Saturday, April 14, 2012

Vindication

Last year I had trouble with several LDS students. These teenagers are the kids that people at church want their sons and daughters to grow up to be; however, I know a very different set of teenagers at school. Don't get me wrong, they are still the same polite, "modestly" dressed, faithful Mormons at school, but there has always been something manipulative, judgemental, and entitled about they way they behave at school that people at church do not see.

I was actually pretty close to these students when I was YW President and several of them were in my class. It was in my class that I noticed that these kids are not exactly what they appeared to be. I had several run-ins with these students over integrity, honesty, and character issues. They would get mad if they got a bad grade, they would not turn in assignments, and they would blame me for both. I won't go into details, but, needless to day, I became very saddened by the fact that the students I thought I knew never really existed. They placed a careful facade over their true selves, and under pressure those facade's began to fade. Don't get me wrong, it wasn't that they did anything huge to make me think this way. It was the small things. (Okay, there were some HUGE entitlement issues with these kids).But it was the subtle manipulations of things around them that really got me watching them. And boy, what I saw was HUGE! But, I did not talk about these things with anyone but another teacher. She noticed them, too, but we thought we were the only ones.

For the longest time I thought she and I would be the only ones to see this behavior, but yesterday I learned that we are not. THE WHOLE SCHOOL SEES THEM FOR WHAT THEY ARE! In a meeting about academic awards, one teacher mentioned these students as nominees, and to my surprise, almost every teacher that has taught them, said "no" for one reason or another. The responses were all similar...character, integrity, honesty. I was shocked, but I felt so vindicated. Their carefully constructed facade was not a facade at all.

I feel bad to say that I am happy in this fact, but it is not that I am happy, it is that I feel vindicated. People at church would always ask why I was not a fan of these students, and I always avoided the question (for many reasons). People would go on about how these students are excellent examples of "the youth of today" and that it must be so wonderful to have such "honest and Mormon" kids in my class. To that I always stated, that I have many students, and many non-LDS students, who have more integrity, class, and character than many LDS students...that usually ended the conversation pretty quickly.

I am sad for what this might make students think about LDS in our community, but grateful to know that I am not the only person who was not fooled by these students.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

So here goes...

Dear Readers: This was difficult to write, so please read this with that in mind.

So here goes...

Last year I won a national teaching award. I told hardly a soul. My husband, children, my parents (that took a while to tell them) and two sisters. Why didn't I tell everyone? I probably should have shouted in from the rooftops, but I truly thought that it would be a bad thing to brag about myself in such a way. So, my national award went mostly unnoticed by my family, friends, and community. Of course, the school new, but I asked my administrators not to make a big deal out of it.


Thanks to Lisa at FMH I am going to do the "unthinkable." I am going to brag about myself. This is not an easy thing to do, but I like challenges. 


So. Here. Goes.

I am the first person EVER in the entire history of my family to graduate from college. I am the first person (my husband is the second) to graduate from Graduate school. With Honors.

I am intelligent, and I love that I am. It is something that I am extremely proud of. I love learning everything I can and have a wonderful ability to absorb and remember what I learn. I have a ridiculous memory that allows me to memorize anything that I care about...from birthdays of every family member (extended included) and all of my friends to entire passages from books that I love. Even calculus formulas that I haven't used in years.

I am a good teacher. Yesterday a student told me that I am an "usually good teacher." Confused, I asked her to explain. She said there are some teachers who teach really well and students learn in his/her class, but those teachers are not usually fun and personable. They are strict. She said that kids learn a lot in my class but that I am not "strict" in the same sense. I laugh and smile, a lot. I interact with my students as human beings. She said that I am strict in my classroom standards, but I am also a really fun and personable teacher. She said that she learns more from me in my class than any other teacher but that my class is fun. I love that. Teaching is second nature to me, and I truly believe it is what I was born to do. I have created an environment in my classroom where students come to learn. It is also an environment where students feel safe. Other students agreed with this one student and another offered that he always knows that my classroom is a place where he can come to feel better, to celebrate when something good happens, to laugh when something funny happens, and to talk (and even cry) when something bad happens. This is something that I take great pride in and the fact that my student's test scores and success rates are high adds to my pride in this. I am a good teacher.

I read more books than anyone that I know. I read everything from Nabokov to Susanne Collins. And I read fast and still comprehend everything I read.

I am good at almost anything that I try. (I hate not being good at things, so whenever I try something, I go full throttle.) When I am not good at something, I do not stop until I am, thus, I truly believe that there is nothing that I cannot do. I am confident. Maybe over-confident, but I spend a great deal of effort hiding that fact from people who do not know me well.

I am a good dancer. I love to dance and spent the majority of my childhood and teenage years dancing in some shape or form. Dancing comes easy to me, even as 40 is way too close for comfort. (I still have a few years, but it is there...looming in the distance.)

This is really hard...I know that there are other things that I can brag about, but I cannot think of a single one.

Well, other than I am a good wife and mother. Which I am going to add because I am proud of it. My children are amazing. One particular (and unusual) thing that I take pride in is my children's vocabulary and articulation. They speak like adults. They use words that other children their age do not even know. They have a grasp of language that makes people stop and tell me so. (Of course, my children are also well behaved, polite, and all around good kids, but their language is a quirky thing that makes me smile...a lot. And I take full credit for this fact. :-)