How to go Back to School After a School Shooting

Teaching in Suburbia

I did not want to go to work Thursday. Wednesday news broke about 17 people being killed in Florida because of a shooting at a high school. Another school shooting!

I am a high school teacher in suburbia USA.

I was terrified to go to work as well as scared to drop my own kids off at school. I know I can’t live my life in fear, but that doesn’t stop the thoughts from going through my head.

I did what any responsible adult would do; I went to work.

In my 10th grade World History class each day we start class by watching CNN 10. It is a 10 minute news program targeted towards middle and high school students. In Thursday’s episode they mentioned the school shooting in Florida. I generally stick with my lesson plan each day because students will take any opportunity for teachers to get off topic knowing that no work will get done in class. I also feel that I can’t get too personal with students because I have to remain the professional adult and not their friend. But, I couldn’t let the school shooting go.

Today was different

I told them I was scared to come to work today. I really didn’t know where the conversation would go. In each of my 3 class that day, we had at least an hour long conversation about gun control, mental health, high school pressures, and so much more.

Students opened up about their own mental health struggles. They talked about how hard it is for them to talk to their parents and to find someone that they can confide in. I asked them how do we fix this? Who’s job is it to fix this? Can we fix this?

The overall consensus from my high school students is to just be kind to each other. That is such a simple act, yet it is so complex to master.

I realized it’s so important to have these conversations with students so they know adults care and we are listening. As well as remind them that we all need to be kind to each other.

Most teachers think their subject is the most important subject students need to learn in high school. I know that most students won’t remember anything I teach them in 5 years. My only hope is for them to go out in society and become productive citizens, maybe vote in elections, and be able to tell real news from fake news. So I knew it was more important to have a meaningful conversation with them rather than discuss battles in World War II. I left them on Thursday knowing more about them and they knew more about me and I felt good about it!

On Friday I received two emails from two separate students. I wasn’t expecting any response to our classroom conversations. Their emails reminded me why I am a teacher. One student said, “I just want to thank you for being my only teacher brave enough to talk about the issues going on today … You’ve impacted us so much, the conversation you had with us is all anyone talked about for the rest of the day.”

6 Things I have learned about how to go back to school after a school shooting:

  1. It is important to have meaningful conversations with students while maintaining professionalism
  2. It is important for students to know that adults care about them and we are there for them
  3. Students need to hear that we understand where they are coming from and the struggles that they are experiencing are real and valid
  4. Let them know that we were once a high school student and felt many of the same feelings that they are
  5. Point out the similarities that they all have and they really are not that different from one another
  6. Be honest and sincere and most importantly, kind to each other

Thursday, the day after a major school shooting, my students reminded me why I became a teacher and the importance of me showing up each day excited to see them and happy to be doing my job. They deserve that!

Take care,

Lynette

Healthy Deviled Eggs

We are going to a Super Bowl party today and we need to bring an appetizer. My husband suggested we bring something healthy. Someone else had already claimed the veggie tray, so he thought of deviled eggs. Eggs have gotten a bad rap because of their cholesterol, but in reality they are really healthy for you. Each large egg has 70 calories, are rich in nutrients, 6 grams of protein, and 4.5 grams of fat. But Deviled Eggs can have a lot of calories if you add in the mayo. So I decided to sub out the mayo with greek yogurt. I also used regular mustard and a pinch of salt.

First I hard boiled the eggs and took out the yokes. I put them in a baggie. I then added the greek yogurt, mustard, and salt, and started smooshing. A tip before you start smooshing: let all of the air out of the bag, otherwise it will pop. I squished until it was smooth. Then I cut off the corner of the bag and started piping it into the eggs. I topped half of my eggs with dill weed and the other half with paprika. My husband said the filling was the perfect blend of tang from the greek yogurt and spice from the mustard.

Here they are, all ready to go. Off to our Super Bowl party! Go Vikings! Oh wait, they’re not playing. At least it’s a Viking Stadium!

 

Healthy Deviled Eggs

Ingredients:

1 dozen large eggs hard boiled

1/2 C plain greek yogurt

3 – 4 TBS plain mustard

Pinch of salt

Paprika

Dill weed

 

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Creating Fitness Habits in my Forties

Creating Fitness Habits

I am so glad you are following me on my fitness journey! If you are new to my blog, welcome! To catch everyone up, I am training for a Spartan Race in March. You can read about that here: http://thisisforty.me/this-is-why/. I have never enjoyed exercising, so it has been very hard for me to stick with it. I need to make fitness a habit. I’m pretty good at habits; I never forget to drink my coffee every day!

I was reading an article about how long it takes for fitness to become a habit. It said on average it takes 66 days. So if you exercise 3 times a week that would be 22 weeks! That’s almost 6 months! You can read the full article here: http://believeperform.com/wellbeing/how-long-until-this-becomes-a-habit/

I’m one week in and I did in fact work out 3 times this week! So that means 21 more weeks to go, oh my!!! In the mean time, I need to keep reminding myself why I am exercising:

  1. Prolong the onset of Alzheimer’s Disease
  2. Improve my mental well being
  3. Boost my self confidence
  4. Build a better relationship with my husband (he loves fitness!)
  5. Be a positive role model for my kids

In addition to reminding yourself of your motivation to exercise, I think it is important to find activities you actually enjoy doing as well as doing a variety of exercises.

