New Year.

If you know me personally, you know that I am a dreamer.  I desire to change the world.  I always see room for improvement, especially self-improvement. I spend a lot of time reflecting and thinking about new ideas and ways to help people and myself become better. I take the New Year more seriously than most.  To me, it feels like a chance to start over or be a new you.

This year is really important to me because it is the year that I become a teacher. I will be graduating college and entering the world of teaching, for real. It’s scary and exciting. It’s a year for growing and learning.  It’s a year that will bring joy, laughter, tears, mistakes, new knowledge, passion, and love.

These are my New Year’s Resolutions. I may fail. I may not accomplish them all perfectly. But to me, it’s the process that matters. The person that I will grow to become because I am trying something new and allowing change to take place. A change of heart and a change of mind. I will learn and mature, become more healthy and get more wisdom. That is my ultimate goal for 2016.

Read more. It’s not often anymore, that I just sit down and enjoy a good book. Reading is good for the soul. I enjoy the peace and quiet while getting lost in a book.  Read books for fun, but also read books to get smarter. You are graduating college, but the learning can’t stop there. Vow to be a lifelong learner. As a teacher, you will tell your students how important it is to read, but will you show them? Inspire them to love reading by showing them your love for reading.

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Grow my blog. Blogging is a new passion for me. I have many. But I think blogging is a good investment-for reflection, for my passion to teach, and hopefully someday for profit.  I am new to the blogging world and have a ton to learn but so far I am having fun with the few posts that I have written. In 2016, I want to learn how to grow my blog and reach more people. I want to inspire teachers and better the education system. (I told you I like to dream big)

Become a morning person. Actually, I already am a morning person. But I want to make my mornings more meaningful. I found this article about a book called The Miracle Morning, a book I will add to ‘my list of books to read in 2016.’ The author has come up with six steps to take in the morning to energize you for your day. The morning routine consists of silence, affirmation, visualization, exercising, reading, and scribes. This is perfect for me. Silence is something that I really need to practice and the morning is the best time for it. Here is how my morning routine usually goes: alarm goes off, scroll through my phone on social media (I have even tried to convince myself that I need to do this because the light on my phone wakes me up), get up and shower, scroll through some more social media, slowly get ready for the day, eat breakfast, scurry to finish getting ready because somehow I lost track of time and now I am almost late, run out the door. I am not kidding you, this is my daily morning routine. Read more about The Miracle Morning here or join me in reading the book this year.

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Practice yoga. I just tried yoga for the first time a few weeks ago, and I am in LOVE. I always thought I would hate it because it seemed so boring and how could it really benefit you? Aren’t you just standing in different poses? After finally opening my mind to the idea of yoga, I learned that there are so many different types and tons of different health benefits. This year, I want to practice yoga to become more flexible, become more energetic, and maintain my weight.

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Save money. How? I am young and married and I will be working a full time job this semester without getting paid. It’s time to get serious about budgeting.  So far, my husband and I have lived paycheck to paycheck as we have been trying to pay off bills. But this is the year that we will live frugally and simply to save ourselves from financial troubles. God willing, we will save money this year and be able to give because God will take care of us:) Also, I guess I will be adding some Dave Ramsey to my list of ‘must reads’ this year.

Spend more time with family. This is a big one for me. I really miss my family, especially my brothers, that I seem to only see on holidays now. It’s hard to live away from family, so I need to be more intentional about staying in touch and praying for them. Also, my husband and I see that we need to spend more time with our family that lives right here in the same town as us. Sunday dinners and family game nights need to become a more frequent occasion.

Give more. I know we don’t have much to give but God is faithful and He wants us to give even when we have nothing. God will make a way for us to give more to the church, to missions, and to help others. Another thing that I can give, is time. I really value my time and sometimes my ego is a little too big because I think that my time is very important. I feel like I need to be productive 100% of the day, and I don’t have time to slow down and share my time with others. But time is a gift to people and I need to slow down and give more of my time to the people I love. It is not for me or for my gain.

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Make Whole 30 a lifestyle. I will be starting out this year by doing the whole 30 challenge with my husband and some other family and friends. But this time, I want it to have lasting effects on my lifestyle. I completed the whole 30 a couple months ago but went back to my old eating habits once the holidays came around. I want to be healthy again! I can’t wait to start feeling better and to get back to the gym.

Pray more. Yes. I want to become a prayer warrior for my family, my friends, my students, my co-workers, my school. I want to begin my day by praying and calling on the Lord. He will lead my life day by day.

