More Than a Teacher

Have you ever walked in to a place and felt at home? Somewhere you’ve never been or seen until then and just known that it’s the place your supposed to be? I’ve had it happen a few times in my life and a month ago I had another one of those experiences. I walked into Calhoun Elementary School and immediately felt at home. It was welcoming and almost screamed “You belong here!” The three administrators I met with were inviting and pleasant. I could picture myself working for them and alongside them. I didn’t get the sense that I shouldn’t mention my husband, daughter, or faith. I believe that it was welcomed to mention things about who I am away from school. 

So many times teachers are asked to come to work and be just a teacher. When we are at school we are not a wife, mom, Christian, or republican. We are a teacher and only that. I don’t know about anyone else, but I don’t work that way. I am always a Christian. It doesn’t matter where I am. I am praying while I teach. I am shining my light for Jesus everywhere I go and I cannot put it away when I walk into work. AND… the only reason people call me Mrs. Ruff is because I am married. I cannot pretend that my husband doesn’t exist for 8 hours a day 190 days a year. I should be able to talk about him while I am at work and not be sorry for it. To top it off, I finally became a mother last year and I will not avoid any conversation about my sweet girl. I am a Christian first, wife and mother next, and teacher last. I have been able to be all of those things and so much more at Cartersville Elementary School for the past 6 years and I felt that I could be the same way when I stepped inside of Calhoun Elementary School last month. It was so nice to know that other schools allow their teachers to be so much more than just a teacher!


Four Way Failure

1. At 2:30 am when your husband has been up for 2 hours with a baby and needs sleep because has to go to work at 9 and you are frustrated because you need sleep too…wife failure! I got up, and stayed up with baby girl but struggled to defend my husband in my mind (what I have to do when I know he isn’t trying to hurt my feelings, but my feelings are hurt). 

2. When you’ve only had about three hours of sleep the entire night and your daughter is crying (again) and you don’t have a clue what she needs…mom failure! Baby girl loves to be up at night and then only sleeps in two hour stints during the day. By the time I’m convinced she is really asleep and then I fall asleep, I normally only get 30-45 minutes of sleep before she fusses again. Then I go through the list of things she could need (diaper change, food, burping, gas, etc.). But when I get to the end of the list and nothing has worked…I burst into tears too!

3. When you check your work email and have another parent complaint about the substitute teacher…teacher failure! My students shouldn’t have to suffer while I’m out and parents shouldn’t have to deal with this bad situation, but I can’t do anything from home…and my daughter needs me more than they do. I hate that I have left my teaching partner with this and the students and parents too. It stinks!

4. When your boss text you asking about the paper work for your maternity leave and the papers are still in Marietta at the doctors office…employee failure. 

At this point I lost it! I’m talking total meltdown. Tears streaming down my cheeks, sniffling nose, hair a mess, need a shower, baby girl crying, home alone,… I think you get it. It was bad. 

I’m not used to failing. Or feeling like a failure. I try my best at everything I do. I want to bring glory to God in all of my actions and today I felt like I let my husband, my daughter, my students, their parents, my teaching partner, my bosses, and God down. 

My husband came home at lunch and affirmed me and my efforts as a mom and wife. My mom went to the doctors office for the paperwork for me. And a shower and lunch helped to stop the tears and sniffling nose. But I am constantly reminding myself that I can only do this thing called life with God on my side. I need God to supply my rest and strength. I have to trust that God will take care of my students and prepare me to go back to work. I know God has my daughter in His hands. But my failures are real. Scripture reminds me that God’s, “’grace is sufficient for [me], for [his]power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.”(‭‭2 Corinthians‬ ‭12:9‬). 

So today I am bragging about my weaknesses, down falls, and failures. Because the only reason I can keep going is with Christ turning my mess ups into power. 

Feeling Like ME

This summer was a great time to relax and rest as a baby has grown inside of me. I don’t know that it would have been good or wise for me to work during my 30-38 week time period. However, I didn’t feel like myself this summer. I didn’t look like me, act like me, respond like me. Maybe it’s the hormones, or laziness from being exhausted, or who knows, but this summer I wasn’t me

I went back to work last week (teachers seem to go back earlier and earlier each year) and still wasn’t who I remember myself to be. I wasn’t keeping the house as clean, cooking as much, enjoying the social aspect of my job. It’s been weird. But in the past two days everything has changed! The kids have come back to school and I feel like ME! I get to be goofy, and accomplish tasks that matter. I get to learn about new little people and show my slightly crazy side. Being a teacher is apart of who I am. God called me to this career and it has been amazing to be back (even if only for a few days)! I have loved it!

