Draw the Cat Eye Sharp Enough to Kill a Man
Reading updates, recent joyful things, and one long-winded spicy teacher take.
The beginning of November brings a sense of renewal and a moment of stillness. Halloween has come and gone and the holiday hustle and bustle hasn’t quite ramped up yet. I’m embracing these days because I know how fleeting this quiet feeling will be. Soon, it’s going to feel like the last lap in Mario Kart when everything is going at warp-speed and the music is constantly loud and there’s no slowing down until the new year begins.
Take these quiet moments, while you have them, to breathe and sit in gratitude for what this year has done for you and what you’ve accomplished. Take a walk and listen to the birds singing. Spend a morning on your porch enjoying the crisp air. Set a timer for 10 minutes and journal- the good, the bad, and the unknown.
Although I may have pulled out all of my Christmas decorations in preparation, I’m taking a few days to just be in November.
Your Reading Update:
I recently wrote reflections on the 11 books I read in October. You can find all of the details on this blog post. My top read of the month was Demon Copperhead by Barbara Kingsolver. It’s rich and immersive, but not one you’ll easily speed through. It’s one you’ll sink down into and live part of your life within.
Books I DNF’d:
The Most Likely Club by Elyssa Friedland - I may try again in a different season. The premise sounds fun, I just wasn’t in the mood for it once I started listening. I could see this being a fun Spring read. Have you read it?!
Radium Girls - Same reaction, interesting topic but wrong time. I’d like to go back to it when I’m in the mood for something a little more historical.
Looking for other reading recommendations this season? Check out this article from The Every Girl - My recommendation of The Personal Assistant was included!
You’re Watching Update:
We recently discovered that we do, in fact, have an HBOmax account (as a part of being an AT&T customer) and have gone down the rabbit hole of Selena+Chef. Selena Gomez learns to cook via Zoom from the most renowned chefs in the country. Y’all!! It’s wholesome fun, not overtly scripted TV…. A breath of fresh air! You can’t watch this show and not develop a love for Selena Gomez. She’s so normal *heart eyes*
There are four seasons for your viewing pleasure!
You’re Tasting Update:
It’s soup season! The recipe I’m sharing is one that Austin’s mom made and we fell in love with it. It’s so easy and delicious! I made it a couple of weeks ago and will probably make it again this month. IT’S THAT GOOD. Add on a side of French loaf omg…
Zucchini Tomato Italian Sausage Soup
Let’s connect on Pinterest for more recipe ideas!
Your Useful Finds Update:
I purchased three things during the Amazon Prime Early Access Sale and have found them to all be great purchases!
I’d been eyeing massage guns for a while and have had so many friends sing their praises. I snagged this highly rated one for $65 (normally $250). You can still get it for $70! I LOVE it!
I bought this hand vacuum for crumbs, dirt, and little spider webs on my baseboards. It’s been great for keeping the couches clean and tidying up after dinner!
I made one large purchase and bought an iPad, granted I did get it for 50% off. I’ve wanted one for a while and would like the ability to work on a larger surface when editing and creating digital files. It will be so useful when traveling to pull up files and work or have a larger screen for Austin and I to share.
You’re Spicy Teacher Take: My Vigilante Sh*t
I shared a message recently from a teacher who was struggling to keep showing up to work each day, asking how I found the courage to quit. I shared it because it was not the first message like this I’ve received since resigning. It was not a smooth choice. It was sharp and scary and a huge leap of faith to leave.
Teaching is all that I had ever envisioned for myself. In my eyes it was (and still is) such a noble profession. Unfortunately, the public education system has created so many rules, requirements, and expectations (written and unwritten) that it’s burning teachers out at an unprecedented rate because it is literally impossible to attain everything that’s being demanded.
For example: Last year around this time, I was in a meeting with administrators to discuss extra intervention time for a few students in math. Students who often need heavy math intervention also need heavy reading intervention… because if you can’t read the problems, you can’t do the problems. We were discussing state required intervention minutes for math this particular child would need in order to comply with new laws, when we realized this child would also need heavy intervention minutes for reading. In these scenarios, reading intervention takes precedence over math because reading is a fundamental skill to math. Am I boring you yet?
After configuring the minutes required and looking at schedule factors, it was clear that math intervention at this level was literally impossible. The time didn’t exist in the school day. I raised this concern to my assistant principal and was told “I know it is, just do the best you can,” and then was led to sign a legal document stating that I would, in fact, provide these minutes…
This is wrong at the state level for requiring that all interventions fit inside of a box of X minutes. This was wrong at my campus level when my assistant principal looked at me and essentially told me to lie about what I was committing to, rather than helping me find a solution to this obvious legal issue.
At the end of the day, it was my name and my responsibility and it was literally an impossible task. This is a scenario that puts the teacher in the vulnerable position- not the district or campus administrators. If anything were to go wrong and documentation was needed, the teacher is the one that would take the fall for not providing state required intervention.
Honestly, take this scenario and wash, rinse, repeat. It’s a constant cycle of hypocritical requirements at multiple levels of administration that ultimately leave educators feeling helpless and trapped.
Think back to 2020: the phrases we heard on repeat were, “Omg, I get it now. Teachers are saints. I could never do this. Give them all raises. Fund their classrooms. They are worth it.” It was a short-lived acknowledgement that wore off and has since been forgotten.
Talk about gaslighting.
Educators were thrown around this way and that every day with new rules made up at who knows which level of authority that day and we were made to conform. Over and over again.
When you’ve already dedicated yourself to such a selfless job, you’re not about to stop at that moment. Not when the kids need you the most.
2021: Ask any teacher, It was harder than 2020.
I share all of that in hopes that it connects with someone. It was also cathartic for me to write it out. If you’re struggling with whether or not to stay in education, trust me when I say I understand. You can check out a few insights and resources on transitioning jobs via this highlight on my Instagram page.
You’re Final Verse and Thoughts:
Joshua 1:9 “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you.”
I was recently reminded that God is going to use us in every season and I want that for my life! I get so caught up in trying to control the plan, but again and again, over the course of my life, I’ve seen that life works out better when I give up trying to control it and live with an open mind and heart to serve God and the needs he puts in front of me.
In this season, I’ve struggled to really understand how being an influencer or blogger or whatever you want to call me is in service of God. Sure, I’m sharing and building connections. I hope the information and resources that I share encourage you to invest in yourself through reading and other forms of enjoyment. I value this community deeply and I’m so thankful you’re here. I think I’m still comparing it to the taxing work that came before it. I’m not sure of what’s to come, but I feel affirmed that I’m right where I should be. I pray that there are many blessings that come from this beautiful opportunity and this community reaps the benefits.
As we enter a season of joyful celebrations, I have several exciting things that I’ll be sharing here in the newsletter! You can expect things like:
My crowd favorite Thanksgiving appetizer
Nana’s Sweet Potato Casserole recipe - this is HERO dish, y’all!
My Cran-Merry Christmas Margarita
Book Gift Guides and more!
I’d love to hear your thoughts! What are you reading right now? Have you tried any fall recipes that have knocked your socks off? Let’s chat!
As my Nanny used to say, TTFN!
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