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Why I decided to leave the classroom….

Hi my loves!  I am so excited to announce that I am officially leaving the classroom after almost 14 years!

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On my way to a new adventure…. PC | geri1221

I did it!  I am so excited to venture out into something new, though leaving my longest running job is bittersweet and scary.  Notice I called it a job,  not a career, because that’s really what it has become for me.  A job I had to go to so I can have an income and be an adult.

I was passionate and excited about teaching maybe 3 out of the 14 years I’ve done it. In the short time (and I say that in comparison to friends who have been teaching for over 20 years) the shift in education has been disheartening and disenfranchising.   

It seemed that every year there were new initiatives and mandates put into place by individuals so far removed from the classroom they wouldn’t survive a day. 

A profession that commanded the highest level of  respect back in the day has now placed teachers at the bottom of the societal totem pole.

Why did I stay so long? Well, #1 I racked up tons of student loans to pursue what I thought was a respectable and rewarding career.  And I needed to pay them off.  (Which I haven’t). #2 I was working on a pension and retirement.  And  #3, most importantly, because every year I really believed something would reignite in my soul and I would be like “Woohoooo!”  Sometimes it did, but that fire quickly simmered down to a dying ember.  Sad but true.  

I went back to school for two reasons: One my kids, my girls.  I kept saying how do I instill in them the importance of education if I hadn’t placed importance on it myself.      

The second reason is that while working at Montclair State University in their education center, this professor who later became my boss, mentor and friend, looked at me one day and said, “You HAVE to go back to school!  Let’s get you a PhD!”

Ha! Really???  I was just trying to wrap my mind around a bachelor’s degree.  Especially since at that point, I already had two kids and worked full-time.

That’s where it all started.  In retrospect, I really loved what I was already doing   supporting teacher candidates, graduate assistants, my boss and other faculty in the teacher education department.  But, I believed in order to be credible in the field of education, I had to get my teaching degree and get some experience in the trenches.  And boy did it feel like the trenches!   

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And who are the experts? The front line – teachers!

Little did I know that the disconnect between theory and practice is so wide that I could have totally stayed in my job and done an amazing job supporting others.

But we live and we learn.  Now thousands and thousands of student loans later,  I have eagerly decided to hang up my dry erase markers (yes, because I don’t even have a Smart Board this year) and leave the classroom.

I haven’t loved it in a very long time.  I’ve had moments of love and passion for sure, but those feelings were repeatedly squashed by over zealous administrators, red tape, favoritism, nepotism, sexism, to name a few.

Each September, I kept thinking:

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I’ve done a lot of thinking and praying about making a move….

“This year, I will feel completely supported and prepared to service my kids.”

“This will be the year that the powers-that-be finally decide to back off and just let me teach.”

“This will be the year where the assessment is aligned to the curriculum to the state standards to my students’ language levels and abilities and culture and backgrounds.”

That year never came.

And so I’ve decided to leave, not completely leaving the profession.  I will still be in an educational setting but working for a non-profit corporation that supports literacy practices in a public school setting.  I am EXCITED!

But I wanted to leave administrators, instructional coaches, superintendents, curriculum writers, parents and policy makers with this:

Before you criticize or demonize (as has happened to many of us) a teacher, think of the task you are asking teachers to take on – educator, mother, nurse, social worker, psychologist, interventionist, for pennies a day.

Before you jot down that 1 or 2 on a teacher’s observation report, because you as an administrator need to show data growth think about what that 1 or 2 does to your teacher’s motivation level and how that impacts his/her work in the classroom.

Before you go on your walk thrus change your mindset from a negative one to a postive one so you can catch all the good that is going on versus the one or two things that might be going wrong that day.

Before you give feedback to a teacher about what to make better, make sure its something that you yourself can go in there and model and do well.

Before any of you make another policy regarding children and schools, spend ONE day in a classroom where there are 25 1st graders some with classifications that are not being serviced, no books, no reading rug, no supplies, whose parents don’t speak the language or have limited education or work 15 hour days, where all the kids are on different academic and behavioral levels.  One day!  I can guarantee many wouldn’t last a half.