Please do not misunderstand me. I am 39 weeks pregnant and exhausted. My feet and ankles are unrecognizable and hurt. I am thrilled to be taking time off with my sweet little girl soon and will love every second of it. But I am so glad to I have a career that I LOVE and know that I was called to!

I Survived My Nightmare

Since finding out I was pregnant, and having the doctors confirm my due date (August 6), I have had a few nightmares, but one has reoccurred too many times to count. My water breaking as I’m meeting parents and students at open house. That may seem silly, but it has been my struggle. I have known since week four that at week 39 I would endure open house and the first week of school. For some reason the idea of the first week of school is less scary of a time for my water to break than open house. 

Last night was open house…and I survived my nightmare, or I guess my nightmare never occurred in real life! I’m so excited/relieved! As I met my 25 fifth graders and several of my teaching partner’s students as well, I was thrilled at how well they handled my very round belly and the fact that my due date is Saturday. Sure, at the end of the night my feet hurt, my back ached, and all I wanted was to lie down and sleep…but I would consider the night a HUGE success! Especially since my water didn’t break.

So What Are You Going To Do This Summer?

Each summer I am asked this question by multiple people. I don’t know that I have ever taken the summer off, or that any teacher does, but this summer has some new items on the to-do list. 

I guess number one on my list would be growing a baby. Hannah is a very active baby for most of the day which lets me know she is healthy. I know much of my summer will be spent getting her room ready, going to doctor’s appointments, and daydreaming about what she will look like. 

I also am doing a great deal of prep work for becoming a fifth grade teacher. Reading standards, finding resources, making power points…the list continues. The hardest part of this is I am having to do this AND get my long term sub plans ready. I still don’t know who will be my long term sub, but I hope to have it figured out soon.

So what am I going to do this summer???

  • Kevin’s rehearsal dinner/wedding
  • VBS
  • Doctor’s appointment
  • Youth party
  • 3D/4D ultrasound
  • Long term sub plans
  • Count Hannah’s kicks
  • Fifth grade power points
  • Take a tour of the labor/delivery wing
  • PBIS presentation
  • Put together Hannah’s room

What about you? Any big plans for the summer?

All Good Things Must Come to an End

Today was the last day of school. This concluded my fifth year teaching and begins my official transition to fifth grade. It was very bittersweet. 

I love third grade! The age of the students, the content taught, and the lightbulb that comes on right after Christmas break each year. 

I adore the women I work with in third grade! I could not ask for a better group of people to show me how to be an amazing teacher. They have been my friends, work-moms, big sisters, allies, and role models. These are women who lift me up in prayer and surround me with love. I will miss being with them all day everyday. 

But today, I must begin to prepare for new friends in fifth grade. I need to start wrapping my head around the maturity of 10 and 11 year olds. The content will be refreshing and make me work harder at preparing to teach-which I find fun.

So, goodbye third grade. You will be missed. Hello, fifth grade! Let’s do this!

You’re Moving Me Where?

School is coming to a close, and for many teachers that means reflecting on their year and looking forward to teaching a new batch of students in two months. Typically I sit around and think about how I could be a better third grade teacher, but this year I am thinking You’re moving me where? You want me to be a fifth grade teacher? You do remember I am having a baby three days after school starts back??? Yep, that’s right…my five years in third grade are ending and I am beginning a new chapter in fifth grade.

To say that I am overwhelmed would be an understatement. With a move like this comes a HUGE list of things to do before August.

  1. Sort out my stuff from the school’s third grade stuff
  2. Pack up my stuff
  3. Pray
  4. Move to new classroom
  5. Find fifth grade stuff
  6. Pray
  7. Print new standards
  8. Research new standards
  9. Pray

The list could go on forever!!!!

On top of a move to a new grade level, some how my principal thinks I should be a grade level chair person…WHAT?!?

We have spoken. I have voiced my concerns. He says he still thinks that he has made the best decision for his school…so here I go…off to 5th grade…as a grade level chair.

The only positive to this entire transition is that my teaching partner (we have been together 4 years now) is also headed to fifth grade with me. We are moving as a unit and I LOVE that!!!

So my life is becoming more interesting as Hannah’s arrival is approaching…but I am excited to still have a job (doing what I love), be remaining with my teaching partner (whom I love), and be trying new things!!!

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