3 thing April 12 – 2nd day of spring break – I’d rather be at the beach!!

I was a wreck – so nervous.

So, day 1 I got sinus surgery and it’s a 3-5 day recovery with 2 weeks of no strenuous activity. I did this over spring break so as not to miss more time in my classroom since the repeated sinus infections that knocked me out so bad doc gave me a Covid test every time, kept me from my job on multiple occasions. Then I got Covid!!! So it’s been a very rough school year.

So here is my list of gratitude I am grateful for the surgeon and health care professionals that did an amazing job of calming my nerves, healing my pain, and giving me tender and full attention. Special shout-out to Chris, the recovery nurse that was generous with the pain meds but more importantly, started singing I am woman…how did she know?

I am grateful to have people to surround me with their love and care as I recover at home.

I am grateful that I call tell the pressure behind my eyes – the one that made them feel like they would just explode out of my face – well, it’s gone. Praise God.

On another note…

I was called selfish and a bad teacher this week by another teacher. I was told I lacked commitment to my students and criticized how much school I had missed, my lessons and instruction. Although she has never been in my room. Nonetheless, it really hurt my feelings. She is a friend. No conversation, no asking me if I’m ok or why my absences have been so many. (See sinus story above).

Hmmmm chronic illness… Choosing to take care of my physical, or mental health for that matter, is not selfish. It’s called self-care.

I have accepted that she was having a bad day, is overwhelmed by her job, and chose to lash out at me. Perhaps even something personal going on as well. Teaching is hard and very demanding and we tend to ignore our own needs ALL THE TIME. So I repeat, self care is not selfish.

Basically? We had a misscommunication as I failed to receive information about a student. That prompted the unprofessional email. Anyway – I’m disappointed she was not made to apologize or did not do it on her own accord – as she also sent this to 2 administrators. I was told it was handled and now it’s a personnel issue and they can’t tell me anything. They printed my email of concern and put it in the file of this incident Total cop out.

I don’t want to reply to her attack in kind. I thought about bringing her flowers and just saying – something is clearly upsetting your life and I hope whatever it is gets better for you .. and give her the flowers. Be the bigger person and give her. Chance to apologize. She’s a teacher – she’s under too much stress – she snapped and had a target that morning and unfortunately it was me. I can empathize. But I can’t accept the personal attack. Standing up for yourself is a part of self care. I cannot let it go unnoticed. She is my friend. This could be just what SHE needs.

I am grateful that I have grown is gratitude, grace, and peace and I hope to continue to help others grow as well. You are never alone. Ask for help. Reach out – someone will reach back.

Have a great day everyone. And be kind to one another. You never know what their struggles are.

#gratitude #3things #choosejoy #selfcare #bekind

February 10, 2022 3 things…

“February has an r after the b!?” Man I love teaching Juniors. They never cease to amaze me. For this I am grateful; I had a meeting of the minds tonight with some amazing folks – so grateful for the experience, strength, and hope of others; I am eternally grateful that my mother taught me that no matter how terrible another human being may seem to be to just kill’em with kindness. I remembered this today. And I did just that – a great big smile, and a great big wave out the open car window. I mean it was a beautiful day. The whole thing was quite perfect, almost like a movie. He waved back and then realized it was me…then pretended he wasn’t waving but fixing his visor. Oh the drama.

It really made me happy, made me feel strong and healthy and good. Thanks Big A.

#choosejoy #3things #gratitude

February 1, 2022

Today’s 3 things: I am grateful for the people in my life who remind me of my value and my strength when I forget; I am grateful that I am learning how to let go of things I cannot control; I am grateful to be so lucky to have two darling little angels that call me Mammaw. I spent the weekend with them and they definitely filled my love bucket. The giggles- oh the giggles. #choosejoy #3things #gratitude

The pitter patter ❤️

December 27, 2021 3things of gratitude

It has been 6 days since I wrote them down, my 3 things of gratitude. This has been a difficult time, and I know it can be for many. Ahhhh…The holidays (deep breath). When it comes time for the kids to start having their own celebrations and their own families – their own lives…well it takes some getting used to, in general. Then the holidays come and it’s magnified 100x somehow. It’s hard for this mama bird to find her place. Throw in the other challenges of life and I’ve kind of started spinning out of control. The 3 things can usually keep this stuff in check for me, but the last few days I dropped the ball – went deep inside my head and heart to try and find my path again. I think I did it, thanks to my children and the rest of my people. My peeps…all of the different people around me, all in different roles in my life – supporting me and encouraging me. I am centered again.

So here we go. Today I am grateful for the time I spent outdoors at the park with my friend discussing some of life’s challenges. It felt so good to be outside; today I am grateful for the yoga instructor who gently got me through my first hour of yoga since Covid began – stretching, bending, breathing. It felt so good. Namaste; today I am grateful for grit – pure determination and moxy. Damn right. #3things #choosejoy #gratitude

Tuesday, December 7 – today’s 3 things of gratitude

The last few years have been a roller coaster ride of emotions. I am told regularly that it is to be expected. Yet, when the spiral turn comes, or the dark never-ending tunnel – or even the abrupt stop…it seems like anything but what I expect. I spoke to a colleague today who I consider a friend after a few years of working together. Very supportive. I was so grateful to see him today and talk with him for a bit. His light is bright. His enthusiasm for my spirit touched me; I am grateful for food service workers because I love to eat out; I am grateful for the red Christmas sheets on my bed and the giant red Buffalo print pillow that says “let it snow”…although we know it’s not too likely. #choosejoy #3things #gratitude #ilovechristmasred