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Do a social media detox. This is one I’ve been trying to figure out for awhile. It can consume me. I have tried deleting the apps off of my phone. Sometimes I delete Facebook altogether for a time. But we live in a world so enslaved to our phones and smart devices. It’s really sad. I don’t want to be that person anymore that is sitting at the restaurant with my family glued to my phone. I see it everywhere I go. Everyone brings their own entertainment, handy in their pocket. For this, I need to take a few weeks out of this year every so often to power down. Detox my mind from the social media that can so easily get ahold of me.

This is kind of like a letter to myself, a reminder of who I want to be this year. I understand that New Year’s Resolutions aren’t as important to many other people. But I embrace change. I long for the Lord to make me new. I pray that these New Year’s Resolutions will not be for my glorification, but His!

Love, Megan

 

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5 Things I Wish I Would Have Done in College

Now that I can see the light at the end of the tunnel and my college career is almost at an end, I have been reflecting on my experience at the community college and University.  I learned a thing or two and if I could do it over again, there are some things I would have done differently. Maybe, if it’s not too late, this can help you.

I Wish…

  1. I would have started out at the University. It was really nice to take some of my general education courses at a community college because it was cheaper and probably easier. But, it was difficult being a transfer student at the University. I was past the freshman excitement of getting involved and meeting new people. So, I just went to class.
  2. I would have gotten more involved. I did find a good Christian group to surround myself with, which is very important to me. But I didn’t give my time to any groups that pertained to my major, Elementary Education. Now what am I going to put on my resume? The education groups help you get connected with schools in the area and help you with professional development. Get involved, people. You will thank me later.female-702961_1920
  3. I would have gotten to know my professors better. All of my teachers were very intentional about getting to know their students. I think that is one of the awesome things about the education program. But I am pretty private when it comes to building relationships with teachers, classmates, and co-workers.  But now I wish I would have made better connections so I could have people to go back to for career advice or a good reference.
  4. I would have saved everything. This is a big one for education majors. I turned in so many lesson plans and assignments that would be useful to have right now. I am a little disorganized. But as I am getting ready to student teach and job hunt, I need evidence that I have experience in lesson planning. Thankfully, in most of my education classes we kept a portfolio for this reason. But if I could do it over, I would have saved everything to a flash drive. I may have some things as a hardcopy, but it won’t do me much good if I need to edit it .
  5. I would have studied abroad. I thought of this one too late. My junior year I was really interested in this but I was too close to graduation. This would be a great thing to do your sophomore year. It’s a big world out there and college is a prime time to experience it. I don’t think I would have regretted living in another country for a semester.

Take the attitude of a student, never be too big to ask questions, never know too much to learn something new.                                -Og Mandino

 

A Fourth Grade Teacher’s Heart For Her Students This Christmas

I always love hearing stories about how teacher’s hearts desire more for their students; this is one of those stories. A fourth grade teacher at Cozad Elementary (Cozad, NE), gifted her students each day they were in school for the month of December, with the help of her family and friends. Brooke Soucie, a third-year teacher, said, “Growing up, I was very fortunate when the holidays came around. My parents always made sure that us kids had a nice Christmas with presents under the tree, which we were always excited about. We were definitely spoiled, and still are. Unfortunately, not all of my students are this lucky.”

“So, this year, I have decided that my class is going to decorate stockings and we are going to hang them in the room. Each morning, I want there to be a little something in there for the kids. I remember always being excited to open gifts after Christmas Eve mass, and I want my kids to have that same holiday excitement when they come to school for those 14 days. On the day of our Christmas party, they will each have a couple gifts wrapped under our tree to open.”

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She asked for help from her family and friends and received enough donations to give every student in her class a stocking stuffer each day they were in school until Christmas. With each stocking stuffer she gave to the students, she wrote a clever little poem telling about the family that donated.

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“And the stockings were hung from the whiteboard with care….” the kids are soooo excited about this!!!!

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Meet the Teacher

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Brooke Soucie in the middle with her three siblings, Kayla Bennett, Chandler Soucie, and Ashley Borer.

Brooke Soucie devotes a lot of time to her school as she is not only a teacher, but a high school volleyball coach, and 8th grade girls basketball and 8th grade boys basketball coach. Two things she loves is coaching and going to her brothers games back home, as it’s his senior year. She also loves hanging out with family and friends (playing cards, going to the lake, camping, four-wheeling, etc).

