Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Gluten Free Or Bust! July 2013

My sister, Jessica was diagnosed with celiac disease years ago. She has learned how to eat gluten free and manage her lifestyle. For her birthday this year she asked us to go get blood work done to see if we too were affected by celiac disease. I went in, not thinking I would actually have celiac, however, I tested positive. I haven't had a scope done yet-- to see the damage wheat has or has not done on my stomach. Since Tuesday, July 8th, I've been gluten free. I have a new hobby now. I've been obsessed with learning everything I can about celiac disease and eating gluten free. Russ has been incredibly supportive in all of this. He keeps a positive attitude about trying new things and changing our meal habits. My Grandmother pointed this irony out to me--my husband is a baker at great harvest, and I can't have wheat. :)

The Transfer

This past school year I had incredible opportunities at work. I was able to work as a dual immersion teacher in third grade, in Ogden City. I shared two incredible classes with the other dual immersion teacher. Dan taught in Spanish and I taught in English. Half way through the day- we switched and taught the other class. Dual immersion is an interesting opportunity for students to learn a second language. I enjoyed the students and the challenge of two classes. I don't know how secondary ed teachers teach 7 or 8 classes! I can barely handle two. :) This school year I got to attend a "Data Driven Instruction" conference in Arizona. I went with our principal, teaching coach, and a sixth grade teacher from our school. This was an excellent conference. I came to understand the importance of data and students actually taking ownership of their own data. Using information students give us to guide our instruction can be extremely effective. I know I learned things at this conference that will positively affect my teaching forever. Not only did we learn a lot, but we had an extreme amount of fun in Phoenix. I came back to school energized and looking forward to being a "changee" in my school- promoting data driven instruction. I saw my future as staying in Ogden City, staying with the dual immersion program, and doing all I could for my students. Data driven instruction isn't a program. Its a strategy to enable teachers to scientifically identify what has been taught effectively and what is lacking. This year I also was taking classes to obtain my ESL endorsement. In Ogden School District, it is a requirement to obtain the ESL endorsement before the end of your third year with the district. I was lucky. I took classes with some of my best friends. It was an incredible amount of work, but with the support of each other, our principal, and our professors we made it through. In my head I knew what my students needed from me for a successful school year. The frustrating part of knowing what the students needed, was that I never measured up. I could work 10-12 hours a day and not catch up on all that was required of me. I felt that I knew WHAT my students needed-- I just didn't have the ability to know HOW do give all that they required for reaching grade level. This year had some incredible learning opportunities for me. One of the most important things I learned was that sometimes the plans we have for ourselves need to be reevaluated. Russ and I reevaluated. We prayed and explored options. I counseled with other teachers and even a few administrators. I researched other districts and decided to apply at Davis School District. Shortly after, I was offered a position teaching first grade at South Clearfield Elementary. The decision to leave Ogden City was not easy. I love the students in O-town. My fellow teachers have become some of my dearest friends. However, a wise administrator told me, "There are children everywhere who will need you." "You can make a difference where ever you are." I agree with this statement. I know that I am doing what is best for me and for my family. I need to be at a place where I know I can do a good job and then come home and be a wife and hopefully someday a mom. Many teachers at T.O. Smith were able to figure out how to juggle home and family life, but it was something I never mastered. I know that going to a different district doesn't immediately dissolve problems. I am sure juggling home and family with school will always be tricky. Teachers always have "more to do." I am looking forward to this new opportunity to teach first grade. I have met two of my fellow first grade teachers. They are incredible, like most teachers I get to work with. It has already been a lot of work to move my classroom from Ogden to Clearfield. (Thank you Russ and Spencer!) First grade has been a favorite of mine since student teaching. I will miss my friends and the amazing students at T.O. Smith, but I know I did what is best for me and I am looking forward to the 2013/2014 school year. :)

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

some incredible times

I guess it's been a few months since i've posted. The rest of the school year went great. My little class was a delight to teach. We had our bumps in the road, but the school year really was incredible. I learned so much. I started to become the teacher I want to be. These resiliant kids were so much fun. I made incredible friends with a few of my co-workers. The end of the school year was bitter sweet. I was sad to see my little class move on to 4th grade but at the same time it was exciting to watch them learn and grow. We've had such a fun summer. We got Disneyland season passes this year for Christmas and we haven't let them go to waste. We went to Disneyland December 26th - January 2nd. It was so much fun to be there for New Years. It was such a big party. We went again after school got out in June. Russ and I drove our sweet white mini van to California. We went to our favorite, Huntington Beach! Spending time in the park was also so much fun. Our family got to stay in the Grand Californian. Our favorite part of staying in the park was riding on the Grizzly Rapids ride over and over until the park closed, then we just walked a few feet back to our room. Car's Land opened the last day we spent in the park. Car's Land really was worth all the hype. We're going at least one more time this year, in October. We're so excited. I got to go to Girl's camp in July. We took our girls to Heber Valley Girl's Camp. We love it there. I enjoy getting to know the girls and other leaders. Camping isn't my most favorite thing to do but girl's camp is so much more. Spending time with our girls is such a blast. Girl's camp has been a major highlight in my summer. Russ is at scout camp this week. He loves going out there with the boys. It sounds like they are having lots of fun. (despite the leeches.) We've had the chance to spend a lot of time with Russ' family as they built and established Salon Vogue. Russ' sister, Glenda runs this gorgeous salon. It's been so much fun to be a small part of it. Lately i've been super busy organizing our hom,e and getting ready for school to begin in a few weeks. In May, when school ended, I was so excited for a break. I loved having a break from work, but I really am anxious to get back to school. I'm looking forward to getting my classroom all set up and meeting my class.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Merry Christmas Everyone!!

