… back to school

School starts on Monday and I’m actually excited. Up until Friday, I was worried that I wasn’t going to really get excited about school starting.
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I was wrong! Thankfully.
Our school's Open House was last night and my excitement for seeing my new & old students came rushing back.
I was so proud to add my cheerleader's trophies & awards from this summer's camp in the trophy case and see them again! These middle school girls are the sweetest things – they've already started asking about practices and games.

Last week, I wrote about prepping for school, expectations, and the triad that sets everyone up for a successful school year for Houston Style Magazine.

20130817-070317.jpg I can be a bit hard core in the classroom and with my students. I expect so much from them because I work so hard to make sure they’re successful. Thankfully, we have parents and expectations rooted in our legacy that guide every student that walks through our doors.

As educators, we all know that every child will not be on Honor Roll or make all A’s and E’s – however, my expectation is that you work hard and do your best.

I’m hoping that this year as we prepare to send our kiddos back to school that we are focused on our kids doing their best. Yes. I want my class (with a combined effort of each of them) to be the best 2nd grade class in all areas. Yes, we push them. We work with them. We encourage and set the bar high. But, we have to remember that each child is different, they each have different motivations and skill levels.

Even though our intentions are the best, we hurt more than we help when we create unhealthy competitions & comparisons between siblings & classmates, when we push them further than they can go at the moment, & set bars higher than they can reach.

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Education is a journey & so are these nine months we spend in the classroom. If we each work hard, the parents/family, student, & teacher, every single day- we will accomplish great things.

I pray (in Jesus’ name!!! :)) that we walk through the doors of our schools and classrooms prepared for a new, fresh beginning and ready to work hard every single day. We’ll be successful. We’ll be patient with each other. We’ll do our best and treat each other well.

20130817-071747.jpg My little bundles started school last week – aren’t the first day of school pictures so cute?! I love this idea!!!

…. here’s to an amazing school year!

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… pass it on

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We’re about halfway into the second week of school and so far, so good.
This year, I took special effort in teaching my students a little bit of our school’s history. I thought it would be fun for them to connect what they knew of the school and it’s owners with what they didn’t know. Kinda like filling in the blanks! I told (and, WE wrote) a very short story on how our school began.

I told them how my mother and late father in law began a school in 1966. The school is now called Beatrice Mayes Institute Charter School (BMI) though it began as Wonderland & is now the oldest consistently running private school in Houston. Wonderland began as a private school but in 2001 became a charter. I told my kids that my in-laws were very proud of their school and every child who attended was quite proud, too. It’s always CRAZY funny to me to see the reactions of people I meet or know people who find out I work at the school; their eyes light up and they literally almost start jumping up and down asking about random things that went on at the school when they were there. They’ll start talking about certain teachers (who are STILL at the school) and how they did devotion in the mornings (yes, the kids still stand in the hallway) and how they had to wear white dresses to Coronation Ball (yup… We still do that, too). Their stories are hilarious and it’s really neat to see how many people attended this school. To see how they are apart of my family’s legacy. How proud they are of their educational foundation.

I explained how much of our family work at the school- a teacher, a CFO, an admin assistant. My brother in law is Superintendent, my husband the Chief of Staff. I think it’s neat that after attending BMI, they’ve come back to sow into our kids’ lives. My sister in law joined the Mayes family & became the school’s nurse…. I came along and now I teach….. Before my brother left to coach college football in Colorado, he taught.
After I broke down how everyone is related and connected, I took them on a little mini field trip around the school to “meet” the nurse, Thomas, and Mrs. Mayes! Even though most of the students knew who everyone was, it was different in that they understood how everyone was related to each other and the history of the school. It was funny to hear them tell them about their history. For more reason than one! They enjoyed it!

My family is a family. The best part – we actually like each other. To be apart of a family that works together during the week and still doesn’t mind seeing each other on the weekend is pretty amazing to me. And, to see their children running around and being brought up in such an environment is quite nice, too. Not to mention the fact that they’re incredibly well behaved, polite, and quite sharp!! Lol

As promised, a little info on this….

