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What I’ve learned my first year out of the classroom!

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Hi, My Loves∼

Hope your summer is off to a great start!!!

As you all know I left the classroom last November, as a teacher, but returned as a literacy coach working primarily with teachers in the classroom side by side focusing on everything literacy.  Not that I am an expert as I am still learning.

Most of my work involved having conversations with teachers and administrators to find areas in which teachers wanted to continue growing. With the hope that students would benefit academically.

Research shows that if we can get children on or above reading level in the early years before 3rd grade, their chances of success across the board increases.  We also know that reading – as cliche as it sounds – is FUNDAMENTAL.

“We know that children who are not kindergarten ready are half as likely to read well by third grade, and research has shown that quality pre-K has lasting positive impacts on children’s health, social-emotional, and cognitive outcomes,” said CLI CEO Joel Zarrow. “We are grateful for the opportunity to support teachers in implementing effective early literacy practices and fostering student growth so that more children enter kindergarten fully prepared. While CLI has been supporting pre-K instruction for over 15 years, RFA’s evaluation will help us to continue refining and improving our Blueprint curriculum and professional development so that we continue to see even better outcomes for students and teachers.” Children’s Literacy Initiative

Anyway with all that said I went into the classrooms armed with research and some best practice models to support teachers. Hopefully.

Now I have to say I was a little worried and maybe slightly intimidated, after all who was I to tell anyone that it could be done better.  My experience as a teacher reminded me that as  teachers we are very possessive of our classrooms and our students.

We already have plenty of folks telling us what we are doing wrong, so I wanted to make sure that I celebrated my teachers for all their accomplishments first and recognized the amazing work they were already doing.  I entered the classroom with a different approach – educators are always learning and growing.

Now I have to say that being on the outside looking in, I don’t really know how I lasted as long as I did.

Teaching has to be the most unappreciated profession out there.  Like literally at the bottom of the career totem pole.

It’s a wonder we even have people who still want to teach.

Talk about the pressures!!!  My teachers never knew from one day to the next what to expect.  They were bombarded daily with data, data, data.  They were bombarded with daily mandates to try this and or that,  never giving one thing a chance to see if it worked.  They were bombarded with daily walkthroughs by individuals – groups of individuals – who are so far removed from the realities that occur in the classrooms telling them “students are failing because you’re failing”.

Imagine going to work everyday knowing that others already thought you failed?!?!

I found myself clearly being able to empathize as I was fresh out of the classroom.

I would walk into classrooms to find my teachers rushing to meet deadlines, testing deadlines, bulletin board deadlines, pressure to increase reading scores with no regard to all it entails to be prepared to enter classrooms and teach all with a smile and hunched shoulders. Sad.

Let me explain to you all that is required to go into a classroom to teach your children.

Lesson plans so detailed that it takes hours and hours to prepare without a curriculum to fall back on or use as a resource.  Analyzing of data to see where they failed and what needs to be done to do better.  Testing on a weekly sometimes daily basis.  Differentiation of independent work time to 20 students sometimes more because a teacher is out for weeks sometimes months without a substitute.  Missed preps (planning time) that are crucial planning for teachers so they have less to take home.  Going into grade level meetings where you are not asked for your input but rather told what to do by people who do not know your kids.  Leveling libraries, posting student work monthly with constructive feedback students can’t understand.  Literally squeezing every minute, every second of everyday with so much “stuff” it’s too much to list.

My head spins just thinking about it.

All of this without one word of appreciation from ANYONE, sometimes parents included because they’ve been sucked into this culture of you need to pressure your kids to do more more more- some of which is not even developmentally appropriate.

And FYI, this is at the primary level, Kindergarten to 2nd grade, let’s not even talk about the upper grades.

Listen at the end of the day we all want our children to strive in schools.  To feel loved and cared for.  But isn’t it time to just stop and let teachers teach?  I thought if the goal is to get our students to love reading, why not let them read? Why not let them manipulate books? Why not let children develop a love of reading so they can desire reading? Why not allow teachers to model what reading is? Holding a book in a quiet corner of the classroom while everyone interacts with books.

