JennieGScott.com - Page 17 of 18 - Enjoying the Journey
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16.12.2013

My sweet little first grader just had her Christmas program at school, and it was Precious. The capital letter is on purpose there, because those crazy little kids were so cute with their missing teeth and gangly legs that I could have fainted from the sheer amount of adorable-ness in that cafeteria.(BTW - [see how hip I am there with the abbreviation? Mom, it means "by the way."] - this is NOT how she normally goes to school. Eyeliner and lip gloss are for special occasions only, like when your class is supposed to look like rock stars.)I'm telling you. Six year olds dressed as penguins and Christmas trees and rock stars will make you grin like a Cheshire cat and simultaneously thank your lucky stars you don't teach six year olds who have to dress as penguins and Christmas trees and rock stars.  They were adorable.But y'all.The parents.I have never.As the program began, the noise level in the cafeteria lessened slightly from its pre-performance roar, but allow me to exaggerate the word SLIGHTLY. There were some loud folks up in there. People behind me were carrying on a full-fledged conversation in normal conversational tones with ZERO attempt to hush...

27.10.2013

For several months I have wanted to tell you about a miraculous event in my family's life, but I haven't been able to. Now that I can, I'm not sure I can do it justice.On October 11, we legally and forever gained a new niece, Ivey Elise. My husband's sister, Mandy, and her husband, Chad, adopted the most beautiful baby girl, a child whose story grabbed our hearts and whose presence has changed our lives.Mandy and Chad had gone through all of the paperwork and preparation for adoption, having their home inspected, fingerprints run, and lives dissected. Their names were placed on the list, and just four months later, they received the call. Both teachers, Mandy and Chad were at work when the call came saying, "There is a baby girl - if you want her, come to the hospital."You have to hear Chad's story of running through the halls and parking lot - I picture it like the scenes of expectant dads in movies. Of course they wanted her. They were going to have a daughter.Sweet Ivey had been dropped off at an upstate South Carolina hospital under what is known as Daniel's law. Under this special provision, parents may...

24.10.2013

My earring fell out of my ear today while I was in the restroom and nearly landed in the toilet. What is one supposed to do in such a situation? Flush it? Reach in and grab it? Thank goodness I didn't have to decide. I wouldn't mind flushing it - it is a cheapo earring, but I would mind ruining the only adult female toilet in my wing of the building. I might never be forgiven.I hate hand painted signs by the side of the road. What makes you think I want to vote for your candidate because you spray painted with yellow paint on a blue tarp? Professionalism you do not require, apparently.The day before a teacher workday is tantamount to the day before spring break or Christmas vacation or the day of a full moon. They're nuts. And I need a nerve pill.While we're on the subject of teacher workdays, is it too much to ask that teachers be allowed to really work on said workdays? I could get so much teacher stuff done - say, planning and grading! - if I were not required to be in meetings all day. Guess that's what the weekends are for,...

09.10.2013

At first I didn't understand her question, her face looking at me expectantly from around her computer's monitor."What state is Germany in?"I'm sure my eyebrow lifted as I contemplated what she meant. State? Germany?It suddenly dawned on me that she wanted to know where in the United States Germany was. Germany, the country, in the United States.Her neighbor looked at me, too. She had already asked him, and he wasn't sure either.I gently (I think - I tried to be gentle) explained that Germany is its own country and that it is located on a separate continent from the United States.I write this not as an indictment of this particular student (or her neighbor) or in a mocking sort of way, but rather as a very serious, contemplative question that must be posed in every educator's mind.What in the world does this mean?When two students who have made it to high school do not know that Germany is a country, we must take this seriously. If they do not know where Germany is or that it is a nation, they must not understand exactly what happened in the Holocaust or the implications of that event either. (Am I right? Is...

