Home Sweet Home

Growing up in Maine I got pretty lucky to have the best of all worlds.

Mountains up north and to the west. Ocean to the east and down the coast. Country in the central towns. City life down in southern towns.

I’m from the country towns. My life was nothing short of four-wheelers, bonfires, hunting, fishing, country music, pit parties. To say I am still that person is far from the truth, but they are my “roots” and I will never forget my days of camo wearing, diesel trucks, and “mudding”.

My years after high school were spent going back and forth between mostly the mountains and the ocean. And I still can not decide which I enjoy more; mostly because both bring me to different thoughts, emotions, places, and people.

The mountains are my escape from my thoughts. When I’m hiking, I am in a trance- mesmerized by the beauty of nature, the sounds of the wild, and the peace within me that I feel. The weaving in and out of trees, the climbing over logs and rocks, the rustling of the leaves; listening to my steps crunch whatever Earth put beneath my feet. Playing hide and seek with the views around me. Feeling the breeze gently blow the hair out of my face, and the sun beam down on me as I approach an opening that leads to scenes I can only describe as breathtaking. Hiking calms my mind, makes me feel strong and fearless, and reminds me that things in my life are so much smaller than what they seem. Hiking is the wake up call I need on crappy days; it is the reminder I need when I feel like my life is falling apart.

But it’s also the joy I seek on sunny days, the fresh air I crave after a long period away. It’s the challenge I enjoy for the view I long for. It’s the “picture perfect” moment I need to keep in my back pocket for those days that I just need to be reminded of everything that’s beautiful in the world.

And then there is the ocean. The ocean brings me a sense of wonder. I spend a lot of time thinking there. When I go to the ocean I’m seeking answers. I’m looking for reasons, I’m needing clarity. My mind is constantly working by the ocean. It’s only ever clear once I’ve found the peace within me, and that usually doesn’t come until hours have been spent walking the shore, climbing the rocks, staring at the waves. But once I get it, my mind is so free. I leave with a smile that can only be described as a soft curve of my lips and a content gaze in my eyes.

The ocean also brings me confidence, and probably because it’s where I do so much soul searching. It brings me happiness on warm days when I can read a book as I listen to the incessant sound of waves crashing on shore. It brings me relaxing moments met with thoughtful reflection about my time spent.

Both the mountains and the ocean bring me things I need in my life, and therefore I don’t think I could even live in a place where I did not have access to both. For as much as I never wanted to continue my life in Maine, I know that my mind, soul, and hobbies need the luxury of having both within 2 hours of driving, and for that, I am thankful to live where I do.

What is beauty to you?

During my first year of teaching I really connected with one of my families. They kind of “took me under their wing” and, well, now they throw me a birthday party every year, I’m invited to holiday family gatherings, and I am known as their “5th child”.

It has been an absolute privilege to become a part of this family. I have grown close to them and their children; one is in fourth grade, one is in eighth grade, one is a junior, and one is a freshman in college.

The fourth grader and I bond over soccer, mostly. In the summer we try to get down to the fields to pass, shoot, and work on dribbling with her left foot. She’s the youngest so she really enjoys this extra time and attention, and she was the one I had in class, so I have a huge soft spot for her.

The eighth grader and I talk about school, friends, and her hobbies. She loves to craft, she loves pandas and space, and she loves becoming independent. She comes in to my classroom occasionally after school to visit with my kiddos or help me organize, because, well, I’m a mess.

The college boy and I have your typical brother/sister relationship. We tease out of love and he’s a huge helper whenever I need some “manly” things done. This summer he helped us move, and the couch we wanted up the stairs did not go up the stairs so he rigged something up to drag it up and over the balcony- what a story that is and will forever hold a special memory. We put a hole in the wall trying to do it- that hole is now framed “museum style”. (Have you seen this idea on Pinterest?! Literally the best way to “fix up” mishaps that happen- your kid drew on the wall? Frame it! Write the date/name the piece of art work. It’s a fun way to remember that life happens and it’s ok!!)

Now, the junior in high school. She is so talented, so sweet, hilarious, fun- everything. She’s the best friend I wish I had in high school, and, quite honestly, the sister I always wanted growing up. And while she is all of the above and more, she is also so naturally beautiful. And a conversation we had last night broke my heart and brought me to tears.

“Can I tell you something that happened this week?” She asked, kind of nervously, a little annoyed, and almost as if she had a little “tea” to spill (“tea” is the new thing for middle school/high school gossip, FYI).

