Wednesday, November 7, 2012

October Was A Good Month

October blended into a haze of rush rush rush. after my visit to Ohio it was back to reality. Quickly got back into the classroom routine and became a teacher. My mom was still gone in Ohio for a week so I played mom, housekeeper, and cook to an 18 year old boy who suddenly thought he ruled the world because he's 18. I love him though. I hope he knows how to properly put a new roll of toilet paper on the holder now. I helped my cousin give a baby shower for her boy-expecting sister. That was a load of fun. It was very special for me to be able to because both of those cousins are very dear to me and this littler boy has been much prayed for....I can't wait till December!! Then we had family birthdays which is always a lot of fun, noisy, but fun. A sweet little girl turned 1 and she brightens my day whenever I see her!! Waiting to see her walk...she's almost there. Then I madly cleaned the house and threw things into drawers and closets before Mom got home. Oh, and in the midst of all that, the Giants were giving me heart palpitations from being on the brink of elimination 6 times and somehow pulled off victory each time in an improbable World Series push; they made it. Keeping up my History class keeps me busy too, and it's always good to get an A in a quiz I really thought I'd bombed (I need to learn that it's ok to NOT know the score of every game and study more). I am a sports fanatic and I thank you for putting up with that. Character flaw? Maybe. But I do try to reign it in. After that 6-elimination comeback, they swept the Tiger in 4 games. My class got cookies the next day. Speaking of class....

I feel like a dictator.

Like for real. Some kids decided to pass notes and now it's a pandemic. Needless to say the colored tallies have been flying. but I guess they have to learn somehow. Dishonesty and not doing school work properly can lead to no recess. And if that doesn't work, a visit to the principal can become a reality. That was a new experience. I was as nervous as the student. Even though I'd obviously talked to him beforehand. I hope that takes care of the problem. I want them to succeed. Habits like that are not conductive to success. But I remember having things to work on too! I'm clearly not a perfect teacher and some days I question  the impact I really am having in their lives. Those days are once every 3 weeks or so, and the days of good greatly outweigh those feelings. Like when they wanted to have a World Series party...

After October ended I had high hopes of November not being as full. That lasted until I received the monthly school calendar. Wowzers. Stuff happening this weekend, and next week; then the next week, it's Thanksgiving. Ah, 2.5 days off. No black Friday shopping; I'm sleeping and reading and drinking coffee and listening to Trans-Siberian Orchestra and other Christmas music. Oh and once November is over, it's December and everything that month entails. I'm already praying we remember what it's all about. Sometimes we forget.

Getting 8 hours of sleep tonight as I cram for a History exam tomorrow,
                                                          Miss Kelley

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

The Surprise!!

When I got word back in July that my remaining close friend in Ohio was finally engaged, I began to plan. I began to plan my trip to go back for her wedding. Pretty normal, right?? Well I have happened to have become very close with my 5-years-younger-than-me cousin and decided to try to surprise her. I bought my ticket in August and kept quiet for a few days. Then I texted my aunt to make sure it'd be ok for me to "stop by." She was delighted to keep my secret and on with life we went for the next few months. I nearly let it slip lots of times on Facebook and through texting but thankfully, I didn't :) Last Friday afternoon, my Grandparents picked my mom and me up from the airport and headed to my uncle and aunt's house. When we go there, she was getting ready in the bathroom (shocked, I was not) and I waited around the corner for her to come out.
"Mandalyn," her mom called.
"They are here." My aunt told her people might be coming to look at their house they are building.
"Ok, just a second."
A good minute passed with my adrenaline pumping and phone shaking in my hand as I recorded her reaction. Then she exited the bathroom and squealed.

"Hello," I calmly returned. That was followed by a hug and a very confused "How did you get here and did you just come after school?" She clearly doesn't know it takes a whole day to get to Ohio from California.

