Saturday, August 25, 2012


I am finished. Finished being walked over. Finished being talked to as though I am an idiot. Finished being the one making all the sacrifices. Finished worrying what others think. Finished trying to make everyone else happy. Finished being nice to people who have hurt me…used me.

For the past 10 years I have put on a happy face in order to make the people around me comfortable. Now, don’t get me wrong, I have been happy during the last 10 years. What I am referring to is the man who left his family and the woman who lured him away.

These two people changed the course of my life. They changed the course of my son’s life. This was done without a second thought. Their only concern was getting what they wanted and living their lives without the responsibility of a 3 year old.

There have been positives to come from the situation. I have learned more about myself, and my son’s magnificent personality developed. I have learned to stand on my own and my son has learned how devastating divorce can be. I am certainly not sad about those alterations in our lives, but the time has come for another change. I remember early into our divorce, my ex-husband’s mom told me I just needed to get over it (divorce). I was stunned. This from the woman who said she would shoot the temptress if she ever dared to step foot in their home. I was so concerned about pleasing my former mother-in-law that I compromised my own feelings. I smiled at the family wrecker when I saw her…hell, I even hugged her. I spoke to her with a smile on my face. I sat with her at my son’s activities. My stomach was turning inside out the entire time, but I’d be damned if I wasn’t going to “just get over it”. I have kept my mouth shut with my ex. I have tried to keep things light with him even as he began to open up about the issues in this, his third, marriage. He plays the martyr so well. I always end up feeling sorry for him. I mean, he is the father of my child.

Well, that’s all changing. He has spoken to me as if I were a child for the last time. She has lied to him about things she has said to and done in front of my child for the last time. I will not be treated this way. I will not tolerate it any longer. I am worth too much. I am too aware of their deceit. I am finally ready to move on. I will no longer hide my emotions, acknowledge the whore, or change everything to accommodate the man who chose to be the 6th husband instead of a father.

I am finished.

Thursday, July 5, 2012


Have you ever felt a connection with someone whom you have never even met?  I'm experiencing this feeling for the first time.  The only commonalities that might explain this connection are that 1) I have a son 2) I spent 4th through 11th grades in this family's town or 3) I long for unshakable faith.

The Erwin family is experiencing every parents' worst fear.  Their son is dying. Trey was a seemingly healthy young man, and then suddenly he was sick and given months to live. He is 15. His birthday is July 31. 16 was their goal. It's not going to happen.

Because of Facebook friends in Collierville, I learned about this family's journey.  I learned about the faith they have...the wisdom of a 15 year old boy...and the heartache felt by a community.  I have followed their journey through Trey's mother's journal.
I have cried. I have laughed. I have prayed.

I look at my son and think about the fact that nothing is certain. I must raise him to love God and to have the faith that I struggle with myself. I must instill in him a sense of self, confidence, and the knowledge that God is the only one who will ALWAYS be there.

God is paying attention to my struggle. I truly feel that he knows I am ready.  He knows I long for a deep relationship with him. I know he is paying son asked if I would pray with him last night. Granted, at first I thought he said, in his best British accent, "Would you like to play with me?" which caused me to look at him as if he were crazy. It took me a moment to realize he said "pray". We went to his room and prayed. I explained that I may be a bit shaky because I don't pray out loud in front of others. He was wonderful. When I couldn't find the words, he said them. He didn't laugh at my prayer. He took it very seriously. What a wise young man. He is leading me and doesn't even know it.

Trey Erwin has touched my life. Lisa Erwin has touched my life. I pray for peace and understanding for their entire family. God has used them to reach so many. They will never know all the lives they have touched and changed.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Are Teachers Educated? Worthy of Respect?

I am educated.  I have earned my bachelor's degree in education, completed student teaching with successful seasoned teachers, earned my master's degree specializing in literacy,and taught for seventeen years. On top of all these things, I have a son who will turn twelve this March.