“Of course!” I responded, eager to hear what she had to say. It’d been a long week, she was in the high school performance that my boyfriend directed, and the performances were held Tuesday night- Thursday night (7pm-10pm- hence my absence on SOL).

“Well, you know how we’ve had Chizzle Whizzle all week? And so I wore make up for the show and stuff and everyone was seeing me. And like, everyone kept telling me how pretty I am, and how good I looked and boys started talking to me and wanting to talk to me.”

At this point, I wasn’t sure how to respond. My first thought was “Aw!”, but after really listening to the tone of her voice, I could tell it wasn’t really an “Aw” moment (and honestly, part of the problem with this is that many’s first reaction would be “aw”. Read on.)

“Oh yeah? How did that make you feel?” I asked her.

“Honestly? It was nice and all, but I was kind of like “thanks guys but why can’t you say that stuff when I’m not wearing make up?”

And that, ladies and gentlemen, is (one of the 1000000 reasons) why we need to help raise these kids in our classrooms to be loving, kind, respectful, strong, aware…

This girl, this girl who is so many more adjectives than beautiful just wants to hear that she’s beautiful even without her make up. She, like anyone, enjoyed the compliments and attention, but was also kind of hurt by them.

I tried so hard to be the big sister I think she was looking for.

I tried to remind her of all her beauty- her appearance as well as her talent and her heart. I tried to remind her that her makeup only accentuates her natural beauty, that her make up doesn’t change her look, it just makes what she already has more prominent. I tried to hard to tell her that the makeup she wore wasn’t changing how she looked, it wasn’t “faking it” and it wasn’t making others see something that wasn’t there. I tried reminding her that sometimes people take for granted what they see every day, so when they see something new, they comment on it.

None of what I said seemed right. She was nodding, and agreeing, but none of it could really capture the words I wanted her to hear.

I’m not even sure I can find the words now to say what I want her to know.

The good news is- she doesn’t feel like she needs to wear makeup. In fact, she said she hates it. She doesn’t like to put it on, she doesn’t like to deal with it, and she’s comfortable without it. And just as quickly as my heart had sank, it rose again. She has confidence like no other 16 year old I know, more than my 27 year old self has, if I’m being completely honest.

I reminded her again of her natural beauty. I reminded her again that she doesn’t need makeup. I reminded her again that if boys don’t like her as much without makeup then they don’t deserve her attention anyway.

Of course, that girl is smart enough to know that anyway.

But I could tell this still effected her. It was still a big enough deal for her to want/need to work through it, talk through it- whether it was just to vent, to look for reassurance, or advice.

I know the various grade level teachers that visit SOL, and possibly my page. I know many of you are parents. I ask that if you’ve read this, to please, go tell the females in your life that their beauty is so much more than their appearance, and that makeup does not change their beauty. (This goes for either side! I know some girls/women who use makeup for fun- because they love it and not need it- and I do not want to discourage that! If they like it for them then, encourage them to use it however they please!) Even if these females in your life are the most confident ones you know- it’s always nice to hear. And if you know of females that struggle with this, with trying to look a certain way to fit in, remind them of their worth, of their talents and their heart, and of all the beauty they have that is both the physical and non physical parts of them. Help these females become strong and confident in all parts of them.

And then, after you’ve done that- remind both the females and the males in your life of this same lesson. That just as they shouldn’t judge themselves, they should not pass that judgement on others.

(BTW- I in no way think the kids positively commenting on her looks were rude/mean. I do think that for them to take the time to comment on something they think looks nice was sweet. However, the lesson I am trying to remind her and others about is to not forget about what’s “naturally there”. Don’t ignore the every day things. Don’t leave out the pieces that may not “jump out” at you, like makeup and clothes can do. Don’t forget about the little things, the things that you can see and can’t see, the physical and the non physical. If you have a better way of putting these thoughts- please feel free to leave your comment so I can better pass this information on to her and others in my life. I will appreciate any thoughts!)

 

Time for Me

For the past couple of years, every March we have a workshop day that is “our choice”. We have to attend 3 of the offered sessions, but there are always so many that it’s not hard to find ones that pertain to you or interest you.

This year I decided that my professional development day schedule was going to be all about me. Selfish? Maybe. However, I believe that there are things going on in my life- my brain- that I am sort of, “losing control” over, and I know that to really be the best I can be for my students, I need to be the best I can be for myself.