 My Grandma and cousins :)

 This was the next evening after I had stayed up waaaaay too late on Friday night giggling and talking in their RV, gone on a hour drive to see my other cousin with her sister and ate lunch and shopped with them. I was guzzling Mountain Dew in a failed effort to gain some caffeine and sugar so that I could function at the family gathering Saturday evening. I wore my Giants sweatshirt in a very hostile area of recently disappointed Reds fans. But they still claim me. I got to see a new baby cousin and play with some toddlers and see my uncle who is battling cancer. Gave me a realization that life in indeed short. Prayers for him and his family would be appreciated.

We truly are sisters. God made us cousins 'cause He knew no mother could handle us as sisters. My 2 days with her and the rest of my family was too short but I got 'bumped' on the way home, so I have a ticket to use in the future.

Back to the original reason I went there in the first place. My friend did get married. I served food. They look very happy. Soon I shall be providing baby names for her and my other married friends. I'm sure they will be thrilled., it's back to the grind of teaching. :) Which I love. But I love it a little less when I am jet lagged.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

The Last Two Weeks

Busy Busy Busy.

^my life the last couple of weeks. I would say the phrase,"the honeymoon is over," fits well at school these days. Perhaps it's my fault. I've probably not been as consistent as I should be. No excuses. I take responsibility, but do they think I won't realize if they don't do their math for that day, I won't catch it; or that there won't be consequences for talking out when it's study time? I guess they just started testing the limits. That resulted in an emotionally tired teacher. Well, at least one of my fellow teachers told me that this way if I have children I will be prepared. Thank-you for that startling epiphany. My children will get away with nothing. "Sorry, kids, but I was a teacher before I was your mommy."

Yesterday (Wednesday)  we sang a song about how we don't believe in evolution. It so happened to be the day we had a "whole-school assembly." This one just so happened to be a retired NASA rocket scientist who had worked on all the missions from the 1950s-1990s. He is a Christian man who gave a Christian, God-created talk about the universe. I love how that song fit so well with the day. As he talked and showed us a scaled down show of the planets and stars,  I could not help wondering why God cares about us? HE HAS THE WHOLE UNIVERSE!!!! Why should he be concerned about what goes on on the little, measly planet we named Earth? People, we are specks of dust compared to the whole world. He measures the heavens with just a span of His hand. Yet, He cares about each of us. He cares when we hurt. He hates when we sin. He forgives when we repent. Sometimes I just cry out and say, "Why, God, why do you love me? I sin. I am nothing. Why do you love me?" I haven't came to a conclusion, but I don't care.
I am just glad He does.

We aren't worthy.

We don't deserve it.

He does it anyway.


Maybe I am an emotional woman (as my brother likes to say), but even this man got choked up during his presentation. He was amazed at the wonder and awesomeness of the known world. I left feeling very inspired and thankful.
                                                  In awe of His Greatness,
                                                              Miss Kelley

Monday, September 24, 2012

Mouse Traps

Today a student asked me if he could go to the bathroom. Since it was a little before 9 I said sure. Normally they wait until break but they don't usually last that long. Anyways, off he went. He also came to school with 5 mosquito bites on one arm so he was going to put some slave on them while he was in the bathroom. A minute late he came back in because the bathroom door was locked. I sent him the "big-kid" bathroom at the other end of the school (it's really not as far as it sound). He was gone a tad longer than normal when another teacher came in wondering why he was down there. I explained that the door was locked and thanked her for her concern. Pretty soon he cam back in wondering,
"Can you could unlock the bathroom by us.?"
"Did you go in the "big-kid" bathroom."
"Well, why not? You have been gone quite a while and wasted a lot of time."
"There are mouse traps in that bathroom."
 Okaaaay, I thought to myself....
"Well, do you think they will "get" you??"
 "No, but I was worried that I might accidentally drop my salve on one of them and it would go off."
^direct quote from this concerned little man
 I unlocked the bathroom and laughed to myself as I walked back to my classroom.

                                                                                  ~Miss Kelley

Thursday, September 20, 2012



This past week we have been dealing with 2-3 digit subtraction in the 3rd grade. Things were plugging along quite nicely with problems such as 38 - 9 where they had to cross out the 8 and make it 18 because you took a 10 from the 3, then they cross out the 3 and make it a 2 because they used it to make 18. So the answer would be 29.  Easy.