Listen, I am not asking for pity on teachers for the work they chose to do, what I am saying is to be a little more empathetic and thankful for the work teachers are doing day in and day out across the nation.

I don’t know what this new career will bring for me, but I can say that I was able to recognize that I could no longer go to a place where every morning it felt like a chore and every evening was filled with anxiety thinking of the next day. 

I recognized that I was doing my students and myself a huge disservice going there.

I have made some amazing friends and have met some amazing teachers doing amazing work despite all the people working against them and I wish them continued success.

I leave you with this thought: 

“I think that education in our country is going to self-combust and when the dust settles, my hope is that those “others” will finally let teachers teach.”

Thanks for stopping by.  Remember to like, comment, follow and share!

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LolaUncorked♥

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We are raising (insert 8 letter word – starts with A and has two Ss)…

Disclaimer: As you will be able to tell this blog was written on Friday.  Due to my daughter’s baby shower it just sat waiting to be revised. Hence, the Happy F-ing Friday! LOL

This week I was completely enchanted (good word) when:

  1. I walked into a bar and someone who follows my blog came up to me and was like “What the hell?!?! You haven’t posted a blog since May 10!!” It was May 15th.  She continued on to say that she went onto the blog at work looking forward to a new post and was totally disappointed not to find one. (Insert tear here).

   MY blog guys!  She looked forward to MY blog.  I feel like this officially makes me a     blogger!!!!blogger

2. I was speaking with a co-worker who I invited to read my blog back when I started.  She never mentioned it.  After a seriously rough day at work (I recognize I am blessed, but still it was rough) she said, “OMG, Ms. Formentin!” She still calls me that making me feel all old and shit.

Anyway, she was like “I have been reading and following your blog and I love it!

“I especially like the one about the guy with the socks.” LOL.  She said it is so relatable and “I love how you express yourself.”  (insert second tear here)

Both of these made my day and it reminded me that I need to be more consistent with my blog.  And so here I am!  Because it really is all about connecting with people.  The images, the followers, the comments – THOSE are all secondary, maybe even third on the list of why and how I want to grow this thing.

Anyway, so here I am!  Happy FUCKIN Friday!  Yes, HAPPY FUCKIN Friday! What a week!!

I need to talk to you guys about our kids! Kids growing up now. Little boys and girls. The little monsters that we are creating!

As you all know I am educator.  I am in my 13th year of teaching.  Three years longer than I originally anticipated.

I’ve taught 1st, 3rd, 4th and 5th grades.

I’ve taught in urban and suburban schools.

Over the span of my thirteen years in teaching, I have witnessed what I describe as an epidemic decline in the integrity of our children.  This is manifesting itself as a severe lack of empathy for others. I know I sound dramatic, but that’s because this current situation is serious.

Every year, educators all over the world, face behavioral challenges in their classroom.  Author included.  However, I have never experienced some of the issues like the ones this year.  Challenges is definitely an understatement.

These kids are downright rude, disrespectful, inconsiderate and mean.  BULLIES!!! (Another disclaimer: Not all of them.  A select few.) .

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There’s actually a book about it!

They have no fear of authority.  They talk back.  The mock.  They mimic.  They hit.  They gossip.  They walk out of classrooms.  Talk about teachers to their face.   They want to have the last word.

OMG! I am a grown ass woman and let me tell you I still fear my mom.  These kids do not care.  And they will tell you.

  • I don’t care about my grades.
  • I do it because I want to.
  • I do it because I can.
  • She’s so annoying and ugly. (Talking about a sub)
  • You’re a ________________ (insert N word here). (Yes, the “N” word!!! At the 4th grade level.)
  • This is boring.
  • I just want to go home.

The responses run the gamut.  I’ll tell you what, had I ever responded this way to any adult and it got back to my mom, you best believe I would not be here today.  Back then it was a community affair – that saying, “It takes a village to raise a child.” village.jpeg

My brothers grew up in the Dominican Republic.  I remember one time they were acting up on the way home – I don’t know what.  But I do remember that by the time they got home, my uncle had heard about it and he took a branch right to them in the alleyway.  Yup.  Community affair.

