Monday, October 10, 2011

10 People in 10 Days: Our School Families

Monday, October 10, 2011
10 People in 10 Days
Our Schools/School Friends

Okay so, I really don’t feel like writing a blog post tonight. That being said, I realize that I must. I have people who read this blog religiously and they would be very sad if I didn’t post.

Before I begin, I must tell you why I don’t feel like writing. Aside from being tired and emotionally drained – I realized last night that I am utterly homesick. It’s not where we are. We like our little city very much. It’s clean and most everybody is very friendly. We have most of the same conveniences we have at home. My homesickness has nothing to do with our location being where it is…it just has to do with the fact that I am not home. We have been in this country for 24 days. Apparently 3 weeks is my threshold for tolerating missing my home. So, it comes as no surprise to learn that, when faced with another 16 days here (at best!), I get a little flustered. Well, last night I had a long talk with God, a good cry and today I felt much better (for more information read Isaiah 40 v 25-31 and Matthew 11 v 25-30.)

Today we woke up at our usual time, got dressed, and rode the 45 minutes to the institution. The thought of bonding with Sterling is one of the only reasons we chose to stay here during the 10 day wait. It’s also, at this point, what keeps me going.

So, imagine our surprise (and total disappointment) to find out that our son (in fact his whole institution) is on quarantine…for 5 days. Those are the last 5 days of our 10 day wait. Apparently, there is “the epidemic of the chicken pox” in his institution. So, for lack of a better more refined way of saying this, that sucks. Currently, Sterling does NOT have chicken pox. We don’t know if he has had them already so we HOPE and we PRAY that he DOES NOT get chicken pox. Aside from not wanting my child to be miserable there is also the possibility that that could keep us here even longer. I have no desire to be on the extended adoption program…I miss home.  

So, if you could please find a few minutes to say a little prayer for us and for our little man, I would greatly appreciate it!

On with the show…today for the 10 People in 10 Days Blog we recognize:

Our Schools

Brian and I are both teachers. Parents send their children to us every day with the expectation that we will care for, look after and teach their children. Teaching is a HUGE responsibility. And it isn’t one that either of us takes lightly. We both LOVE our jobs.

I teach at an elementary school in a suburb of Orlando, Florida. I LOVE my school. We
are a new school and this is only our 3rd year in existence. The principal that opened our school did a magnificent job hiring (and I’m totally biased here because he and I worked at the same schools before opening this one) so I am blessed to work with people I have known for as long as 7 years. These are people whose friendships I truly am honored to have. I mean, really, where would I be without Judy Callan? She was there for my first year of teaching and I am lucky that she is with me again. And she is only one. When the school opened – I counted that I knew and had worked with over half of the staff at some point in my teaching career. It makes my job fun and I LOVE going to school every day. We really have a family mentality as far as staff goes.

Another thing that makes going to school FUN is that I am on the BEST TEAM I have EVER been on. For once, everyone just gets along. We have disagreements (everyone does when you have 6 opinions to figure in) but we always work them out and no one holds grudges. We just work through everything. It’s a nice change of pace from teams I have been on in the past. My team has been ultra supportive of my time away. When I chime in on an email that is work related – I get told to get off work email and go worry about my boy (thanks Paige!) What they may not realize is that I only get to visit him for an hour to an hour and fifteen minutes a day. I would LOVE to still be helping…I actually could probably help writing lesson plans and planning projects and rubrics (especially now that I can’t visit!) but I’m not sure they would let me… We will see where this post gets me! LOL.

My administrators have been great through this whole experience too! It is hard to plan a sub and line everything up when you are given less than two weeks notice that a teacher is leaving. I think, actually, that they only had a week. I have had very positive responses from them and I believe that they are genuinely happy for us (even if they aren’t genuinely happy that I am away.) I can’t thank them enough for their understanding and patience during this whole process. Adopting is founded on a bunch of unknowns…and they were so willing to roll with the punches. For that I will be forever grateful.

