before teachers were required to call and I remember she didn’t want me to. I told her that I had to protect her and had no choice. Wow. She is doing alright in life now all because she was removed from her home.

We forget that something we might think isn’t very important might resonate with a student for life. That is pretty heavy stuff. A teacher or school employee has to be careful with words to students. Those words can shape a life and change a person forever. And we thought that we were just going about our regular day. I make sure that each day I say something to make a student’s day. Sometimes the only smile a student might get is mine.

The other night I was privileged to hear a former student speak in front of a large group. He was so easy and relaxed; nothing like he had been in my classroom! I spoke with him afterward and complimented him on his speech, and he said, “You did that. I am a good speaker today because of you.” Gee, the things students remember.

What about those days that are just regular days for you as a teacher? Your words impact even then. I remember my fourth grade teacher who really hated what she did who said, “You and numbers just don’t mix, do they?” Of course I remembered that my whole life. One day in high school another teacher told me, “See, you can get this math!” Somewhat balanced out what the other had said…

I remember a principal saying, “Remember you put your hand in the river and you touch what floats by, you change lives, and you don’t even know it, so be careful.” That’s what this is about. Be careful someone may forever remember something you said to them and it may just shape who they are. Stay positive, and if you aren’t happy around students, then look for a new job because what you say does matter.

Reading might be the only true Panacea

Panaceas pretty much don’t exist, right? What one thing can fix so many other problems? Is there really a cure-all? The scientists once believed that penicillin was a panacea. For illnesses, it and other variations pretty much are panaceas (side effects notwithstanding). I always thought that education was the way to fix the problems in the world… and yes, I still feel that way, but must add an addendum…

I believe that READING IS THE GREAT PANACEA! It is the fixer of EVERYTHING! What?! Think about it. The reader is the person who is up to date on many topics. The reader can think for himself, doesn’t need the “news-feed” to make his decisions or dissect the information, and can see biases. The reader understands complex ideas and can predict outcomes. The reader can find solutions to higher level/critical problems.

The reader is an open-minded person. Notice I didn’t say left wing or right wing… He is an open-minded person who sees more than one side. When a person becomes left/right he becomes somewhat close-minded usually unable to see more than his side.

Readers comprehend more than their own small world and this is why READING IS A PANACEA. Well, it sounds good anyway! : ) Happy Monday.

Why AR?

From elementary to high schools, Accelerated Reader is still in our schools! How many book lovers have been murdered and left bleeding by the book stacks because of AR? For those who don’t know AR, it is a program that has students reading books and taking tests over them. BUT the fact is, they usually don’t read the book. They Google the book and take the test from that information. Or in the case of my friend’s son, they share the info – two students read two different books and tell each other about theirs, and they each take the test and they get two books out of the way. My nephew is now a BIG HATER of books because of A.R. My niece will only read manga… HOW MANY STUDENTS HAVE TO DIE OF BOREDOM BEFORE AR GETS THROWN OUT?

So much money has been invested in public education for the AR system! We talk about a new millennium, so maybe this is when we should drop it! Many students hate it and end up “living” through it in elementary, intermediate and junior high. In high school, the students are book haters because of it.

AR is touted as helpful for teachers to get students to read or “Reading Management Program.” The books are chosen from various award winners and tests are created to see if the student read the book. One enticing thing is that students get to choose their own books from the list and read above grade level. Librarians are off the hook for book recommendations because there is a list to look at. Librarians become paper pushers instead of reading specialists. What hooey!

I don’t think that “one size fits all” applies to reading. Limiting is the least of the problems with AR. AR doesn’t take away a parent’s responsibility for monitoring what their child is reading. It seems like it might even lull a parent into giving someone else the responsibility. Using rewards is a whole other posting… You want to run a race with others then do so, but don’t use books to create competitiveness among readers. AR is one giant punishment for those who really like to read and it makes non-readers hate reading! It makes cheaters out of honest students who split reading or share answers or do lots of other shady things.

What might have been a good idea in the past has turned into a mess. It would be great if we all read or learned in the same way, but we don’t. Cookie cutter ideas rarely work in our world. I want students to tell me what they loved about a book. How they want to read more by that author. What THRILLED them about a book. Taking a test to punish a child for reading is like killing a mockingbird.