Sunday, February 19, 2012

I Will Never Have This Moment Ever Again!

My lovely roommate pointed this fact out to me tonight and I realized that it has been a long time since I last blogged.

I have been going through so many different emotions during the past couple weeks ranging from excited to nervous, angry to joyful, stressed to hopeful, and everything in between. It has been a rough couple of weeks getting my feet wet in teaching, but I am finally starting to feel like I am grasping the strategies. I am slowly building up relationships with the students and getting to know their individual needs. I didn't realize how much I would actually experience while being out here and there have been moments when I've looked at the planes flying by wishing I was on one, but I also knew that I needed to continue pushing until I conquered my weaknesses and grew as a person. While it has been difficult, I have also seen so many blessings in my life. There are hundreds throughout the day that I know are tender mercies from my Heavenly Father helping me remember that I am not alone and that He is aware of what I am feeling. My testimony has been growing in ways I didn't think possible and I am so grateful for this aspect of growth in my life. I would like to share a few of these simple blessings that I have had in my life that have helped me make it through these past few weeks.

First of all, every morning I get to take the metro to school and on the way, there is a certain portion of the metro tracks that takes us above ground while we pass over the Potomac River. This is the view from the metro one morning this past week. It is definitely my favorite part of the trip and I get to see it twice each day. On this particular occasion, the fog was covering the river while the sun was rising over the city and it was absolutely breathtaking.Next, there is an older woman in our classroom, or Grandma as the kids call her, and she picks us up from the metro each morning. She then drops us off at the school and saves us about a mile walk or 20 minutes. I am so grateful for this act of service and she is super helpful throughout the day in the classroom.

Once we get in the school, there is this cute little old man who gives me a hug each and every day. He also continually expresses how beautiful he thinks I am and that I make his day brighter. I don't know what I did to make him this happy, but he definitely helps me on those days that I need a hug. He is just a cute little old man (one of the grandparents), but I appreciate this and look forward to seeing his smile each day.

Throughout the days, there are moments when I am so excited to be teacher, and others when I would rather leave the room for good, but this past week has had more good moments than bad which is definitely an improvement. For example, on Friday, I had 3 students tell me they loved me! It was so rewarding and blocked out any other bad moments that had occurred that day. I feel like they are starting to get to know me as a person, and it makes teaching so much more enjoyable!

Finally, I have been blessed with so many supportive people in my life. I have amazing roommates, friends, and family. I truly couldn't have done any of this without their constant support and love. I have not gone one day without a phone call, text, note, or email expressing a supportive comment or loving gesture and I will forever be grateful for each of these. Each one strengthened me and got me through the rough patches.

Each morning on my way to school, I have the opportunity to read a few verses of the Book of Mormon and without fail, I end up reading a certain scripture that helps me that day, week, or at that particular moment. I am so grateful for my Heavenly Father and His knowledge of me, my needs, and my daily prayers. I feel so blessed and I know that I can accomplish anything with His help.

I have learned to not be so hard on myself when a lesson doesn't go as well as planned, and I am learning to leave school at school, and to find hobbies instead of dwelling on the classroom every second of my day. I might actually survive! :)

I need to remember that this is a chance of a lifetime, and just like my roommate pointed out, "I will never have this moment ever again!" I need to take full advantage of each moment of every day and love it! Life truly is wonderful, a gift, and a blessing. I look forward to all of my future experiences and growth that will occur. Thank you for all of you who continue to support me, you know who you are and I love you for it!

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Busy days!

Whoa! This past week has truly flown by. I can't believe it's almost been two weeks since I last posted! Better late than never, I always say. Well, here goes!

Friday, January 6th

This was our first day of observing in the classroom and it made me even more excited to start teaching. It was a bit intimidating for the first few moments because of the unknown and the fact that I had been switched from a 2nd grade classroom to the 3rd grade last minute. I am very pleased with the switch though and I have enjoyed it so far. There are 18 students in the class. 12 girls and 6 boys. I am already growing to love them and I haven't even started teaching yet. This day we were only observing until about 2 pm, and after this we headed home for our weekend. Friday night we got invited by a couple guys that live in our building to come over and watch "Midnight in Paris" it was an interesting movie (a one-time viewing film). :) But we had a great discussion about the film once it was over and we are grateful to be making friends with others in the area.

