My First Two Weeks

While I may not be in a scene of Stand and Deliver, I have really enjoyed the last couple of weeks at my new site. Now, has it been an easy transition? Of course it hasn’t! A transition during the middle of the academic year is not easy, especially when I feel like all odds are against me with the class that I took over (I had been forwarded about potential situations). As much as I wish I could share with you the details of what exactly has been happening, I prefer to wait until the academic year is over.

However, what I can share is this. Those who have had the greatest impact in the word always stepped out of their comfort zone, regardless of what the opinion of mainstream society was. Imagine if the likes of Erin Gruwell or Coach Carter had not had the vision or urges to make that change or difference? I’ve been encouraged by various coworkers who have said phrases (referring to my classroom environment) like “what a night and day difference!” So for those who are wondering if I’m enjoying my new venture or if it is a struggle, well…you’re partially correct. You’re correct in that it is a struggle, but hey if it wasn’t then where’s the celebration of growth? But, am I enjoying this new venture? Absolutely! Stay tuned for that June reflection, because if it ends well…I may send a script to Hollywood. :P

The Hero’s Journey

 Take a look at the hero’s journey, and identify where you are in that journey. Doing so can help you better understand where you are in life, and help you figure out where to go next. You can take it in the context of your entire life, or you can take it in the context of a certain phase of your life. Either way, you can be sure that you’re part of a greater journey, and knowing what comes next can help guide you along.
The hero’s journey is something that I’ve enjoyed studying and analyzing through many written stories and movies that have been published. I currently find myself in the stage of “Crossing the Threshold.” (If your wondering what the journey timeline looks like please click here).

I am crossing the threshold, because I’ve already accepted the call to the challenge of moving to a Title 1 school with a high English Language population. I have encountered some challenges, but I know that I have many more coming. I’m thankful that I have mentors to rely on, much like Luke Skywalker had Obi Wan and Yoda, to guide and be patient with me.

I really can’t think of when the next few phases will come to pass or how they will look like, but until then I’ll enjoy where I am at.

If you didn’t click the link and just want to watch what The Hero’s Journey looks like, check out this video!

What makes a hero?

How my day went…

  On this day, simply write about your day. This may seem especially boring, but write out the events of your day. What time you woke up, what you had for breakfast, what your commute was like, what you did during at work, how you spent your evening. If you’re journaling in the mornings, write about the previous day. The beauty of this exercise is that you may discover something that you hadn’t realized. Maybe you weren’t very productive at work, and reflecting on it can allow you to analyze why. Perhaps you finished a big project on the house when you got home; you can think about what motivated you, how it made you feel to finish something big, etc. Don’t discount the seemingly simple task of writing about your day.

So my day began at 6 am as I rose early for work and made my way to the campus of Rice Elementary. It was a nice six minute drive, of which I think I’ll enjoy because of the possible extra sleep or actually having time to make breakfast. As I arrived to campus I went to my classroom to clean up some final things and vacuum. I later had a warm welcome from administration and other members on staff, which brought a nice sense of ease and comfort. 
I briefly met with my team and set a time frame of two hours to accomplish some tasks in our classroom. I took the time to get my class syllabus and behavior management system in order and online. Once 9:45 am rolled around I met with my team for a productive and short meeting. We covered topics of homework, utilizing tech for math and language arts…it was nice learning and sharing from them. 

The rest of the morning was spent at an English Language acquisition training, of which I remember taking this session back when I first started teaching…however, having a few years under my belt I saw it with a different lens. There’s something powerful about experience and the wisdom it gives you within time. 

Once the training was over, I finished up getting my classroom ready for the first day and met with administration for the last time to go over a few things I need to cover tomorrow (please note, taking over a class during mid year isn’t easy). One highlight in my short meeting with admin was creating a hashtag for our campus, of which is #RRLearns. In this digital age, creating a hashtag and making it rare and short isn’t easy. Thankfully, with this, we can slowly get the ball rolling in making our presence and learning visible to the world. 

I finished off the evening at my Crossfit box (aka gym). I seriously wasn’t having it after missing two weeks, and what made it worse was doing the movement that I am the weakest at…snatches. Anyhow, it’s something I’m still learning to get better at and grow in. 

Now, I am off to bed because I am sore and have a very early start tomorrow. Send good thoughts and prayers my way as I enter a great class, yet with some challenges. It’s truly going to be a Coach Carter type first encounter, but have some amazing results at the end of it. 

The ups, downs, and potentials of my career. 

  Take some time today to reflect on your career. Jot down a timeline of it, including all the ups and downs. What was your best experience? And the worst? What would you like your future to look like, in terms of your career? If you’re a young man and haven’t started in yet, focus on that future part. What do you want your work to look like?

Reading the prompt, I thought that this could possibly be an simple prompt to answer but this requires some strong self reflection. So let’s start with the ups of my young teaching career. In 2013 I went through my first interview for the newest school in the Otay Ranch vicinity of Chula Vista, Enrique S. Camarena. Low and behold I was hired as a 6th grade teacher, learned the challenges and excitements of opening up a brand new school for the first time. The next “up” would be the rapport that that I continually built with my students every year. Each year was different, but I loved every moment of laughs, disciplines, and seeing maturity happen among all my students. 

