Melly Was Here

wife, mother, teacher, runner, writer, lover, fighter

These Boots

My big brother died almost 13 years ago.  I still miss him.  Everyday.

When my mom moved to town, she went through some boxes of his things.  She came across the cowboy boots she bought for him right before he got really sick.  I wanted them, thinking they would fit me.  They don’t.  He had pretty small feet.  Mine are enormous.  He also had better hair, by the way.  But, I digress.

I didn’t know what to do with them.  I wanted to keep them, but I have a clutter issue.  I didn’t want to sell them or give them away.  Couldn’t throw them away.  He was excited about them.  He liked them.  When I looked at them, I smiled.

I took them to my classroom and put them in House Area, next to the dress up clothes.   My students noticed them right away.   During our Worktime (free choice), someone always has them on.   Even when they are fighting over them, it makes me smile.  Because these beautiful little people, who I love so much, are enjoying something that belonged to someone else who I love.  It just feels right.

I don’ t think about the fact that he only got to wear them a few times.  I don’t think about how his death left a hole in me that will never be filled.  I don’t think about how a part of me – that part that ate cereal on Saturday mornings and stayed up late over Christmas break playing the Atari – died when he did.

I think about these kids.  These beautiful little souls.

I think about their lives – their futures – and where their boots will take them.

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10 Things Teaching Preschool Has Taught Me

1. When in doubt, poke it with a stick.

2. Sitting under the table and crying probably won’t solve your problems, but you’d better try it just in case.

3. Sometimes your friend/teacher/mom really is a poo poo head.

4. Walking in line is grossly over rated.

5. Making train noises in the middle of story time is funny, even if your teacher tells you it’s not.

6. Even a foam block when thrown directly at your nose or eye hurts. A lot.

7. The best way to deal with a spilled cup of water or juice is to splash around in it.

8. Yes and no are both acceptable answers to a question, especially at the same time.

9. If you’re going to fake a boo boo so you can get a cool Tinkerbell band aide, make sure the paint is red. Purple is less believable.

10. Your teacher loves you. Even when you call her a poo poo head.

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Setting My Goals by the Way I Define Myself – Teacher

I love being a preschool teacher.  After wife and mother, it is the most important role in my life.  I am very proud to say that I am a teacher.

I love schools.  I love crayons, paint, the sound of the school bell and the smell of the books in the library.  In the morning, I love putting my arms out in the hallway to catch those little kids running to class. “Walking feet,” I say.   On Thursdays, I love nodding to my fellow educators, “Almost there,” we say, “Almost Friday.”  I love the cafeteria pizza and enchiladas.  And the tater tots, I love the hugs, the little voices I hear all day,  I love it when one of my little students does something for himself for the first time or applies something she has learned to the world.   I love being tired at the end of the day – going to bed at night, knowing I worked hard for my students.  I love how much my students love their teachers. How happy they are to see us every morning.   I love watching them grow.

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I was born to teach.  I was born to teach early childhood.  Three and four-year olds are my people.  I get them.  They get me.

My goals as a teacher are to continue my education, learn more about child development and to have a kick ass classroom and to remember who I am teaching.

I’m looking at graduate programs.  I think it is time to get my masters.

I’m researching age appropriate activities and reading about the brain.

I am trying to think outside the box to come up with interesting and relevant materials to have in our classroom.

And, most importantly, when I get frustrated or tired, I take a deep breath and keep in mind  that I am teaching the very young.  That they are so little and they have so much to learn.

And to remember what a privilege it is to spend my days with them.

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Petsmart Grant

I borrowed a snake for my classroom a couple of weeks ago.  His name was Shiner and the kids loved him.  It brought up a lot of great language and conversation, especially when he pooped.

I decided that I wanted to get a full-time class pet.  But, they are expensive.  I heard about the Petsmart Grant.   All I had to do was fill out an online form.  I asked for a hamster.  Less than a week later, I got an acceptance letter and coupons to get me set up with a hamster.   I went down to Petsmart, excited to get our new pet.  I chose a Chinese Dwarf Hamster because it was so stinking cute, I couldn’t stand it.  The coupons also allowed me to get a cage (one of those cool ones I had when I was a kid with the tubes the hamster can climb through), bedding, and food.  I also got him one of those little balls he can roll around in.  It came to about $80.  I only paid about $16.

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The little guy all buckled up and on the way to my house.

I took him home and got his new home ready.

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Isn’t he cute? I love him so much!

