Thursday, February 26, 2015

It is what it is

Today made the 6th day in 2 weeks we have been out of school. Now you have to remember, I live in the south. Mississippi does not get snow and ice on a regular basis so this has been quite different for us. I have rescheduled 9 weeks exams and STAR tests 4 times. We are supposed to start state testing next week. Did you hear what I said? We have gone to school 2 1/2 days in 2 weeks. In those 2 weeks were supposed to do have 9 weeks tests and STAR testing. That hasn't happened and now we have to state test. I woke up this morning (out of school again) with a massive headache and my husband said, "Are you stressed?" Haha.
I took a breath and realized he was right. I had let this stress me completely. I had taken the whole problem on my shoulders. My teachers and students are very important to me. Their happiness and stress free life is very important to me. So I wanted to take all the stress off of them and try to fix all. Did I mention I'm a middle child. That means I'm a fixer. So for 2 weeks I have been trying to fix our weather problem. Guess what? It isn't working. I have finally realized I'm only in charge of my school- not the weather. I have always said, "It is what it is, and that is all it is." I have even said I want that on a t-shirt.  
It's time for me to remember that. It's time to put things into perspective. I'm going to school tomorrow, I'm going to greet my students that I haven't seen in a while, and I'm going to talk to them about the snowmen I know they built. I want to hear about their sledding and their snowball fights. The tests last just a couple of days but these memories will last forever. What's important in life is suddenly apparent. 
My stress is gone, my thoughts are clear: "It is what it is, and that's all it is. 

Friday, February 20, 2015


I sit here tonight kind of in a state of shock. A neighboring student's parent was killed in a car accident today due to icy conditions. She was a "Good Samaritan" helping someone who had troubles on the ice. She dies along with another mom.

I'm kind of numb. We sit here all worried about 9 weeks tests and state testing. But you want to know the truth? None of that matters. That sweet mother of 4 - yes 4- has lost her life and those children have lost their mom. 
It's time to make priorities. 

State testing is a requirement, I understand that. But you know what? I'm not going to freak out because we have missed a week of school right before state testing. I'm not going to get upset because we can't finish STAR testing. I'm not going to lose it because 9 weeks test are next week. 

Having tests are important for a couple of reasons- have the students caught on to what we are teaching? Do they need remediation? Can we move on? Otherwise ..... I just don't see the big deal. 

Should we celebrate our loves? Mom, Dad, Children, Students,  Teachers, Athletes, Coaches...... The answer is yes. Let's celebrate Life. Let's take a minute to tell those we know... I love you. Because tomorrow .... Well tomorrow isn't promised. 

Today is the day to let them know. 

So to my teachers at IMS, my students and parents, my IMS family; I love you all dearly. Thank you for letting me be a part of your life. 

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Wishing Life Away

I'm sitting here on another snow day thinking of all the stuff I need to do. I spent all day yesterday rescheduling STAR tests, 9 weeks tests, and achievement tests. Then the call comes that it snowed  and roads are dangerous so here we are again. I got all frustrated because I spent literally hours working on schedules. Basically wishing my life away. Then it hit me. I was mad at something I can't control. The weather is just that thing. I can't predict it and I can't control it. Why am I getting mad about it? So, now I'm chilling out, getting supper ready, and just enjoying some time with my family. As principal I miss out on some things with my family because I am usually so concerned about someone else's child. But today, today is a day for MY family. So today I made a big breakfast, I made snow cream, and the boys have ridden four wheelers. I have enjoyed every minute of it. My boys are growing fast so this was a great moment to just BE. Tomorrow will be here quick enough. I will go back to school and go back to being a principal. Today though, today I am a mom.

Sunday, February 8, 2015

I'm scared you won't love me anymore

The hardest part of my job is and will always be when I have to give consequences to a student who has broken the rules. Don't get me wrong. I know it's necessary, but sometimes it's difficult when you know the background of the child. I have been working closely with a child whose home life isn't like mine. So sometimes it isn't easy to understand what he is going through. However I have tried to spend more time listening.  I wasn't sure I was getting through to him, but I kept trying. I take time every morning to speak to all my students, asking how they are and talking about what they did last night. It was interesting to see him struggling with this. I could tell he wasn't used to talking to adults while not being in trouble. As the year progressed the talking came a little easier and a little longer. His behaviors became a little less in quality and quantity. I could tell we were building a relationship. I started working with the child last year while he was in 5th grade and I saw a lot of improvement. Then summer hit. While most teachers love summer, as admin, I'm not a huge fan of what I know happens in the summer; lack of supervision. Students like this are often left alone most of the summer to do what they want with little or no consequences. So that means come August I have to start over with anything I made progress with last year. Well this August was no different. This student started the year with a bang. Even though I took time every morning to talk to him and let him know I was still interested in his life, I could tell he had changed. And not for the better. He was in trouble constantly and after many talks I finally got to the root of it. I realized the unsupervised summer had made some changes in him that I alone couldn't fix. I contacted the correct people to help but knew this was an uphill battle. We still spend time every week talking, sharing, and I constantly told him "I love you, have a good day."  But I wasn't sure I was making any progress. 
This Thanksgiving the language teacher had the students write papers or letters. This student requested to be able to write his letter to me. She agreed and noticed he was very secretive about it. When finished he gave to her to give to me. I was floored. I knew we had made a connection but I also knew his behaviors this year were not always good. I share his letter for a few reasons. One, you are making a difference in children's lives. Two, even if the "behaviors" seem to still be there do not give up. Three, that child is depending on you, even if he/she doesn't act like it. 

Dear Mrs. Moss,
Mrs. D is making us write letters about what we are thankful for and I chose you! I know I can count on you to help me if I mess up somewhere down the road and if I need anything I know I could go to you. You would be there! I know you think I'm not trying to change , I really am! I have already stoped some things, and you know what I am talking about. I couldn't have done it without you. It's not that I was scared you were going to tell my parents, I was scared I would have disappointed you and you would stop loving me! And I still fill like that sometimes but anyway I still need help to change my ways so don't give up on me!
Happy thanksgiving 

Wow! Talk about powerful. After a lots of tears I came to realize our job is so much more than test scores and data walls. Our job is all about the connections we make with the students, because without that we have nothing. Has he changed for the better? Some. But more importantly, I hope I have changed for the better. Take this letter and replace my student's name with "That Student" in your school right now. What would you do or say to that child if he/she wrote you that letter? 
 I tell you what I did... I told him to never be scared.... I will never stop loving you.