Tag Archive | teacher

Fall 2019 Playlist: Free Write

So I decided this summer, to create a playlist for the season.  Put some songs together that reminded me of specific people, places or things.  It all started at The Read Live in DC.  They were playing so MANY good songs before the show started, I had to find them and at them to my Spotify Rotation.

That Playlist is the perfect way for me to get all up IN my feelings, cuz this past summer was life changingly awesome and horrible, ALL AT THE SAME TIME.  It’s always good to repeat an excellent Idea, so I made a Fall 2019 one as well.  I present, some thoughts about life thanx to Spotify.

Issa Photoshoot

Aye, I’m CUTE.

I don’t know if you knew.  You should know . . . I’m getting cuter by the day.  Shouts to My Personal Trainer.  I’ve lost about 30 more pounds this summer . . . I’m wearing clothes I never thought I would.  I set goals that would have been outrageous 6 months ago, and now, completing them by the end of the year seems very possible.

Unfortunately, with the Glow Up comes the stragglers.  Folks that wouldn’t give me the time of day 50 or 100 pounds ago.  Now it’s, “Heeeeeeeeeey MJ, you are doing so good.  I’m proud of you. You should call me.”

Why? I’m the same MJ . . . just smaller. If you wasn’t tryna drink out the 2 Liter, you can’t get the 20oz, ya dig?!?!  Also, I can’t call you. . . . My Personal Trainer doesn’t allow me to train with other people 😉

Can’t Be Broken

So many times in the last year, I’ve felt like . . .It can’t get any worse.  Nothing else could come into my life what is harder to understand than this thing I’m trying to heal from right now.

Then . . . Here comes Harder.  Some kind of way, I keep fighting my way out.  I keep clawing my way out of the low places I’ve found myself in.  That’s the lesson – You can Always Get Out.

Even though it feels like there is no hope.  You will get out of it. I know it seems impossible.  I know the weight feels like it’s trying to break your chest ON PURPOSE.  But you getting out of it, will let you know just how Strong you are.

You Don’t Know

Jill Scott made this album before I grew up.  When it first came out, I wasn’t really feeling it.  I listened, then went back to the albums I already loved. The vibe of the album didn’t appeal to where I was in my life.

A year ago, I listened to it again, and realized why Jill Scott had changed in the last few year.  She grew the fuck up.  She realized the type of love she was looking for required Preparation . . . Sacrifice . . . . SelfLessNess. Things I’m STILL trying to learn about.

I can’t believe how hard it is to try to build a LIFE with someone. To have to get out of your own head . . .let go of your own shit . . . make them let go of theirs . . . and try not to fuck it up by assuming the worst about EVERYTHING.

It Ain’t Yours to Throw Away

Look, Nashville had some GOOD ass Music.

I’ve had some days y’all. I’ve had some days where it seemed like being around wasn’t helpful to anyone else.  One of those days, I put my phone on shuffle, and this song came on 1st.

What if you’re just a vessel,
And God gave you something special,
It ain’t yours to throw away
It ain’t yours to throw away
Every time you open up your mouth,
Diamonds come rolling out
It ain’t yours to throw away
How can you hear those words . . . and not feel like God was sending you a gentle reminder?  It ain’t over yet.  Its the life I gave you . . . so only I can take it from you.  Check on your Strong Friends.

Wonder

Being a teacher is HARD.  It’s not hard cuz you have to teach kids how to read.  It’s hard because you have to Heal Children, AND teach them how to read.  Every day, some child is looking at me, hoping I can help them with whatever ails them.
Then, we all have a moment.  A Silly Moment in Class. The 1st time one of my students had Pop Rocks . . . Extreme Wonder on his face.  The Wonder in small kids, learning new things.  Finally making sense of a word, or a math problem.  The Pride on their face.
That’s why I’m still a teacher.  Giving something like that to a child.  Being blessed enough to be able to do that.  When things get bad . . . I can always remember, that I can bring wonder into a child’s eye.
That Blessing . . . Is not Mine to Throw Away. 

Oh?!?! You’re a Parent! Where’d you get your degree?

I think choosing to become a Parent is a wonderful thing. It’s a choice SOME people make because they want to bring a productive person into the world.  They want to see a beautiful representation of their love running around filling the world with pleasantries and moments of mirth.  Your child is an amazing expression of God’s presence on this earth, and we are all pleased they are here.