The three sessions I signed up to take are:

Mindfulness in Every Day Life –   Below is the snipit that intrigued me, and below that, is why:

“Would you enjoy bringing greater awareness to all that you do?  Meditation practitioner, musician, and licensed massage therapist offers some simple practices to help us “show up” more fully and to cultivate greater ease at work, home, in the world.”

“Show up more fully”- Man, there are many days I don’t do this. I get to school, knowing I need to do this, that, and the other thing; but my mind is not there. I’m thinking about how much time I don’t have with people I love because our schedules are so crazy, or about how I bailed (or think about bailing) on Sunday dinner with my parents because I just need the time to breathe my own air and Sunday nights are really the only time I ever have to do that. I think about the afternoon schedule, a full day of school and then a meeting, and then practice, and then tutoring, and oh yeah there’s no food at home so what will we do for dinner?

I want to learn how to cultivate greater ease at work, home, and in the world. 

Don’t Get Pushed Around:

“In this session, participants will learn how to deal with being pushed around both physically and inter-personally. This course will teach you how to handle yourself when someone is pushing you around by bossing, bullying, attempting to dominate, etc.in daily situations. “

“…teach you how to handle yourself when someone is pushing you around…”- Now, I don’t physically get pushed around; and I’m not even sure if there is anyone who really intentionally pushes me around. However, I definitely know I feel like I get pushed around, and whether that’s me not saying “no” enough, or me not sticking up for myself- I don’t know. I’m hoping this course will paint a clearer picture for me, and, how to help.

Incredible Health and Function:

“What is health to you? Is it feeling good? Come learn how there is more to your health than how you feel and how your nervous system works to keep you healthy! Also- come learn about text neck and how it effects your students.” (<–hey, I guess there is something in there for the kids! 🙂 )

I chose this session for 2 reasons-

  1. I am on the 5210 Health Committee at my school. We’ve recently started implementing things to help us achieve “5210 Status” (look in to this if you don’t know what it is and get your school on board!!). I wanted to take this course to see what else I could try to incorporate in to the year- what we can introduce to students, health wise, what we can try with them, and, what we can offer as informational pieces to help further the health education of our students and staff.
  2. I’m curious! I mean- health, to me, is feeling good. Physically and mentally (though I lack in both currently). I’m excited to hear what is being offered in this session and what I can try to add to my daily routines with myself as well as my students.

Bonus- text neck info! Because Lord knows I have 20 third graders who have phones nicer than mine!

I feel a little bad for not choose topics that may help my students more than me; for example, any of the writing, math, or science topics. However, I know, deep down, I need this just as much, so that I can be a better (the best!) teacher I can be for them! Here’s to hoping I don’t regret these decisions!

Words Fail

Today, words failed me.

I can not speak.

Literally.

I lost my voice at some point today. It went from scratchy, to soft, to just about non existent.

And here I am,

Trying to find words for this post

And they are failing me.

Love, simply or Simply, love

How many of you are with someone who is the complete opposite of you?

Not hobbies, interests, or morals.

I’m talking sensitive vs. nonsensitive. Sentimental vs non sentimental. In depth vs short and sweet. Conversationalist vs. quiet. Cuddling vs. “his side/her side”. Emojis vs. punctuation.

Can you guess which one I probably am, and which one my boyfriend is?

In my past relationships, and even occasionally with this one (mostly around certain times of the month…whoops 😉 ) I would put so much pressure on someone to love me exactly the way I wanted them to love me. And when they didn’t, I would get upset and in turn, that’s part of why all of my relationships before failed. I never accepted the love I was given. I started realizing this after my most recent failed relationship, and again when I saw my current relationship start to take a change. I noticed I was asking him to do things that he just, well, simply doesn’t think to do. It’s not by choice, it’s not by spite, it’s simply because it’s not wired within him to do certain things.

My therapist and I talked about this a lot, and I realized I needed to see all the good and love I was receiving and living, instead of wishing for things that, honestly, don’t really matter.

And don’t worry, I’m not accepting less than I want/need/deserve.

I’m just accepting it differently. I’m seeing his side of love. I’m choosing to enjoy and bask in the love he knows how to give. Like when he spends 4 hours down in the garage and when I asked what’s kept him from spending our time doing something together, he brings me downstairs to an absolutely spotless, totally detailed car (cue the tears that started to form because I was sitting upstairs a little moody to be by myself while he was literally scrubbing away at my car). Is that how I would have chosen him to “love me”- not particularly- I would have liked to snuggle on the couch or play bananagrams, but he chose to selflessly spend his time on me in a totally different way.