Why is a 1st grader expected to think critically about books instead of enjoying them?

Anyway, I am getting off on a tangent, but you get the drift, right? I hope.

I don’t know if this is the end all, be all for me, however, I did learn that teachers really need a cheerleader in their corner and I hope I was that for the teachers I met and worked with. teacher7

They were one of the most caring, dedicated, and professional bunch I’ve ever worked with and I give them KUDOS for the work they do- day in, day out.

Teaching is not an easy task, it requires a person to really love it, to do it well.

So the next time you think about your child and teachers and schools remember this:

Teachers are not only educators, they are nurses, social workers, psychologists, and even parents to your children who you have entrusted to them for nearly 8 hours a day if you count before school and after care. teachers6

Teachers don’t need accolades.  I didn’t.  I just wanted someone to believe in me and that I was doing my best work, out of love.

So thank a teacher next time you go for a parent teacher conference, or an event a school or even merely seeing your child’s teacher out at Target or something.

I learned a lot this year and know I have so much more to grow and learn to do my best work.

One of my favorite quotes is from the Bible, 1 Corinthians 16:14, “Do everything in love.”

I know I try every time I walk into my school building and I know the teachers I worked with definitely do!

Thanks my loves for stopping by and reading.  Happy Summer!

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♥LolaUncorked

 

 

 

 

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Go with the ebbs and flows….

Hi, My Loves∼

Wow!  We are in December!!!  What the beejuz!!!  Why is time whizzing by so fast??  I mean why is that? July went by so nice and smooth and well paced. Then bam! I was . half way through August.  And here I am nearing the end of 2019!  Crazy.

So today we are talking relationships and boy what a convoluted yet can be simple topic, right??? Anyway, a while ago I asked some people to complete a survey for me because I had some relationship “stuff” percolating.  As you guys know I have no problem coming on here and putting it out there.

Not many of you responded to the anonymous survey, guess ya was too skeeerrddd (LOL) to put your stuff out there, but I had at least 10 of you respond in a very honest and open way.

I asked questions like:

  1. How long have you been with your partner?”
  2. How often do you have sex?
  3. Who initiates mostly?
  4. On a scale of 1-10 what’s the level of passion in the relationship?
  5. What are your thoughts on open relationships?

And here’s what I concluded from my very small sample.   And yea, I don’t care if it was a small sample, but I’ve had enough conversations with many others that gave me ideas. So let’s get to it! relationship5.jpg

I’ve been divorced for a hot minute and have had two serious relationships in the last 10 years.

As I’ve gotten older dating has become increasingly difficult because as we age we get very set in our ways.  If you spend enough time alone, that becomes the “normal.”

It seems that as much as we want “balance” in a relationship. It’s difficult to come by.  It’s either all or nothing.  It’s either they are all in or playing games.  There is always someone in the relationship who wants more, needs more, loves more.  And as much as some of you may think that’s a bad thing.  I think if you can come to some sort of agreement things can turn out better than you imagine, but you have to be wiling and open to renegotiating the relationship.  You can’t expect that your relationship will maintain the level of intensity it had throughout years and years.  relationship3.jpg

I told someone “take your relationships as learning experience” and they were offended.  They took it as meaning that they were an experiment or guinea pig and nothing else good came of it but a learning experience.  Weird.  Like why?  If we don’t learn from our relationships how are we supposed to learn about ourselves, how we interact, grow and do better next time around?

At the end of the day, people differently in relationships.  Relationships ebb and flows.

Yet our society bombards us with this idea that relationships always have to be on this all time “HIGH” – ALL THE TIME. And quite frankly the mere thought of that exhausts me.

Some people believe that if the level of intensity experienced at the beginning of a relationship doesn’t maintain then it means there is something wrong in the relationship. relationship6.jpg

In my most recent relationship this was an issue.  I am not an overly affectionate person.  I never have been.  Even with my own kids, it’s just not part of my DNA- to be touchy feely and hoochi coochie.  But it doesn’t mean my love is any less.  It just means I express it differently.