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I was interviewed, along with another coworker and one of my cheerleaders, for our a piece in our Convocation event. We basically gave our different perspectives on our role at the school and how we push our mission – Expanding minds, building character, and inspiring community action. Convocation went incredibly well – our friends Benjamin and Tamara Floyd of Be Socially Savvy and James and Alysia Roberson of Greater Houston Media Group really helped us present our goals and standards for the new year in an exciting way! We were able to have Seven recite poems that spoke to each of the 3 parts of our mission and an amazing dancer from Urban Souls preformed 3 pieces, as well. After working on the project most of the summer and witnessing it evolve from ideas to paper to real life was incredible. Especially since everything went so well!!!

I am really looking forward to a great year… Excited about having a part in preparing and building children who are well rounded and productive….
Looking forward to continuing to build on this pretty steadfast foundation…

BMI is ranked as top 7% in Texas, we’ve been exemplary, and have such an incredible passing rate for all standardized tests. Proud of the legacy. Proud of my family.

Though we may not always agree on how things should function at the school, we are on always on one accord about prioritizing and serving our children and families.

… Here’s to all of us leaving legacies and making our mark in our little section of the world… To making a difference in the lives of our co-workers, families, and friends.
…. To mattering and making a difference in someone’s life beside our own.

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… first day eve

’twas the night before the first day
And, all through the house
I’m stuffing & packing; I’m completely worn out……
My backpack is loaded, teacher outfit laid out with accessories to match
My hand is cut from preparing our snacks.

Exhausted and ready to conk out in bed
Praying thoughts of assignments & rules will leave my pretty head.
Thomas is watching his shows refusing to sleep
I’m wondering if his promise of a morning workout he’ll keep.

I’m prepared for school supplies, fun activities, and 20 sets of eyes pleading for more recess,
But, all I really want is to bring out their best.

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Lame attempt at a fun school related poem but the first stanza ran it’s way across my mind last night and I couldn’t let it go. Perfect opening for the official closing – of – summer post.

I’m always, always nervous about the first day of school. Between the high expectations of parents and myself, I’m not sure if the kids or I have any hope! Lol. But, I always just want to do the very best for my kids – teaching them about life, to ask questions, to wonder, and to think…….. Hoping I don’t fail them in any area. I’m praying to be a much better teacher this year than last – more patient, more compassionate, and much more on top of my game. I put a lot of pressure on myself!

I’ve been trying to quiet my mind and really go into prayer mode regarding our school, the families we serve, and the impact we are making in each of our family’s lives. I think it’s important to realize that when we as educators interact with each of our students, we shape their lives in some way. We’re shaping their views of authority, the educational system, their world views, their view of themselves, and the world around them.
I want to ask myself everyday this year before I open my class – what am I teaching my children today? Am I teaching them to be impatient when frustrated or to show grace and take a deep breath before responding? Am I modeling respect of all persons regardless of title or age? Am I doing my best at all times, just as I ask them to do? To I skip corners? Am I helpful? Do I complain? Do I follow the rules?
……. And, at then end – how did I do today?

I want to be a positive force in my student’s lives…… Whether they like me NOW is irrelevant. But, will they (and, their parents) be able to look back and say, “My child was truly educated by Mrs. Mayes at BMI.”

THAT is my goal…. To have well rounded students who have learned something, who are further along when they leave than when they came, and who is a better person in some way because of their time spent in my class.

I pray that everyone I come in contact with sees what’s greater in me, that that God is someone they want to get to know a little bit more because of how I treated them.
I take my little meagerly paying occupation quite seriously because it’s so much bigger than me. The impact I make reaches far beyond the children that will enter into my classroom tomorrow. My impact will literally affect generations – I just pray it honors God and positions my students for greatness.

…. Here’s to all of the educators beginning their school year in the coming days – we make all the difference in the world! Make your days count!

A.

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