I’ve learned through therapy, through long conversations with him, through reading (the 5 love languages is a seriously insightful book)- if I want to keep the amazing love and relationship I have, then I need to work on not making things exactly how I want them. This doesn’t mean letting things go that bother me, it doesn’t mean lowering my standards- it means communicating what I want and need, and then paying attention to how he gives it to me. Like when I say certain things mean something to me, or that things “off routine” tend to cause me a little anxiety (whether it happens on purpose or not)- he takes that, and he plants a kiss on my cheek at roughly the same exact time every morning. He makes sure the M&M jar on the bar top is always filled. He picks his q-tips off the floor when he misses the trash can. He draws a heart on my windshield when it snows. He adds extra garlic to my food because he knows I like it. He’ll buy a dozen eggs instead of half dozen because he knows I like to use a few each week to do an “at home face mask”.

He may not speak to me for hours (even if we’re sitting in the same room), but that’s him- that’s how he grew up. Words didn’t mean love. Presence meant love. Small acts that made others smile meant love. But words- words were never a thing. (Whereas in my household- words were everything).

I’ve learned to let go of some of my, well, fantasies. There are things he just will never say or do, and that’s okay, because he does some things and says some things that are what he wants  to say or do to show me he loves me.

Letting him show me his love for me the way he wants to has been one of the best things for not only our relationship, but for us as individuals as well.

 

 

 

The Scent of Clean

I’m convinced there is a “code” in this world that is programmed to go off on either Saturday or Sunday every couple weekends to encourage us to clean.

Notice I didn’t use a negative word.

I didn’t say “makes us” or “tells us” because, this “code” isn’t like that. It’s not rude, it’s not blunt, it’s not discouraging.

It’s a sweet melody; like an early morning on the lake listening to the waves gently flow against the dock. A light breeze sprinkling the rain. A steady snowfall.

This code makes you smile- a soft smile, like when someone pours you a drink without even asking if you’re thirsty, or when you curl up with your favorite blanket to watch a cheesy rom-com (or whatever genre you prefer).

This code makes you float through the house, quietly picking things up, as if making too much noise would disturb the peacefulness in your mind and turn the “code cleaning” into the “annoying cleaning”.

Cleaning isn’t normally seen as “peaceful”. It’s often a nuisance, something we feel obligated to do, a chore. But this cleaning- this “code cleaning”- it’s not that.

It’s an opportunity to hum softly as you place the pillows exactly how you like them on the couches, trim the dead off the leaves of the plants you accidentally let go too long without water, make your bed and throw up finger guns and wink because really how often does that bed get made? (Ok, actually I’m pretty good at at least pulling the comforter up every day to make it LOOK made. Little things, people, little things.)

You tidy up the mail that’s been in the corner of the counter for too long and find that letter from your pen pal (a reminder to write one back!). You play in the zen garden that you keep at the bar top for those rare occasions you have company. You wipe down the stove top and the counters-

and then- the best part about this “code cleaning”- you light candles.

I only light candles when the apartment is cleaned this way. If it’s just “picked up” or hastily done because you’re fed up with the mess…that’s not the appropriate kind of cleaning; that cleaning doesn’t deserve the award of an aroma so beautiful you can’t help but feel calm.

I bought three new candles this morning while I was out meandering the local TJ Maxx passing time. I think I found my absolute most favorite scent I’ve ever smelled.

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The other two scents I got were coconut lime and a tropical mix- I guess you could say I’m feeling the need for a little summer time lovin’ on this cold, snowy day! Time to go whispering around the apartment and make Jake wonder what I’m up to – just code cleaning 🙂

Life changing

Spunky. A word to describe the first grader that I tutor every Monday. She’s full of everything- laughter, smiles, tears, attitude, wiggles- and lots of love. We work hard on math, sight words, and reading comprehension. She’s a comfortable burst of energy on a Monday evening.

Hardworking. A word to describe the third grader I sometimes tutor on Tuesdays. She tries her hardest with everything she does- sometimes it sticks, sometimes it doesn’t. We usually focus on math- right now, long division. It’s tricky for her, but there is never a moment when she’s not smiling, giggling, and moving her pencil/working her brain.

The rest of them that I see (whether regularly or on occasion) simply can not be given only one word. They are middle schoolers and high schoolers and they are funny, awkward, sensitive, driven, shy, snarky……you know, “typical”. I love each and every one of them and even though sometimes they bring me really hard math (I am not a math person), we always work through it together and have a fun time doing it. I also learn some cool things with their science projects, reading comp. articles, and history papers.