It just means that as I progress through a relationship, I go through different stages.  Sometimes I am all time high, sometimes I am sucked into real life  – work, bills, stress, self questioning, insecurity.  Sometimes I want to be babied and coddled.  Other times I want complete solitude to regroup and come back stronger.

But always learning and growing.  So here are some things I have learned:

  1. People express love differently
  2. For some people love is expressed through affection and words of affirmations. For others love expressed through acts of labor – taking out garbage, fixing things at home. For others its expressed through touch and sex. Everyone’s expression of love is different and it’s ok.
  3. Any relationship is a bonus to a person’s self growth and discovery
  4. And finally sex is not always going to be amazing, out of this world, star spangled banner, fireworks invoking kind of sex.  If your having that type of sex all the time, every time, like 4-5 times a week, then you must be an escort, you’re cheating or faking it.  Sorry not sorry.  I am just saying.

It is what it is.

Your goal should be that you are willing to have conversations about needs and find middle ground.  Being aware and in tuned to your partners wants and needs.  Finding balance so that neither feels they are putting in more than the other.  Sometimes all this works and you have a great streak and flow.  ebbsandflows

And other times you fall into a rut.  You get stuck.  You become stagnant.  Try not to live in that space too long.  Do something fun and exciting with your partner.  Dress up. Dress down. Go on a date night.  Stay in. Whatever it takes to get things moving. Relationships take WORK and EFFORT.

At least if you think its worth it anyway.

Thanks for stopping by lovies!

 

Don’t forget to like, comment, follow and share!

♥LolaUncorked

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We have the power to create a positive life…

Hi, My Loves ∼

Happy Wednesday!

I’ve been wanting to jump on here to talk about a great conversation I had this weekend about positive energy and visualization and law of attraction and all those buzz words about creating a better life.

I read a lot of personal growth books and listen to so many podcasts.  Recently, I’ve been listening to Eckhart Tolle and Oprah dissect A New Earth chapter by chapter.  For those of you who are familiar with A New Earth, it’s exactly about that- creating a new spiritual earth through our thoughts and actions. But more importantly this idea of letting go of the ego and staying in the present.

Anyway, I was asked this weekend if I really believed in this idea of being positive and 300848-Once-You-Replace-Negative-Thoughts-With-Positive-Ones-You-ll-Start-Having-Positive-Resultscreating positive energy. and law of attraction.  And how all that works out for me in my life.

The first thing that I want to say and said this weekend is that any type of spiritual practice requires daily and intentional focus in order for it create change.  We are human beings and we are prone to falling off the wagon- often.  Many times we give up and we say that’s it, but really what we should be doing is resetting and hopping back on the wagon.

At the beginning of this year I made a commitment to keep getting back on the spiritual wagon no matter how many times I fell off or how long I stayed off.

And this is what I’ve noticed.

Typically the beginning of the year is always a hard time for me financially.  It’s after the holidays, a time I overspent.  Sometimes I am backed up in my bills so I am playing a lot of catch up until income tax time.  Then income tax refund comes and I can’t really enjoy the refund because I am still playing catch up.  I spend a lot of the new year stressed out and worried about money.

This year has been a very different experience.  I’ve been blessed and abundant in so many ways and I know it has a lot to do with staying positive and letting go of the things I can not control.

  1. Stress is useless.  Really.  Stress is created when we worry about the things we can NOT control. The past nor the future. Listen I am not saying you shouldn’t give a crap if your past due on bills or making ends meet.  Try this exercise the next time you open a bill that you are like “Shit, I can’t pay this.”
    • Sit looking at the bill.  You can’t pay it right? So then what?  Does stress help you pay it? Probably not.  Does money appear from anywhere the longer you look at it?  No.  If you go to bed crying, can you pay it? No.

