To make your dreams come true, it’s up to you…

“If it’s to be it’s up to me.” I know that as a Christian this quote isn’t exactly right. But there’s a lot of truth in it. Other than the fact that indeed, we must line up our dreams and plans and goals with God’s purpose for our lives, no one is going to make sure we hit the mark but ourselves. Six years ago I decided to pursue two life-long dreams. To continue my college education and write books. Since then, neither of those dreams dissipated. And now I find myself in the middle of one of the hardest parts of the journey physically for me: student teaching and editing a book I’ve sold to ready it for publication. During my journey to today, no one ever asked me if I had my homework done or if I had written anything each day. No one pushed me out of bed in the mornings after staying up until two or three in the morning. No one made my tea or asked me if I was making my deadlines. I had to learn to say no in order to say yes to my dreams. Saying no is hard for me. As a pastor’s wife, I’ve been conditioned to worry about what other people think. I’ve still not mastered the concept of forging ahead without a thought to others’ opinions, but I’m getting better. I mean, sometimes it’s good to hear other opinions about things. I’m still figuring out when to listen and when to tune out. The point is this. More than likely no one has a passion for your dream like you. No one wants it as bad as you do. And you’ve got to muster up all the courage you can to climb that mountain and reach the top. It’s called ambition. And its cohort is grit. You can do this dream thing. But be prepared to encourage yourself a lot. Be prepared to forge ahead when others wish you’d just slow down and take a breather. When your friends look at you funny because you need to stay in and write or study instead of going to the game or out for a night on the town, you can have the backbone to know that you’re in a different season than they are. You’re in the season of mountain climbing, and you need to suck up all the oxygen you can. You can do this. Dreaming is a solitary thing. And sometimes, making dreams come true is solitary, too. But as Christians, we’re never alone. Isn’t that wonderful? Imagine having to do it alone. We don’t have to. We have the Great Teacher with us and in us....

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Karla Teaches

As you may or may not know, I’m nearing the end of my journey toward my degree in Special Education! If I make it through student teaching I’ll graduate in December. Yay! If you’d like to follow my adventures, you can do so here at KarlaTeaches.com  If you have ever been a student teacher and have tips for me, I welcome them! I could also use your prayers for stamina. I sold my book on autism right before student teaching started and edits are due very soon. All I need is a clone, right? Anyone know where there’s a good deal on one? Tweet this: Superpower: teaching; passion: writing, sleeping:...

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Substitute teaching

Welcome to A to Z! We’d love to have you join the fun, either blogging your way through the alphabet with us, or simply visiting. =) We dearly love visitors. If you’re joining in the meme, be sure to link up with us at the end of this post. Since this is a blog hop, you can grab the code for the linky down there too. Find more info about the A to Z meme here. Today’s Post is brought to you by the letter S I’m a Substitute Teacher for the Manchester school system here in North Manchester, Indiana. Because I’m also a full-time student and minister, I only get to sub once in awhile but I enjoy it immensely. In fact, I think I might like substitute teaching better than full-time teaching. Here’s why: 1. Subs don’t have to take work home with them. 2. Subs don’t have to attend meetings after school. 3. Subs aren’t required to attend after-school events. 4. There is great variety in subbing. Sometimes I’m in an elementary classroom and other times I’m in a high school English class. But my favorite sub experiences are with the students in the Special Education classrooms. (Which is what I’m getting my degree in.) 5. Subs don’t have to record grades, hold conferences, or meet with parents. What don’t I like about subbing? 1 .Recess duty. 2. Recess duty. 3. Recess duty. I’ve never liked recess duty. Especially when it’s 9F out and there’s ice everywhere. It’s just not my cup of tea. How about you? Have you ever filled in for someone on a job? What was it? What did you like about it? Dislike about it? Tweet this: I hate recess duty but I love subbing!...

