Monday, May 28, 2007

On being a worthy model.....

It's a staple of good parenting, and of good teaching.... Be sure and model the behavior you want your kids to demonstrate.

So when teachers use sarcasm and bullying tactics to get their message across, how can we be surprised when these same kids are disrespectful and detached?

When we teachers seem bored with our lessons, when we lack passion and deep understanding of our discipline, how can we be surprised when our students' approach to learning is joyless?

It's a fundamental truth in my classroom: as I implore my students to work hard to stay in control - to choose more appropriate ways to handle their anger - I have to be vigilant as I deal with my own frustrations in the classroom. No yelling. No physical outbursts, no banging on a desk or slamming a door. No threatening. No blaming others.

It's no wonder I go home somedays and feel completely exhausted. Keeping my emotions in check when so much around me is chaotic is draining. Sometimes, at the end of the day, my voice is raspy and strained; not from raising my voice, but from working so hard to control it.

But it's much easier to sleep at night when I've been true to my goals. When I slip and get testy, I can forgive myself, but only if I promise to try harder. The kids deserve it, of course. And no matter how righteous it sounds, it is satifying to do what is good for kids.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

We are Hokies....

Grief and worry has kept me away from this blog.

As the desperate nature of the shock has transformed into a dull ache, I have had no time or patience for doing anything more than what's necessary to get me and my daughter and family through.

We can pretend for parts of each day that everything is back to normal. I am blessed with the kind of job that keeps my mind busy, too busy to light on the thought of beautiful Reema. The pain in her mother's eyes. The pitiful sound my daughter makes as she calls out from her restless sleep. The picture of Erin on the cover of her funeral bulletin. The senseless loss of each of the 33.

If left unchecked, my mind drifts to memories of Reema and my girl flitting across the soccer fields and the dance floor, two scrawny little girls, waif like, but powerful in the way well-loved kids can be.

So I am checking out for awhile longer. Thanks for your thoughts and prayers.