Friday, May 28, 2010

It's Official. I have a Kindergartner.

I was so glad to be able to go to her signing party and hear her teacher and peers say their good-byes. She truly had a wonderful year.

Chairs for parents were set up around the kids' mat. (Audrey sits on the number 3.) And the kids sang us a cute little song to get started. (Audrey was belting it out in such an animated fashion. Very cute.) After they finished, her teacher explained that she was about to hand out special certificates. Her and her para had pondered over what they thought the professions of the students would be in the future. She then, separately, had the children draw pictures of what they wanted to be when they grew up. It was a super funny presentation/celebration.
There were lawyers that wanted to become baseball players, artists that really wanted nothing more than to be farmers and presidents that secretly wanted to be race car drivers.

Audrey's teacher announced that she thought Audrey would be seen on tv either as a performer or a singer. She said Audrey is ALWAYS singing or dancing around the room. Now, Audrey on the other hand, wanted to become a ballet instructor. I didn't see that one coming. (Guess I'd better sign her up again for another year of classes!)

Lastly, Audrey and her peers went around and autographed each others' papers.

I loved watching them socially move about the room. And was reminded how socially awkward I felt! I hadn't made a great attempt at getting to know any of her classmates' parents this year. Mental note: more play dates next year!

As we collected her gifts, gave our last hugs and thank yous, I found myself thinking how long ago it was that I began my school career as a kindergartner. I have such vivid memories of kindergarten. I tried to remember what that little girl felt like.

She felt excited and hopeful and happy most of the time.
She didn't feel the anxiety of the arrival of an ending (like, say, a year of school) but more or less took life as it came at her.

We left her first classroom ever, walked down the hallway holding hands and talking about the picnic that just her and I would have at the park.

I'm so thankful that her teachers took great pride in providing an excellent education. It must be so incredibly difficult to deal with 20 kids ages 4-5, to plan incredibly interesting activities and field trips, to instill the importance of routine and so much more. Oh, the patience they must have! I know Audrey will remember her first classroom teacher for the rest of her life.

I can only imagine what kindergarten will bring...

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Family Day

Monday, May 24, 2010

What? You have a real job?

Yes, I have a real job. A day job. A daily grind. I have one. I don't talk about it too much because that's taboo in Blog Land, right? Well, tonight I'm breakin' the rules.

I teach art. To be fancy, I am a visual arts instructor at the high school level. And to be honest, I really like what I do.
As in any teaching profession, you might reach a very small percentage of what comes through your door, if you're lucky. And this year, I was extremely lucky. I miss them already.
No lies.

It was one of those insane years. You know. You've read the papers. You've watched the news. Dekalb County Schools are in trouble! And our little school felt the pinch of the economy as well as the repercussions of attempts to lessen the financial burden felt by the board of education. Well, there are other parts to the equation, but let's just say this was a difficult year.

In the midst of all the turmoil, I thought about quitting. I really wanted to throw in the towel after hearing that the salary decrease of 6.25% was approved. It's bad enough that several of my colleagues won't be returning after the summer but now I'll be making less next year than in the past three years of teaching! The logical answer is to quit, right?
But let's face it: I'm lucky to even have a job. The economy sucks.
And furthermore, and more importantly, I realized I don't want to quit teaching just yet.
As crappy as this year was in all other respects, teaching, just the act of teaching was so rewarding for me this year. I loved my kids. I only hope that next year is as wonderful.

Look at this group!

Can you guess which kid is my art student?

I particularly became close to the students that I had yearlong- my advanced placement kids. I am so proud of each and every one of them. They accomplished so much and I hope their portfolio scores reward them for their efforts.

One of my students, after finding me on facebook, requested her very own blog post (which is really the inspiration for this) but I am compromising by making it more general. Sorry, kid. That's the best I can do. To single you out right now just doesn't seem fair.

Now, to get back on track, these kids are amazing. They reek of talent.
See for yourself:

That's just a small sample of the AP kids' work. Even my general classes blew me away. Kids that had never ever taken an art class before created some of the most beautiful artwork. They surprised themselves, even.

It was my kids, not the decreasing paycheck that kept me going this year. I realized it during graduation.

At graduation, our school's valedictorian captivated the audience with his speech. He singled-out several inspiring teachers and commended them for their hard work. Students and parents alike would clap loudly at the mention of each dedicated teacher. I secretly kept wishing I'd hear my name in his speech, but never did. It ended and I was a little sad that I had not made an impression on this outstanding student or the senior class for that matter.

Recognition goes a long way.

Well, after the ceremony, there was much hustle and bustle leaving the church. I bumped into the valedictorian. He grabbed my arm and he said, "Mrs. Georges. I want to show you something." He unraveled some folded up papers to reveal the framework for his incredible, moving speech. He leaned over to me in the crowd and pointed near the bottom of the second page. "Read it," he said.
I did. And in doing so, I saw that he had thanked me for creating such a memorable yearbook.
I glanced at him and smiled.
He explained that he had mistakenly skipped over an entire paragraph without realizing it- the paragraph with my name in it. He pointed to it again as if to say, "It's right there. See? I did recognize you." He smiled back.

In that moment, I gave him a big hug, thanked him sincerely and came to a huge realization, myself.
I know I make a difference in these kids' lives. I know they enjoy having me as their teacher. I know they learn from me. I know they do. I don't have to hear it. Why did I think I had to hear it?
It was almost better that the valedictorian didn't recognize me publicly but did so in private. It was almost more touching. He went to all the trouble to seek me out so that I alone would know he appreciated me. And in a way, I know he spoke for the entire senior class.

Just that one simple act of acknowledgment gave me enough fuel to want to teach another year.
It made it all worth it. That, and my art students.

Want to know the funny thing?
After realizing this and coming to peace with the fact that I might not ever be recognized or fully appreciated by my peers or the administration I miraculously was, today, in a faculty meeting. I had to laugh about it, really laugh about it after I was called up to receive my shiny red apple trophy.

Goes to show you the saying is true: When you least expect it....

Bring it on 2011.

Thursday, May 13, 2010


I'm only about half way through editing this session but I just have to share! Is this kid camera candy, or what?
Holy cuteness! My camera loves him.

And if you've ever been to my website, you'll see him as a newborn in the first shot that comes up. My, how he's grown!

Tracy has a million cool vintage things in her house. When I visit, it's hard for me to contain my excitement over her super awesome collections and paintings. There's one photo in the session that I cannot wait to edit but I'm saving the best for last! You won't get to see that one until later.

Oh, and the flag banner idea for Audrey's party? Totally duped it from Tracy. Her multi-talented husband slapped one together for the shoot in a matter of minutes. That family is the bees knees.



Wednesday, May 12, 2010


Hey there, little buddy!
Congratulations to Shelby and Marc on Number Two.
Braeden is the cutest little peanut and he was oh, so good.

And big brother? It was so very sweet to see him with the baby.

This picture is definitely one of my favorites. It tells the all too familiar story of a number two (at least for me)...

And he was awake almost the entire time! I think this might be the only shot of him sleeping. Sweet sweet baby sleep....