   What if you shifted your focus from the bill to what you already have –  your                     health, your cute little grandson, a job, etc.?  How does that feel the moment you            start being grateful for what you have?  There should be a shift in your energy                  because now you are focused on what is, not what could have been or will be                    because at the end of the day we have no control over those things.

2. Second is that the only person that can control my mood is me.  How often have you heard someone say “Ugh, he just totally pissed me off.”  Why?  The reason you’re still pissed off over someone’s actions is because you can’t control it.  And the reality is who cares?  I mean, why do we give people so much power over our emotions?

Let it Go.
Let. It. Go.

One of my favorite quotes is “People do the best they can with what they know.”  When I have an interaction with someone that has the potential of putting me in a bad mood, I repeat that quote over and over again until it doesn’t even matter anymore.  Does this make sense?  I hope so.

3. Lastly, I am the only person that can set the tone for my day.  If I say  I am going to have a great day, I pretty much always do by just making that statement.  Really, it’s true.  Because once I make that statement I pretty subconsciously take steps to make it happen.  I dress nicer.  I might put on a bright lipstick.  I play happy music on the way to work.  I post positive quotes on my social media.  I greet people with a smile, kind word and make eye contact. I mean I could go and on.

So going a back to my conversation this weekend, yes I believe that we create our own positive energy and that we can attract it.  Our minds are so much more powerful than we think.

I believe that if we staying the present moment and focusing on what is right here right now, we change the shift in our attitudes and moods.  Take every opportunity you can to give thank, for every little thing good or bad in your life. Because it all matters and serves a purpose.

Most importantly, remember it’s not how many times you start or try, it’s that you keep on that counts. Inspirational-Quotes-About-Being-Positive-And-Being-Negative

So with that all said, I challenge you today and for the rest of the week to get up each day, regardless of how terrible things may seem (because that’s an illusion) and commit to having a great day and being positive and grateful.  Then come in a week and tell me how it went.

See you soon!

LolaUncorked♥

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Welcome Spring -Decluttering your home, body, and soul.

Hello My Loves∼ Can we talk about Mother Nature?!?!  It’s about time this weather started clearing up.  There is just something about the Spring that evokes feelings of rebirth, cleansing, and renewal.  It’s in that spirit that I decided to do a little spring cleaning of my home, body, and soul.

Of course I have tried to come up with some simple and inexpensive ways to do this because Spring also comes on the heels of winter (HOLIDAYS) and we know we are all a little financially challenged around this time. LOL!!!

I’m just going to share some of the things I’ve done so far for my home, body and soul for zero to little dollars to start that cleansing process.  I also feel that after the whole “new year, new me” shenanigans, this is probably around the time that people have hit a plateau or fallen off the wagon so this is a great way to reenergize and start over!

Home:

  1. A fresh coat of paint goes a long way.  I focused on my living room first since that’s the entry point.  What a difference it was to go from a stone color to a very pale gray.  I hunt for “oops” paint from Home Depot, so I was able to pick up two one-gallon cans for $9.00 each.  I did pay someone to paint.  However, painting is super therapeutic and a great weekend project if you want to do it yourself.
  2. Throw stuff out!  If you haven’t used it in the last 6 months (I know some people say a year), but really just donate it.  Declutter your closets and your drawers.  Throw out all those single pairs of socks – they are NEVER coming back from laundry hell!
  3. Purchase new linens for your bathroom and bedroom, new sheets, towels, shower curtain make small differences and brighten things up a bit.  If your towels are still good try to incorporate a second color – for example, my old towels were shades of gray, so I went and picked up a couple of white and blush pink towels on sale at Target.  I took my old towels and recycled them to clean up, mop, and for car.
  4. I had a lot of dark bronze home decor, towel rack, three tiered shelf in bathroom, small mirror to name a few.  Instead of chucking them I picked spray painted them a brushed gold and they look like completely new pieces.
  5. Go through your kitchen cabinets and linen closet.  Check for expiration dates, old sunscreen, those hotel samples and throw them out!

