Driving in the Rockies

Yesterday, we were driving through the Rockies for the girls soccer game.  Everything was going well until an hour in when we got a phone call.

“The pass is closed at Vail,” our athletic director said.

We were still two hours from Vail, so we figured the roads would open by then.  But as we got closer, the signs on the road flashed: “Pass closed.  Accident on road.”

That meant we waited for two hours, sitting in the bus, snow blowing sideways.  It was pretty, with the flakes drifting across the sky, but it was hard to enjoy when we had a deadline.  Finally, finally, we started moving.  The roads were okay, but we had some time to make up if we wanted to make the game on time.

Two hours later, we pulled up to the field.  After a 5-2 win, pizza at the hotel, and a coach debrief, I was exhausted.

Sinking into the giant queen-sized bed with a good book in hand, I was glad that the day was over.  Driving in snow, waiting for hours.  It was a “hurry up and wait” kind of day.  You never know what will happen when you drive through the Rocky Mountains.

Now, onto the new day.  The sun is shining, the sky is blue.  It’s a great day to play soccer!

Slice of Life

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I am…

Inspired by Alanna Parker’s slice and her sentence stems to help spark my writing!

I am a teacher with a blended classroom of third and fourth graders this year.  It’s been a hard year, but looping with my students has had its perks!

I keep birthday cards from year to year, small notes from students, and letters from friends in a drawer in my room, ready to walk down memory lane.

I wish I could return to Kenya and teach there again, experiencing all the joys and challenges of life in Africa.

I love curling up with a hot cup of coffee, a warm blanket, and a good historical fiction book.

I think about all of the changes in education recently and the situations my students face at home, wishing I could wave a magic wand and fix all of the problems.

I really need to increase my training miles for my half-marathon in May; getting up earlier is worth it as soon as the crisp morning air hits my face.

I need to finish addressing my wedding invitations and send those in the mail.

I should clean the painting supplies from the middle of the kitchen floor so that we can lay the wood laminate flooring this weekend.

I can make a difference, even when it seems hopeless some days.

I make my lunch every morning, packing the same four items: an apple, cheese stick, 3 pieces of turkey, and a LaraBar.

I always remind myself to breathe in the midst of frustrations, allowing my anxieties to settle and my mind to clear.

slice-of-life

My night in sounds

Sitting at my computer after a long day, I read Katy’s slice here and got an idea for my own post.

Dishes clinking as the after-dinner dishes are put away.

The voices of the announcers from the Kentucky-Kansas State game coming from downstairs.

My brother’s voice alternating with my dad’s as my brother packs to go back to college after spring break.

Coffee dripping out from the coffeemaker in a quiet sound of anticipation.

The washer churning out its spin cycle from behind the laundry room door.

My fingers clicking away on the keyboard as I type my slice, letting the sounds of the night wash over me.

slice-of-life

 

Last minute win!

GJHS-Logo

Last night, the high school girls soccer team that I help coach had their first league game.  Under the lights, at the stadium in town, on the turf, and against one of our in-town rivals–it was a big game.  Our varsity team has nine freshmen, and their nerves were palpable as they arrived at the field and started lacing their cleats.

Chatter and laughter filled the air as they prepared for the game.  After our head coach announced the starting line-up, the girls started warming up–passing, stretching, shooting, and getting the feel of the field.  The jitters began to fade, and I could see the girls find their confidence and comfort.

When the game began, the teams were very evenly matched.  Their defense played hard, and their keeper was tough.  She stopped shot after shot after shot.

The first half ended scoreless, and the second half began with a 0-0 score staring down at us from the scoreboard.  Tension mounted as the minutes ticked away.  More opportunities came, but no goals.

Finally, with less than three minutes left on the clock, one of our defenders sent the ball soaring to midfield.  A speedy striker trapped it, turned, and lofted it over the defense.  From the outside midfield, one of our freshmen managed to stop the ball.  It looked like she was going to lose it, but she dribbled around the defender and took a shot.

After all of the blocked or missed shots, this one was different.  Low and fast, it crossed the box, just out of the keeper’s reach, and drilled into the corner of the net.  Goal!!!

Cheers erupted.  The players jumped up and down, hugging one another and shouting.  A collective sigh of relief came from our sideline.  Our head coach looked over at me.  “I hope we can play smart defense for the last two minutes,” he said.

The knot in my stomach didn’t disappear until the final whistle blew.  Game over.  Our first league victory!  What a night!

slice-of-life

Exhaustion

Getting materials ready for a new student.

Training before school for CMAS proctoring.

Introducing a new student to the structures and routines of our classroom.

Monitoring seven students who needed to make up work from yesterday (during my planning time) who hadn’t come back from spring break.

Preparing materials for the Girls on the Run lesson I taught after school.

Trying to get back into classroom routines after spring break.

Helping coach a high school girls soccer game after GOTR.

Eating dinner at 9:30 p.m.

Writing my slice.

Looking at my plan book and realizing I’m not quite ready for tomorrow.

Wishing it was still spring break.

Exhaustion.

 

On the bright side, the girls soccer team won 1-0 in the last two minutes.  That gave me a little bit of energy!

slice-of-life

 

Words of kindness

My students were kindness detectives before spring break; they had one other learner who they had to “spy on” through the week to notice acts of kindness.  They each had notecards to record three acts of kindness that they witnessed.  Throughout the week, they surreptitiously pulled out their cards and jotted down what they saw.  Our school counselor came in for her weekly lesson and collected the cards at the end of the week.

Today, the day after spring break, she gathered the students together and had them share out the kindnesses they noticed.

“I noticed that he picked up trash on the playground,” one girl said about another classmate.  A smile lit his face as he shyly looked down.  Other students nodded that they, too, had seen his kind act.

Another student piped up, “I saw C. helping ____ clean up.”  As he said those words, a giant grin broke out over C.’s face.  Perhaps my most challenging learner, C. doesn’t always hear compliments throughout the day from his classmates.  It was obvious that this comment made an impact.  He sat a little taller.  He looked a little more confident.  He responded with a sincere “thank you.”  And the students continued to share what they saw.

What a beautiful moment at the end of our day.

Kindness is truly a powerful agent of change.  In the words of Mother Teresa, “Kind words can be short and easy to speak, but their echoes are truly endless.”

What kindness have you noticed lately?  How have you chosen to be kind?

Slice of Life

 

Back on the road

And now, a few days later, we’re on the road again.  Except now, instead of going toward spring break, we’re driving away, back to early mornings and fourth quarter.  I’m trying to be positive, but it’s easier said than done.

At least I have 12 hours in the car to get some lesson planning and grading done.  Maybe a little bit of reading, too.

Let’s hit the road!