Saturday, November 26, 2011


I am about to graduate.
THRILLED, do you hear?
December 17 - Here I come!!!

What I know right now about my heart and teaching.

Rigorous, Relevant, Real-World
Teach Vigorously!(Give every ounce of your energy and focus to the moment)
Teach Tenaciously!(NEVER give up on a student - ever!)
Every student deserves consistent love, respect, and opportunities to learn.
Don't hang out with complainers or people who are not passionate about teaching and pushing their students higher and higher.
Love your students as if they are your own children (even when you don't like them)
Fight for what you believe in.
Take chances.
Learn from failures.
Don't take it personally.
EXPECT nothing less than each student's very best academically and socially - call them out on it when they try to get by!
Repeat that for yourself.
Listen to each student, look them right in the eye and HEAR them! Be with them.
Form a family in the classroom where each member is accountable to the family.
Get out of your comfort zone.
Support your fellow teachers when they stand on the side of students, have the courage to disagree diplomatically when they don't.
Say thank you and please to your students.
Never stop learning.
Always be willing to teach it differently.
Be vigilant and remain student centered. It's all about them.
Be willing to be uncomfortable (physically, emotionally, socially) for them.
Always strive to remember that you are teaching in unconditional loving service to humanity - it's not just a job.
Quit if you ever waiver on any of the above. Just quit, and make room for the next real teacher.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

See the Big Picture

I don't just need to think about what my kids are going to learn at the end of this week, next month, next year. Or what they learned last week, last month, or last year. I also need to think about what they will be learning in middle school and high school.

What about this question though?

What skill set will be of the most value 20 years from now in this country?

I owe it to my students to see the big picture.

Monday, November 14, 2011

The List

I'm making a list of all the teachers who profoundly impacted my life (there are more, but these are the big ones)Then I want to write a thank you note to each one. Others challenged me in special ways, but these are the ones who really made a BIG difference.

Mrs. Scrotenboar - Life long love of learning and teaching.
Mrs. Johnson - Love of teaching and of being valued.
Mr. Mosely - "I think the best, therefore I am the best" Really pushed me and believed in me!!! Thank you forever and ever. I needed you so much then!
Mr. Oberlin - Encouraging me to succeed and gave me a job!
Dr. Dunkum - Changing my mind about math.
Mrs. Cherry "I'm not building a "something" here, I'm just me." Humble and FOR REAL!
Mrs. Smith This will be a novel!!!
Dr. Judy Davis - Affirmation that it is SUPERB to remain on the side of ALL students. Love them, know them, walk in their shoes.
Mrs. McCrary "I know you know you're good, but I don't think you realize just how good your are." Real world. Once they own it, it will be their's for a lifetime. Don't settle for anything less than your very best!
Mrs. Riedel Get ORGANIZED!!! Thank you for such a FINE example of how to do this!
Anne Heintzman This gratitude will be a novel!
Steven O'Nan So will this one.
Mrs. Brenda Roberts Evan and Jordan's teacher whom I love with all my heart.
Ms. Erin Gruwell - Model for courage, thinking outside the box, taking risks, not giving up, raising the bar, believing in my students.
Mr. Harry Wong - How the heck you get all that busy stuff under control so you can teach. Thank goodness.
Dr. Jukes - All heart.
Dr. Evans - It is more than okay to think outside the box..."Sounds like a win-win, go for it!"
Dr. Steven Covey - Principles to live by. Thank you.

I'll add more later. This will help me get started.


That was the little girl's name who gave me the final nugget of courage and clarity to have the courage to change my life. She ran up to me in Piggly Wiggly and hugged me and said, "Mrs. O'Nan!" This after weeks of wrestling with the idea of returning to my childhood dream of being a teacher. I don't know why, but it was Sky. Just one of a hundred of my students I met during substitute teaching. 2 years later she came up and hugged me again while I was subbing in special ed, and one semester away from graduation. Does she even remember me or know who I am? Probably not, but that second hug was the icing on my yummy life-changing cake. I love you little Sky. Thank you for helping me remember who I am.

What did you do today that was proactive Mrs. O'Nan?

I attended a 6 hour math magic training. I dropped off a resume to a principal. I e-mailed the principal at Simpson, and I called my contact person at Lincoln. This is such an exciting time, but so nerve wracking. I just keep saying the serenity prayer each day, and then doing the next right thing.

I graduate in less than one month. I cannot believe 2.5 years has passed so quickly. I am immensely proud of myself.