Monday, June 28, 2010

appreciating the struggle

Through no choice of my own, the theme of my summer has become 'appreciating the struggle.'  I first became aware of this concept listening to Peter Brunn discuss allowing students to struggle with a concept so that they are able to construct their own understanding.  This was a light bulb moment for me...I've always viewed struggle as a negative.  Seriously....who wants to struggle?   But it is so true.  Things we are told, we may remember and we may apply them to our lives in some way, but it's the things we struggle with that change us and help us to grow.   As the summer has gone on, this theme of struggle and growth has also popped up in discussions with close friends who are going through divorce and infertility.  Both of these issues breed struggle....but I am fortunate enough to also witness growth in both of these beautiful friends and it is inspiring.  I am currently reading the book, Plan B and am involved in a book study at church.  This concept of struggle was part of our discussion on sustaining faith.  I think God sometimes allows us to struggle so that we learn to lean on Him, grow closer to Him and realize what really matters in this world.  What an important lesson.  Our sunday school lesson yesterday also addressed this concept with Job.  Wow...he struggled!  But he never lost his faith and was rewarded for it.

All of these discussions and thoughts have lead me to reflect on my personal struggles....there are a few. :)   Adoption is a blessing, but also a huge struggle.  Especially when you are adopting a seven year old little girl who loves and misses her birth mom.  She knows nothing about the situations which lead to her mom losing custody (that will all be for a much older, sweet girl to understand) and she naturally loves her.  She loves us too and she is so happy.  We want her to love her mom.  But, for me, this has been a struggle.  I have had to control myself and have learned things about myself and have grown (and hopefully will continue to do so) through this internal struggle I have with her feelings for her mom.  I can't explain it.  It's irrational.  I know she loves her....I want her to love her....I care about birth mom too.  But sometimes I am done with it.  I want her to be out of the picture.  I want us to have our family and that's "normal."  But, I whine to my mom and my husband here and there and keep this to myself.  It is getting easier.  This is the life God has chosen for us, this is the way it is.  No one person belongs to another....we all belong to God.  I have to continue to pray, hand it over to God and remember that I am doing what He wants me to do and enjoy each day and each blessing for what it is and not what I wish it was or what I had planned it to be.  God knows so much better than I do.   And, I do give him thanks and praise for all of that I am blessed with, for His love and for the miracles he gives us daily.  Struggle=growth!

Friday, June 25, 2010

MidSouth Reading and Writing Conference

For the last 8 summers I have had the great pleasure of attending this conference.  Once again, I was not disappointed.  Richard Allington was the keynote speaker on Friday and spoke quite plainly about the things that need to be changed when working with struggling readers.  He pointed out that children have not changed, we have.  Instead of finding a way to help these children, many now label them and define them with titles like ADD, LD, etc.  Although these are real issues, the labels have been overused and often assigned to children who did not deserve them.  We have to stop making excuses and do whatever a child needs to help them progress.

Saturday was a another great day of learning and thinking lead by Peter Brunn. He spoke about the intentions teachers have to keep in mind while fostering thinking.  Many times we praise and judge student responses during discussions and in turn squash the chances of other students sharing their thoughts because they are afraid they are not going to share what "we" are looking for.  We simply need to say "thank you" and leave students feeling validated and others feeling safe to share a thought that may differ from a fellow students.  I do this!  I'm a thought squasher and I didn't realize it!  ugh... It was unintentionally, but I do this!  My thinking is not the only thought on any book or poem.  I left Saturday a changed teacher.  This year, I will strive to plan lessons and discussions that foster questioning and thinking in an environment where all students feel safe to share their thoughts, support their ideas and share ideas that may be different from their peers.  I can't wait to finish reading Peter Brunn's book The Lesson Planning Handbook.  It is great!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

add another to the list

Another shortcoming....I have been a bad blogger!  My mom and one of my sweet friends teases me about it and I mean to get back to it, but the more time that passes-the bigger the task of catching up appears.  So, I revamped it and I am going to do better!  I think one reason it was hard was because in the beginning I set it up to share our adoption journey.  Then, we got our sweet girl and had so many things to celebrate-but many struggles as well.  It was hard to blog about the hard parts.  I didn't want to disclose too much info with her mom's rights not yet terminated and I didn't want to discourage others who were lead to adopt through foster care and I didn't want to whine.  After all, I had been asking friends and family to pray about this for us for months and months.  How was I to "complain" now?  Well, I will share snapshots of our journey here and there, but I opened up the blog subject to include all parts of our, teaching, faith, in general!  Life is full of lessons....they keep coming each day!

Adoption update for those that don't know....birth mom's rights were terminated in February and we now wait for the judge to bang the gavel to finalize the adoption.  It's only a matter of time now!  We are overjoyed!