Last week I was asked to take on a new student. She is 26 years old, and can not read or write.

I have spent all week thinking about this. About how I am going to approach this, without feeling like I’m demeaning her. She’s not a 5 year old who hasn’t experienced life, and I can’t giggle and use my kindergarten teacher voice through this.

I’ve come to terms that I know I need to start basic, even though whipping out my letter ID chart for her feels wrong somehow; I’ve come to realize it’s not wrong. It’d be wrong if I didn’t do it. She’s seeking help, she wants to learn, and I need to do whatever I need to do to help her. I need to get baseline data- where she’s at, what she does know/does not know. Letter ID/sound ID. Sight words. I want to know what’s worked for her and what has not. I want to know where she comes from and where she wants to be; what are her goals and wants and dreams?

I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t scared, timid, and a little uneasy. This is such a huge thing and I have it in my hands. Somehow teaching an adult scares me more than teaching a child. Though I’m feeling nervous about this experience, I am also so excited. I am excited to move her forward and give her knowledge that she hasn’t had. I’m excited to see how this changes her life and what she does with this.

I’m excited to see how it changes my life and my teaching, too.

 

Getting Old

My best friend from high school lives in Virginia (also a teacher) and flew home to Maine for the weekend. We made plans to go shopping and grab lunch tomorrow- of course I wasn’t going to miss her (remind me to tell you in another slice about my trip to Virginia this summer where a 72 hour trip was turned in to a 24 hour trip – THAT INCLUDED A WEDDING due to canceled flights, flat tires, closed repair shops, skinned knees, and candles).

These plans were made Wednesday- nice and in advance, just how I like them.

I got a text from her earlier this morning; she wanted to get dinner tonight.

A Friday night.

After a week long.

Last minute.

I happy obliged because, well, friendship (and wine).

I waited to hear from her about time and place.

And waited.

And waited.

Like, waited long enough I actually went to the gym after school.

It was about 4:30 when I answered the phone, my face looked like an emoji- scrunched up, one eye open, waiting to here her plans for the evening (it could go one of two ways- over the top late night or low key dinner and a glass).

I expected 7:30pm.

I figured Portland.

I just wanted to be home by 7 with ice cream.

“Thinking dinner at 5:30 in Waterville? Sound good?”

Getting old has never felt better.

I got to see my friend, drink some wine, catch up a little, solidify plans for tomorrow.

And I was home by 7:30pm, with ice cream.

The Change

I am an emotional mess lately.

Not like, a sad/bad emotional mess.

But none-the-less, a mess.

Last year I changed grades. I taught four years in kindergarten, and then realized I needed a change (that can be a whole other slice, so I’ll spare the details). There was a third grade opening in my school, which was completely ideal, so I jumped on it.

This year has been truly special. I have loved this grade so much and I would not trade the change I made for the world. It was 100% needed, and I am so happy with how the year has gone, how I’ve evolved in my role as a teacher, and how I’ve taken the change and really reflected on it.

The change has really opened my eyes and it’s created an incessant need to feel more fulfilled. I don’t feel like I’m doing my best. Is that weird? Let me explain a little more: I feel as though I am thriving in third grade, however, I do not feel that I am meeting my full potential as a teacher. Does that make better sense?

Follow me.

Kindergarten showed me how fundamentally challenging teaching can be. Like, “what the f*** I was not prepared for that” or “are you f****** kidding me?” And yes, stressing the fact that the “f bomb” was dropped in my head (or to appropriate audiences) often is important because let me tell you- if you’ve never taught kindergarten (no, not parenting a 5 year old), you are seriously missing out on some crazy shit that you would literally never in your life believe unless you’ve been there. Seriously. I was totally totally unprepared for the physical, mental, and emotional toll teaching 5 year olds would wreak on me. My first year, I am not even kidding, I closed my door and cried- BAWLED- at LEAST twice a week. And I know, I know- first year teachers blah blah blah but LET ME TELL YOU (how many times have you heard a teacher say that?) I was TOTALLY oblivious to how much work, heart, sweat, tears, love, care, disbelief, torture, and overall overwhelming satisfaction would come from this grade. I went back and did it again and again until I realized it just wasn’t the teaching I wanted to be doing- and it effected the teaching I was doing.

