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Finding Love Again

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Love

Today is Human Rights Day.  Ironic we have to set aside a special day, when it should be the norm. Human rights for all.  All the time.

We are Teachers. We are strong and mighty.

It’s time to find love again, doing whatever it takes. We’re all in this together. Let our collective voices “raise the roof”. We cannot sit idly by and watch divisive factors hurt our children, who are the core of our being as a nation and family.

Tonight I am writing from my heart and depths of my soul.  

I dedicate this missive to my unyielding belief in full inclusion and equity. We are one, deserving the rights and equal treatment accorded each of us alone and as a united people. By law. And doing what’s right.

The busy holidays also tear at us, feeling behind in life, yet enjoying the frenzy.

Stomach flu, a cold or two like coal in one’s stocking.  Inevitable.

We are Teachers. We are strong and mighty.

What a week!

Finding it difficult to discern news anymore. Playing Soundscapes, watching movies and reading a lot. Quiet.

Eugene is as diverse as diverse can be. Went to Ecstatic Dance at the WOW Hall. Very Zen and calming in the turbulence.

Drank a lot of tea. Ate soup. Take out Thai. Pondered world events and mostly, public schools and their fate.

The Homelessness here sucked at one’s marrow, in unending rain every day.

Cocooned.

My daughter’s car broke down and she walked home in freezing cold.

Storm.

Summoned to my kids’. Sleep-over through blustery days has been such a respite and extraordinarily happy time with my kids, Morgan and dogs. My side of Eugene has ice, trade-off for deer eating the scant berries and turkeys strutting in my yard.

I live by beautiful trails where I walk Gus, my big red standard poodle. I meditate and calm myself. Torrential rains negated our special time.

Caught a cold, missed school, only worked one day, finished reading a novel, hung out on Twitter and FB.  A mini-vacation.

Had an acupuncture treatment. Came to a halt.

Watched nearly non-stop episodes of ‘The Queen’ on Netflix.

Spent a lot of time with Go Noodle, dramatic play and reading with Morgan, a Kinder. She is still playing Bossy Teacher. Just like I did, so not much to say about that.

Zipped through her school Seesaw posts, just wonderful. Great teacher. Kids are learning sign language, Spanish and starting coding. They have tablets, and a plethora of stations and time to learn through developmentally appropriate play.

I am fascinated teaching Morgan, a lefty, how to form letters. Reading is clicking. She has an amazing library. I saved her mothers’ books just for her.

Signing holiday cards, placing stickers and stamps on the envelopes, counting and stacking was great practice. Morgan also got $5.00 which she put in her cash register. She’s using the money to have a family party Christmas morning and made up her invitations.

During my visit, Morgan taught me a variety of features on my phone and showed me how to use her Kindle. She almost found her house on Google Maps. Techie.

Metacognition about my life.

I always reflect in December, thinking back about this past year and all my years, my two conflicting sides, family and flip side, educators and students. I’m a couple days into it right now. So far, so good, mostly.

I still can’t fathom I ended up helping at preschool. My commitment’s made, efforts strong and mighty. Getting up a 5:30 am not so great, but once I get to school, I am in a bliss state and any doubts vanish.

I joined a fully included, multi-age school, diverse in nature with human rights at its very core.

We are Teachers. We are strong and mighty.

Election.  

Didn’t know whether Dept. of Educ. would be dismantled or gain voucher proponent at top, found out that one really quickly. Titanic?

Are we rearranging deck chairs or embarking on a completely different utopian course, future ready with a brand new deck of cards?

So many unknowns at the moment.

Speaking as a forty-six year teaching veteran, still with young children daily.

Speaking as a mother and grandmother, aunt, sister and friend.

Speaking out because we must all speak out for Human Rights.

And then they came for me. This cannot happen here. Bullying and harassment are illegal under Title IX and in a civilized nation.

We are Teachers. We are strong and mighty.

Finding love again.

That’s why we will succeed in the long haul, because together we find strength and mentors. When we doubt ourselves, others lift our spirits and help us re-connect.

We have our Vision, Mission and know there is no failure, only feedback.

Our belief that all children deserve a quality education is achievable, recognizing there are obstacles to overcome, one pebble at a time. We are a large, mighty force. We are Teachers.

Each day we find love again when we see our children shine. We are mama and papa bears, protecting vulnerable youngsters. We have a “duty to protect” and basic Maslow is still a reality. Resilience is one thing, but hunger is another.

First and foremost, children of all ages must feel safe, at home, at school and out and about the world. It’s up to us to make this a reality.

We are Teachers. We are strong and mighty.

Upgrade public schools, stop blame game.

Fully fund public schools, not vouchers.

Dump most standardized tests. Teachers know how to do formative and summative assessment. Put the money into classrooms.

