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Stress --> decorating

Many different times in my life, when I have been stressed out, I focus  on decorating.  It’s like I push aside the important things in my life and stress about the way my house looks instead.  I think it’s a coping mechanism.

Anyway, this past week, I was SUPER busy with Creative Memories get togethers (which went AWESOMELY, thank you very much) and I was worried about giving my “final answer” to my superintendent regarding my job for next year.

So what did I do? I perused decorating blogs, visited my old friends at HGTV message boards, and rearranged my living room.






  P1070295P.S. Do you see the turkeys?  There are at least two hidden in the room.

The Happiest MIDDLE SCHOOLER on the Block

I've been reading The Happiest Toddler on the Block off and on for a few weeks now. One of the strategies that Dr. Karp suggests is the "Fast Food Rule." Here's how it works: if someone is upset, let them speak first, repeat back their feelings, and they say your piece. It's similar to the employee at the fast food drive through. You order, they repeat your order, THEN they tell you the total price.

So this FFR is meant for toddlers, but I have found that it works well on my husband (shhh...don't tell him!) and now my students!

Here is a typical conversation with one of my students.

Student (in a whiny voice): Ugh. This is hard. I don't want to do it.
Mrs. O (in a stern voice): Well, you have to, so get to work.

But here's how today's conversation went when I used the FFR.

Student (in a whiny voice): Ugh. This is hard. I don't want to do it.
Mrs. O (in an understanding voice): I know it seems hard right now. But I will help you through it and by the end of the assignment, it won't be so hard.
Student (staring at me like I'm an alien before hesitantly answering): Okay.

How easy was that!?!?! And then, the student sat and worked quietly for 40 minutes. FORTY minutes! That's 10 times as long as he normally works quietly!!! I did help with a few problems, but I never had to redirect his attention or deal with any other complaints!

(I have mixed results using it with Adam - he's VERY strong-willed and not easily distracted. So he calms down while I agree with him and then as soon as I try to get him to do whatever it is he won't do, he cries, screams, or kicks again. I think I need to read more of the book, or keep practicing!)

Decisions, decisions...

I'm in the middle of a big decision that could affect my life quite a bit. I am trying to decide whether to stay in my current teaching position or take a part time position.

I like my current position as a 4th-6th grade Title I teacher. I love working with small groups of kids and I get to work with many different kids throughout the day. I love teaching reading, and although I didn't think I would like it, I like teaching math more and more everyday. Of course there are times when I am frustrated - mostly when I am having a hard time getting a concept across to my students, or when I am dealing with scheduling woes.

However, I have been thinking for awhile now that working part time would help me balance life and work a little better. The teacher in me will always want to teach, and I would miss my "kids" if I stayed home full time, but as my home life gets more hectic with kids and farmer and farm, I need more time there to keep from feeling like I'm stretched too thinly.

So I feel like a part time position would be the perfect home/work time balance. But I'm still apprehensive about taking a part time position for several reasons, and I'm afraid to commit to a decision I'm not sure about. I plan on making the decision within a couple of days after more prayer, reflection, and discussions with my husband.