I can’t talk about school without talking about my class. I think I can honestly say that in 8 years of teaching, I have finally hit the JACKPOT on classes. I am currently teaching in a 5th grade classroom for gifted and high achieving students. When I left, I only had 17 kids (I hope that hasn’t changed!) This group of kids is phenomenal. They are a lot of fun. The personality differences make for an interesting group but I’m sure we will have a great year. I hate that I had to leave them so soon in the school year (only 3 weeks in) and I really hope and pray that the sub is doing a great job of reaching them. The parents of my students were all very supportive about our adoption as well. Before I left, I sent an email and a letter explaining our situation. I can’t tell you how many emails of congratulations I got. I really cannot WAIT to get back into that classroom and back to teaching my kids. I’m not normally one to share my students very well (I am a very possessive teacher) so this whole leaving them thing has been hard.

Okay, enough about my school. I think it is obvious but I will be redundant and say that I am thankful for the support the teachers, administrators and parents have given me while we add Sterling to our family.

This is the first time I am doing this…and I can’t take responsibility for what happens…But I am handing this next part over to Brian. I cannot put words into his mouth so he will have to tell you how his experience with his school has been.

I teach at what I think is the best high school in all of Central Florida. This is my 10th year of teaching at the school and I couldn’t be happier. I work with tremendous people and have made many friends over the years. They were all very supportive of me and this adoption when I shared the news at the end of last school year. I really miss the members of my math department. I miss seeing Lauren in the morning on her way to her classroom. I miss eating lunch with my fellow math teachers. I miss the pop-ins by Mike. I miss my pop-ins to Lindsay’s class. Now, I know what you might be thinking. Is Brian friends with anyone besides math teachers? YES! I miss so many people at school. I can’t wait to get back to work. On top of it all, this is Homecoming week. I will miss seeing Teacher Dress Up Day. I will miss seeing Suzie spirited up all week. I will miss all of it. My school is truly my home away from home.  

Of course I miss my students as well. I know I was only able to work with them for 3 weeks before we left, but I have a feeling that this is a tremendous group of students. They are eager to learn and willing to listen to what I have to say. They show a lot of respect for me and my teaching. When I shared with them the news that I would be traveling to Europe for several weeks to complete a special needs adoption, they were all very supportive. Of course, many of them did not want me to go, but I believe they all realize it is a good thing. I have been in touch with a few of them during our trip. I wish them the best and I know that when I get back, we will have a great rest of the year.

It is appropriate that this blog gets posted today since today is the first day of girls’ soccer tryouts. I am the Varsity Head Coach at my school. It is another reason why I love my school so much. I have been coaching at the school since I began there 10 years ago. My roles have included JV Asst. Coach, JV Head Coach, Varsity Asst. Coach, and last year was my first year as Varsity Head Coach. I have been lucky enough over the years to coach some tremendous players. I like to think of the program as a family, where we support one another and work towards a common goal. Last year, one of my former players, Courtney, returned to be my Varsity Assistant. I enjoy working with her and I’m sure the girls do to. When I brought up my international adoption to her, she was very supportive and gave me confidence that she could handle things while I was away. (Thank you Courtney!) As it turns out, she found another former player of mine to join our coaching staff this year as well. Welcome Ashley! I broke the news to the team at our first introductory meeting. At first, I think some of them were shocked that I would be gone for so long and would miss conditioning as well as tryouts. However, they all were very supportive. Some of them even hung around after our meeting was over to ask some more questions. On top of that, I found out that one of my players wants to work with special needs children when she gets older. I think that’s awesome! I appreciate the hard work that they put in during conditioning. I wish them all the best at tryouts. I can’t wait to be at practice with you all and on the sidelines with you during games.

Finally, I want to thank my administrators. When I brought up our international adoption to my principal, he was very supportive. We talked about it for a bit and he assured me that everything would be fine. He had experience with another teacher who had adopted internationally. My assistant principals were great when it came to the news. They were genuinely happy for me and are taking care of things at school for me while I am away.

As you can probably tell, I love my school. I work with great teachers, great students, and great administrators. I enjoy going to work and can’t wait to get back. I will now pass the keyboard back over to Erin. J

That’s it! We miss our school families almost as much as we miss our real families. We are both blessed to work at magnificent schools with amazing staffs. We cannot WAIT to get Sterling home and share his smile with all of our colleagues!

1 comment:

  1. Soon...soon, it will come. I am sorry the whole CP issue is at the institute now. BUT I am praying hard he's already had CP and this does not effect you. God's GOT THIS :) Yep, I'm gonna proudly proclaim it in Jesus NAME!!!! God's got this, Erin!!

    Love ya.