Monday, November 16, 2015

Special Education Teacher

I often get the question, "How's work going?" And its crazy how such a question can bring on so many different emotions. If I were being 100% honest...work isn't going great. I don't know how to give people an idea of what my work days look like, but I'm going to try.

To start my day one of my students with Down syndrome comes and I work with him and his aide on different things. He is very fun to work with. But some days, he decides he doesn't want to work with me. He pushes me out of the classroom and tells me, "NO!" Those days my feelings get a little hurt. Or when things are going well, in the middle of our time together another aide will pop their head in to tell me another student is misbehaving and needs my help. So then I have to leave and that makes me sad to miss this time with this student. If I'm pulled away it is because a student is refusing to comply, listen, work, be quiet, etc. Sometimes the student is having a meltdown and the teachers need my help to calm the student down. Although working with these students comes naturally for me for the most part, it is still exhausting to remain calm and collective when a student is yelling, throwing things, destroying classrooms or hurting themselves.  It take a lot of focus to not lose my cool and start crying with the student. So...if something like this happens at the very start of the day...I'm totally exhausted the rest of the time. It is considered a miracle day if there is not at least one type of meltdown that has happened.

My next student I work with is very tricky. He is full of energy and often becomes aggressive (physically or verbally). It is hard to get him to stay focused on a task, and sure takes up my energy!

The next couple hours I get to spend with are 2 students with severe cognitive abilities. I have a lot of fun with them, but sometimes one of them will be in a "bad mood." This "bad mood" will look like: talking back to the teacher, refusing to do work, saying mean things to others, complaining about everything and anything, etc. This student is full of sass and it can be cute at times...and not so cute for other times. This time is usually interrupted for me to go assist other students who are having a hard time. Again, I have to help these students through their meltdowns, which makes me exhausted.

My last official class is a Social Skills class. This class is full of some quirky personalities. Some days the discussion and the lessons go great. Other days its a complete mess. I never know what to expect with this group.

The last part of my day is spent with my behavior kiddos. I try to make the rounds and see how they are doing in their classes. Often times my "prep" turns into spending time with a student and making sure they don't have a meltdown.

I forgot to add that during any free time I'm working on IEP's (paperwork) and testing students for eligibility for Special Education. Lately I have no free time.

But despite all this craziness...I love these students. I get very emotional thinking about the amazing spirits these students are and how much Heavenly Father loves them. Sometimes I literally feel like I'm in battle for these kids. I'm not always the teacher other teachers want to hear from, and I sure am not winning any popularity contests...but I will fight for these kids. I want to make sure that they feel wanted and loved while at school.

So how is work going? Work is going. It is hard, but I have to believe it is worth it. The day I stop believing that is the day I stop showing up to work. I am seriously grateful for the people I do work with that make this job just a little bit easier, I couldn't do it without them! For whatever reason, this is where I'm supposed to be. It is hard for me to always see why, but I try to focus on my students and do what little I can do for them one day at a time.

Saturday, November 15, 2014

2014 Thoughts

2014 will probably go down as one of the biggest years of my life. Here are just some of the major things that took place:
  • I graduated from college. Took 6 years, but I did it. I have a degree that I'm actually using. It feels like such a huge accomplishment. I did not know exactly where my education would bring me, but it brought me to a place that I continue to learn new things every day--and I love it! Student teaching sucked. I hated it. It was an awkward situation that I wish on no one. I hated having to "be in charge" of another person's classroom. I was supposed to implement my teaching and rules in the middle of the year with a class full of students who still looked at their teacher as the one in charge. I was also recovering from ACL surgery and was on crutches for a good portion of it. It was stressful and my confidence was low. I loved my students, but had mixed feelings if I was to really be a Special Education Teacher. I started to think of a plan B. What could I do with my degree instead of teaching? Then I finished in April and started applying to jobs. I so badly wanted to teach in a High School self-contained class. I applied to over 8 positions. Had about 6 interviews. And got no calls, no offers. I was feeling pretty crushed. Each interview made it harder. Then one day I got a call for an interview for a Charter school in Springville. Wasn't the ideal location, or the ideal job. But I took the interview. They offered me the job on the spot. I was shocked. I went home and prayed. I didn't really want the position, but I needed the job. I was getting married and we needed the income. And so far all the high school positions had been filled. I had the feeling I should take the job. I haven't once regretted that decision. Working at Reagan Academy has been amazing. Everyone talks about how hard the first year of teaching is, but I love it. I love my co-workers, my students and the school. My confidence is back and I feel very good about my decision to become a Special Education teacher.
  • As many of you know, in December 2013 I tore my ACL playing soccer. This turned into surgery, that took me out from playing soccer for a whole year. I'm still not back, but am working on playing very soon. Through this experience I have become very grateful for my body. I missed being active and being able to hike, run and do a lot of summer activities this year. Our bodies are amazing. I'm grateful that I get to play soccer again! It has been a very long year without it. 
  • I got married. Probably the biggest thing that happened this year by far and the best. The best advice I could give anyone is marry your best friend. Just last night Bryson and I stayed up til 2 am just talking. I felt like a little girl at a sleep over that didn't want to go to sleep because she was having such a fun time talking. I have never laughed so much in my life since Bryson entered into it. We are super poor, and live paycheck to paycheck but we make it just fine. When I think of Christmas this year, I realize I already have gotten the best present and don't feel a need for anything more. Bryson is such a blessing in my life. He listens to my vents of the day, he holds me when I cry for stupid reasons and he is there to make me laugh at any time of the day.
I feel very blessed this year. I know this time of my life is very unique, and I'm trying to enjoy each moment of it!