Saturday, January 7th

Today I woke up leisurely and headed over to the Pentagon with Stephanie. This has been my favorite sightseeing venture thus far and I think it is because I actually experienced September 11th. I was in 7th grade during the attacks on the World Trade Centers and the Pentagon so seeing the memorial for fellow Americans that I could have possibly met touched me even more than I had planned. I listened to the audio tour and was touched by the symbolism of each aspect of the memorial. I am so proud to be an American and to live in this amazing country. After leaving the Pentagon, we then headed over to Arlington Cemetery and we were both again touched by the many men and women who have sacrificed so much for this country. I am so blessed to have been born in a country where I have so many freedoms and opportunities. We watched the Changing of the Guards while in the cemetery and this solemn scene shows how each person is honored no matter race, religion, or background and it was touching to think of the many people who have died and were not found or recognized officially. Each person is essential to the success and direction of this country. After the cemetery, we realized that this had been a very solemn day of sightseeing so we decided to go home for the day. We stopped by Costco on the way and that night we took it easy.

Picture 1 (The Pentagon Memorial entry) Picture 2 (Arlington Cemetery) Picture 3 (Stephanie and I waiting for the metro to come pick us up from Arlington Cemetery)Sunday, January 8th

This Sunday I went to church at 8. :( I'm not a fan of church that early, but I'm getting used to it. Church was uplifting and the testimonies were wonderful! After church we came home and took naps, relaxed, then had some dinner at a friend's house. They had a potluck dinner and we met a few more people. We then went to the CES fireside broadcast and I caught a little bit of the talk on the Holy Ghost. I then went to bed early in preparation for another busy week.

Monday through Friday and Tuesday, January 9th-January 13th and January 17th

This entire week consisted of me getting a massive cold (I'm almost completely healed), getting accustomed to the classroom environment (I've almost learned all the rules), and getting more nervous about teaching (hopefully I will get over this). I feel as if I am growing and becoming a better teacher every day, but along the way there have been a few bumps. Tuesday for example was the day when one of my students turned to me and said, "I'm not afraid of you". Yikes! There were also a few other small management problems, but then today I had a student say, "Miss Herring, how is your hair so silky?" hahaha my hair silky? Wow! I also had the same student that scared me the first time say, "Miss Herring I'm afraid now because you can give me detention." (I promise I'm not trying to scare these children, I've never even mentioned detention.) hahaha It did make me feel better though. I had one student tell me that I look like Bella from Twilight. Ha! Kids say the darndest things :). I love that each day is new and I never know what to expect. I am going to start teaching this coming Friday and I can hardly wait. I learn so much from the students each day about staying consistent and upbeat.

Picture 1 (My classroom), Picture 2 (My first bulletin board), Picture 3 (Autum and Zori making ice cream), Picture 4 (Arkale and Gregory discussing their battle wounds from the ice cream, Gregory totally looks like Buckwheat from "Little Rascals" to me)Saturday, January 14th

We had the opportunity to go to Mount Vernon on Saturday and even though it was freezing, it was worth it. George Washington was truly inspired of God and prepared for what he was going to face. I don't want to picture what our country would be like without him. His plantation is fascinating and very organized. It reflects the type of man that he was in every aspect. We spent practically the entire day there and oddly enough ran into a member of the first quorum of the seventy while there. Elder Nash and one of the men over the Church History Museum in Salt Lake came up to me (I was wearing a BYU sweater) and they began talking to me about all the good I was doing. It was such a neat experience and exactly the boost I needed after my first experience in the schools. I love the glow that members of the church possess and the comfort this gave me while being away from anything in the norm.

Picture 1 (Sorry Martha, I stole George for a minute), Picture 2 (Isn't the home lovely?) Picture 3 (The group from BYU in front of the Home, Left to Right Becky Vanatter, Me, Kiera, Kate, Karen, Abbey, Kelli, Stephanie, Sarah, Marie, and Jeff) Picture 4 (Me in front of the home, it was windy!) Picture 5 (Kiera snuck in my pic and I was so happy, the Potomac river is behind us), Picture 6 (the original painting of George Washington praying in Valley Forge)
Sunday, January 15th and Monday, January 16th

This Sunday we had a wonderful sacrament service and I felt bad sniffing through the entire thing, but I'm glad I got to go. I also got to renew my temple recommend where I was also presented with a calling in the ward. Wow! I didn't even know they had my records, but I'm excited to serve in the ward. I love being involved. (I can't tell what my calling is yet). After church I came home and took a good nap and later that evening, we went to a documentary night with a few members of the ward. Brett invited us and we watched a documentary on surfing (made in the 60s). It was hilarious and again it was fun to make a few more friends in the ward. Monday we didn't have school due to the National holiday of Martin Luther King Jr.'s birthday. I woke up without an alarm, cleaned the apt, went to the gym, then did some homework before heading to bed. I love days like this!