Give teachers freedom and confidence; they are consummate professionals and deserve respect.

Lower class sizes. With more than 51% of America’s children living in poverty and more on the edge, schools must have money to work with, and fewer kids per teacher. Only makes sense.

We are all truly servant leaders, regardless of title and position. We serve extended families and learning community. We are naturally humble, for in humility we have empathy with others, especially diverse students who learn in varying ways and amounts of time.

Teaching For Transfer is a basic truth. Greatest teachers and leaders all model, check for understanding and offer timely topics that catch and hold interest. Practice makes permanent, so knowing pedagogy counts.

Teachers are so creative.  Encourage cultural environments where teachers are unleashed and find the joy of innovation and exhilarating creation.

Genius Hour, Maker Spaces. I believe in blended learning, project based learning, inquiry anything. Questions begin the search.

All children are great learners. Gardner, Dunn and Dunn, Carbo had it right.

Arts, Music, Movement. Take another look at relevant research connecting synaptic theory, emotional connection and need to know.

Schools are families. Family is family.

When all is said and done, family is the most important thing.

Most teachers at some time or other question school needs vs. quality home life.

Trade-offs are in order. Prioritizing is so important. No regrets later. I have a lot, I think about taking care of other kiddos and not being home for our four.

If we are indeed in a sort of technological, corporate revolution, it is inevitable that things are rapidly changing, minute- to- minute. And that is exhausting.

By focusing on school culture, climate and morale, our school family can weather any storm, find port, and sail smoothly as possible. No anchors can hold us back.

Our home family deserves us to be fully present also, this holiday season, putting aside our concerns and worries about the world around us. It is vital we relax, reflect, laugh, sing, dance and hold one another tightly. And affirm our love for one another.

Finding love again may be at school in a tumultuous year, reveling in all the wonderful learning and learners, lessons that worked perfectly.

Thanking ourselves for teaching hard-to-reach kiddos in our care and forgiving ourselves for one who ran away, couldn’t engage, stuff beyond us.

We are Teachers. We are strong and mighty.

Love and humility

I think now that love is the deepest form of humility. When we truly commit to another or what we deem a just cause, our humanity beams brightly, a beacon to all.

As winter storms pound us to the core, those natural and others people-created, may we remember the many blessings our professional calling continually offers, regain core values, strength and tenacity to stand for what’s right.

Great leaders exude love, encourage love and model love. What we do, matters. When we work quietly and gently, in a whisper of excellence.

When we lean a little. If cornered, play hard-core Jenga so tumbling pieces get righted in the jigsaw of school life.

Being humble guides us, drives us and puts protective white light around those in our care while we right the ship of excellence in The Perfect Storm. This time we make it out.  

It is grand that we are almost on vacation break. This is such a fun time of year for kids, us too. Love the crafts, learning celebrations and unfiltered joy. Bliss.

We are Teachers.  We are strong and mighty. But we deserve a break.

The best part of the holiday season is leaving our cares behind, festive, musical, fun-filled time and hopefully, time to rest. Then rejuvenate. This year I think we all deserve it.

Last night as winds howled, rains poured outside, inside our family decorated a beautiful tree, affirmed our holiday plans and played joyous holiday music, our bonds solidified.

Many blessings to you and your school and home families as the year draws to a close. Sending happy thoughts for a magical, carefree ending to 2016 and a toast to new beginnings!

On Human Rights Day, I thank you all for making a difference in the lives of children. What nobler cause could there be?

Leaving footprints on your reading hearts, Rita

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Modeling the art and craft of teaching reading for 46 years, Mrs. Wirtz taught language arts, speech and reading at all levels preschool-adult, including penal. She served as Pre-school and K-6 Principal. Rita was also a Curriculum Consultant, ESEA, Title I Program Evaluator and literacy trainer. At the university level she taught school administration in the Bilingual Cohort at CSUS and National University, Sacto. Mrs. Wirtz also taught all reading courses for Chapman University for many years in Sacramento and Placerville, Ca., and mentored student teachers. On the national level she was a well known motivational Keynote Speaker and Seminar Leader. Most importantly, Rita walked the talk, teaching with teachers in more than 500 K-12 and special needs classrooms. Rita authored books, publications and Pre- YouTube, videos were filmed by San Diego County Office of Education. Calif. ASCD authored companion book guides, and Calif. school districts correlated her basic skills instruction with State Standards. Mrs. Wirtz' newest book is Reading Champs! Teaching Reading Made Easy, a review of the basic building blocks of English and Reading. Rita is currently teaching in a multi-age, fully incuded preschool, ages 2-8. Find Mrs. Wirtz on Twitter @RitaWirtz, Facebook and website- www.ritawirtz.com.

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Guest Friday, 15 December 2017