These are some simple things you can do to start the decluttering process in preparation for Spring which leads to Summer.  And I know sometimes it is so overwhelming.  If you’re anything like me I want to do it all at once, but I didn’t want to clutter my mind more, right?

So I made a list of all the things I want to do at home and I tackle large projects on the weekend and smaller ones during the week.  My bathroom is done.  Check it out!!  I love it and it probably cost me less than $75 bucks to revamp.  (I’ll blog about it later!)

I’ve done things in the rest of apartment but haven’t finished yet, tackling my room this weekend, then kitchen, and lastly my living room.!  It is such a great feeling walking into my brighter, cleaner more springier space!

OH! One more simple thing you can do at home – REARRANGE furniture.  You’d be surprised I switched a couple pieces up and all of a sudden I see the whole space in a new light!

The Body

Now let’s talk about decluttering your body, literally! LOL

Listen we are on the heels of the holidays, Valentine’s Day, St. Patrick’s day.  And for me, also my 50th!  So the eating has been the worst.  So I decided to go on keto not too long ago, just to try and curb the carb and sugar cravings.

Of course I am not promoting Keto, but I am suggesting a change in diet as part of your physical spring cleaning….Try a one week detox or an egg fast (this is the big thing now).  Anything to get your body UN-stuck. Liquid cleanses are hard, but are great for cleansing those intestines and getting your digestive system moving.  The beginning of these are always challenging as your body goes through withdrawal making you feel sluggish, but the benefits at the end are great.

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Grabbed this at Kiehl’s. Great starter kit for $68.  The eye cream is everything!!

Other little things you can do are more self care, face sheet masks, hot baths with Epsom salt help to shed water, and body scrubs for some of those dead skin cells.  I’ve recently purchased some new products from Kiehls because I want to try some new face products  as it seems my previous ones wern’t giving me the results I wanted anymore.  Shampoos and conditioners are always a great place to start as well.

Once your home is decluttered, you need a happy invigorated body to enjoy it!!

The Soul

This is my favorite of course, because in order to enjoy all of the above, you have to get your soul right.  I find this especially important at this time of year.  It’s like coming out of hibernation after a long winter’s sleep.  I always have a variety of ways to do this.

The first thing I am doing is revamping my vision board.   See what has shifted in my life, what needs more focus, what I’ve checked off, how I’ve grown.  You can do this as a quiet Sunday project, get your materials, light some candles, meditate, reflect and visualize!  Or you can have a vision board party and bring that collective energy into the room!

Secondly, I’ve also committed to journaling more frequently, right after I meditate for a few minutes in the morning.  Many of us struggle with meditation.  I did for a long time, until I heard Eckart Tolle say that all meditating is, is paying attention to the breath.

One conscious breath in and out is a meditation.

Eckhart Tolle

When we pay attention to the breath we bring ourselves back to the present and when you’re in the present everything changes.  Try a guided meditation app if that helps.  I have an Alexa at home so in the morning and evening I ask it to play a guided meditation for me. It’s a great way to start and end my day.

I’ve found all those cute canvas prints about love, positivity and spiritually and I placed them strategically in my home where I see them on a regular – in my bathroom wall opposite my mirror, right on my nightstand, in the kitchen next to the coffee area.  These are just great reminders and act as daily affirmations to set up your day for success!

Lastly, pray.  I know, I know.  If anyone knows me I am not necessarily a religious person so this may come as a shock.  But honestly I pray all day long.  I give thanks, I express gratitude, I send blessings to everyone I meet, and I pray every single night.  Prayer is grounding and as I’ve gotten older, I’ve finally stopped questioning the Universe and God.  Because they always deliver.

Spring is a time for renewal and rebirth – I hope some of these tips help and hopefully you can share some I didn’t mention with me.

Happy Spring cleaning!  Thanks for stopping by.

LolaUncorked♥

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50 Things I Want To Do In My 50s

old-ageHi, My Loves∼

So as you all know I am turning 50 in about a week.  That’s a big one. It actually seems surreal.