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Married Blog

I started a new blog for my husband and I. I plan to still keep this one, but will probably update the other one more. If you are following me here, follow me at my new blog too! The address is: 

http://brysonandstacy.blogspot.com/

Monday, June 23, 2014

My Thoughts About Ordain Women

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I needed to write. I’m not the most knowledgeable, or more eloquent writer, or the best at grammar…but I have feelings and thoughts I needed to write. I don’t know the words to describe my feelings, but I’m going to try. I feel upset, confused and sad. I have been through the ringer of seriously questioning some of the teachings of the church and praying and finding my testimony of it all. I can’t say I have never had a doubt or thoughts of, “Is this really all true?” Cause I have. There was a point in my life I dated a boy who was not a member of the LDS church. We had many discussions about God and religion. Although it shook my faith for a bit, I’m grateful for that time in my life because I came out with a stronger testimony that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints is the true church of God on this earth.

Kate Kelly, founder of Ordain Women, was officially excommunicated today. Many are upset and don’t understand why she was excommunicated. My writings today are mostly for me to organize my thoughts, but maybe I can shed some light to those who have questions.

 First, I’m upset because I hate how public this all has become. My dad said he saw headline on Fox News about it. You can read this awesome blog as to why the publicity is upsetting to me here: http://lemmonythings.com/2014/06/15/the-mormon-controversy-and-why-its-hurting-more-than-feminists/

Second, I’m confused because I don’t understand Kate Kelly. I get it, people say she is good person and has good intentions. The Ordain Women mission statement reads,


“Ordain Women aspires to create a space for Mormons to articulate issues of gender inequality they may be hesitant to raise alone. As a group we intend to put ourselves in the public eye and call attention to the need for the ordination of Mormon women to the priesthood.”


So if she believes in the Church, does she not believe in modern revelation and the Prophet? Shouldn’t he be the one to receive revelation about Women and the Priesthood? Also, I don’t think she knows what equal means. Yes, she is a lawyer and very smart. But someone has told her that equal means having the same things. I don’t believe that is the meaning of equal. I’m a Special Education teacher and there is always a discussion about equality in education. I remember a class one day in college where we talked about the meaning of things being equal. I think a more accurate definition is: everyone’s needs are being met. Here is the catch though, because we are all individuals our needs are met differently, therefore having things “equal” does not mean to me that we have all the same things. Men and women are VERY different. You can look at a woman and a man and from physical appearance alone you can tell the difference between us. There is this talk that talks about women and men and puts in perspective each of our roles. http://mormonscholarstestify.org/1718/valerie-hudson-cassler Here is a snippet from it that I love: 

 


“LDS doctrine teaches that men and women are equals before the Lord and before each other. “Equal” does not mean “identical”—for example, there are no two men who are identical, and yet they stand as equals before each other and before the Lord. Can we imagine an understanding of equality that means that a man and woman, though different, can be equals before the Lord and before each other? That is the vision of equality that the Restored Gospel teaches.”

 


I recommend reading the whole talk. I want to quote it all, for it accurately describes how important women are.

            Lastly, I feel sad. I feel sad because it isn’t a joyous thing when someone gets excommunicated. I feel sad for Kate Kelly because I don’t think she gets it all. She has questions, and has gone about a very public way to get answers. Starting a group that is basically saying, “Hey I think that women should have the priesthood, and we demand that the Prophet of God give it to us,” wasn’t the best way to get answers. Say the prophet listened to them and they received the priesthood…that would go against EVERYTHING the church is founded on. We believe that this Church is run by GOD, not man. So if man were to change doctrine…then this church wouldn’t be true. There are comments out there that say Kate Kelly didn’t deserve to be excommunicated and she had not idea this was coming. So this morning I looked up the Church’s definition of an apostate and it reads: 


Members of the Church vary in their levels of participation or belief (see Activity in the Church). Latter-day Saints who have seriously contravened or ignored cardinal Church teachings (publicly or privately) are considered apostates, whether or not they have officially left the Church or affiliated with another religion…A Church disciplinary procedure may be held for any member who violates important commandments and "will not repent" (Mosiah 26:32; D&C 42:28). Open repudiation of the Church, its leaders, and teachings is one ground for excommunication.