The crazy thing is I can’t even blame the kids today because as we all know this is LEARNED behavior.  Kids are born with a clean slate.  Yes, some traits are inherited but we also know most traits are learned.

Who are the real culprits here? Parents!  Parents in combination with technology are single- handedly ruining this generation of children.  And I believe it is going to get worse before it gets better.

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Put the technology down and TALK to your kid!

As parents we are so wrapped up in whatever it is we wrap ourselves up in – careers, fitness, homes, making money, travel, socializing – that we forget that our single most important job is – OUR KIDS!  If you’ve been blessed to have them.  Raising them, loving them, protecting them.

Clothing and putting a roof over their heads does not make us parents.  Loving alone  does not make us parents.  Making sure our kids go to school does not make us parents.

Parenting involves talking to our kids and engaging in conversation.  Listening attentively without the phone in our hand.  Being present.  Listening to both the spoken and unspoken words.   Modeling behavior like speaking properly, helping the elderly, volunteering, kindness, dressing age appropriately. The list is endless.

We think that because kids are absorbed in their technology that they are not paying attention to us, when in reality, I feel like they are way more aware.  It’s like the brain is soaking up the conversations around them and being filed for later use.

Have you ever had a conversation with let’s say your best friends while your child is playing on an iPad or smart phone nearby?  You think your kid is completely absorbed paying you no mind.

A few weeks later your kid will ask something like, “Who got arrested?” or “Oh, like daddy’s friend who went to jail?” You’re like mouth-wide-open because you swore at the time he wasn’t paying attention.

THIS IS TRUE STORY.  My grandson Max did this.  He will bring things up a week or two later that he subconsciously listened to and stored.

It’s the same thing with behavior.  You may think that when you are cursing out the salesperson because they were rude or disrespectful or just having a bad day, that you’re teaching your kid to defend himself, when what you’re actually modeling is to be rude and disrespectful.  If you’re not explaining why you are doing what you’re doing, and this is your pattern, it becomes their pattern.  kidadults

What do you think happens when you call that kid’s teacher and lie that the child was sick and that’s why he didn’t finish his work?  But in reality he was fine.  The child learns to lie, to make excuses, to not take responsibility for anything because his parents got his back.

Your children spend a good portion of their day in the classroom with teachers, other adults and other kids.

There is nothing uglier to me than that kid that E V E R Y O N E knows because of his shitty behavior.  Parents THIS is NOT cute.  Start modeling the behavior that you want to see.  You want an honest child, don’t lie.  You want chivalrous young men, open doors.  You want a classy daughter, don’t be twerking and then posting that shyt on social media. PARENTS BE WHAT YOU WANT THEM TO BE

Look I am not and haven’t been a perfect parent.  We all make mistakes. But as we grow older and we see this overwhelming inundation of technology and the effects it is having on our children, we need to be more mindful of the things we say and do in front of our children.

Because once that foundation is rooted, it becomes twice as difficult to undo.

Just don’t be the parent with the a*@hole kid!

This is one of my favorite quotes about kids! We have no idea how we damage our kids…

“All parents damage their children. It cannot be helped. Youth, like pristine glass, absorbs the prints of its handlers. Some parents smudge, others crack, a few shatter childhoods completely into jagged little pieces, beyond repair.”
― Mitch AlbomThe Five People You Meet in Heaven  

LolaUncorked♥

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Because you are worthy and deserving..

Hey! Guys and Gals!  Happy Friday! Happy Memorial Day Weekend!  Happy long weekend! Happy almost end of the school year to my fellow teachers everywhere! There is light at the end of the tunnel.

However, that light for many teachers is a dim and “POOR” light.  Summer is a struggle for lots of teachers.  Even teachers who set up summer bank accounts somehow manage to run out of funds two weeks before September.

Recently, I was thinking of my impending summer break and my bank account.  And you now how that is: One thought led to another.  I thought of how much money I needed for summer bills, then to having to dip into the little savings I have, to finally thoughts of the realization how “poor” I really will be and should stick to peanut butter and jelly.