3 digits- Not So Easy.

On we moved to problems such as 205 - 136. so we start at the ones place. We cross out the 5 and make it a 15. then we cross out the 0 and make it a 10. Then we cross out the 2 and make it a 1 because we took it to make the 10. Then we had to go back and cross out the 10 and make it a 9 because we renamed it to make 15. (If you don't understand, my brain is a bit fried from explaining it so much) The answer would be 69. Sound easy, right? But for the life of them, they could not understand the concept of going all the way over to the hundreds place to rename the tens place when needed. AND they need to cross out the 10 to make a 9 when needed. Then they started renaming numbers when they didn't need poor, Math-hindered brain was frustrated. Yes, I admit it. Not frustrated at them, but frustrated because I wasn't explaining it in a way so that they could  understand it. Frustrated, because I felt like a failure. 

So, we fixed the incorrect problems, and started over. 

We did two extra "made-up" pages during the week and yesterday, they did their chapter reviews. To my shock, the most anyone missed was 5. Compared to like 12 on Tuesday. YAY. I was still apprehensive as they took their test today, praying they would understand the concept so that they could miss less than 5 on their tests. 

I scored the tests................................................................................................

And to my delight, and relief, the lowest grade was a 87% or 89%, I don't remember. CAN I GET A FIST BUMP?? I was floored. The extra time spent reviewing the concepts paid off. I believe 4 of them even scored 100%!! Praise God. I knew this day would come, when teaching something would be a challenge and would need extra review. I learned again, how much a I need God's help on a day-to-day basis.  I give Him the glory. It was not me who got into their heads and made them understand it. The dots connected. The lights went on. And the message went through. I need Him every day.

                                                                                        Your new subtraction expert,
                                                                                                       Miss Kelley 

On a completely unrelated note, I can't wait to pack Good&Evil books tomorrow night, sew with friends and go to the Chicken BBQ on Saturday, and go to Youngfolks Sunday. I love weekends.

Friday, September 14, 2012


I enjoy my weekends more now than I did when I was actually a student. Ahhhh....I'm sitting in a LazyBoy with the foot-rest up trying to literarily (is that a word?) convey to you my deep appreciation for the weekends. I might be slightly insane...
...I admit it...
...for attempting to take a History 102 class on Thursday nights from 630-930. Trying to focus on learning instead of teaching is something to get used to! But since I love history so much, I think it will turn out ok. I mean, do you know what was the downfall of Andrew Johnson's Presidency? The only reason Johnson wasn't assassinated with Lincoln is because their wives couldn't stand each other and Johnson and his wife didn't go to Ford's theater that night? That there were at one time 3 fractions in the Republican Party? Oh, I love learning obscure facts that the general public doesn't know. I'll stop with the random tidbits. For now. As my high school English/History teacher would say, "Now, if the lady behind you in line at WalMart taps me on the shoulder and asks yme what the three parts of the Republican Party were in 1868 were, I will be able to tell her."

Republican Party....that reminds of my girls told me the other day that she was going to send a letter to President Obama. I asked her what she was going to say, and she said that she didn't know. Then a boy said he was going to send Mitt Romney a letter if he got elected. much are you supposed to discuss politics with 3-4 graders? I am sometime too involved/educated about politics, but I don't think it's bad to be informed. It is very comforting to know that God will put into power the man He sees fit, the man who He wants there. And we don't need to worry. Although at times, it is hard to when our leaders are openly trampling over anything moral and godly, forbidding any reference to God, or declaring that our country doesn't have Christian roots. Excuse me, but maybe you need to take a History 101 class. Even secular historians realize this fact. Anyways...I feel relieved that I don't have to make a decision who to vote for. God will take care of that. Praying for whoever God places as head of our country is our duty. I learned three things in high school about our "civil duties":
Pray- for our leaders, no matter the party they represent.
Pay- our taxes.
Obey- the laws unless they contradict God's Word.