But, you don’t have to get a degree to be a parent.  You push that baby out, and they send you on your merry way.  You don’t have to take a class, watch a training video, not a NOTHING.  You just get wheeled to a car, and venture out into the world.  “Whatever MJ, I saw What to Expect when You’re Expecting! That told me everything I need to know.” 0_o Oh. Okay.  You have to take a test, to drive a car.  But to raise a human being, just pay and go.

I am not negating your fertility struggles if they existed.  No, I praise how hard you worked to bring a child into the world.  But, you didn’t have to get a degree to be a parent.  No one believes your FB posts about your little love bug, who was speaking in whole sentences before he could sit up straight.  I know more about your child’s development than you do.  I’m not saying I’m better than you, per se. I’m just saying you don’t know everything you could about your child.

For too long, I have been silent while watching ignorant parent’s ruin their children because they have no clue what they are doing.  Frequently when I do comment, it’s blown off.  Which is of course every parent’s right to do.  But Dammit it’s time we Educators of the World speak up.

Let’s go down a very truncated list of Excuses I hear when talking to New Parents about why they don’t have to take child rearing advice from anyone.

1) You aren’t a Parent, You won’t understand until you have one.

Okay, first of all.  Thank The Birth Control Jesus I don’t have a kid.  I don’t want one.  I might never want one.  That doesn’t mean I don’t know anything about children.  Let’s just leave out the fact that I have been caring for children since I was about 7,  at My Nana’s house.  We won’t even talk about how I learned how to change a diaper before I could ride a Two-Wheeled Bike.  Nope. We won’t.

Let’s discuss my DEGREE IN EDUCATION. The United States Government paid the University of Dayton $55,000+ dollars to educate me.  In Child Development.  In Language Development.  In Disability Awareness.  I have the transcripts to prove it.  I have the GOT DAMN DEGREE to prove it.  How DARE you tell me I can’t give you any pointers on your child’s growth/education?  I skipped an ENTIRE semester of classes, but ACED my Finals (Geaux Depression).  The UD School of Education changed their attendance policy because of me.  So PLEASE don’t tell me I don’t know your child.  I know everyone’s child.  I’ve raised/educated plenty of children who aren’t mine.

Text me, I’ll send you references.

2) Well, I’m their Parent. I know them best.

Unless you home school your child, you don’t.  Stop lying to yourself.  Do you know their overall personality, yes?  Do you know their little quirks and irritants? No, not always.  For at least 8 hours a day, they are with someone else.   For at least 40 hours a week (more if they are in daycare) they are in the care of someone else.  This person deals with their good days and bad days.  They know how to calm them down with a word or a look.  Most kids like Captain America.  Having a themed party doesn’t make you the #1 Parent of the Year.

If you are a GOOD Parent, you have developed a relationship with your child’s teacher/caregiver and they communicate with you on a daily basis.  They give you pointers and tips about how to handle your child in various situations.  That’s called Parenting Advice.  WEIRD, right? Hopefully your child is in the care of someone who respects your position as a parent and takes pictures of the first step, and records the first word in case you miss it.  But other people contribute to your child’s life.  You aren’t the only person who knows your child, and knows them well. It takes a Village . . .

3) My Parents are so Old Fashioned

Did you survive your childhood? Are you now a functioning member of society? They did something right. I grew up in the Get your tail in the house before the street lights come on,” era of Child Rearing.  *I’m still usually in the house before dark if I can help it.  Judge me not* My mother grew up in the “Children should be seen, not heard,” era of Child Rearing.  This new era, “The No We Don’t Spank Tommy, We Want him to feel free to Express Himself,” is some complete and utter bullshit malarky.  People who have no boundaries violate the boundaries of others.

For some reason, these New Parents think they know everything.  You don’t.  This new trend of, “Screw how I was raised.  I’m making it up as I go along!’ is messing up the order of the world.  Rules aren’t made to be broken.  They are made to keep order.  So yep, I’m going to tell your kid to sit their lil’ butt down, especially if they are about to break something.  Being the consummate professional I am, I won’t say it like that.  But that’s what the Hell I Meant! I DEMAND respect from children and they give it to me.  Because I do it with love.

Most Educators chose their field because they have a genuine love for children.  It sure as hell isn’t for the money.  Many teachers have a gift when it comes to kids.  If we say something to you about your child, it’s usually in the best interest of your child.  It’s not meant to insult your parenting skills, or usurp your role as Parent.  It’s because we care.  However, always remember . . . You Didn’t Have to Get a Degree to be a Parent.

I had to get one to care for and educate your child.  

Dear Education System/Parents/Students . . .