Brooke said her favorite thing about being a teacher is simple, but hard to explain. She said, “It’s most definitely the kids. It’s the way that you see their faces light up when they’re learning. The way that they find out when you joke around with them that you’re just a normal person too, not just this teacher that “lives” at school. Being able to joke with them, yet being tough and holding them accountable, because you know and they know that that is what they need-and this is when their trust in you begins to develop. This is when you become that strength and “structure” in some of their lives. When you see a misunderstanding or struggling face light up once they finally “get it.” It’s about watching them get better and improve everyday, but allowing them to have their setbacks, because that’s part of life. For me, it’s about THEM getting better everyday, not about meeting a standard. In my room we believe in and celebrate self-improvements and accomplishments, not where a standard says they should be at a certain point in the year. I know my kids, they have goals, and they know what’s expected. I love the way that they come to trust and love you in such a short amount of time, and you do the same to them. I could go on and on about what I love about teaching, but all in all, its the kids, how each and everyone is so different, unique, and special…yet they all need one thing, which is to be cared for and believed in.”

The Healthy Teacher: Benefits of Quitting Sugar

I didn’t even realize how much sugar I was putting into my body daily until I was challenged to quit. Do you realize the amount of food at the grocery store that has added sugar? Mostly everything processed, even the food that would seem healthy.

Start reading your food labels. You will find out if there is sugar by reading the ingredients. Sugar comes in many forms and can sometimes be hard to distinguish between all of the other ingredients we don’t know how to pronounce. Look for the ingredients that have –ose as a suffix. Ingredients like sucrose, glucose, dextrose, and fructose are just the tip of the iceberg.

  1. Clearer skin. After taking sugar out of my diet for 30 days, my back acne completely cleared up. My face is going through a slower process but it is getting there. I feel more confident in my skin.
  1. Weight Loss. Because I was doing the Whole 30 challenge, I took more than just sugar out of my diet. I am doing a second whole 30 and then I plan to add grains and dairy back into my diet, but never sugar. I know that sugar can cause you to gain weight so I guarantee if you just took sugar out of your diet, you would see weight loss results. On my Whole 30, I lost 6 pounds. It wasn’t a drastic change because I lost most of the weight in unnoticeable areas but I felt so much better about my body.
  1. Increased Energy. Wow. This might be the best benefit from taking sugar out of my diet. I have so much energy! By taking the easy access sugars out of my diet, my body had to learn to burn protein and fats which is a lot slower process, which keeps me fuller longer and energized longer.
  1. Better Sleep. My body is no longer imbalanced by sugar rushes and sugar crashes. I used to eat sweets at night if I was staying up late because my body was tired and needed energy. This would cause me to have restless sleep and I would wake up feeling tired. Today I woke up at 5:30 am without an alarm and I feel awake and alert.

The most important thing to remember: This is a process. You aren’t going to see results right away. In fact you will be miserable the first two weeks from sugar cravings and your body adjusting to your new diet. But the results are worth it.

The Healthy Teacher: Why I Quit Sugar

We have all done it, some sort of quick fix weight loss diet. Has it ever worked? No. At least not for the long run. Something finally broke inside of me and I had a burning desire to get healthier. I knew that my eating habits were very poor, causing me to be down and have a negative self body image. So my research began and I happened across the Whole 30 diet, which changed my view of food forever. Find out about my Whole 30 experience here.

After taking sugar out of my diet for 30 days, I saw no reason to put it back into my diet. Ever. And here’s why:

  1. Sugar has no nutritional value. None. So why put it into your body? It can only harm you, not help you. We can get enough natural sugars with whole foods like fruit.
  1. It is addictive. I really struggled with having a sweet tooth. But think about it, from the time we were little, we have thought of food as a reward. Adults would bribe us with sweets. Sweets become a treat, a reward, or something that we feel we need after every meal. You can almost in a sense, call it an idol because of it’s addictive character. Somehow, even though we are full, there is always room for dessert. It’s because sugar is addicting. Try and go without sugar for a few days and you will start to see the effects of this truth.
  1. Our bodies burn sugar quickly causing our body to crash. Have you noticed this? Sugar may fill us up and give us energy but it is quickly used up and then we feel hungry and tired again. It is not a long-lasting satisfaction.
  1. Sugar is turned to fat. Enough said.
  1. It can be the source of acne issues. (Speaking from experience) Researchers are now saying that this is a myth but sugar does raise your blood pressure, which increases insulin and can clog your pores. I don’t know all of the research on this, but I do know that my skin has definitely improved since quitting sugar.

There are many more reasons to quit sugar but these are the reasons that I personally can give you from experience. Quitting sugar is not easy but you can do it if you properly plan and set goals for this challenge. The great thing is that it becomes a lifestyle because you will never want to go back. Find out the benefits of quitting sugar.