December 6, 2021 – my daily gratitude list of 3 things

Monday – I am grateful for new beginnings; I am grateful for my capacity to love and forgive others; I am glad to be learning that if you don’t like me that’s not really my problem..I will no longer make myself small or dim my light. Although I still have to remind myself of this regularly I am oh so grateful that it is a part of my inner dialogue now. #choosejoy #gratitude #3things #killthemwithkindness

Early morning 3 things – December 4, 2021

Last night I was distracted from my posting of 3 things but what’s funny is I was racking up the gratitude all day. Not that it was a particularly great day from an outside viewpoint, but I was able to really focus on the good things and not the little annoyances (both people and events) that permeated the day. I am grateful for the massage therapist that brings me relief from my physical pain; I am grateful on any day I get to speak with all 3 of my children and know they are doing well; but on this early morning post I am most most most grateful that I know that my light is very, very bright and that it’s just not for everyone…and that’s okay. I will shine on, my friends, I WILL SHINE ON! I will never allow another soul to ever dim it again. Ever. Seriously- it’s quite bright. Have a wonderful weekend – get some fresh air! #choosejoy #gratitude #3things

December 1, 2021 – Today’s 3 things of Gratitude

I am grateful for the annual leave days that I am able to use however I see fit. I saw fit today; I am grateful for the love and compassion of those who I now surround myself with – I encourage you all to eliminate toxic people from your lives. Time is too precious; I am grateful for teachers of all kinds who have helped me on my journey through life. #choosejoy #3things #gratitude

November 22, 2021 – 3 Things

November 22, 2021 – Today’s 3 things: Nestle Tollhouse Chocolate chip cookies and now that I live by myself I actually get to eat some; I am grateful for the wonderful woman who came to clean my apartment today. I treated myself to a professional cleaning before the holidays and it was worth every penny; I am grateful for Biofreeze on my aching back after a 14 hour work day. #choosejoy #3things #gratitude

a good day

I know many details have been left out as I sit exhausted at this computer tonight.  That young man, the one I helped so many years ago – helped me tonight. 

I woke up this morning and made it to duty sort of on time.

As I monitored the progress of my 1st period class and that of the 3 the day before I realized that not one student had managed to turn in the day’s assignment correctly or completely.  Partly due to tech glitches, but MOSTLY due to the refusal to read directions, the inability to follow directions, and the ridiculous notion that if the answer requires thought then it remains beyond their reach.

Moving on to 3rd period this morning, a student walked into my classroom, threw is Chromebook on my desk and said “You were my favorite teacher” and as he turned and made it halfway out the door he shouted “I’m dropping out!!!!”   Then he slammed the door as hard as he could.  I tried to cut him off in the parking lot only to run into the administrators also hot on his trail.  I had to return to the students in my room (well, at the door watching every step I took).  They wrangled him back inside.  My principal later informed me that they talked him off the ledge and he will, in fact, be returning.  Whew.

During lunch I covered a class for another teacher a watched one student cheat shamelessly on a test, while the others in the room poured their hearts and souls into the assessment. (Deep cleansing breath).

During the rest of planning I had to type up all the problems technology gave me the last two days and beg for a solution.  Tomorrow we will be reading from a textbook.

During the last class of the day I had the occasion to sit a student down in front of me to tell her that she is the reason I come to school every day – A wonderful project of our librarian.  She recorded it.  The student cried – and told me that I’m cheesy.  I loved it.

Also during that class we had to start off very harshly, as students have NOT been hitting deadlines for our yearbook publication.  100 emails and problems to address.  Finally, tech support showed up – God bless her at 3pm on a Friday afternoon, still chugging away to make my technology work for my students.

By the end of that class we were dancing, celebrating small victories of the day and embracing the weekend ahead.  Well, not the tech person – she continued to chug.

After school I sat in on a meeting of our student group that tries to bring coexistence to our school.  Their struggles are real.

Tonight at dinner I ran into a former student. As my husband and I sat at table next him. He looked familiar at first glance, but when I saw his smile all the memories from his 9th grade year came flooding back – everything but his name.  Ugh – I wish I could remember their names, especially when they weigh so heavy on my heart sometimes.  Of course later when he said it – I could not believe I could have ever forgotten it.  This young man had the kind of smile that made his whole face shine and you couldn’t help but smile back.  A young man filled with talent, charm, and whole lot of teenage angst.  That angst got him into some trouble that the charm could not get him out of, so he ended up going to another school and he was gone from our lives…like so many students that touch our hearts.  When I approached him at the checkout, it took a moment but then the recognition shocked across his face.  “Mrs. Bertram!!”   He looked healthy and happy and shared his excitement about his future.  Man, that made my day.

I know many details have been left out as I sit exhausted at this computer tonight.  That young man, the one I helped so many years ago – helped me tonight.  In fact, I think it is pretty safe to say that he inspired today’s post.  It’s the first time I have posted in over a year, I think.  I’ve been stuck.  Stuck in it all.  I am finding my way out.  If you write you know what a big deal that is; and if you don’t write – you’ll have to trust me.  When an individual can get you over a year long writer’s block – it’s a very big deal.   Thank you, young man.

It was a good day.