Well, those are all the major parts of the past couple (well a few) days. I will post more in the future. I'm getting a bit sleepy, which might be because I woke up at 4:30 and ran! Fun times! :)

Thursday, January 5, 2012

The past couple days!

Whoa! The last few days have flown by in a complete blur. I am starting to realize that I am going to have to blog at least once every other day to keep track of all of my experiences and findings. First of all, Monday I got to sleep in before heading to the gym with Karen. After our workout I made one final trip to Costco where I then came back and we joined the other girls to go to the National Museum of Natural History. We had the opportunity to see the Hope Diamond, animals, and many other exciting things! I would have to say my favorite part was the diamond collection. :) We then walked up around the Washington Monument to see it lit up at night. It was breathtaking! Once we got as close as possible to that amazing monument, we began to realize how cold we were and quickly headed home for the night.

Picture 1 (Beautiful and huge Sapphires) Picture 2 (The Hope Diamond) Picture 3 (Crown given as a gift by Napoleon) Picture 4 (Main Display in Museum) Picture 5 (Washington Monument by Night)
Tuesday, January 3rd
Tuesday was our day to get fingerprinted and accepted into the DC Public Schools System. We went up to the official building around 10:30 and by about 2 pm we finally got home. But it was worth it because now we can begin teaching! I am so excited! We then had our first meeting with our coordinator at 3 and this is where we had an in-depth introduction into what we are going to experience while teaching. After this meeting was over we all were pretty worn out from our day and so the rest of the evening was spent either getting ready for bed (or the other girls went to the gym). :)

Wednesday, January 4th
Wednesday was my day to visit my future school. I am going to be teaching at Miner Elementary. I am teaching 2nd grade with Ms. Miner. I only had a brief introduction but I can hardly wait to teach. She seems extremely helpful and nice and the students were adorable. This is going to be such a great learning experience! After we had a tour of the school, we then headed to Duke Ellington High School of the Arts and had the opportunity to tour this school. I felt like I was on the set of Step Up! :) We then got to take a quick stop at the DC Cupcakes and had some of the most amazing cupcakes I've had in a while! They were delicious! I tried the red velvet and the Toasted Marshmallow. I prefer the Red Velvet for future references :). Our last stop was to School Without Walls and then we were able to head home. We then had another seminar to summarize what we experienced and then last night I made some delicious Chicken Parmesan for dinner and my roommates and I watched "Northanger Abbey" before heading to bed.

Thursday, January 5th
Today, I woke up at my leisure while the other students went on a tour to Wilson High School (I didn't need to go), after eating breakfast, cleaning, and getting all dressed up, we went to meet the group at Union Station for lunch (we didn't get lost under my directions) Yay! Stephanie and I were walking around Union Station looking for the perfect place to eat when a nice man gave us a sample of the most amazing sandwich I've had in DC! haha It was a chicken salad sandwich on this type of pita bread and when the man said that we would get free Gelato with our sandwich, I couldn't resist! I then had Chocolate Hazelnut gelato with my amazing sandwich and was ready to tour the Library of Congress. Our group headed over and after a brief meeting from our coordinator we went on a guided tour of the amazing library. I loved all of the symbolism and structures that can be found in this historic building. I couldn't stop taking pictures and I will only post a few of my favorites. After our touring, we then headed back home (again not getting lost), I think I am starting to figure out this metro thing. Once I got home I quickly came downstairs to blog! I couldn't wait anymore! I am going to get better about blogging so that I can provide some of the amazing details that I may pass over in my haste. Tonight we all need to get to bed early in order to be to our schools by 8 tomorrow morning for our first observations. I am so excited to begin! Ready or not, here I come! :)

Picture 1 &3 (Quotes in Library of Congress) Picture 2 (They were taking down Christmas) Picture 4 (Stephanie and I in the library)

Monday, January 2, 2012

My first Sunday.

Sunday was an extremely relaxing day, we woke up bright and early and headed to church. Our ward, "Colonial 1st Ward" is supposedly extremely social and huge! There are 3 relief societies and 2 elders quorums. Crazy! But I am very excited to be there, and the bishopric seems extremely friendly. We then came back, ate some delicious lunch, and took a 3 hour nap! Wow! After our naps and setting some New Year's Goals, we planned for a game night with a few other members of the ward and it turned out to be a success! We played a few games, had a few treats, and many great conversations occurred! I think I am going to like it here :). I have even had the opportunity to meet a few neighbors and they have all been extremely friendly. Thank goodness!

Day 2 Adventures!

Today, I woke up and decided it was time to get some real food. I walked across the street to Costco, and picked up some necessary items, and as much as I could hold. While in the store, I was leaning into the freezer to pick up a bag of chicken, when an African American woman came alongside my cart and said, "No, no, no, this is a not good. Do you know how easily you could have been robbed?" hahaha We were the only ones in the aisle and so I kind of laughed and said, "But I trust you!" :) She and I had a couple of good laughs and she gave me some good advice, but I was grateful for her help. I then carried my box of items back to my apartment and met up with the other girls to go to the Museums and the Mall.

We got out of the metro at the Smithsonian exit and this was the first thing I saw. Beautiful isn't it? There were people playing kickball, tourists, music, markets, and so much history I had to catch my breath!
After walking across the field, we decided to go to the National Museum of American History. We first saw the President's wives' dresses and then slowly went through each of the exhibits for a couple hours. It was so nice to not be in a hurry. The dress pictured above belongs to our current First Lady, Barack Obama's wife.

After walking around for awhile, we started getting hungry so we headed over to the Old Post Office to get some food. We passed by this guy playing the drums and he was amazing! We also passed by someone begging for money, and when we didn't give him any, we got a few choice words said to us which made us feel that we made the right decision. We continued on our journey for food until we got to this grand building pictured below for lunch. (I got a Turkey Avocado sandwich).We then ended the day by paying a visit to Julia Child's kitchen and then departed for home where we got ready for our New Year's Eve! My roommate, Karen McKay, had arrived and we went to the Stake Singles' Dance. It turned out to be a fun evening and we even met a few new faces.

First day in "the District"

I'm Here!!!As you can tell from my exciting title, I have now started learning the lingo in the Washington, D.C. area. Supposedly if you are a tourist, you say, "I'm going to D.C." but if you are actually from the area, you say, "I'm going to the District". This is just advice for all you future travelers.Well, I officially left at 6:00 am and began my four hour flight for Baltimore. The above picture was my first view of the area, and yes that is a river, not desert or snow! Yay! I arrived and found a nice attendant to help me with my luggage and to help direct me to the Shuttles. He was so helpful and I quickly was on my way to Virginia with a few other passengers including a man who was over the schoolwork for the athletes at Georgetown. We first dropped him off in College Park. We then moved on to the next couple who lived on Capitol Hill and the man worked with the Supreme Court in their religious affairs. He told me that he is close friends with Orrin Hatch and that he would love for a BYU student to come anytime! Awesome! After we dropped off this man and his wife, the driver, then took me to my apartment in Arlington, VA which is absolutely amazing! This is what I see from my window:Yes, that is the Pentagon! Well, after arriving and unpacking, I went over to the other apartment (because I was alone still) and we watched "Super 8". I couldn't believe how tired I was and I was very grateful to get into bed that night.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

October 25th Happy Thoughts!

1. Today was my first day of practicum and I woke up ready for the day and excited to teach! I am in Mrs. Hadfield's 4th grade class this semester and the kids are awesome! I can already tell I am going to learn so much from the students and teacher. I also get to work with Jamie Hemingway and she is such a wonderful co-teacher.

2. During the day, perhaps the funniest moment came while we were studying the distributive property. We were discussing how distributing is like separating the numbers to make them simpler to work with, when one student raised her hand and said, "Oh! the distributive property is like when Hitler would separate the Jews and the Gentiles!" Then another student immediately responded with, "Are you Gentiles?" This type of Aha! moment was not what we were expecting or desiring from our initial lesson plan and luckily I did not have to be the one to regain composure to answer the question. I just quietly hid behind my notebook and stifled back a giggle. Good times in 4th grade!

3. I then got to go to work in the basketball office which is always one of my favorite activities. I love my jobs and the people I work with. I have always been extremely blessed when it comes to work and school and now I feel even more blessed because everything in my life is just clicking! Heavenly Father definitely knows what we need and when we need it.

4. After work I went to my Special Education class which was actually wonderful. We watched a church video called, "Teach the Children" and watching it made me grateful yet again to be attending BYU where we integrate the gospel into normal curriculum. I then went to my training and got to give a tour of the Marriott Center to my group. Basketball season is starting up and we are all extremely excited to get started!

5. Finally, I ended the night be watching the movie, "Robots" with one of my favorite people. ;) It was so relaxing to end this crazy day with a good movie, blanket, and company. I have such a wonderful life and I am loving every minute of it!