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Sometimes Mama Bear needs to back off

I’m subbing at the high school this week in a special education classroom. That means that my twin sons who take life skills classes are in my department. This is great fun for them. But today my Mama Grizzly showed a bit when a staff member (not a teacher, a support staff) rudely snapped at one of them, first thing in the morning. No hello. Nothing. Just a bark. The reason she snapped at my son was valid. It was how she handled it that wasn’t. He’d left his backpack in front of a locked classroom door, and while waiting for someone to unlock it, he slipped into my room to visit with me. When the staff member arrived, she flew into my classroom and barked, “Whose stuff is that in the hall in front of Mrs. —‘s door?” Isaiah, who is almost always cheerful and sweet, and wouldn’t do anything wrong on purpose to inconvenience someone, jumped up from his chair and headed toward the hall door, “Oh, that’s mine.” To which she responded with a great scowl and angry voice, “Well then move it, it’s in the way.” (Or some such phrase of which I don’t remember the exact words.) All I know, is that I never talk to students that way, and especially not special needs students. It’s all in how you say it. And I realize that teachers and staff have bad mornings. But bad mornings should be left at the schoolhouse door. Being a grouch doesn’t model appropriate behavior to students who need it more than anyone. I dare say that teens with autism need it more than elementary-aged children (although they all do desperately need it). I did complain to their teacher about her, but as I was doing so, I felt petty. It’s impossible for me to protect them from all the rude people on earth. Especially now that they are adults. (They are 19 but still in school until they are 21.) Still, as an educator myself, I feel that all students should be treated with respect. Tone of voice speaks volumes. As I shared in my post on my philosophy of education, school may be one of the only places some kids have that’s a safe place to fall. If they are to feel valued, school personnel must treat them with respect. It doesn’t matter what a child’s label is, they are still deserving of politeness. Maybe the snarky  staff member works with hard behavior cases. I don’t know. But I do know that children will act the way you expect them to most of the time. I know this because I’ve worked with some very, very difficult students. No...

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My philosophy of education

I’m at that point in my degree program where I have to submit a philosophy of education to my portfolio. I thought I’d share it with you here and I’m eager to hear your thoughts! Karla Akins Western Governors University Bachelor of Arts Special Education K-12 and Elementary K-6 Licensure Track I come from a long line of educators. My father was a high school teacher and my ancestors built one of the first school houses in Pennsylvania, where it still stands in Halifax. My formal experience in teaching began when I was a twelve-year-old teacher’s aide in a preschool classroom. “Busy Bees” had a loving, nurturing teacher named Mrs. Reed. By watching her I learned kindness, and what it felt like to see a child go from “not knowing” to “knowing.” I also formed my philosophy from the good and bad teachers I had as a child. My bad teachers taught me the importance of compassion. My good teachers taught me to look for the reasons behind a child’s behavior. I was fidgety in school, and until my fifth grade teacher, Mrs. Strecker, discovered that boredom was the reason for my disruptiveness, I was often in trouble. Instead of punishing or embarrassing me, she kept me meaningfully engaged. Because I’m the parent of three children on the autism spectrum who struggled with academics, I’m a firm believer in searching for an open window into a child’s understanding. I enjoy the challenge of discovering the key that unlocks concepts for students. I’m also drawn to children with difficult behavior. I believe that behavior is communication, and I relish in decoding what challenging students are trying to say. I believe that lessons in the classroom should be meaningful and engaging for all students. If they aren’t, it’s a recipe for undesirable conduct. I have a tongue-in-cheek motto: “You can’t teach a moving target.” Most young people have a fascination with something that will keep them engaged. Using that fascination, I believe, is the key to keeping their attention and motivating them to participate with success. Regardless of ability, all students have gifts inside them that I, as a teacher, am responsible for unwrapping. A good teacher will focus on abilities and gifts of a student to enhance and strengthen weak areas. This goes hand in hand with using a child’s fascinations and obsessions to motivate them to learn. When children experience success, they gain the courage and esteem to try new things and practice skills they are weak in. My passion as a teacher is to be an enthusiastic encourager. By focusing on strengths, cheering students on through positive reinforcement, I’m able to build trusting relationships with my students, who...

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