For one of my workouts this week I did a workout video. I love being able to work out at home without people watching me. A couple of years ago I needed to loose weight. I turned to Jenny Craig and Beachbody. That is a story for a whole other blog post, coming soon! From that experience I have 4 different workout programs on video. I love the cize videos because Shaun T (the Insanity workout guy) teaches a different dance routine in each episode. I haven’t done any dancing in the past decade or so, so it’s kinda fun to learn some dance moves and get exercise while I’m at it.  It makes me feel hip, lol! Do people still use that word?! Regardless, I’m glad I put the video in! I was definitely sore the next day! I am actually looking forward to going for a run with my dog next week. I’ll keep you posted!

Take care,

Lynette

 

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This Too Shall Pass Moment

Parenting in my 40s is very different then when my kids were first born. I had not idea then what I was doing and I still have no real idea, but being able to reflect back has helped me tremendously! I was going through some files on my computer and I came across a document I wrote in July of 2010. It was titled, “Up to my ears in poop, literally.” I bet you can guess what it was about! I was right in the thick of potty training Cole. Reading my draft brought me right back to that time in my life. Cole was almost 3 at the time.

Here is a snip it from my draft:

” We had just gotten home from running errands and it was nap time. We have gotten into the routine of always going potty before nap-time. Just because we have the routine, doesn’t mean Cole will always comply. I let Cole know that in two minutes he needs to try and go potty. He says, “ok Mommy.” So his two minutes were up and I say in my best up beat voice, “let’s go potty!” and in his highest screechy voice he yells, “No Mommy, I don’t have to go potty!” and so it begins.

“Yes, you do”,

“no I don’t”

“you need to at least try”

“no I don’t”

“you have two choices, you can walk into the potty yourself or I can carry you”

“NOOOOOOO”

So I go over and pick him up and carry/drag him into the bathroom. I pull down his pants and try to get him to stand in front of the toilet. He falls to the ground like a limp noodle. “Now what?” I think to myself. I try to get him to stand to no avail. I leave him crying on the floor knowing that this strategy didn’t work. I tell him he can’t leave the bathroom until he at least tries to go potty. I walk out of the bathroom. I only get so far as the dining room when I hear splashing. I look back and there he is standing on his stool that he uses to wash his hands and he has peed all down his legs and onto and into the stool (it had a storage compartment). The pee is flowing through the tile grout and is now pooling around the toilet and the trash can. I loose it! I start crying. Why would my perfect son pee on the stool on purpose just to piss me off?! I silently wipe him off and inform him that he needs some quiet time in his bedroom. I need some away time to try and compose myself. Then I go back in to tackle the river. I am still crying and the tears are getting heavier as I try to figure out how I am going to get pee out of the inside of his stool. I am so upset because I don’t know what is wrong with my son. All of these thoughts start flooding into my head. Is there something mentally wrong with him? I start diagnosing him! Why is potty training so difficult? He can’t wear diapers to college! I finish drying up the river and hope that there is no lingering pee smell. I go into Cole’s room trying to hold back my tears and he asks me, “Mommy are you happy or sad?” And my heart breaks.”

I remember feeling so helpless. I felt like a failure. Motherhood has the power to make you feel so alone. I didn’t want to reach out to any of my friends, because I didn’t want to admit I was a failure or for anyone to think there was something wrong with my son. But I am here to let you know that this too shall pass! Now as a mom of a 10 year old and a 9 year old I am finally coming to the realization that most situations in our kid’s life will get better, pass, or we as parents just learn how to manage better. I was not a failure, there was nothing wrong with my son! In the moment that is so hard to recognize!

Sure enough my 10 year old can use the bathroom all by himself! Flushing the toilet is another story! As I reflect back on my kid’s toddler years I can think of many times when I thought I would never make it through, but I did and I’m ok and so are my kids!

Do you have any this too shall pass moments? I’d love to hear them. Leave me a comment so other moms know they are not alone!

Take care,

Lynette

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This is Running at Forty

Running at Forty

I am training for a Spartan Race in March. I have been avoiding getting out there, but I knew I needed to! Also my husband reminded me that is a previous post I said I would keep you updated on my training progress (check out my This is Why post ).  He encouraged me to not be a liar, lol!!!! So off I went. 

I was able to run the first mile without stopping. I was actually pretty surprised because it’s been a long time since I have ran.

I ran about 2 miles in total and I’m super happy I did. It is so true how you feel better after exercising! And this have given me my boost to want to keep training, not just for the Spartan Race but for my overall health!

So here I am running at (almost) Forty!

I would love some music suggestions for future runs! Let me know your favorites in the comments.

Take care,

Lynette

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