Dear Education System,

I am writing you to apologize for the flack I have given you over the years.  I have blamed you for everything from Global Warming to Homosexuality in ATL.  I have unjustly caused people to lose faith in you, often citing the many instances when I perceived a child’s lack of intelligence, as a direct reflection of your inability to provide them with adequate life skills.  I have lamented on a regular basis that you haven’t done enough to provide at-risk children with these important tools which will allow them to excel past their circumstances.  I have evangelized on Twitter/Facebook/Blogs about your systematic breaking down of everything that makes a culture what it is.  I wasn’t wrong, but it’s also not all your fault.

Education, I came to you young and naive.  Fresh off a semester that showed me regardless of what my IQ level was, programming computer’s wasn’t for me.  I came to you with lofty goals and high expectations, because I wanted to make a difference and be able to provide children with the same education my mother struggled so hard to give me.  Education, I looked at you as a savior.  Something that could transform even the weakest of minds into something that is capable of moving mountains.

Somewhere along the way, Education, you stopped being about opening minds to new things, and become a political scapegoat.  Somehow, you went from being the Great Equalizer to being the Great Divider. Was it something we did? Did we not show you enough respect? Did we forget to pass on the things you had taught us to the next generation?  Did we spend so much time fighting that we forgot what the struggle was for? I’m not sure what caused you to give up on us, but I wish you would come back.

Education, we need you.  We have always needed you. Sadly, as a whole WE, The People, have failed to hold you in the high regard that we should have.  We failed to spend time enough with you, to take our time and really embrace you.  We failed to acknowledge that you can’t do/be/everything and/or everywhere.  I apologize, Education, for having – at times – completely ignored your influence in my life.  By using vulgar and broken language, I have seemingly showed the world that I haven’t had contact with you.  So Education, I am sorry for blaming you for all the world’s ills.  It’s not all your fault. Just 1/3 of it.

Sincerely, Me.

P.S. Now that I have gotten the big words out-of-the-way . . .

Dear Parents,

Stop Fcuking up your Kids. I know your life was hard.  I know that no one loved you in your youth.  You spent your whole life just looking for love and acceptance from anyone that you encountered.  Mom, I know you slept with any man who bought you dinner, in the hopes of being able to get out of your current situation. I know it was hard, with a Daddy that didn’t love you, and a momma who spent more time at Bingo than she did hugging you.  I get it. But seriously, you tried so hard to get out of that situation so that you can repeat the cycle?

I mean, yes, sometimes it’s hard to break the habits that you have incurred during your lifetime. I also understand that maybe your parents didn’t understand how important education was to helping you become a better person.  But I KNOW you remember how your parent’s FCUKED up priorities screwed you up. So why, in GOD’S Name WHY, would you knowingly do the same thing to your children?

Having an 11 year old girl, cheat on a Vocab test made up of 12 WORDS, because her Aunt called her stupid is just . . . She lives with her aunt and uncle because, “My mother choose a man over us,” I couldn’t do anything but Thank God that I hadn’t publically ridiculed her in the classroom, when she CLEARLY just has a learning disability.  No Child Left Behind shouldn’t just apply to GWBush’s shullbit education program.

Conversely, when I tell you that your child was disrespectful to the point of racism, your response, “Well, It’s probably because his bytch of a last teacher never expected anything from him,” doesn’t help me have faith in you as a parent. Also, your disciplinary solution, “I’ll have him write sentences at least 100 times that say I will not be disrespectful to my new teacher, ” ain’t ’bout shyt.

Parents, Do Better. I can’t make it pretty for you.  You are a Grown Azz Man/Woman, doing your best to ruin your child.  Stop being so damn selfish and help your child be better.  Expect more, and they will give you more.  Being okay with a C means that you are okay with Subpar life choices as well.  You don’t attend parent/teacher conferences, you don’t return the signed paperwork when asked.  You don’t attend the awards ceremony where you child is being acknowledged for what they HAVE accomplished.

Why did you have these children if you didn’t plan on doing anything with them?  Your lack of EVERYTHING, makes my job 10x harder than it has to be.  I’m judging you Parents, I am judging you so damn hard right now.

Sincerely, Me.

Dear Students,

I come to you disheartened and downtrodden.  Lost in the sea of disappointment that is being a Middle School Teacher.  After 6+ years of working in the Early Education field, and seeing children just when their educational careers were beginning,  seeing the hope and promise in their eyes . . . I have to ask you, What The Hell Happened?

When did you give up on yourself? When did you decide that being the dumbest person in class was much more important that being the smartest?  When did you forget that you can be anything you want to be if you just work hard? When did you lose your life goal to be an Astronaut, and decide that being a Hobo was just fine too? Sadly, as a teacher, it’s hard for me to see you suffering without wanting to help you.

