Sierra's View: October 2013

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Tuesday, October 29, 2013

The Struggles of Being a Teacher.

Yea, I look like that everyday at school, too...
I have been avoiding writing this post because I feared that it would come across as too negative or pessimistic. I was worried that the many mothers of children whom I have been a teacher of would read this and be offended. Mostly, I worried that people would think that I hated my career as an elementary school teacher. Which is not the case. At all. Yet, I felt the need to finally publish this to the "world."

I am a 6th grade elementary school teacher. I love my career. 
But, no, I do not love it everyday.
There are days when I go home and just lay on my bed in a daze due to physical exhaustion.
There are days that I sit in my classroom after school and cry due to emotional exhaustion.
There are days when I want to just scream at my students. 
Being a teacher is wonderful. When a child understands a concept and you watch them grow, I swear, there is not a better feeling. I love connecting with my students and watching them succeed in all facets of life. But it is hard. And every month when I look at my paycheck, I want to cry. Not because I care about tons of money, but because I think of all of those late hours in my classroom and hours grading and planning and it just doesn't seem fair. 

The struggles of being a teacher: 
First, exhaustion. Yes, I understand that many careers require an exponentially more amount of energy than the energy that is connected with being a teacher. But, I am talking about the pure, indescribable exhaustion that hits your mind, body and heart every day, every week, and every month. I am talking about the kind of exhaustion you feel when a child's parent comes into your room after school and explains that her child has done nothing wrong, when he is clearly not doing what he should in your classroom. The kind of exhaustion where you sit in your chair and listen to a mother critique and almost yell at every thing that you are doing wrong, just because her son got into trouble. It's the kind of physical exhaustion where you are on your feet all day and you ache. It's the kind of mental exhaustion where your brain hurts from helping 30 students understanding multiplying fractions over and over and over again. 
But, the thing that gets me the most is the emotional exhaustion: watching a child struggle every single day and he can't academically succeed because his or her parent won't support him. Dealing with a child with divorced parents. Watching children deal with bullying and drama and the awful crises of a hormonal pre-teen life. It's exhausting. 
But the hardest part is doing everything you possible can to help the child and it completely backfires.
I cried to my principal this afternoon in my classroom. Yep. Cried. In front of my principal. Because I have almost dragged myself to death to help this child in my current class. I have loved him, supported him, and challenged him to succeed because he has struggled with friends, with school, and with other academic and emotional issues. And today I was told that he may switch classes because "we may not be a good fit." It was a source of anger, frustration and sadness in me. Because the child is still struggling, he and his parents have given up on me. And it's heartbreaking. It feels as though they are attacking my character. They are using me as an excuse. When really, I am not the problem. They just use me as the problem. Because it is easy to use a teacher as a target.
Can you imagine?
Giving everything your 100%, trying to love a child who least deserves it, fighting and working with him, and his parents just give up on you? 
It's heartbreaking. And not fair. Why do I have to be pushed done because your child is not progressing? Did they ever stop to think that it's not me thats the problem. It may be their "perfect" child. 
Something that parents need to remember is that teachers are humans. They expect us to fix and solve every problem. We are their teacher, you are the parent. I'll do my job and you do yours. 
I have had some wonderful parents. Seriously, amazing. They are supportive and helpful and kind and willing to work with me. 
But, to those parents who critique every single thing your teacher does: stop. It's not fair to the child, to you, and mostly, to the teacher. We are human. Please remember that. 
(Note: Now, I know there are many times to stand up for your child's education. But when you see a teacher who loves his/her students, plans curriculum and is trying his/her best, PLEASE, please, for the benefit of everyone, stop being so anal retentive). 
Please remember that your child is not perfect either. 
I know that it is difficult to hear negative things about your child and things that happen at school. But, students act differently at home and school--sometimes worse, sometimes better. So please remember that we are not demeaning your child's character or potential by explaining their struggles to you. We simply want them to succeed. 