Another thing I realized this week is that, if I calculated correctly, my students were not alive when the events of September 11, 2001 occurred. That made me feel old. I was alive and well and remember all too well getting news of the attacks and watching the news on tv. Each year I remember it and all the people who lost a loved one. And I say a prayer. They are gone, but never forgotten in my mind. I also remember the day we got news of Osama bin Laden's death, the mastermind behind those attacks. As an American, I felt relief that he was dead, no longer able to coordinate terrorist attacks. As a Christian, I wondered where his soul was spending eternity. In heaven with his promised 7 virgins, or in the pit of hell. Or did he come to know the saving power of Christ and claim it for his own? In God's eyes, we are all the same. It doesn't matter how "bad" we are. If we haven't accepted the saving grace through Christ's blood, we aren't spending eternity with Him.
Prayer. Sometimes it's the only thing we can do.

                                                Hoping to stay awake through singing tonight,
                                                                                                Miss Kelley

Saturday, September 8, 2012


Yes. Everyday I get home from school and I'm tired. Not tired of the kids, but just just plain tired. Like my brain is tired and my feet are tired and my legs are tired and my eyes are tired and and and...then on Thursday nights from 6:30-9:30 I go to History 102 at MJC, but that's for later.

So that 3-day weekend we had over Labor Day was wonderful! I was able to help do some things at home and get caught up on sleep since my wonderful Mommy let me sleep in!! :) I also made a long-overdue visit to the library! The ladies in there always give me funny looks when I walk out with 10-15 books piled high in my arms. I just tell them I probably won't be back anytime in the very-near future. Lol.
Thank-goodness they let us have the books for 4 weeks!

I keep thinking that one of these weeks I won't be So. Totally. Completely. Exhausted. By the time Friday rolls around. So far, that hasn't happened. But the plus side to being that tired is I never have to worry about falling asleep or not sleeping well. Believe me, when your brain is tired and you crawl in bed (at least by 10pm), it's blissful REM cycles. Until the alarm blares at 5:45 the next morning. It receives a scowl from me each morning. I am realizing the priceless value of sleep. Keeping up with 11 kids each day is tiring. That's all their is to it. You have to be always one step ahead of them. Anticipate their questions. Listen to their questions. Formulate an answer. Make sure the way you articulate it will make sense to them. All day for 5 days of the week.

I still love it though! 

No worries there. I call it a "good tired." I have "found my niche." Although teaching Math is giving me quite the challenge to figure out how to explain it so they all understand it. I am also very thankful for all the supporting people I have in my life. My mom is priceless, but I haven't convinced her to pack my lunches yet. My fellow teachers- I love eating lunch with them. My cousins. My cousins' girls. My dad and brother(even though he doesn't always see things from a teacher's point of view). My family. My students' parents. My friends. My cell phone.

                                                                            Sad that the weekend is almost over,

                                                                                                           Miss Kelley
                                      (Hope you had/have a great weekend)

Friday, August 31, 2012

Read the Directions

3rd Week: check

Where has the time gone?? I am equally amazed that the time has flown by and thankful that each day ends when it does. God clearly knew what He was doing when He created days. We have 24 hours in the day. Approximately 6.5 of those are spent at school. (students, at least; teachers, much more) Boy am I glad when that 2:30pm bell rings and I walk my kiddos out to carpool. Good-bye.

Until the next day at 8am.

That's the beauty of each day. It's brand new. We get to chose how we spend it. What do you do? Mine consists of spelling words, math facts, Roman numerals, the Associative and Commutative Properties of Addition, capitalization rules, comma rules, the proper way to write cursive, the nervous system....I will stop before I mention all the random things my students share with me on a daily basis :) Then after my day ends, the other part begins. Thankfully, my aides help by scoring most of the students' work for me and I can jut go over it quickly to see if I need to review more on a certain area. The days go smoothly. Except when someone misses half of their Language questions because they underlined the word that needed to be capitalized instead of circling it. They didn't read the directions. Then it gets erased and they do it again. To me, it's slightly frustrating. But I think I am that way too. Not necessarily about school, but other places. So often I forget to read my Directions. It's called the Bible. All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness. It's called Prayer. It's called Godly friends and family you can talk  to. Those things are my Directions and to my chagrin, I realize that I don't read.follow them like I should. Daily I need help. My fellow teachers are an invaluable asset to me and I realize now that I did not understand the depth of work that my teachers did for me while I was in school. So now, I say, "Thank-you." For all the behind-the-scenes work you did, and for teaching me how to read the directions on my work.