And like all crazy folks I started thinking about why I didn’t have more. Why can’t I be rich? How does so and so have so much making less?  Right? We all do it.  Am I not good enough, smart enough, savvy enough to have more?  We start thinking there is something wrong or some reason why we are unworthy and undeserving of having more.  Perhaps we are repaying a karma. Who knows?

But, why do we believe ourselves unworthy and undeserving off all the wonderful things we want?

Why do we believe we don’t deserve that awesome house? or job? or car?

Why do we believe we don’t deserve to travel to our hearts content? Or get paid what we believe we’re really worth at work?

Why do we believe that we don’t deserve a fantastic relationship with a wonderful loving partner who takes care of us mentally, physically and spiritually?

I’ll tell you why – because we live in a society with a scarcity mindset or a scarcity mentality.

Many people have what’s known as a scarcity mindset or scarcity mentality. In the simplest terms, the scarcity mindset is the belief that there will never be enough — whether it’s money, food, emotions or something else entirely — and as a result, your actions and thought stem from a place of lack. 

https://www.debtroundup.com/scarcity-mindset-keeping-you-poor/ Jul 16, 2014

Currently, only 3.5 million (or 3.5%) of the 100 million households in America are considered wealthy.  As of 2016, there were 43.1 million people living in poverty in the U.S.  That leaves approximately 53 million Americans that are supposedly “ok” financially.

Of course, this is based on a poverty line of $25K for a family of 4.  I mean can even one person live on $25K a year? Probably not, making that 53 million totally skewed.

Anyway, back to this scarcity mentality.  With all this said, yes we live in a society where we hoard whatever we have or come into because we are afraid there isn’t enough to go stephen-covey-570749around. We don’t care if in that hoarding we are taking away from someone else because it is every man for himself in this country.

 

What we don’t realize is that our thoughts create our reality.  If we believe we don’t have enough we will attract not having enough.   Our universe and everything around us is energy.  Our thoughts are energy.  Our words are energy.  Emotions are energy.  From science class we know energy  makes things happen.

Energy lights up a bulb.  Energy makes a car move.  Energy makes our pulse quicken and our heart pump faster.  Energy makes our thoughts turn into reality because what we focus on is what we manifest.

When we think we don’t have enough, we begin to behave as if we don’t have enough.

Folks!  Listen up: There is more than enough food, money, and love to go around!!!!!  It’s a matter of thinking it into existence!!!

Think about this scenario: Have you ever been up at night stressing over your bills and bank account?  Maybe you stay up all night thinking about it.  Tossing and turning. You lose sleep.

You are so exhausted in the morning you might oversleep and get to work late – getting yourself in trouble with your boss.  Your tone for the day has unfortunately been set and you keep falling deeper and deeper.

You’re so cranky you snap at co-workers or clients (maybe killing a deal).  You are so exhausted you can’t focus or complete a project – getting yourself in further trouble with your boss. 

All this negative energy continues impacting your performance (over time) and before you know it, you’re let go and NOW you really are in lack because you’re not getting a paycheck.

Listen, this is an extreme, but not far-fetched.  This is how our thoughts create our reality.  You think so much about scarcity and lack eventually you really end up lacking. However, this whole scenario could have and would have played out differently if our thoughts about it and reaction were positive.

But wait, know that these thoughts and feelings are not rooted in money itself.  They are rooted in feelings of unworthiness.  Feeling that we don’t deserve EVERYTHING we desire because of a bunch of baggage we have been carrying around for years.

If you want to get all the things you desire, first and foremost, be grateful for everything you have because at the end of the day someone has less – way less!

Believe that you already have whatever it is you are wanting. Act as if you already have it by giving thanks for it.  Visualize having it, feel the feelings of joy of owning it.

This is not only for material things. This works for that relationship you want.  It works for emotional and mental health.  Speak it into existence.  Don’t worry about how or when its coming just be thankful that it’s already here.

This sounds like mumbo-jumbo but the energy and thoughts you create when you are feeling happy and abundant attract more things that will bring you those feelings.

There is enough to go around and the moment you think it, see it, speak it, it is yours.

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♥LolaUncorked