I will support you and your child if you support me as a teacher. 
And yet, I continuously get knocked down if I make ONE mistake. What if I did that to the parents? There are so many issues that I see from parents. Far more than I see from teachers. Do you see teachers showing up at parent's doors and telling them to fix things? No. 
So, what if, before you critiqued everything a teacher does, you critique what is happening at home?

The hardest part about constantly being told what you are doing is wrong, is that it starts to wear on your emotional sense. I start questioning my skills as a teacher and as a person. And that's not fair. I am a good teacher. I do everything to make sure that my students succeed. I love them like my own children. I wish that was seen more often.

Some food for thought. 

Sunday, October 20, 2013

{Wedding Series} Bridals | Garden Photos II [Color]

Bridals-Archway Photos
The Handsome Grom
The Wedding Slideshow
Bridals-Garden Photos I (Color)

Well, you have seen the first half of the Garden Photos. And now, I want to show you the second half. Color style (black and white to come). Is it okay to say that I am obsessed with my pictures?


Thursday, October 17, 2013

{Wedding Series} Bridals | Garden Photos I [Color]

Well, it's back! Yes, I have been married for almost 3 months and am just now bringing back my Wedding Series since I never finished it. Been kind of a crazy few say the least. (Plus, who doesn't love looking at wedding photos?! I feel like that's all I do on Facebook and I LOVE it. ha). 
It is so fun for me to look at all of these photos from my bridals again. Brooke Bakken did an amazing job and I absolutely loved working with her. 
Tanner and I had SO much fun taking our bridals. One thing that I love about my husband is that we always have such a great time when we are together. I know that sounds incredibly cheesy, but I love being with my husband. I become so relaxed when I am around him. He lets me be myself. All of the time. (which he hates sometimes ha). We took our photos at Thanksgiving Point in Lehi, Utah when all of the flowers were in bloom. 
I think my favorite thing about these photos is that I am completely, totally myself in them. I am so content with where I am at and am so happy with my life. And I love that. I just chose some of my favorites from the Garden in color. (black and white to come!)
I love flowers so much. That's why I wanted all of these photos surrounding flowers and why I had the beautiful peony in my hair (one of my favorite flowers). It went with the romantic feel of my entire wedding. The soft makeup (by my dear friend, Emily) matched perfectly with that soft, romantic feel. My mother in law made my mini bouquet and it was beautiful. It matched perfectly! 


Tuesday, October 15, 2013

The Love Dare {Days 1-15}

Something that many of you don't know about me (or actually many of you probably do!) is that I tend to have this problem, if you will. See, I tend to start many projects and always forget to finish them. Well, I have a confession to make... this "Love Dare" has kind of been one of those projects. BUT, in my defense, it's because I have been on vacation in California. Rough life, I know. Never fear though, people. I am a very responsible person (dead serious on this one!) and I always, eventually, (eventually could mean like 6 months down the road, but, you get my point) catch up. Which, in Love Dare's case, I have!

Those of you who have no idea what I am talking about, I am currently reading the Love Dare for a Blogger's Book Club. I made the mission statement to ultimately become a kinder, more patient wife. So far, yea...well, we will talk about it.

Since I forgot to blog last week, here is the lowdown on the past fifteen days:
1- Love is Patient
2- Love is Kind
3- Love is Not Selfish
4- Love is Thoughtful
5-Love is Not Rude
6-Love is Not Irritable
7-Love Believes the Best
8-Love is not Jealous
9-Love makes Good Impressions
10-Love is Unconditional
11- Love Cherishes
12-Love Lets the Other Win
13-Love Fights Fair
14-Love Takes Delight
15-Love Is Honorable

I want to talk about just a couple of these things today:

One of the things that I feel like I do very well as a wife is that I am very rarely jealous. Sometimes, I am jealous (more so angry) of his work and all of the time he gives to it instead of me, but when it comes to him being with friends or girls, I have full trust in him. Jealousy has never been forte, mostly because I am such an independent women, I respect his independency. I know that Tanner loves me wholeheartedly and, plus, he knows I would kill him if he did something stupid :) hahaha (no, seriously).