Oh, and I learned that sometimes it's ok to forgo the schedule of time for a certain subject to make sure they understand the concept. Such as when the I in front of the V in Roman numerals it means 5-1. It seems like a "Duh, Lydia" moment to most of you, but I am a schedule-oriented person. Or at least a person who "does lists." The learning process never ends, even when you become the teacher. I "knew" that when I started; boy was I wrong. I really don't think you ever stop learning. Not really, anyway. Teaching definitely keeps your brain moving. That's why I am so exhausted every night. I'm brain tired. Staying one step ahead of 11 kids all day is tiring. But I love it. I wouldn't trade it for anything. At least not yet. Check back with me when I am trying to teach the 4th graders long division.

My list for Labor Day weekend is:
> do the 6 or so things you need to get done
> sleep
> read some of the new book you got
> sleep
> read
> go to church
> sleep
> read
> sleep
Common theme?? Anyone? Anyone at all?? If you said sleep, YOU WIN A PRIZE!! Although I am not sure I have anything to give. Hope you all enjoy your 3-day weekend!! Unless you are an almond farmer...or just don't have the day off. Then you can think of me and all the sleep my body will be accumulating. Wouldn't it be neat if we could somehow store it?! Ok, I'm rambling now because my brain needs sleep at this present moment. (dramatic pause) Thank-you, and goodnight.

                                                                                                        ~Miss Kelley

Friday, August 24, 2012

Who Knew?!

Who knew that bodily functions/sounds could be so intriguing to little boys???

 I sure didn't. Not until today at least. Man, did the little-boy giggles erupt!!!
Was my teacherly response, when really I wanted to laugh at the cuteness of their giggles. Then it happened again. The same two little boys could not contain themselves. The girls complained that they were being really loud and couldn't concentrate. This much was true, and two green tallies(disruptive in class) were distributed. That got the attention of the whole class. Harsh? I pondered this to myself, but came to the conclusion that they have to learn that the classroom is for quietness and work. Outside is for noise and loud giggles. Maybe now, they got an example that "I mean business" when I say to be quiet. :) Consistency, I'm told, is key when establishing control in a classroom. I hope I can stay consistent!!

I learned that, at this age, their "sorry-ness" is real. 
One of them drew me a picture with the words "I'm Sorry" on the top with a little boy's face who was crying. crying so much that he created a waterfall and a river.
Well, at least I know that he got the picture.

I think we can learn from children to really mean it when we apologize. To genuinely be sorry for what we did. Or for hurting someone. Don't give excuses. Just be sincere.

I learned that I enjoy weekends more now than when I was in school.
Believe me. I love my "kids" but I'm ready to talk to people my age. And to rest my weary bones. Mostly my feet. Speaking of feet, I'm in the hunt for a couple of good-for-your-feet shoes that don't look like grandma shoes. Don't get me wrong, I love grandma shoes. On grandmas of course. I'm open to suggestions if you have any(non-grandma shoes preferably).
I learned, on the way home from school, to not rubber-neck at someone who rear-ended someone else. You may, in fact, almost rear end someone yourself. 
                                                                                                   Until next time,
                                                                                                          Miss Kelley

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Today's Lesson

It's amazing what prayer does. Today we gathered in the High School classroom to pray for our Principal who has been in the hospital since last Tuesday(I think). He missed the first day of school and every day after that so far. He had been having bowel problems. Anyways, he had surgery a couple days ago and they repaired 5-7 hernias. All was ok.

Or not.