What’s Your Personality?

It’s amazing to me that God created each of us so unique and different from one another-with different strengths and weaknesses, our outlook on life, the way we think or process, our feelings, and what motivates us.  It’s so cool! Do you know your personality? It can help you, if you do.

My husband and I took the 16 personalities test last night and found out that we are almost complete opposites. Good thing opposites attract. I think we can compliment each other that way.  When I was reading about my personality, I was impressed because it was so accurate. It just affirmed what I already knew about myself, but having it all laid out in front of me helped me to reflect and think about how I can help myself in my weaknesses. I also felt really good about my strengths.

Sometimes it’s hard to pinpoint my husband’s personality. He is really intelligent, but introverted and laid back. I am very driven and passionate. Knowing each others personalities can help us compliment each other instead of getting annoyed of each other.

Personality tests are great for relationships but also beneficial in the work place. How do you interact with your co-workers? How do you handle feedback from your boss? How do you deal with stress or pressure at work?

So, are you ready to take your personality test? Just go to 16personalities and take the test. It only takes about 15 minutes and you get a very detailed description of your personality type. Then check out all of the personality types for fun.

Here are my results. I am an advocate-quiet and mystical, yet very inspiring and tireless idealist.

 

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(I am not affiliated with 16 personalities.)

 

Six Things I Learned as an Education Major

  1. Every child is unique. They have their own personalities, learning styles, talents, struggles, and backgrounds.  It is important that teachers recognize each child and build a relationship that is going to help them succeed in the classroom. That child that never talks and is very cooperative, what’s his story? How can you help him flourish in your classroom?
  2. Teachers make a difference. It makes me sad that teachers see and care for children more hours of the day than most parents.  But that is why teachers are so important. You do have an influence on the children in your classroom. For some children, you are their biggest role model. What are your actions saying to them?
  3. Teaching is not an easy job. Regardless of what everyone may think, teachers put in more hours than they can account for.  I know many teachers that stay at school past five o’clock to prepare lessons, grade papers, research new teaching strategies, run off papers, and think of ways to help struggling students. The breaks that teachers get aren’t really breaks. It’s a time to catch up on lesson planning.  Yes, teachers get summers off but they are usually spent working a second job or teaching summer school. A teacher’s work is never finished and I admire teachers that put in the extra effort for their students-not because it’s part of their job description, but because they genuinely care about their students.
  4. Children need to be children. I can’t even sit still and focus during lecture for fifteen minutes. How can we expect that of children?  They need movement.  Plus, children learn best when they are doing and experimenting. The most effective teachers allow their students to move around the room and be active learners.  They will retain so much more information than just sitting and listening to a boring lecture.
  5. Children are curious. Adults and even teachers can quiet a curious mind. When children get into kindergarten, they ask tons of questions and want to know more about the world. They are natural learners. By sixth grade, adults have sucked that right out of them because they don’t allow them to ask questions. Many classrooms are teacher-directed only, where the teacher teaches and the student listens. Children just stop being curious and start to dread learning new information. As teachers, we need to light the fire in children’s hearts for learning. And we can do that by being learners, ourselves.
  6. Teaching is rewarding. Sometimes teaching is a battle-a battle with a student, a battle with a parent, a battle with state assessments, a battle with co-workers. But when you realize that you are truly making a difference in somebody’s life or you start to see the results of your teaching, it brings so much joy. Teaching really is a joy. I love listening to teachers talk about their students and seeing their face light up when they share their success stories. It is rewarding.

 

Thoughts Before Student Teaching

Two weeks until I start my student teaching journey and I’m kind of freaking out. I took my last final this week so now, it is time to join the real world. I will be a student teacher in a preschool class for 10 weeks and then I’ll jump to fifth grade for 10 weeks.

I’m freaking out inside because I am that kind of person that worries about every little thing before it happens. I’m starting to feel all the pressure of responsibility that this job is going to entail. I will be responsible for 20 little minds. I really want to be the best teacher. I want to build genuine relationships with my students and be somebody that they look up to, even ten years down the road. I want to be somebody’s favorite teacher. I want to make a difference in the children’s lives and help them become life-long learners. I want all my students to succeed.

I have spent the last four and a half years studying to become a teacher. And now that it is all becoming real, I am questioning if I am going to be cut out for this job. I don’t think many people realize it, but teaching is hard.

I want to share my student teaching journey. Even though I will be a teacher, I am going to be a learner and I believe my students are going to teach me more than I teach them.