So there hasn't been much snow, but it is still a beautiful December! There is more to come of course, but we have already had some really good times. December is my favorite. One of the reasons is because three years ago in December I fell in love with my sweetheart, Russell Clark. We fell for each other while helping spread Christmas cheer. :D We chose a family to do secret santa for. We went out shopping for the whole family. We wrapped the gifts. (Russ is incredibly particular about wrapping presents.) And then one night we delivered the HUGE bag of Christmas in secret. We hid behind his truck as the happy grandmother discovered the bag of Christmas presents and shouted, "Thank you! Thank you!"

I recount this story not to glory in a good deed past, but to reflect on the moments I began to fall for this amazing man I now call my husband.

I have learned that the best Christmas times happen when we are giving of ourselves. Russ and I have continued this tradition and have even been "secret santa-ed" ourselves! There is so much to be grateful for as we think of our Savior coming to the world. We are so thankful for his sacrifice and love for us.
We are grateful for our dear friends and loving families especially this holiday season.
Merry Christmas Everyone!! Hope yours is Merry and Bright!

Halloween Hit!

I was worried that my class Halloween Party would be lame. I had ZERO parent volunteers and NO idea what to do. Then of course like most things, I went to my mother about it. My Mom suggested stations and she even came up with most of them. We had a mini golf station, donut on a string, play dough, mummy wrap.. It was a blast! I played spooky music and served chips and salsa and cookies. My mom, my brother, sister-in-law, mother-in-law, and Russ all came to help out. It was a hit! The kids had SOOO much fun.

Saturday, October 8, 2011


It took a few weeks till I got the key to my classroom. The first thing I noticed when I walked into my portable was that it smelled awful and was very dusty. I liked that I had tables instead of desks and the size was perfect. However, the wood paneled walls kind of put a damper on things. My Mom saved the day by taking me to IKEA. We got things for organizing, things for a little library and even a comfy teacher chair. (yay) It took several helpers and three weeks to clean and set up my classroom. It was totally worth it. :D I feel super lucky to have such an spiffy place to teach these amazing kids. The students LOVE the library corner the best I think. Everyday we have a "star" of the day. The star gets to be the line leader and run any errands. The star of the day and the other three people at his or her table get to be library friends and sit in the library during silent reading or any story time.

I wish I could post pictures of these seriously CUTE kids! :D They are sweet and a whole lot of fun! I never go through a day without laughing with them.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Orange Lilies

I decided that I wanted to be a teacher about four years ago. With the change of major and transfer of universities, it took much longer to graduate than I anticipated. So when I found out that it was going to be challenging to find a job teaching I was frustrated with myself. Why not just graduate all those years ago in whatever? I could have saved a ton of money and I would surely have found a job. I applied for about 20 jobs. I interviewed six times. I heard there were almost 100 applicants for most jobs. Despite the competition I was SURE I would get each of the jobs I interviewed for. It was one disappointing letter/e-mail after another. Finally two weeks ago, I went to an interview during girl's camp. I went down the mountain everyday to check my phone.. and on the last day of camp I found out.. NO. Not hired. A really nice e-mail, like the rest, saying that I was at the top, but just not who they chose. I felt terrible for disappointed Russ too. He was supposed to go to school this fall. I felt like a failure. This job opportunity I didn't get felt like the last chance.

I went back up to girl's camp, trying to hide my frustration. Focusing on our AWESOME girlies. We had such a great time, I almost forgot I was supposed to be feeling bad. At the fireside that night, my sweet friend Andrea Tesch came with her best friend Hannah. Hannah has cerebral palsy and spoke to us about her daily life and her testimony of the Atonement of our Savior, Jesus Christ.

Her words rang true to me and as I listened to her, I felt foolish for even having dwelt a little bit on the pain of rejection. What beautiful perspective! When i came home from camp, my husband had orange lilies for me on the kitchen table (as well as an ice cold diet coke.) He told me that he could never be disappointed in my efforts. He knew I only did what I thought I should. Six days later I was getting ready to go visiting teaching and I got a phone call from a principal in Ogden City. She had received my application and was interested in interviewing me. . . THAT DAY. As soon as we finished our visits, I rushed home, changed clothes, and rushed to the interview.

The principal was friendly and the interview went well. I interviewed for a 4th grade teaching position at T.O. Smith Elementary. (five minutes from my house) That afternoon, before Russ even got home from work, I was called with the news... I GOT THE JOB!!! I am a new third grade teacher at T.O. Smith Elementary School. (unless they change it to fifth.) There are at least three other girls from my classes who will be teaching at this school this year. (SO FUN!)

It has been a long summer, filled with interviews and stress.

Now time to prepare for an exciting year at a great school!
Did I mention that my lilies are still in bloom? :)