Archive for May, 2009

I sing

Posted in my life with tags on May 30, 2009 by tamishields

musical noteMy brother gave me this charm the Christmas after I got the bracelet. He got it because I sing. He and my sister were great at sports, I tried and wasn’t nearly as good so I decided to go to church and I joined the choir and I sang. I’m not great, but I’m not horrible either…I don’t think. Don’t worry, I’m not going to audition for American Idol or anything. But, I do like to sing.

Right now I am sitting on my couch watching “Duets”. Cheezy movie from 2000, come on Huey Lewis singing Karaoke with Gwyneth Paltrow…AWESOME! It makes me want to go to a karaoke night and sing. I have friends who have done it, but I’m just not sure I have the guts. Maybe one day. I do love to sing and I miss it.

Karaoke anyone???


If I had known…

Posted in my life on May 28, 2009 by tamishields

student teaching I don’t remember much about my student teaching experience. I mean I remember my supervising teacher, I vaguely remember a few of the students but what I do remember is a few of the projects I developed. Like the 8foot by 12 foot map of the 5 regions of the US that we all made out of burlap. The tepee that we turned into a reading corner and the “Poet Tree” that had poems written by famous poets and students on the leaves. I also remember wondering if this was really what I wanted to do with my life. Don’t get me wrong, I had a great time. I loved working with the kids and getting to be creative, but I just wondered if that was how I wanted to spend my professional life.  When the experience was over in December of 1996, I bought this charm, packed my car and moved to Chicago to see if I could handle snow and find a job before I got married the next June.

      Fast forward 13 school years later and I have just ended another year of teaching. People say if you do 5 years, you’ll stay until you retire. Almost 50% of teachers quit within the first 5 years. I haven’t quit. That’s not to say I haven’t thought of it, or wanted to, I just haven’t. I love what I do. I feel strongly about what I do and the impact I make on my students daily. I also feel strongly about being surrounded by people who love their job and want to make a positive impact on students. Thirteen years ago I thought all teachers felt this way. I now realize this is sadly not the case. Not all people who have a teaching certificate and occupy classrooms love their jobs. I believe they all think they are making a difference but in many cases they are not. It makes me sad. It makes me wonder what I can do and it often makes me want to quit. I feel overwhelmed by responsibility because I want to make up for all the teachers who aren’t doing what is best for the students. I don’t have any answers. If I had known then, what I know now, I wonder would I have ever walked into my first classroom? Would I have stayed past 5 years?

Summer beach trips

Posted in my life on May 25, 2009 by tamishields

For the past 5 or so years my immediate family has gone to the beach together in June. We usually leave the last week in June then are at the beach through July 4th. We go to Florida, Panama City Beach to be exact. Now, those of you who have Spring Break or other experiences here, leave those behind. This is pure family fun. We just hang beach feetout at the beach all day, come in for lunch, hang out a little more at the pool or beach then head to the Early Bird Specials with Dad for dinner.

During these beach trips, my dad puts his feet in the sand once, on the last day when we force him into a family picture. He is fair skinned and burns easily so he doesn’t do the beach. While we are beaching, he is napping, watching TV or riding around doing who knows what.

This year’s trip almost wasn’t. Since Dad died in January, we’ve all been trying to decide if we do a trip, if we do something completely different, what do we do? It was pretty well decided that we wouldn’t go until Mom started the conversation up again. She wants to go. She wants to play in the sand with her granddaughters and read books and relax surrounded by her kids. So, we’re going. It’s a tradition that I love, although I burn like my dad and have to lather on the 45 before I even think about the sun, I don’t like seafood, and the saltwater makes my legs breakout if I’m not careful. I still love spending time with my family and being away.

This year will be different without Dad. It will still be a beach trip with my family. For that, I am grateful.

What Summer family traditions are you grateful for?

Peace be with you

Posted in my life on May 7, 2009 by tamishields

doveThis is a charm I got from an aunt the Christmas after I got the charm bracelet. It’s not an aunt who has “been there” for me or done anything particularly warm and fuzzy, ever really. It is however the aunt who makes me want peace. The one that makes me think twice about what I say and how I say it. The one that helps me realize how the little things impact those around you even if that is not your intention. She makes me want peace.

