Happiness is… Newly Discovered Kittens

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On Monday, we came home from school to find kittens tucked away in the feed room of our barn.

Those of you who live on a farm know that unexpected baby animals don’t always make it. Over spring break, Jillian’s rabbits had a litter of four kits, all of whom perished on that frigidly cold night after three days of 70 degree weather. Mother Nature at it’s best, some might say. However, I know a little eleven year old who was mighty bummed about it.

So, when she came to the house after feeding on Monday, with a grin as wide as the Grand Canyon, I knew something was up. In her hands she carried a cute little ball of kitten fluff. Of course, nothing can completely erase the disappointment felt at the bunnies’ demise, but if anything can ease the pain it’s a nose full of kitten fur!

Here’s to warm spring days and bright eyed new kittens!

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Trust

Trust

Recent events have given me reason to contemplate the importance of trust. Whether it’s the trust between friends,
the trust among colleagues,
or perhaps the trust between a girl and her horse…
without trust the relationship is damaged, often broken beyond repair.
Why is it that we all too often fail to take care of that one element on which all healthy interactions are based?

We are so quick to throw others under the bus in order to save our own skin. In this world of Common Core, high-stakes testing, and SLO’s, trust is apparently dead. Whatever happened to good old fashioned camaraderie? I wish I had an answer, but sadly, I don’t. Every day I see more and more of the disease that is eating away at the core of my workplace and I’m certain that mine is not the only district afflicted. What can we, the minions on the front lines, due to curb the damage done by those who seek to impose ridiculous standards on the youngest and most vulnerable citizens?

This photo is of my daughter Jillian and her horse, Jett. Between them exists an amazing amount of mutual trust. She trusts him to take care of her while she’s in the saddle, and he trusts her to do the same for him. Through this trust they learn from each other and together build a solid foundation on which to move forward.

Is there a reason the government can’t trust me to teach the students with whom I’m entrusted? As a reading teacher, my job is to help fill some of the gaps that weaken the foundation my students have built. More high-stakes testing and bullying by state mandates will only serve to create foundations that resemble Swiss cheese. I suppose I should be grateful. In essence the state is creating better job security for intervention teachers like me, since the students will be forced to suffer through unproven, unreliable, and unachievable standards. There has to be something we can do to bail ourselves out of this mess. The relatively meager State and Federal funding available is not worth selling out the establishment of public education.

We need to re-infuse our education system with the trust that is necessary to create lifelong learners, not life long test takers.