15.09.2013

I wore my running shoes to church today. Some of you are saying, “So what?” If so, you might be among the throngs who now wear jeans and t-shirts to church on Sundays and don’t think twice about it. But for others, wearing running shoes and “street clothes” is a huge no-no, an offense that would bring down the wrath of the powers-that-be in your church.Please don’t assume that I’m passing any judgment here, because that’s the last thing I want to do. I’ve been a member of both camps.When I was a teenager, a woman I loved dearly told me that we have to dress up for church because Jesus wants our best. (In full disclosure, the topic came up because she was gossiping Sunday afternoon about the attire of someone who had not dressed up Sunday morning. Just so you know.) Naïve and respectful, I thought she must be right. After all, she was older than I was and had been serving in the church since before I was born. Years later, I realized that she might have just missed the whole message of the gospel. Jesus’ gospel, anyway. Some churches have their own. You see, Jesus has...

23.08.2013

“You’re fat.”“You’re worthless.”“You’ll end up in jail just like your father.”This week my freshmen and I talked about the power of words for both good and evil, and I asked them to respond to the quote, “Words break no bones, but they do break hearts.” And, let me tell you, there are some 15 year olds out there with broken hearts.I expected my kids to have some experience with word-wounds, but I had not anticipated the depth of what they would share. They wrote of parents constantly belittling them and peers teasing mercilessly. They wrote of hearing that they are good for nothing and have no hope for a bright future. They wrote of words they had said themselves and regretted instantly… They wrote, and my heart ached.I remember being their age and in their shoes, and I remember words from those days. I remember words and looks and rebuffs and sideways glances, and I remember the tears I shed. But even now, decades removed, I am hurt by those very same things. Your heart doesn’t have to be young to be tender, and you don’t have to be in school to be rejected. We all know the power that...

19.08.2013

I am a teacher, and tonight – the night before school starts back – the honest to goodness truth is that right now I could not care less about how much English literature my students learn from me this year. After an encounter today with someone who just wasn’t very nice, it occurred to me that I would rather every student fail the End of Course exam if, in exchange, they could learn to be good people who do everything in their power to make this world better. I know far too many well-educated people who only make this world more difficult for others and leave hurt in their wake. What good is it to know lots of information if you don’t know how to love? Tonight, my lessons are planned and tomorrow I will teach English, but I will fail as a person and disciple of Jesus if I forget what really matters. So students, this is what I reallywant you to know.I want you to know that what you do and say to others really matters. I can remember something unkind said to me over 20 years ago, and I still have a scar from the wounds of his words....

12.08.2013

I glanced in the rearview mirror today, and her shining eyes in the very back seat brought a lump into my throat.She is six now, heading to 1st grade, and I don’t know where the time went. I swear it was just yesterday that I brought her home in a preemie outfit that swallowed her whole. In the seat in front of her, big brother sits, his face losing baby fat as fast as he’s losing baby teeth. They are both big kids now, riding big kid bikes and reading chapter books, leaving me to shake my head and ask the age-old question, “Where did the time go?”It’s just one of the things no one can make you understand about being a parent.They can’t explain to you that seeing your wrinkly, red newborn for the first time will make your heart feel as if it will explode from the love that suddenly appears. They don’t tell you that the second time is just like the first.They can’t tell you that you will panic the first time they sleep through the night, though you begged for it for weeks (or months – they don’t tell you that either).No one tells you...

09.08.2013

It’s almost here, fellow teachers.    Like it or not, we will wake up Monday morning much earlier than our summer sleep schedules are accustomed to, and we will walk back into the buildings we simultaneously love and fear. The newly waxed floors will look foreign without any tossed away papers and all used-up pencils, and the bare bulletin boards will mock us as we remember the cute ideas we saw on Pinterest.   We will make multiple trips from the car to our rooms, carrying bags filled with the magic we are convinced will make this year the best. We will stand surveying our rooms, hands on hips, as we envision a space that inspires and welcomes.   The plans will have to wait, though, as we sit through multiple meetings where we team-build and common-core learn and technology policy question… And don’t forget lunch-plans make, as this is the week – the only week – where we are allowed to leave for the sacred lunch.   Our non-teacher friends will roll eyes as we mention ‘heading back to work,’ and they will make snide comments about us having the whole summer off. We will roll eyes back as we mutter, “You just don’t get it.”...