When I began teaching, I naively thought that I could change lives.  I thought that parents, administrators, and other teachers would trust my judgment and intentions.  I thought I would have students who would want to learn and who would have parents who understood the value of education.  I thought my chosen profession would be respected.  Then I was hired in a school, and I realized how wrong I was.

I learned that the teacher is the least important person in the educational process.  I learned that I don't really know anything.  I don't know how to plan a lesson,teach a lesson,discipline a student, grade papers, relate to others, determine whether or not a student is learning, or do anything else related to educating our future leaders. I didn't learn this in a workshop or continuing education course.  I didn't learn this while obtaining my master's degree. I learned this from administrators, society, and  parents.

They taught me by telling me I had to do lesson plans a certain way even though it didn't fit my style of teaching.  They taught me by saying you must complete all of these objectives in a quarter.  All this time I had thought I should make sure students understood and mastered a skill before moving on.  Silly me!  They taught me by telling me not to hug the child who needs affection. Just wait until they mess up and then give them attention. They taught me by telling me no child can receive a zero...that might damage their self-esteem.  Let them have until the last day of the quarter to turn in their assignments.  Don't take off any points either.  Give that kid full credit! They taught me by showing me test scores.  Who knew your entire future should be determined by a test taken over the course of one week...but no, the other thirty-five weeks of school don't matter. Through emails, phone calls, and face to face scolding they taught me that students can't be responsible for their assignments, behavior, attitude, or how they treat others. They taught me by publicizing the teachers who made sick decisions instead of the countless others who have given so much.  They taught me by ignoring my concerns for students and our school.  What great lessons!  I am not sure why I even went to college!

Come on, people!  WAKE UP!!! My goal is to teach your child to read...write...organize...take responsibility...have pride in their work and become something that will give their lives purpose.  Is that so bad?  Don't we want these types of people heading out into the world?  Do parents really think they are going to be able to call their child's boss and tell them their little buddy didn't get those expense reports in on time because they had the sniffles???  Or that they had other things to do, so there was no way they could complete the multi-million dollar proposal?

Allow teachers to teach.  We are part of the profession due to our love of learning and desire to pass that on to students. It certainly isn't for the money, glory, or fame.  I have yet to see the red carpet rolled out for teachers who have dedicated their lives to the education and moral development of our future. with us.  Listen to us; we are the ones in the classroom. We are the ones who know what the students need. with us, not against us. Be involved.  Discuss goals, new knowledge, books, current events...encourage planning for the future, continuing education, and self-directed learning.  Support our decisions, ask questions when you are concerned, speak to us with the respect we have earned, and remember that we have twenty-five to thirty students in each class.  Volunteer to read with students and help with our programs...join the PTO/PTA.  Speak positively about our school, students, and teachers.

Society...step into a classroom...better yet, spend a day with a teacher.  When I say a day, I mean just that.  Get there when the teacher does...spend the day...stay until the teacher leaves...join the teacher at their home...go home when they actually finish their work for the night.  Experience it.

I guess I just want to be supported.  Don't we all?  I still love learning and passing that on to the kids.  I love the way their faces light up when they get it.  I love their curiosity.  I love my students.  If only I could stick with the kids and leave the adults out of it. 

Yes, I am educated.  I know how outsiders view me and my profession, but I also know that I am in this for the kids.  I know that somehow I will make a difference in someone's life and that is enough to keep me going a bit longer.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Monday, December 5, 2011

A Guy I'll Refer to as "Ike"

Ike, you are a jerk.  I would like to break all of your pencils and erase all "appointments" from your calendar.  Removing the wheels from your chair would likely bring smiles to my face for years to come.  Yelling seems to be a favorite of yours, so I would like to yell at you every time we communicate:  "STOP BEING SUCH A JERK!  WHY AM I YELLING?  BECAUSE YOU YELL...I THOUGHT YOU HAD A HEARING PROBLEM."
Ike, you need to get a life.  Get over the fact that your significant other brings home the bacon.  If you are as miserable as you seem, quit your job.  Find something to do that does not include interaction with the living.  Maybe you could learn to embalm people.  Just a suggestion.
If you do not clean up your act, I will no longer force a smile and witty conversation.  Quit being yourself.  Be someone people want to be around.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Fining Parents for Decisions of Children