On that awfully kind note, something that I want to work on, specifically, from my recent readings is my gentleness. Day 2: Love is Kind, really hit. I am not a mean person. But sometimes I say things sarcastically or just come out and say it. I don't think before I say things often times, so hurt feelings tend to appear. I am a very honest, blunt, and sarcastic person and even though I am very kind, it is something that I want to try to work on. I wouldn't consider myself an amazingly "gentle" person. Because my mother raised me to be such a strong, opinionated, women, I forget to be a little more gentle. Often times, I correlate "gentleness" with weakness or a women who doesn't have a backbone, but that is not the case. I know that gentleness can come with a spiritual, emotional, and mental strength. And I still want to be that "strong" woman that I have inherited and learned, I also want to work on being tender and gentle.

So, alas, my goal is now written down. I gotsta do it now.

Come join on the fun, yo.

 Marriage & Relationship Goals

Monday, October 14, 2013

...the transition into fall.

Well, Fall Break is officially over. That means Fall has hit for real, huh? I love Fall. I do. Especially in Utah. I love the cozy weather, where it's not too cold to go outside for a nice, brisk walk, but crisp enough to wear a sweater. I love the colors of the leaves and all of the beautiful views throughout the mountains. 

Last Sunday, Tanner and I drove up the American Fork Canyon on our way to Heber. Unfortunately, everyone and their dog had the same idea. Nonetheless, it was a beautiful drive and I loved seeing the truly beautiful sites of the Fall colors in the Utah mountains. 

I keep forgetting to bring my camera everywhere. Seriously. I know it's no excuse to forget about my big baby, but hey, it's a big baby and I kind of hate lugging it around everywhere (especially in places like Disneyland!) So alas, my updates on Fall Break will be instagram. Again. Bear with me. I know. I'm not a real blogger until I have legit pictures. Just love me anyway, k? 

Even though I love the beauty that Fall brings about, I LOVE the sunshine. I crave heat and the joy my pasty skin feels while in it. So, for Fall Break, Tanner and I decided to take a roadtrip to California. We have been dying to go to Disneyland and California Adventure. I just needed to get some of that good Disney stuff. Ya know? :

We ran into some dear family friends (love you Jana!) and took really pretty pictures together on Screamin'.

It was the first time I went to Disneyland with a BOY. oh baby. It was fun!

We stayed in Encino, just outside of LA with my brother in law's parents home (yea, Mormons, we are close...) and it was so fun! They live in such a cool house. I got to see my sister and nephews for a few hours (wish it could have been longer), but we are grateful that we know so many people everywhere ;) haha!

My nephew: Cute, wiry, baby Lincoln. He smiles with his whole body. I could just eat him up.
His personality is contagious. 

The Michel's cool home. A jungle in the middle of LA!
 And for the past two days, we have been out in Palm Springs with my parents. I have spent today: taking a long walk and reading out in the sun all day.  Rough life. 

All in all, I'd say it was a pretty successful Fall Break. I am dreading going back to reality, in the cold, but it has been a wonderful little getaway.
And, I swear, I will start using my camera more so you don't have to see repeated instagram pics. Cause I know you're all following in IG anyway :) 

Sunday, October 6, 2013

The Lord's Mouthpiece.

This weekend has been one of the most inspiring, amazing, and relaxing ones in a very long time. 

You see, every 6 months, my church, the LDS church ("the mormons") and yes the LDS people and Mormon people are the same. It is amazing how many people are under the impression that we are different religions. There was a recent study that come out on some of the most misunderstood religions. Number 3 was the the "Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints" and number five were the "Mormons." I laughed out loud as I read this, and sort of felt a little bit of anger as how confused people really are. 
*sorry, thought that tangent was worth it.  

Anyway, semi-annually, we have "General Conference", where every member of our church throughout the entire world gathers together and watches our leaders, the prophets and apostles, speak to us.  Some of us like to call "church in our pj's" because we make delicious breakfast, lay in bed, and listen to the very special and spiritual talks. (except I got to attend GC in Salt Lake Saturday morning and it was great!). 
It is one of my favorite weekends of the year. I get incredibly spiritually fed and physically rejuvenated. I get the weekend to just relax (which is basically a teacher's dream on the weekend). 

