Sunday, August 30, 2015

Dear Hailey...

Dear Hailey,
It's been 10 years since I've seen your sweet face, but it is one that I will never forget.  We met under tragic circumstances.  Hurricane Katrina had wreaked havoc in New Orleans and Baton Rouge was in chaos.  I was a 3rd grade teacher who would be forever changed by my interaction with you.

About 2 weeks after Katrina left her mark, my principal opened the door and introduced me to you.  You were a precious little 3rd grader with fear in her eyes.  I didn't know the circumstances around your move into the area, other than you had been uprooted because of the storm.  I knelt down to look you in the eye and took your hand to welcome you into my classroom.  A classroom that didn't have a desk, books, or supplies for you.  But it was a classroom that had a room full of kids who had opened their door to family members and friends who had also been uprooted.  Zachary had 10 extra people living in his house, so we didn't question whether you would stay or find another room with more space.

You were quiet.  I don't think you said very much in the short time that you were with us.  That first day was a blur.  I don't remember much other than your arrival.  After school, I was told your story.  You lived in Slidell and your home had been destroyed, as well as your school.  You were living in a shelter in the area and your mom wanted you to start school to keep some sort of normalcy in your life.  You had lost it all and were trying to make sense of the world again.  You were wearing clothes that were donated to you at the shelter, eating meals with people you didn't know, clinging to your momma at night because you were terrified.

The next day, as school began, I was called to the office.  You didn't want to come inside for the day.  You were clinging to your momma.  You were both crying and I started shortly after.  With help from the secretary, we peeled you off of your momma, assured her I would take extra good care of you, and brought you inside with you clinging to my side.

That day, I had a substitute teacher in the room so I could do reading assessments down the hall in the empty classroom.  I had everything set up for the class and let the sub know that I was just a short distance away in case she needed me.  It didn't take long for an SOS to come with the next student I needed to read to me.  I walked down the hallway and heard you sobbing.  As soon as I entered the room, you left your seat and attached yourself to me.  You spent the rest of the day with me reading quietly.

The rest of your time with me was similar.  You began to quietly talk to some of the other girls, but you didn't say much.  At recess, you played within my sight.  Each morning, I met you on the sidewalk and we did the same peel and hug maneuver.

After a week, you came in late one morning with flowers and a gift for me.  It was your last day.  Inside the wrapped present was a beautiful silver heart and a handwritten note thanking me for taking care of you.  The thoughtful words brought me to tears.  You gave me one of the fiercest hugs I've ever received.  It still sticks with me.  And with that, you walked out of my classroom 10 years ago.

I don't know where you are or what path your life has taken, but here I am 10 years later still thinking about you and the impact you made on me.  In a world that had been turned upside down, you taught me an important lesson that I still haven't forgotten.  That lesson was simple, students need to feel loved and cared for first.

There was no way that I could have taught you anything other than feeling safe that week.  You weren't ready and that was okay.

Thank you for trusting me while you were a guest.  I hope that you have found your place and you are changing your world.

Mrs. Looper

Sunday, August 2, 2015

Assess Me Linky Week 2

I've broken the number one rule of blogging - one post a day, but...

Rachel over at The Tattooed Teacher is hosting week 2 of the Assess Me Linky.  I had to think about this one!

Let me admit something right off, I can't figure out how to change the color of a shape outline in Keynote.  So, if someone can help me out, I'd love you forever!

I am a casual girl.  All summer long I've worn came shorts, tank tops, and Birkenstocks - EVERY DAY!  Yes, I washed them, but that has been the uniform of choice.  My husband is spontaneous - not unrealistic for us to go to a wedding and then end up in the woods driving around looking for deer.  I told him yesterday I need to keep a bag of possibilities in the car at all times just in case I need to change shoes, wear long pants, etc.  But, if given the choice, jeans, shirt, and Birkenstocks are my choice. That goes for jewelry too.  Nothing too fussy!  Earrings are the most important accessory, but if the necklace is too fussy, I get frustrated. I've tried, honestly.

Rachel, I had no clue what Big Pimpin' was, so I had to watch both.  Unfortunately, I'm not a fan of either.  Boo!  But, you did introduce me to Thriftshop years ago and I loved it. So, there's that.

I'm a country girl now.  I was raised in the suburbs, but my husband has transformed me to the country life.  I like the quiet, the solitude, and the animals.  Give me a porch rocker and a sunset and I'm good.

Coffee is a necessity - all day!  This summer I've been known to drink a pot by myself.  I leave my house extremely early for school - 5:30 am and drink a cup before the hour commute, during the commute, and a cup at school.

I'm a night owl.  Give me school that starts at 11:00 am and goes until 5 or 6 and I'm good.  I get a 2nd wind and love to stay up late.  I get my best work done in the wee hours of the morning.

When Cheney and I got married we took a honeymoon on Amtrak across the country.  I loved it.  We had a sleeping car and turn down service, all of our meals in the dining car.  Loved every minute.  Would love to do it again, but in Europe.  I'm a nervous flyer, but appreciate the technology and use that as my go to for travel.

I love Central Air, but love Central Park!

Head on over to Rachel's to get the 4-1-1 on everyone else!

It's August!!!

Oh my!  It is already August!  Hard to believe that summer is pretty much gone.  Short post today as I link up with Farley over at Oh Boy! 4th Grade!  I love that she hosts this link up every month.  It's one of my faves!

I had a hard time finding things to binge watch on Netflix this summer - hard to believe right?  But, I landed on Freaks and Geeks this week - 2 weeks before school starts.  So far so good.

My dear husband knows the way to my heart is shoes.  Every year that we have been married, he has purchased me shoes for my birthday.  This year he hit it out of the park with my new Birkenstocks.  Hippie shoes, yes.  But, oh my word they are comfortable.  I've worn them every single day this summer.  My poor feet will not know what to do when school starts.  I always hate that adjustment.

I am taking a new position this year and so I don't have a classroom to get ready for students.  Honestly, I don't know what my space will look like because I am a coach.  So, I'm getting my office ready at home.  With that is a huge list of things to purchase - shelves, paint, rug, you know the drill.

I've taught summer school ALL summer, so there has been no vacation for me.  We are taking a quick day trip down to Charleston next week for a blogger meet up and then a flying run up the coast to Myrtle Beach to meet our great nephew for a few hours.  That is a lot of driving for a day trip.  Hopefully, when we have a few days in October we will be able to get away for a few days.

As a coach this year, I know it will be important to praise teachers for the amazingness I see in their classrooms.  So, I plan on making that a focus this year.  I know I'd appreciate it.