The next day, I took him to school.  They kids were over the moon for him.  We named him Baby.  I am amazed at the language I am getting out of my little ones when we talk about him.   They are learning about the difference between living and non living things (Living things need food, water and shelter.  Living things poop and pee).

It’s been fun.  And, I bring him home every weekend, so my own boys can enjoy him.

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Scout thinks he is a snack, I think.

Thanks, Petsmart!

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Quote of the Week

“Mrs. W, monkeys have sharp penises.”

“Um, OK, thanks for the heads up, pal.”

His parents are science teachers.

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Pin of the Week #4 – Let Them Be Little

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I teach the High Scope Curriculum to three, four and five-year olds.  Some of my students have disabilities and some of them are typically developing.  They are all amazing and they teach me so much more than I could ever teach them.   I cannot believe I get paid a pretty decent salary to do this job.  True, I wipe butts and break up fights over toys every single day. But I also get to play, sing, dance and just be silly.

I love this print.  It sums up exactly how I feel about my job.  I get so frustrated with our public school system, how they push down the curriculum, expecting so much of such little kids.  My teaching partner and I work very hard to help our students be self sufficient and develop their social and emotional skills.  But, we also keep in mind that they are little kids.  And that they will only be little for this moment.  We owe it to them to let them be little.  Let them play and explore and try new things.  Give them hugs when they are sad and let them know that you love them and are proud of them.  Encourage them.  Not empty praise, but encouragement.   Notice what they are doing and who they are. Just BE THERE.

This print come from a really cool Etsy store: Plum Street Prints.   I think I’ll buy it.   Thanks, Plum Street Prints!

And, of course,

Thanks, Pinterest

 

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Back at it and Feeling Good

One of the things I love about being a teacher is that I get some awesome time off. I report to work 187 days out of the year. I know a lot of people believe that we have it so good because we only really work half the year, but for a teacher, the days you do work- if you are good at your job- you invest 200% of your energy, your life and your being into those days. I work half the year, but when I am at school with my students, I am ON the entire time. To be a good teacher, there is no half assing it. At school, I give it my all and then come home and give my all to my own children and husband. So, it evens out and we work the same amount as regular people (that’s what I call people who don’t teach). I am sure there are other professions who can say this too, but I have only ever been a cashier and a teacher, so I don’t know about them.

Today we all went back to school after being off for two weeks. Two glorious weeks of staying in our pajamas, playing video games, having the time to clean the house and cook dinner. Two wonderful weeks of wonderful workouts, walking the dogs and talking on the phone to friends that live far away. The boys were not happy to be going back. I had to dress Sundance because he could not muster the energy or desire to put his underwear on at 6:15 this morning. Butch was a little better about it, which surprised me because he is the biggest homebody of us all. That kid would be happy to stay in his pajamas and never leave the house.

But me, I was thrilled. I missed my little students and I knew I would be greeted with hugs and love and stories of Santa visiting and staying up late on New Year’s Eve. Of course, by 3:00, I was ready to get out of there, but the day went well. I also knew that my own children would be spending their days with some pretty awesome teachers too.

I love being a working mom. I love juggling it all and doing it well. No, my house is not perfect, I didn’t wash my hair this morning and I today I emailed Sundance’s teacher about cutting down on the homework. But, you know, I’m kind of kicking ass. My students love school, my own kids are happy and doing well. My marriage of 19 years is rock solid. I have friends who make me laugh and who always have my back. I’m training for my first marathon.

I’m happy. I put in the work and feel good about my life. As someone who manages her anxiety and depression, I can tell you it hasn’t always been that way.

There were days that I couldn’t get out of bed. Days that I did not want to be around anyone, even my own family. Days that I just wanted to hide. During that time, I had to create a new username for some website I was joining and I named myself, “Sadgurl.” Sad Girl. I could not think of one other word to describe myself but, “sad.” Not, “Smartgurl,” not, “Inlovegirl,” not, “likescheesegurl.” I could not think of ONE OTHER WORD but sad.

No one deserves to feel that way. Depression is not something that you can just snap out of. If you are reading this and you feel sad all the time or that you just wish you would come down with some horrible sickness so you could lay in a hospital bed and not have to deal with life…if you feel like you deserve to be treated badly by co workers or family members…if you feel like your kids would be better off without you….you may be suffering depression.

The best thing I did for myself was go to my doctor and fall apart. She gave me the name of a awesome therapist. I was able to talk it all out without feeling guilty. I was able to decide that starting on anti anxiety meds was something I had to try. I was able to get help and learn to manage it all.

If this is you, the first step is asking for help. Ask. Reach out. You won’t be sorry. I promise.

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