Peace. Who brings it? How do you find it? When will it come? I work with kids who deserve peace. They deserve a world that lets them be kids. Where they don’t have to worry or even know about the adult mess that surrounds them. They deserve so much more than what they are getting, so much more than what I can give them. All I can do is shelter them while they are in my care. I can allow them to be kids while they are with me. I can encourage them to be silly and act crazy and do kid things like color and giggle. I can do these things, but there is still knowledge. I know many of them know more about the world than I do. They know more about being hungry, having no electricity, living with one parent, being pressured to do things, than I ever have. They think these things are normal. And what can I do or say about that?

I just pray for peace, for them.

Dogs and life

Posted in my life on May 4, 2009 by tamishields

weiner-dogFirst I must address the fact that this dog does not have his head. A good friend gave me this charm over 10 years ago and after much wear and tear, the bobble head (it really did move) popped off and I couldn’t get it back on. Yes, I do have a headless dog on my charm bracelet!

I grew up with dogs in the house. I don’t remember a time when we didn’t have a dog. There was Cookie, who was black with the oreo stripe down her chest hence the name, Gracie who I found at a church camp but she then ran away, I think there were some others but then came the family fettish with miniature dachshunds. Boz was our first. You can tell he was a dog of the 80’s because he got his name from a Brian Bosworth , aka The Boz (wiki him if you don’t know). Then a little after that we got Taffy…then after Boz died came Leroy and finally after Taffy died came Timmy. I won’t bore you with the details for the dogs, just know I grew up loving dogs.

So, imagine my shock and suprise upon finding out that the guy I was interested in, and eventually married, had never had a pet. Now he will tell you his brother had a pet turtle, to which I say…baha! The poor guy had NEVER had a dog…NEVER! So we had to have the talk. It went something like this:

Me: WHAT?!?! You’ve never had a dog?
Him: Nope
Me: Why not?
Him: We moved a lot.
Me: Well, I will have to have a dog. Well, actually I have 3 rules if we are going to take this date on to a second one (yes, it was our first date): 1. I can’t be a pastor’s wife, I don’t play the piano.   2. I don’t want children and don’t know if I ever will.   3. I WILL have dogs, at least one.

He married me anyway, and since then he got ordained, we had 2 foster kids and we have had as many as 3 dogs that belonged to us at the same time. We are down to just him being ordained and 2 dogs right now. I can’t imagine life without the furry pillows, cold noses, and black furballs in EVERY corner of our house! They make my house a home!

What rules did or will you take into your marriage?

13 years later…

Posted in my life on May 1, 2009 by tamishields

1st-yearI started my teaching career on the Southside of Chicago.  I got my first job teaching 3rd grade. I was SO excited!!! I quickly learned the school had always only had one classroom at each grade level but students were entering quickly and moving up so they added another each year. So I was the first, additional 3rd grade classroom in the building. There were no text books, only green chalkboards, and I was lucky enough to have an overhead projector. There were  Apple IIe s in the basement so I lugged a few up so my kids could start getting some computer skills, if you could call them that on and AIIe. As an aside, I just want to mention this was in 1997!!!! So, I found some floppies and my kids worked on some VERY BASIC compuer games as we ventured through 3rd grade together borrowing from anyone who had anything I thought I could use. At the end of the year, this is the charm I bought myself to remember my first year of teaching.

Fast-forward 13 years. I am now teaching 3rd grade for the 2nd time in my career. I have textbooks but don’t use them and have computers that my kids use daily and are quite impressive with if I do say so myself. I have a Promethean Board (an interactive whiteboard that rocks the house!) and I do things OH SO DIFFERENTLY than that first year. One thing that hasn’t changed, I still feel like I go to work every day and make a difference. I have always said, the day someone else could walk into my classroom, do what I do, and it not make a difference that I wasn’t there , is the day I walk away and find something else to do with my life.

Today, 13 years after I walked into my first classroom, the people I work with made me feel like it still makes a difference that I’m the one that is there. I was actually nominated and won our Teacher of the Year in a very close race against a fellow third grade teacher. It has been quite an honoring experience and I think I will continue to be humbled by the words of others. I wish my Dad were here to smile and say he is proud. I know he is!