Third grade has been everything I wanted. I wanted to cultivate creativity. I wanted to nurture their love for reading. I wanted to explore ideas and talk expressively and end the day with the feeling of “that was a great stinkin’ day and those kids really took away ______”. I wanted the teaching I was doing to be an addition to the learning they’ve already had. I am fully aware of the monumental achievements I can lead to in kindergarten- I did it, multiple times. It was amazing. It felt amazing. I felt good about the job I was doing. But, I didn’t want to do “that job” anymore. Every grade has it’s “thing”, every teacher teaches their “thing”- my time teaching the “kindergarten thing” was short lived, but well loved. And let me tell you- there is so so much more behind this want to move up.

Follow me.

In third grade I am taking what skills their wonderful teachers before (ahem- one of them moi) taught them, and I’m watching them blossom. I’m watching their minds unfold from buds to flowers. I’m watching them go from drips of water to a roaring river. I’m experiencing them discover their highs and take them and make them higher, while taking their lows and cradling them in my hands and molding them into caterpillars so that as they grow they can turn themselves in to butterflies (cheesy cliche I know, but it totally works here and was necessary for the visual- picture it: their lows in my hand as clay, I mold it in to a cute little caterpillar, creases- eyes- all of it. Then I give it to them. As they learn more and more and strengthen those weaknesses, they themselves now get to take that mold, work it into a cocoon, and then finally, a butterfly- with their own flair and all- polka dot wings, purple, blue- it’s theirs).

I think third grade is a sweet spot for me. I’m comfortable, yet still learning (helllloooooo math). I’m happy, but still get frustrated (because, well, kids).

But like I mentioned above, I don’t feel like I’m “there” yet. I don’t think third grade is “it” for me. I don’t think this is the best of my best. I don’t think this is what I want for the rest of my teaching years. (Honestly, does this ever get figured out??)

I fell in love all over again with reading and writing this year. I remembered those times staying up late in bed reading “just one more page”. I remembered writing until my fingers had blisters. I remembered loving to share my stories- whether written or read. Third grade was the year I fell in love with school.

I feel this want- need- to focus on ELA. I want to take the skills these kids learn and I want to help them create something more with them. I want to help guide their creativity. I want to read books with them and hear their thoughts and opinions. I want deeper connections and intricate workings of their minds.

I’m starting my journey to my ELA 7-12 certification.

I have no foreseeable circumstances that will take me away from the community I am in.

I do, however, see foreseeable openings for an ELA position in my district.

I’ve taught 4 years of kindergartners, who are now 4th graders. I’ve taught (almost) 1 year of third graders (some as kindergartners) and will be here for a little while longer. I plan to move up.

I could have one of my kindergarten and third grade students in a class in middle school and/or high school.

I could potentially stand in three very different places in their lives.

I am an emotional mess thinking about graduating seniors in the year 2027 and me potentially being there as their teacher more than once throughout their schooling.

I never expected to stay in Maine. I never really wanted to. I never had a reason to. This reason, this potential (and a few other reasons) is what is keeping me here. It’s what’s pushing me to further my education so I can further theirs.

 

Disappearing Act

I sit staring at the bare wall in front of me, wondering what fun or interesting thing I could put up to make it look a little more inviting. Trivia? Jokes? Health info?

Outside the door I hear rustlings of paper, the pencil sharpener, whispers by the water fountain. Sometimes I take an extra minute just to listen to the sound of an “adult-free” classroom. Some are working, as they should be. Some take the time and giggle and talk by the back of the room (ahem, right outside the door I am behind), some use this time to do “things” that make me think they are busy, but are really just time-delaying activities (sharpening their already sharpened pencils, fixing the rug that got crumpled up because they backed their chair up in to it- you know, normal 3rd grade things).

It’s like they think I’ve totally disappeared.

I’m just going pee.

We’re fortunate to have two bathrooms in our classroom. In my kindergarten classroom, I never would have used those bathrooms unless it was first thing in the morning- 5 year olds are a different kind of germ-y gross (though I’m not naive- 3rd graders are their own type of gross). But sometimes, like after drinking 32oz of water in less than an hour, you just have to suck it up and use the toilet that sits between my knees and ankles.

But I felt….guilty. GUILTY! G-U-I-L-T-Y. Do you know the meaning of guilty?! “Culpable of or responsible for a specified wrongdoing”.

WRONGDOING?!

Why on Earth was I feeling like PEEING was a WRONGDOING?!

As quickly as the guilt rushed over me, it was dismissed with bewilderment- only teachers would ever feel guilty for relieving themselves of pelvic discomfort.

I take my time washing my hands because well, 1. hygiene and 2. 3rd grade bathroom grossness.

I will not feel guilty.