Students, why won’t you let us help you? Why must you fight me at every turn? If your parents don’t care about your grades, why can’t you? I know your life has been hard. Parents in and out of jail, parents that don’t listen to you, parents that really don’t care. But isn’t there a part of you, one small part of you that understands that I didn’t choose to be a teacher just to sit here and do nothing?

A part of you that sees that I am trying my hardest to help you be great.  A part deep down that listens to me when I say to you, “You are so much smarter than you let your friends know.  I see you doing such great things with your life.” Is it too late for you? In 6th, 7th, and 8th grade is there just no way that you can believe in yourself enough to do better?

Help Me, Help You.  That’s why I choose to be a teacher, because I want to help you.  I want to see that light in your eyes when you finally understand WHY we have vocabulary words every week.  I want to hear the excitement in your voice when you realize that by reading a book, you can learn something about a subject you never knew before.  I am here for you.  I will go above and beyond to help you, if you let me.

But I can’t do it on my own.  To be extremely lame but sincere at the same time:

I Believe the Children are the Future, Teach them well and Let them Lead The Way

That’s not just a song to me.  It the reason I became a teacher.  So please, Students, understand who you have the potential to be.

Most Sincerely, A Teacher

Open Book: Delusions of Gradeur

So, this isn’t going to flow, i don’t think. It’s really just kind of what is going on in my head. First, lets talk about my recent trip to the welfare office.

Yes, I, JoyfulWordsofWisdom, made a trip to the welfare office. Why? Because I’m struggling right now. Not like, I can’t go to the movies when I want to, but in danger of eviction type struggle. Admitting that to the whole world, is supposed to be freeing right? Like, once I type it, the burden of debt is supposed to magically fly away and be gone, right?!?!

Whatever, so I decided that I pay my taxes. I give to the government, so SURE they would want to help me in my actual time of need.

Let me also say, this isn’t the first time me and the Welfare Office have kicked it. When I was unemployed in like 2006 or something, we had a very pleasant relationship. Me and the Welfare office were close like JBarbie and Self-Esteem. So I stand in line outside for 45 minutes waiting for them to open the doors at 8:00am . . . Then wait for another hour waiting for them to call my name.

“Lady, I don’t need alot, but I need something.” Really nice white lady says to me, “Let’s see what we can help you with, because I understand your issues.” After she inputs my money situation in the computer . . .

Medical Assistance: Denied
Cash Assistance: Denied
Food Stamps: Denied (applicant makes $29 over limit)

There was nothing I could do do thank the lady for taking the time to try to help me, and walk out. Then sit in my car and cry. Cuz I have 2 jobs. I teach children all day, then teach other teachers how to teach. And, averaging them both out, I make about $12 an hour. Yup, ny niece who is a manager at McDonald’s makes $13 and she has medical benefits.

This isn’t to say that I haven’t always had some kind of struggle to overcome . . . hell, I’m black, fat, and female. . . struggle is synonymous with all three of those words. But as I was sitting in my car, I thought to myself, Why do I, as a teacher, not count as a person who needs assistance.

Utter shame at my situation has always stopped me from writing about this before. Because I am ashamed of the fact that at 29 I live paycheck to paycheck. I’m ashamed of the fact that I have a 4 year college degree, and I’m not sure if all my bills are going to be paid on time or at all. I’m ashamed cuz I see people that I consider my friends living the life that I pictured for myself and I can’t ever see that happening to me.

I don’t know everyones story, and most people don’t know mine. Because I allow most people to see my Delusions of Grandeur. I let or maybe even help them think, that everything is just fine. That I can still afford the lifestyle that I live. That money doesn’t rule all my day to day decisions. But in reality, money is the one thing that makes me the most miserable.

And yes, I have made some dumb ass life choices that have brought me to this point, but its not all my fault. The fact that other peoples decisions have gotten me here is even more frustrating. Knowing that all I need is a $3 transcript to more than double my salary pisses me off. Knowing that the one woman who can send it to me won’t because she didn’t like my tone of voice, pisses me the fuck off.

My new life goal has become to never have to depend on anyone for anything. This of course wont happen because I’m not a millionaire yet, but man o man once I get there…..

Until then, I just take it day by day…..basking in my Delusions of Grandeur. That everything is going to be okay, that I have everything under control, that each day isn’t bringing yet another struggle, and that I’m not still incredibly pissed off that the ONE person who should help me won’t.

Yup, the Land of Denial is so pretty…….