You know how people often say, “Oh you don’t look like you’re 30, 40 or 50!” Like what exactly does any age look like? I am not sure what 50 should look or feel like.  I guess it feels exactly how I feel right now.

And I feel pretty awesome.  In a great place.  I love my job.  I have an amazing family.  A nice circle of friends.  I have health most importantly, but I feel like, and maybe some of you guy feel same- I feel like there are so many things I haven’t done. So I have compiled a list of things I want to do this year, experiences I want to have, places I want to go.

I’ve been really thinking about things I’ve always wanted to do and have not done yet. So in commemoration of my blogs one year anniversary – here is my list of  50 things I want to do in my 50s. (And these are not in any particular order of importance.)

  1. Do more yoga. Like aside from the physical I would like to know yoga with my yogaspirit.
  2. Go to Maine and eat lobster.
  3. Move to a nicer, bigger place. Maybe even become a homeowner.
  4. Skydive, though I don’t know if I’ll actually do it.
  5. Go to Europe, I’ve never been.
  6. Blog more.  At least once a week. Really grow my blog and hopefully do some influencing.
  7. Write. Start writing that book. About what? I’m not sure yet.
  8. Probably take some writing lessons in order to write that book.
  9. Run a marathon.
  10. Sell at least 5 homes this year.
  11. Go visit Graceland. I am a huge Elvis fan.
  12. Become debt free.
  13. Go on a family vacation with my girls and grandkids – something as simple as the shore.
  14. Volunteer more.
  15. Take a road trip cross country.
  16. Meditate more.
  17. Create a meditating space at home.
  18. Find a Buddhist temple near me and engage in some learning.
  19. Read more books- hard copies!
  20. Spend more time with my mom. Create some kind of a tradition/ritual with her.
  21. Journal EVERYDAY.
  22. Write a letter to Oprah. Don’t ask. Hopefully get a response.

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    Self-care is most important in my 50s.
  23. More self-care things like monthly massages and/or facials.
  24. Grow my hair and possibly let it gray naturally.
  25. Declutter. Really live minimally.
  26. See my dad more often.
  27. Learn some basic photography.
  28. Start a Vlog
  29. Send birthday cards to people instead of a social media post.
  30. Work out at least 5 times a week
  31. Move away from Facebook.
  32. Speak more Spanish to my grandbabies.
  33. Maybe learn another language – I love Portuguese, BUT I know some Italian, sooo maybe.
  34. Apply to be on a game show – I’ve done this several times (never made it) – the freaking application for Wheel of Fortune is insane.
  35. Play in the rain/mud.
  36. Spend more time down the shore
  37. Live a healthier lifestyle overall
  38. Learn how to swim finally!
  39. Quit drinking alcohol.
  40. Go parasailing.
  41. Take tango lessons.
  42. Create a daily practice of journaling, meditating, exercising, and eating healthy.
  43. Be kinder to people – smile more (guilty of RBF). LOL!
  44. Build my family tree (I did my DNA and it was sooo interesting).
  45. Go ziplining again – IT was amazing.
  46. Visit an ashram.
  47. Visit more bookstores.
  48. Celebrate NYE on an island somewhere.

Isn’t this list amazing?  Now listen, clearly I can’t do all of this in ONE year, but you best believe I am starting.

I will reflect on this list throughout this year and make sure I am making moves to check off these 50 items off my bucket list in my 50s.

What’s on your list of things to do?  You don’t have to wait until your 30, 40 or 50 to start your list and to start checking off those things that stir your soul.

Life is so short and in my almost 50 years, I’ve seen how quickly a life is snuffed out whether to disease or accident.  I have been blessed thus far and I’ve done a lot, but there is more I want to do and plan to do!

Someone I knew once said, “Don’t wait for another day or another hour or another time.  Go and Do It. Now” – Kyrzayda –

So just watch me guys!  Here’s to 50!

Happy birthday to me!

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Cheers to me!

Thanks for stopping by and reading.  Make sure to like, comment, share and follow!

LolaUncorked♥