Archive for April, 2009

Do you remember?

Posted in my life on April 30, 2009 by tamishields

911I have always thought you had to be old to be able to answer the question, “Do you remember where you were when…?”. I do NOT consider myself old but I very distinctly remember where I was on September 11, 2001. At the time I was in my 5th year of teaching in Chicago. As I was getting ready to go to work, Adam told me a commuter plane had crashed into one of the Twin Towers in New York. In my mind, I remember thinking “That’s why I hate flying small planes”. By the time I got to work, I was greeted at the front door by a volunteer who asked if I had heard what was happening in New York. I told her, yes that I had heard on the news about the commuter plane that crashed. She said, another plane just hit the other tower.

At the time I was the technology coordinator so I was sent upstairs to set up my room as a base. I was to get a TV from one of the classrooms and start watching. By the time I got the TV in and set up, the real news had come in. It wasn’t commuter planes, and it wasn’t an accident. The kids came to school. The teachers flocked to my room every chance they got. The 8th grade teachers signed up for times to bring their kids into the lab so they could watch a little of the coverage and understand what was happening. All day, the speculation was flying. Will Chicago be next? Downtown was closing, parents were calling and wanting to come get their kids, people were scared.

I remember wondering if the kids would remember where they were when they saw the coverage. If they would remember my face, talking to them about what I had heard before they arrived so they knew what was happening. Would they remember getting picked up early by frightened parents in some cases? What would they remember about the day?

I don’t remember their faces. I remember wishing the teachers wouldn’t bring them anymore. Wishing I could turn the TV off and stop watching for just a little while, but not being able to because someone was always coming in. I remember being at peace and not being sure if Chicago would be next, but not being worried about it. This charm was bought a few weeks after September 11th. It reminds me of the day that made me long not for a war that might bring peace, but just long for peace. For harmony among all people.

I remember where I was…do you?


How I became a teacher

Posted in my life on April 29, 2009 by tamishields
This used to say UGA
This used to say UGA

After graduating from high school I decided to get a degree in Social Work and become a social worker at DFCS. My family took in foster children for about 8 years before my mom went back to work and I had seen so many kids leave our house to go back to the madness they had been originally removed from. So I decided I wanted to help these kids. I wanted to be involved in making sure everything possible was being done for them! My freshman year I took the requisite pre major classes then by my Sophomore year I was to take my first class in Social Work. I was fortunate to actually get into the class being taught by the dean of Social Work.  As the class began within the first couple of weeks we had to discuss what past experiences we had with Social Workers, etc. and eventually we had to write a paper about why we wanted to be a social worker. I don’t have the paper anymore and can’t remember exactly what I said in the paper, but I do remember being called into the dean’s office. I know I said something about how I believed that we were all called to “do unto the least of these” and that I considered these children my mission and other stuff, I’m pretty sure I put the word Jesus in there a few times too. I remember him looking me directly in the face and saying, I needed to find a new major. I sat there stunned! He said there was no place for my religious beliefs in Social Work. My heart sank, ever since I as in middle school, this was what I knew I wanted to do, what I was being called to do. I didn’t have a plan “B”. I don’t know that I said anything at all.

      I do know that shortly after that conversation, I did some research and decided that I would only lose one quarter if I changed over to be an Education Major. So, I changed. You know that crazy saying when God closes a door, He opens a window. In my case I believe it was a porthole that He closed and a double garage that He opened…and 16 years later, I’m still SOOOO glad he did! Those children who need a Social Worker to report on what is happening in their lives once a month or so, are in much more need of a teacher who will love and respect them for 7 hours a day, every day! God knew what He was doing,  I just didn’t. And that my friends, is how I became a teacher!
How did you become what you are today?


Posted in my life on April 28, 2009 by tamishields

shark1The February after I turned 30 we stumbled upon foster parenting 2 boys. They were brothers. 11 yrs.  old and 12 yrs. old. They were the grandsons of a woman in our church who had custody of them at the time because their mom had lost custody and was working on getting them back. The Grandmother got into some trouble with the police and the boys needed a place to stay. So we got involved. We became their Godparents in a “quick sign the document” meeting because the boys were coming to our house that night. Our understanding from their social worker was that the Mom was within months of getting the boys back. Let’s just say the social worker turned out to be a very unethical person and we had the boys for longer. In the first month, the oldest got suspended because a student was talking about his mama and we knew we were in for a crash course in parenting or our variation of it. The younger boy was seeing a therapist because well, he was 11 and had imaginary friends. Not your ordinary ones, his imaginary friend was Smeagol from Lord of the Rings! Nuff said, the kid had issues. We had rocky times but for the most part were very glad to have had the experience.
       We had the boys for a total of 9 months and during the summer of 2004, we decided to get permission to take them with us on a beach trip to Dolphin Island, Alabama. The boys were SO excited! They had traveled from Chicago to Georgia with us for Spring Break, but this was their first trip to the beach. The only water they had seen was Lake Michigan. Which is kind of like an ocean cause it has waves but not quite the same impact. They LOVED rolling around in the sand, digging up crabs, making sand castles, AND they learned how to swim, with snorkle masks in the ocean. It was awesome. One day while playing out on some rafts we saw something in the water. The boys yelled “SHARK”. I quickly told them not to yell that at the beach, I was sure it was just a big fish or something floating in the water.  Of course, when I turned around, I saw the tale tell fin swishing back and forth. Let me stop and not lead your imagination astray. It was a 3 1/2 foot shark! Not big enough to eat us but big enough to take off a toe or finger and we didn’t stick around to find out. We quickly made our way back to shore, gathered the family around and proceeded to follow the shark up and down the beach for about the next hour.
In honor of our boys, who left us that November of 2004 to go back and live with their mom, I got this charm. I’ve never wanted children of my own, but I do so love helping other people’s children feel loved and feel like there is some hope! That’ s one of the reasons I became a teacher…but that’s another entry for another day!

…my heart sank

Posted in my life on April 28, 2009 by tamishields

So my students are making up word problems to give each other. One table started to make up the following problem: Mrs. Shields has 21 pieces of candy. Her Mom and Dad both give her 21 pieces of candy. How much candy does she have now?

They changed the problem. I thought they changed it because my Dad died over 3 months ago…my heart sank.

They really changed it because I don’t eat candy or sugar for that matter. They decided to change candy to chalk and my teacher friends gave me more. The funny thing about that is we don’t have ANY chalk in our room…we have a Promethean Board…faulty logic kids!

A little about my charmed life

Posted in my life with tags , , , , on April 26, 2009 by tamishields
When I turned 21 I got a charm bracelet from my parents with my first 2 charms on it. I have always been a journaling kind of girl who wants to remember everything and I thought having a charm bracelet would be a cool accessory and help me remember things that happened in my life. So, I figure the best way to tell you about me, is to tell you about my charm bracelet.
blurry but you get the idea

blurry but you get the idea

We’ll start with my first 2 charms. One was a cross, the other was the heart with the dove. I wanted the cross because I wanted to show others that I believe that Jesus’ death on the cross saved me from myself. I wanted to heart with the dove because I hoped, even back then that my heart would always find peace. So there you have it, my first 2 charms. Somtime  a couple of years ago I looked down and realized the cross was missing. It had gotten bent a few times and I had always been afraid it would break off, and it had. Now, as I think about it, I pray that others don’t need to see a cross on my wrist to know that I believe that Jesus died for me and is my Savior. I hope they can see it in my actions and my words. I know this is not always true, but I hope more often than not, people know whose I am.