Sunday, August 31, 2014

Transition Mission

One of the most common terms I heard this summer is transition.  This time it's taken on a whole new meaning.  It's Labor Day weekend, which means it is the end of summer.  School at my workplace began about two weeks ago, and that's been its own transition as it always is.  I have one coworker who is ready to give birth any minute, so it'll be a huge transition for her, as well as how we in the English department interact with her soon-to-be absence for a brief period of time.  Work-wise, I also have my own transition, this one came with a position.  As stated before, the news of my transition was news that was heard the wrong way and ultimately lost in translation.  However, now that the hustle of work has taken place and systems have come into play, things have certainly simmered down when it has come to that topic.  It is better.

My sister texted me the other day and was hashing out what she plans to do for my twin nephews' first birthday celebration.  Those texted hit me like a truck.  First birthday?  They've been alive for a year?  When did that happen?  Time flew with a quickness.

On that note, I also hit a transitional birthday this year.  Planning with my friends has been quite the planning committee-style meeting situation, but I think we will be satisfied with our end result.  Should be an interesting end of year as I hit this milestone, stay tuned.

The end of summer is now calendared and I must say, that even though I wasn't able to get away as much as I had initially hoped, I still got to do some interesting and fun things:

Catalina Island, included some unsuccessful paddle-boarding, but resulted in successful kayaking

Long Beach Red Bus Tour

Finally made it to the Grand Canyon (I have some common American staples I have yet to see, but was able to cross this one off the list)

I'm ready to have fall bring whatever it needs to bring.  My mission, to keep enjoying the things that keep on coming.

Speaking of transitions, I feel for the transition a family at my workplace will now have to face.  Rest in peace Danny, you're in a better place.

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Lost in Translation

While this month brought with it a new transition, I was ready to disown it.  I learned in the first week of a new position that when people talk, which you cannot avoid because we all do it, things get majorly misconstrued in the chain of communication. The days of playing Telephone after a heated game of Duck-Duck-Goose when you're five still happens but on a different level.  In this case, the level of career orientation.

I said something one way, someone heard it in their ear another way, and it stung the wrong person with another ear in an even more wrong way who heard it secondhand.  This caused a chain reaction of events that affected my whole week, and frankly had me on pins and needles on how my dynamic with some individuals would be for the next year.

After many (and I mean many) discussions and meetings, everything has been smoothed over, so my position and I are now okay.  However anxious I was about the messages that got delivered, I will say that I learned much from it.  One thing I learned was that people need a lot of coaching in order to shift their thinking. When things change, and there are many transitions happening, we get blocked by old, and maybe even antiquated, ways of thinking.  It takes a lot of clarity and drawing the big picture in detail in order for the purpose of the transition and what it means to get across.  Next, I learned to mind my p's and q's. Something that I thought was harmless to say got seen in a light I didn't imagine.  Not that I said anything wrong, it's just that, again, it hit someone's ear the wrong way.  I guess you just never know that even something simple will hit someone like a ton of bricks.  Lastly, I learned news travels fast. Well that's not news, but a good and cold  reality reminder.  

Should be an interesting year, the first week was a blast...not.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

When U Seek Amy

Today was a long day, only part of a long week.  This time of year always causes high-strung attitudes, off handed comments, and a range of emotions.  How one person operates can definitely affect a whole lexicon and create a domino ripple effect.

However, it's always darkest before the dawn.  In a winning teaching moment, I think the redeeming process had begun.

My sixth grade class had finished reading Little Women over a week ago, and as a reward we watched the Winona Ryder-Christian Bale version of the movie.  During this time, one of our school aides would walk in and out of our room to do her work, but would get so sucked into the movie during her time there.  She said she hadn't read the book but has now showed interest.

Cut to today when she comes up to me in a marching fashion, and you know there's a statement waiting for you on the tip of her tongue.  "Oscar!" she exclaimed, "I saw the whole movie last night and I'm angry."  I knew it was from Amy having married Laurie and Jo marrying a random older professor.  She was humorously livid, and as she shared her feelings about Amy's interference, my previous class, now seventh graders, overheard.  So moved was one of my students, that she went up to the aide and hugged in sharing her sentiment on Laurie's decision.  Note: This student cried when we read the Jo-Laurie break up scene in class.

That moment reminded of why I do what I do, to allow literature to affect the lives of people and create memorable experiences.  Thanks Amy!

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Understanding by Design

Last week was teacher appreciation week, hopefully you told your inspiring educators how you feel.  I did.  Ms. Pilon was a great inspiration in me wanting to become a teacher.  She was, and still is, such a committed educator who genuinely cared about the content and her students that I aspired to be like that when I made my decision to be a teacher.  At sixteen, I told myself I wanted to become a teacher, and since then every career-oriented decision has been driven by that.

It was as if at that age that I realized what I was designed to do.  It made sense.  I've always enjoyed people, I like speaking in front of people and showing what I know so that they would know those things as well.  Once that moment clicked it never unclicked.  However, because it came to me at an age where choosing a college major and making other decisions came soon after, I felt I had some things figured out before many peers.  This causes me at times to be not relatable.  For example, I have young relatives whom are "lost," but the age at which they feel lost in what they're supposed to do, I had finished college and was well on my way to my own classroom.  Not trying to toot my own horn, and one would think they would turn to me to ask me about their direction, but quite the opposite.  I've been seen as the anomaly who was exempt from some treacherous soul-searching mountain climb. What's funny is that I've know people who have it way more figured out than I do, and I feel the same way about them.  I suppose we all feel that way about someone.

As I reach the halfway point of aptly reading Little Women with my sixth graders, I think about their directions. I'm positive that among them are those who already have a plan in place and those whose plan will unfold with life experiences.  Either way, my belief that everything happens for a reason stays true.

I sent Ms. Pilon a message saying that she was that influence.

P.S. My friend Yaya wrote an amazing blog that just got published, congrats: