Tag: learning

How I judged someone…

How I judged someone…

This is a perfect subject as we begin another new school year.  It is a great topic to discuss and bring awareness to how we can all be a little less judge-y about others.   I’ve been taking several college classes over the last four to five years in different fields and for different reasons, but mainly because I love learning.  There were a few classes I was dreading, but not because I was worried about the work.  Remember, I love learning and part of learning is doing assignments and activities that broaden our experiences.  I was dreading it because I was worried about the professor.  I had encountered this particular professor at a local organizational meeting that I attended one evening and she seemed to be very rigid, almost grumpy.  She wasn’t overly friendly or bubbly, in fact, she wasn’t really friendly at all.  I knew she taught two of the classes I was interested in, so I would have her as a professor and that really worried me.

This is when the story changes just a bit.  I took the plunge and signed up for those classes.  I decided it was time to face the worry that I was feeling and get through those classes that I wanted to take.   This is the part where you learn that I had completely prejudged that professor.  She was a phenomenal professor that had the class organized very efficiently.  After taking her two classes, I realized how pathetic it was that I even considered letting my initial judgment of her impact taking those classes.  She could have had a difficult day when I met her that evening, she could have been facing a battle I knew nothing about, or she might just have a personality that is different than what I thought it should be as a professor.  She isn’t required to be bubbly or overly friendly and I can assure you that her teaching style is drastically different from her everyday personality.  She may not like going to meetings or she may feel awkward in social situations.  Whatever it was, it didn’t even matter.  It wasn’t important.  And it was a wonderful learning lesson for me.  I was reminded that my judge-y self needed to take a step back and realize that each person’s personality is unique and should not be judged.  Not now, not ever.

And so the complete irony of the situation is not only was I reminded to be less judgmental, BUT I also loved her two classes!  She helped me grow throughout those two classes and made me view and look at things in different ways.  And for that, I am very thankful.  So with this blog, I challenge you to remember that there is no need to judge others…we can always let others do their own thing because we all walk different paths and lead different lives. 🙂

~jj

#ProjectKindnessBook

#AlwaysChooseKindness

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The mountains we call life!

The mountains we call life!

As if we haven’t heard it a thousand times that life is full of highs and lows and twists and turns.  It’s something our parents tell us, our teachers told us, and something you can hear and witness every single day.  Sometimes life seems glamorous when we are young (and, it certainly is at times and most definitely more times than not!), but it isn’t always glamorous.  And, it is important to teach your children this, your students this, and all the people around you this.  It makes that fall to the ground a little bit less painful in the end.

I am a new teacher surrounded by many veterans, but we all have bad days, the ones who are new and the ones that have tons of experience.  I was recently evaluated and the class didn’t really go as planned, not at all, not even a little bit.  It was stressful, chaotic, and more than anything it felt like a bit of a failure.  That day was you guessed it…a mountain.  But then again, in life, almost every single day is going to present you with a mountain (or hill) of some kind.  It’s the reality and we must come to accept that when we plan things out in our head and they go in a complete different direction we recognize it is as a learning experience and not a failure.  Now, not all people will lead you to believe this – you may not have friends, family, bosses, supervisors, leaders, or people that believe that a loss of profit, a bad decision, or a poor evaluation is a learning experience, but it is.

My evaluation did turn into a learning experience and a lesson to stick in my pocket.  It’s one I can carry with me.  That evaluation will make me a better person even if I would like to forget about it.  This leads to the last part.  I work with a wide range of students.  Some that have family and a great home and others that aren’t sure where they will sleep that night.  Students that eat out often and others that aren’t sure when their next meal will come.  It came at just the perfect time.  Less than 24 hours later I received a note about the impact I was having on several students.

What’s the point of sharing these highs and lows?  Because it’s life.  You can translate this to your own life, job, relationships, and chaos.  Life is full of moments where you feel like you have reached the peak of the mountain and feel like you have met success, but you will also find challenges and frustrations right around the corner.

~jj

#ProjectKindnessBook

#AlwaysChooseKindness

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Curriculum that comes to life!

Curriculum that comes to life!

It can be a lot of work to be a teacher that truly takes the time to create ‘fun’ curriculum which to me (as a teacher) actually means meaningful curriculum that makes the topics and concepts come to life.  Books have tons and tons of definitions, topics, and concepts, but they aren’t always exciting and thrilling.  They don’t always make learning fun and often times as teachers we recognize that making learning fun is actually a lot more work.  After all, students often want things that are interactive and hands-on, but what they don’t realize is that the ‘fun’ things that teachers plan require a lot of organizing, coordinating, and most of all time.  Remember that this is the type of curriculum that helps the students retain important information, but also provides life lessons.

This past week I have done quite a bit of self-reflection on my activities and lessons in hopes of becoming a better teacher and improving my projects for future classes.  I recently planned my annual ‘Cutthroat Food Truck’ project where there is auctioning and chaos within the classroom.  It’s during my Supply & Demand Unit which makes it really fun.  There’s a shortage of ink in the marketplace so there is no printing allowed, there is an unlimited supply of white computer paper available because there is a major supplier producing it, markers are readily available and not in short supply, but due to the demand of scissors, glue, tape, and colored paper there is a limited number of premium resources available and the groups must bid to obtain these wants.  It’s quite entertaining because I do most of the auctioning while students are creating their food cart which adds an extra layer to the project.  Students must pay attention to items that are up for bid as they create and brainstorm on their food truck.  They get a set amount of ‘money’ (yes, it’s fake!) to use toward bidding on items.  They must consider whether they will bid each other up for items, trade-off items, or how they will strategize to create a cool and fun food truck.

It is quite exhausting to coordinate, organize, and implement (and a bit costly because I bring in patterned decorative tape and paper, special stickers, etc), but it turns out to be a cool project that teaches supply, demand, wants, needs, scarcity, and limited and unlimited resources.  What is most important about this project is that it brings these complex, boring economic concepts (okay, let’s be honest I am a Financial Economics major so it hurt to have to type ‘boring’ to describe those concepts, but for most students it is the reality) to LIFE!  It gives meaning and excitement to these students.

This also helps bring your students that have different learning styles and levels to an area that connects with real life.  Nearly all students can relate to some of the concepts and it puts money in their hands!  They have to figure out how to spend it efficiently or else they learn a lesson on how not to spend money (which can be equally as important)!  My point is that if you bring your lessons to life you will find so much more success in your classroom.  I will guarantee that!

This one is for my fellow teachers, economic lovers (me!), and all those that strive to make a difference in every single student’s life.

~jj

#ProjectKindnessBook

#AlwaysChooseKindness

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Will I sink or will I swim as I teach?

Will I sink or will I swim as I teach?

It feels very appropriate to be writing a new blog entry now that I have officially survived my first week in a new chapter of life.  My new chapter was opened last week when I started my position as a Business Teacher at my old high school (Go Terriers!).  It’s also my first ‘snow day’ due to freezing rain, which I am thankful for because it gives this new teacher a chance to play catch up!

I have found myself sitting at my desk each day during my plan period trying to keep up with the endless grading.  Not only during my plan period, but at every spare moment – morning, afternoon, and evening – I find myself grading, planning lessons, or doing something that revolves around teaching and inspiring my students.  I leave school and find myself working at home planning lessons, and trying to keep my head above the water that seems to be inching ever closer.  After just a week, I have found that I love working with my students, I am getting used to my schedule, and I am starting to find a rhythm that I hope works for me.  That doesn’t change that I am still at the very beginning of this chapter, and I still feel as though I am swimming, paddling, and kicking my legs in the water to keep my head above it.  I know other beginning teachers, seasoned teachers, and even retired teachers can relate to how I am feeling.

As I was grading, and grading, and grading some more I was beginning to become overwhelmed and exhausted by it.  I was also getting a little sick of it because the piles seemed like they were never ending.  My ‘To be graded’ and ‘To be entered’ folders always seem full and I’m not giving an overabundance of homework or class assignments (nothing more than other teachers in my department or in the building, in general).

Then I realized something as I was sitting at my desk grading papers.  This wasn’t just endless grading.  It was meaningful information.  In fact, it was great information because my students were teaching me.  Students included things I didn’t expect in their assignments, made inferences I was amazed by, and allowed me to learn something new.  I have come to recognize that I not only love my students, but I also love what grading has given to me.  They are actually teaching me a lot when I grade their assignments, things about the world, sports, and life.  For example, I was reading one student’s research on computer programming jobs and he had said that the computer programming field is actually declining.  He said that the job outlook is not good and I was surprised by this.  I actually thought computer programming would be a rising field since so many things revolve around technology and computers.  On another occasion, a student taught me that wrestling is a year round sport.  I haven’t watched a lot of wrestling and it was surprising to me.  I learned something new from him!  That was pretty cool, and it was something I wouldn’t have known if my student hadn’t shared that with me.

I am sharing this because if we think outside of the box and color outside of the lines we may be surprised by what we see or learn.  It allows us to see things from another person’s perspective, appreciate life more fully, and understand why we do what we do.  Why we do something (such as grade papers) may seem obvious, but if we think of it in a different context we are able to see that it can be more than just grading.  It can be a learning experience.  We often go through life doing our job tasks mindlessly because they have become mundane and repetitive.  I hope this helps you put things in perspective and find new ways to bring meaning to your own life whether you’re a teacher, social worker, electrician, construction worker, or film director.  We can all find ways that our job provides meaning.  This is precisely what my #ProjectKindnessBook is about.

Oh, and by the way, I will most definitely be swimming during this chapter, not sinking, even if I have to kick and paddle the entire way!

~jj

#ProjectKindnessBook

#AlwaysChooseKindness

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What is #ProjectKindnessBook?

What is #ProjectKindnessBook?

PBK3I have almost completely finished my #ProjectKindnessBook which focuses on the bumps in the road that life presents and how to get through them successfully.  In a nutshell, it is a book about the twists and turns of life, learning, and giving back to others.

Along the way, I offer bits of advice to “stick in your pocket” to carry with you through life.  I don’t have everything figured out and am still eager to learn more from other’s experiences.  The one lesson from my pocket that I have come to understand most is that the roadblocks in my life have allowed me to reach inside myself to create a path that has led to where I am today.  It has taught me that it is never too late to accomplish my dreams.  This book being a paramount example of accomplishing a dream.

It has been the most challenging and time consuming project I have ever taken on yet a very fulfilling thing I could do for myself and others.  Stick the stories, quotes, and advice in your pocket and pull them out along the way to use in your own life.  By the end of my book I hope you recognize that the little things are precisely just the little things.  I didn’t learn this overnight, but rather through my experiences both personally and professionally over time.  I wrote this book knowing that I am a “work in progress.”  I am not perfect, but the stories you read are about learning and giving.  It was a learning curve, taught me more about the world, and expanded my growth as a person.  I hope it does the same for you.  It is meant to give you new perspective about others and teach you something about yourself.  If nothing else I hope it reminds you that kindness and giving will give you purpose–purpose that will change your life.

My “Project Kindness” is meant to encourage others to pledge their age on their birthday as the minimum number of random acts of kindness to achieve in a year just as I have chosen to do with mine.  I challenge you to help me make the world a kinder place by pledging your birthday as a way to give back.  Learn more by visiting jennarpjamieson.com!

~jj

#ProjectKindnessBook

#AlwaysChooseKindness

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Quality over quantity…in life and in health!

Quality over quantity…in life and in health!

“Quality over quantity” fits my life mission and many of the goals I set for myself.  When I workout I like to keep it in the back of my mind.  I want quality over quantity.  What does that mean to me?  It means using the correct form for the exercises I perform and creating a workout that fits my lifestyle and body.  It is for my sanity, strength, and a stress reliever at the end of the day.  In other words, I would rather do fewer reps and sets during my workout than lots of reps and sets in the incorrect form.  That can cause pains, strains, and injuries.

The same can be echoed for the career paths I have gone down.  I have come to appreciate (and enjoy) having a job that is far more “quality over quantity”.  That may not even make sense, but let me explain.  I work in public education and I don’t get paid a lot, but the work I do and the students I touch are the reason I have come to like the work that I am doing (after having changed career paths several times prior).  The quality or meaning it brings to my life far outweighs the quantity or money I am making.

Lastly, I love to travel.  It is probably one of my favorite things to do and I wish I could do it more often.  I love the experiences it gives me, the memories I create, and learning about the world.  I like seeing other cultures, gaining new perspective, and more than anything the quality it adds to my life.

The meaning behind this post is to remember that in life it is far better for your health and happiness to appreciate life and people, not things.  Take pleasure in the small things…the things that create memories, experiences, and teach you something about yourself and others.  Make your life center around quality and experiences.  You will be happier if you do!  And, more than anything remember to appreciate your health and the aging process.  After all, good health and aging is something that some never have the privilege of experiencing.  As my grandma once said, “If you have good health you don’t realize how lucky you really are.”

~jj

#ProjectKindnessBook

#AlwaysChooseKindness

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