To be quite frank, I have really struggled with the Church recently. I am really struggling with my new ward (that's what we call our congregation, where everyone meets together). I feel like my ward is not very friendly and it's incredibly clique-ish. And, it doesn't help that I have been doubting a lot of things regarding the church. The past month, my depression has re-appeared in my life quite consistently, which really tests my testimony and the presence of God. The signs of my depression have reoccured (as they have since I was 14) and it has disabled me to function, to be quite honest. It's a huge transition point of my life and I am trying to just hold on. 

And this weekend, I truly felt like the Lord answered so many prayers of mine. I have been pleading with the Lord to give me some strength, to start to feel better, to receive some guidance on dealing with all of this...again. 
And then,
Elder Holland, an apostles of Jesus Christ,  got up and spoke specifically on the topic of depression. Never, in the history of General Conference, has an apostle outwardly spoken SPECIFICALLY on this issue, for an entire talk. When Jeffrey R. Holland began speaking, I found my heart immediately soften. I found my eyes starting to water and I felt like he was speaking just to me (even though he wasn't, obviously). I have always had spiritual experiences throughout my years of General Conference, but I feel like for the first time I felt a specific prayer answered. He was the Lord's mouthpiece for me. And it was perfect. 

I don't care what religion, race, or gender you are. Everyone needs to take a few minutes to watch this talk. It is incredible. 
Just copy and paste the link and enjoy. 
You will not regret it, I promise. 
This is a real issue in our day and it is important that everyone hears something this inspiring message regarding mental illness. 

Click HERE to watch! 

**There were sooo many other wonderful talks this weekend. If you are interested, click on this link and you can watch any of the talks from this weekend. 
Some of my favorites were: 


Thursday, October 3, 2013

The Love Dare {The Beginning}

My dear blogging friends Amberly and Mrs. Collier invited me to join in on this fantastic blogging book reading club. (Online book club?! Yes please!). What intrigued me even more was the idea that this specific book had to do with working on marriage. Which, well, to be honest, we all know that I need to work on this (yea, more on my marriage confidence here). The name of it is The Meaningful Marriage Book Study. (Man, I love bloggers sometimes. So catchy). 

During this month, I am supposed to make a marriage relationship goal. I took the Love Dare Online Evaluation. Wow, that was insightful. To say the least. Honestly, I knew what my struggles in marriage were before I took the test, but it was a good reminder into the more specific things I need to work on. Then again, my husband made a very good point. He told me that I am incredibly hard on myself (I am my worst critic) and that as he watched me take the quiz, the things I was marking down were not true from his standpoint. So, I guess it's all relative. Either way, It was good to see my strong suit as a wife and some of my likely weaknesses. 
After evaluating, my monthly marriage relationship goal is to be more patient, kind, and aware. I know that seems like such a lame and cliche goal, but I need to keep it broad so that I don't overdo it (I would, believe me). Patience is not my forte. I tend to be quite, well, impatient. Especially when I am tired. And my poor husband gets the brunt of it often times. I am a very sarcastic person and I need to work on just being more aware of my husband: that includes being kind to him and how he is feeling and serving him more often.

I'm gonna be the best freaking wife ever after this Love Dare Challenge. 

Sidenote: I have been a very poor blogger. No, we are talking incredibly bad. Over on this girl's end it is full of parent teacher conferences, teacher meetings, actual teaching in the classroom (that's the easy part compared to the other two) and lots of exhaustion. So forgive me. And yes, I WILL finish my Wedding Series. I promise. Just be patient. 

Speaking of patience (see what I did there) the book we are reading is called "Love Dare" and the first night of reading is on Patience. It is not only an actual reading book (shocking) but I can write down goals and things to work on. It is very hands on, which I need, otherwise I won't do anything to improve myself in my marriage ;). 

I am going to read now. It feels so good to read something that is not a 6th grade math textbook. 

Come join in on the fun. We have good discussions on Facebook and link ups.

 Meaningful Marriage Book Study