Yesterday we learned that he had a major bacteria infection ans would be staying in the hospital even longer! This morning we found out that he is in isolation, being pumped with 3 different antibiotics. So today we gathered together, as a school, in the High School room to pray. A few of the older boys prayed and some a of the teachers. As I was peeking at my students to see if they were behaving and to my shock i found every single little body standing still with its head bowed. Then it came to me how much children understand about God. They know that when we pray we are talking to the Creator of the world. They know He hears and cares. Or maybe it was awe about being the High School room :). But they aren't worried about trying to impress others with fancy words. They just pray. And the 4 little kindergartners were bowed on their knees with their little hands clasped before them. Don't try to tell me children can't understand things of God.

Then about 15 minutes before school got out, a fellow teacher told me that He was doing a lot better. Not ready-to-come-home-tomorrow-better, but much better. WOW!! Needless to say the children were delighted. I was too. As a first-time teacher, I cannot convey how odd it is to not be able to ask him things though out the day. It is something I will never again take for granted. He does so much for the school.

Today, I was re-taught about the power of prayer. 
                                                                                         ~Miss Kelley
P.S. Please continue to pray for his continued healing and a speedy recovery.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Week One!

Well the first week is done! Wow! That flew by without so much as a see ya later. I loved every moment so much. I think i finally found my "calling" in life. To teach 8-9 year old what society deems necessary. And what the Father calls for as well. It's all a big juggling act. And this "clown" is only getting started.
Me on the first day -------->

If you had told me a year ago that I'd be a teacher, I would have had a good laugh. But I have learned that God has a good way of silencing me. A year ago, I was wetting my feet in the area of dating. It was all fun and exciting and I had grand ideas of spending the next summer(that would be this past one) in Ohio since that is where he was from. That continued until January of 2012. It ended with a huge crash. I went home to California, from a Ohio Christmas visit, with a broken-shocked heart. A broken heart that soon had mile-high walls built around it from betrayal after betrayal. Then I was immediately thrust into college classes that I did not want to be taking. I wanted to nurse my wounds, hold a grudge, and feel sorry for myself. God had other plans. He used those classes to help me heal. He used the energy I put into the homework to get my mind off myself. I shall refrain from gushing about all He used in my life. :) You see, God is amazing like that.

It's true that sometimes you can only see one set of footprints in the sand(like the poem). All I know is that God carried me. He also had a way of providing that only He could have done. I didn't have a job for about 8 months before I started teaching. Just when I needed money, a babysitting or cleaning job would come along and I'd have enough. I learned He provides. In a way that humbles me. Now I like the privilege to be able to give back to Him. Things were placed into my life that I didn't think were fair. "God, why me?" I wondered. I learned that God has a way of answering prayers that is truly wonderful. Only He knows how He will answer them. rarely are they answered with a yes or a no. They aren't audible. But He does answer. I picked up things along those places that I hold dear. I learned the tremendous blessing of friendship. They are the ones who lifted me up when I was so low and licking my wounds. I love themI enjoyed this past summer with "reckless abandon" with those friends.

When this opportunity came along, I thought "I'll give it a try," because my tentative major in college is elementary teaching. God opened the doors and I began preparing myself for the fact that I would soon be responsible for the education of 11 little people. 11 little people that need education and Godly instruction. I am not worthy. I had and continue to have the blessing of learning from and working with the previous teacher. She has been a true blessing and example.

I love the eager eyes I see in the mornings when they all sit in their desks and write down their daily goals. I love the questions they ask. I love how they are eager to learn. I love them. You could say that I have a peace about where GOD has brought me. The road to this point has been in no way smooth. It was filled with wrong turns, detours, and plenty of potholes. I'm sure God shook His head at me more than once, and said to himself, "Lydia, why do you rush. Why are you not waiting on Me?" Like I said, He carried me. He also drug me from the bottom of those potholes, filled with doubt and anger, and set me on my feet and pointed me in the right direction.
"Dear Lord, please keep helping me."

Already, my students mean the world to me. I know there will be hard days when they just don't seem to understand long division no matter how many times I explain it. There will be days when the attitudes are smelly and they don't listen. But that's when I fall to my knees before the God of the world and plead for His help. And patience, lots of patience.
Until next time,
                      ~Miss Kelley

(I'm sorry if this was bit scattered. I keep rambling.)