The steps to apostasy are usually gradual. All members are counseled to guard against all manifestations of personal apostasy (DS 3:293-312; Asay, pp. 67-68). The most frequent causes of apostasy are failure to maintain strict standards of morality, taking personal offense (real or perceived), marrying someone who is of another faith or who is irreligious, neglecting to pray and maintain spirituality, or misunderstanding of the teachings of the Church.



Above all, the Church affirms that its members should seek personal revelation to know the truth and live in tune with the spirit of God. Those who have not done this may drop by the wayside when their faith is challenged or when difficulties arise…



LDS scriptures establish a loving and hopeful attitude toward apostates. Latter-day Saints are strongly counseled to love those who have left the faith, and to encourage, plead, and work with those who have strayed, inviting "the lost sheep" back to the fold (Luke 15:3-7The desire to return is motivated by the reality of repentance enabled by the Atonement of Jesus Christ. "He who has repented of his sins, the same is forgiven, and I, the Lord, remember them no more. By this ye may know if a man repenteth of his sins-behold, he will confess them and forsake them" (D&C 58:42-43). [See also Anti-Mormon Publications; Schismatic Groups.]





I really hope that Kate Kelly can come back. That she will gain a testimony of the Prophet and his communication with God is real. It is okay to have questions, but it is not okay to start a group that goes against fundamental church doctrine. They say Pride is the root of all sin. When we start to think we know better then God and his Prophet does, I think we are in real trouble of apostasy. 2 Nephi 9:28-29 comes to mind:


“O that cunning plan of the evil one! O the vainness, and the frailties, and the foolishness of men! When they are learned they think they are wise, and they hearken not unto the counsel of God, for they set it aside, supposing they know of themselves, wherefore, their wisdom is foolishness and it profiteth them not. And they shall perish. But to be learned is good if they hearken unto the counsels of God.



Don’t know who will read this, and what comments may come. But I felt I needed to write, so I did. I hope that maybe my words can help someone, but if not it sure helped me organize my thoughts and feelings. I know that I belong to the true Church. It has brought me so much happiness in my life. If that alone were the reason I stayed true and faithful, that would be enough for me.  But I have so many other reasons. I have felt things that are indescribable, that can only be labeled as the Spirit. I have felt Angels by my side in times that I needed them. Over a week ago I was sealed to my Husband, and I’m so grateful for that. I know that he and I can do nothing alone. That this plan for life was to have an eternal companion and that together, as husband and wife we can do everything. I have access to the priesthood every day of my life, what more could I ask for? God has given me so much, and I thank Him every day for those blessings.


Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Marry Me



Baby is it time to set the date
I'm shaking and my heart can hardly wait
And everybody wants to know the fate
Of this forever
You can wear a suit and I'll wear white
We'll make your mom and daddy dance all night
Underneath the stars that shine so bright
When we're together

And at the end of that day
With the rice on the floor and the friends gone away
All that will matter to me is you
It's meant to be
Marry me

("Marry Me" by Cherie Call)

 

Monday, June 2, 2014

June.

I can't believe it is June, and I get married this month. It has always felt like it would never come, but here we are 10 days away from our happy wedding day.

Sometimes it still feels surreal, and like I will wake up from this beautiful dream. I feel so lucky. I have found my best friend, and he loves me.

7 months ago, if you had asked me to predict what was to happen I would have been so off. I even cut my hair in December thinking, "I'm not getting married anytime soon, so I have time to grow my hair back out." Now, I can't even imagine my life without Bryson.

Most of you know that a couple weeks ago I found out I have mono. There was about 9 days I basically didn't leave my bed. It was pretty miserable. But you know who got me through it? Bryson. He stayed with me in the ER, he rubbed my back when I threw up and he came and hung out with me when I couldn't do anything. I got a glimpse of how he will continue to take care of me the rest of our lives. I cannot wait to marry this man.

I just had to share a photo from our pre-wedding day photo shoot. I told myself I wouldn't share any of these till we were married...but oh well. Enjoy the sneak peek:




Tuesday, May 13, 2014

143

On Monday, Bryson and I were on my couch talking. It was just past midnight. He grabbed his phone frantically and quickly went to his app that is counting how many days we have seen each other in a row.

He then stood up and said, "I have to go to my house real fast." He immediately started walking to the front door. I quickly, followed and said, "Wait, can I come with you?" He said, "Oh yes, come with me!"

So we rushed over to his house. I had no idea what the heck was going on. I was laughing and giggling like a little girl. I just am so in love with him, and find everything he does adorable. Especially when he is frantic and excited.

We get to his house, and he runs up to his room. He comes down with an envelope and gives me this:


He then went on to explain that today was our 143rd day of seeing each other. He had found this a month ago and saved it for this day. The number 143 means I LOVE YOU.

Could I ask for a more romantic guy? I feel so lucky. And so loved.

Today marks 144 days of seeing each other in a row and 30 days left til we seal the deal.