Thank you to the enlightened individual who finally brought to light the fact that parents are to blame for everything. Fining parents when their underage children attempt to purchase alcohol is absolute genius. The dialogue that will run through the offending child’s mind will likely be as follows: “I would like to obtain my own adult beverage at the local liquor store. Oh, but wait, if I get caught my parents will be punished. Goodness, I would hate for that to happen. They are such wonderful parents. Over the past seventeen years they have provided me with all I need to be successful. It would hurt me terribly if they had to pay a fine because of my poor choice. I think I will have a cup of water instead.”

If this were the case, they would not attempt the purchase in the first place. They would be too worried about disappointing their family. Sadly, the adolescent mind does not operate in this manner. Parents paying a fine for their child’s mistake would have about the same effect as fining the state governor for the stupidity of their constituents. Unless the offender is directly affected, they will not learn their lesson.

Punishing the offender is the only way to address the problem. Have the child perform community service that is connected to their offense. Make them suffer the consequences.

Those who feel it is the parents’ fault need to rethink their position. Parents cannot know where their teens are at all times. Believe it or not, teens lie about where they are. The only way to “track” them and know their whereabouts at any given time would be to insert some sort of tracking device under their skin. That sort of action seems to be frowned upon by most logical people.

If a law must be passed, gear it toward punishing the offender. Maybe the time and energy spent on creating this bill would be better placed on real issues: parents who do not feed their children, parents who ignore their children, parents who teach their children to do drugs…those seem like issues that truly do deserve our attention and action by our state legislature. Start fining those people and a transformation will take place.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Dehumanization of Education

I am a teacher because of the love I had for school.  I loved my teachers.  I loved having fun while learning. I loved the interaction with my peers.  I felt safe and successful at school...even when I made mistakes.

Politics and non-educators have changed our schools.  They have turned them into businesses focused only on numbers and status.  They have taken away the human component.  Instead of teachers focusing on the well-being of the children, we have teachers forced to shove massive amounts of information down the throats of children who actually need love and nurturing.  They have taken away the time to incorporate fun that kids need in order to develop a love for learning.  Instead of doing all we can for our kids, we are told not to touch them...They are children. They need hugs and pats on the back.  They need to know that it is okay to show affection and that there is an appropriate way to show it. 

The kids aren't the only ones affected by the decisions of these people who have never stepped into a classroom.  The teachers are being stifled.  They are feeling that their only purpose is to cram as much information into these children as possible.  The teachers are beginning to crack under the pressure.  They are criticized and made to feel that their opinions and professional knowledge are worth nothing.

These non-educators should step into a classroom.  They would see the child who dominates the class time with their rude insolent behavior.  They would see the child who crawls on the floor and cowers in the coat cubbies.  They would see the kids who come in without breakfast or clean clothes. They would see the kids who crave attention and stand as close to the teacher as possible.  They would see the tears and anxiety as the teacher plows through lessons.   

Then let's have these "experts" visit with parents who do not have a moment to spend with their kids but feel that it is all the teacher's fault when their child misbehaves or earns poor grades.  They should see the disrespectful manner in which some parents speak to the teachers...and that the teachers are instructed to "just take it".

The paperwork and class interruptions should be the next on their list of observations. They should see that while there is a planning time it is often taken away due to parent meetings,team meetings,assemblies,and paperwork. 

They should stay with the teachers until the teachers have completely stopped working for the day.  This would involve them heading home with the teacher and managing a household while continuing their work for school.

Maybe after a visit with the kids and teachers, they would see that they have it all wrong.  Schools are not all about numbers...schools are for the heart of the kids.  Schools are meant to instill a love of learning that will last for life. 
Until this happens, I fear that our schools will continue their journey of dehumanization.