The next highlight would be collaborating with my coworkers and administrators. I learned the importance of trust, vulnerability, and supporting each other. Through that I’ve been able to start the productivity of a podcast called the Learning Essentials with my former boss…stay tuned. And lastly, being able to share my experiences in implementing technology in the classroom at various conferences in San Diego. 

Some of the downs I’ve dealt with have been parents who just had it out for me. If there was a disagreement with homework or a permission slip that was handed to them late (go figure), I would hear about it. Please understand that I’m a customer service type of worker, so when I have a client that is ticked…I don’t like it. 

The other down would not really be a down, but more like a learning opportunity, and that’s bombing a lesson while being observed. Funny how the tech stops functioning, that one student who rarely speaks (or thinks they have the right answer most of the time) is either volunteering or picked on by the observer, or the behavior of the class seems to have a “day off.”

What my future looks like? Wow, that’s a great question and at the moment it’s taken a slight turn for a new opportunity. While I enjoyed my time at Camarena Elementary, my future begins tomorrow at Rice Elementary. My future consists of being apart of a thriving school in a demographic completely different than what I had at Camarena. Excited to learn and become a better teacher with different experiences I possibly could have not had at my former school. 

I hope to apply to an administrative credential program in a couple of years, and then become a curriculum (or tech) coach. Once those two opportunities are accomplished, I hope to see myself as an an assistant administrator and then administrator of my own school. Let’s just say the recent news of Ron Clark has definitely encouraged me to continue to pursue that dream. 

That’s it! My career, the ups, downs, and hopes of what I would like my future to look like. 

Seven Days

  “You’ve made it one week! Reflect on what this newfound practice has been like. Getting through the first seven consecutive days is truly the hardest part. Have you enjoyed it? Has it been difficult? Has it been what you expected?”
So it’s been one week, and really this new practice feels like it’s apart of me. It’s one of those feelings of conviction one has when something is missing throughout the day. There are times this week where I’m looking forward to writing more (usually after I post) and there are times through the day where I somewhat complain inside about blogging. Those difficult times are when I have to push myself to go ahead and lay my ideas down. I would have to compare it to those feelings where one doesn’t want to get up to go to the gym, yet when one is finally does it…is thankful at the end of a workout. 
This consistent writing experience has not been what I expected, partly because I thought I was going to have to write essays. Rather, the prompts have been pleasant, realistic, and kept to the point. I definitely encourage anyone to pursue writing on a daily basis like this. 

Reflection from a quote

  Pick a quote from our 80-ish quotes on manhood and reflect on why it stands out to you. Does it reflect a man that you aren’t yet, but hope to be? Does one of them remind you of a great man in your life who you’ve tried to model? If you can’t seem to reflect on a single quote, just take the time to write out a few of them that you like. Doing so will keep them top-of-mind and perhaps lead to some thoughts later down the road.
It is not what he has, or even what he does which expresses the worth of a man, but what he is.” –Henri-Frédéric Amiel

This particular quote speaks to me in various ways. First off, I don’t have much. I’m not rich and I didn’t choose a rich profession. I live a comfortable life and nothing to extravagant. Second, I fight to not let my profession as a teacher define who I am and fulfill my purpose. There have been times during my “breaks” where I feel useless because I’m not working. Then once work would start I would feel a sense a value again. Recently I learned that was wrong. As much as I enjoy my profession, it doesn’t define who I am. 

This leaves the last portion of what I am. I am a child of God, a son that attempts to respond with the love of Christ. I am an imperfect human being that isn’t ashamed to share my mistakes with those around me. The best learning experiences have been those where I reflect with my family, friends, coworkers, and my students. The richest experiences have been when I’ve humbled myself to those around me and a sense of forgiveness and respect emulated at that moment. 

I love who I am and I would trade any experiences I’ve had in my life that have modeled me. 

Love Letter

  Write a letter to a loved one. Chances are high that there is someone in your life that you’d like to say something important to. Maybe it’s a wife, a parent, a grandparent you never really got to say goodbye to…take the time today to write that out. It can be positive, negative, or anywhere in between. The beauty of this letter is that you aren’t sending it in the mail, you’re simply “voicing” something that needs to be said. Should you choose to share it later, that’s okay, but you don’t have to. Doing this can be a great way to heal anger that’s been pent up inside, or to release a pressure valve of sadness we may have been harboring over something lost.
Dear Grandma Mine! (Pronounce Mee-ne),

It’s going to be six years since you left us. I can remember the day so clearly, because it was the day after my birthday. Not a day goes by where I don’t think of how well you loved and enjoyed every moment you lived. When I see a family arguing at a local store, a single mother attempting to raise her children, or someone struggling to make ends meet I remember your words of reflection, “don’t ever judge anyone on how and why they are behaving, we don’t know the circumstances that got them there.”

So many times I wish you were around sharing your love and wisdom. Your peaceful presence was something that everyone who knew you, was attracted to. I’m so thankful and humbled that I had the opportunity to know you, love you, and be loved by you. Your class, elegance, and joy to the simple things of life are the memories I have of you. I miss your “agua de melón,” fresh & homemade candy apples, and not to mention the fresh tortillas you always made. 

I love you and hope to be spreading that love and wisdom that you shared here on earth. Until we meet again in glory!

Love,

Christopher