Sunday, December 9, 2018

Where You Lead, I Will Follow

"If a kid can do it, he or she should do it." That's been my motto for several years. One of my professors said that in a master's class and it really stuck. I was spending so much time doing things for kids that they could do themselves because I wanted everything to be perfect. I finally realized that it was time to let go of the "perfection" of the room and let the room belong to the kids. It's their room anyway! 

Sunday, November 4, 2018

My Village People

Yesterday, some coworkers and I went to St. Louis to see Gerry Brooks. For those of you who don't know him, click on this link and watch some of his videos on YouTube. He describes teachers' lives perfectly, and he's hilarious. We had so much fun.

Sunday, October 14, 2018

Sounds of Silence

I took a short break from blogging because I didn't feel like I could say what I was feeling. I have lots of feelings about things going on in our world, our country, and even in our community. But commenting was not something I could do without consequence. So I've been silent.

Sunday, September 23, 2018


Third grade. First row. Last seat. That's where I was supposed to be sitting when Mrs. Drake told me to sit down because she was reading from Paddington Bear. I still remember how that moment affected me. Mrs. Drake was unhappy with me. I still remember how I NEVER DID IT AGAIN.

Sunday, September 9, 2018

Step By Step, Rung By Rung

Reflection is such an important thing for me. Every day, when my day is over, I look back and see what I did and how I could do it differently. I'm not sure I've ever had a day that I thought I did everything perfectly. I'm usually very hard on myself. When I am alone with my thoughts, I have time to think about all the mistakes I made that day. It's a very difficult process I put myself through, but it makes me a better teacher.

Sunday, August 26, 2018

Celebrate Good Times

The first week of the 2018-2019 school year is complete. The words "teacher tired" are so real. I know everyone is tired at the end of a work week. But "teacher tired" is a whole different level of exhaustion. It's teaching a new group of kids how things work in a new classroom. It's getting everything planned down to the second and realizing you didn't. It's trying old tricks on new kids. It's trial and error and sometimes more error than trial. It's that moment of remembrance that last year's group didn't just walk in the way they ended the year so perfectly ready for the next year. It's a wonderful, brutal week.

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

'Twas the Night Before School

I'm BACK!!! After an amazing summer of relaxation, fun, and spending time with Lyla Grace, it's time to get back into my school year routines. That means I will be back on my regular blog schedule. I hope this year brings lots of fun and interesting topics for me to cover. I'm READY!

You might notice that I spent some time revamping my pages. I spruced it up a bit and added some buttons, so if you don't follow me on social media, click the buttons on the side of the page and follow me. I'm still working on making my blog better, but I like how it's turning out so far.

My first blog of the school year is to catch you up from my last blog. If you're curious about what teachers do over the summer, here's a look into mine!

Sunday, May 20, 2018

Go Big or Go Home

As the school year comes to a close, so do the careers of several teachers and staff members that are retiring.  This week we will say goodbye to Cynthia Barbre, Debbie Brown, Tammie Mugrage, and Stan Phelps.  There will be many stories shared and tears shed as they embark on their lives after school. We will miss them dearly and our time with them has been so special.  It will be strange to come to work without them next year, but we all wish them the best on the next chapter of their lives!

Oh, but wait!  There's one more retiree.  This lady has been more than a boss to me.  She's been my teacher, my mentor, and above all, my friend.  Everyone knows her favorite saying is, "Go big or go home!"  I've heard her say it a million times.  I hear her voice when I make tough decisions.  Of course I'm talking about Ms. Z.  That's Diana Zurliene to those who don't know who I'm talking about, but how can you not know Z?  This blog post is dedicated to Ms. Z for all she's done for me.  Let me share why I am thankful to have had Z in my life.

Sunday, May 13, 2018

The Teacher That Raised Me

In honor of Mother's Day, I'd like to talk about the teacher in my life that raised me:  my mom. 

 I grew up in the school because my mom and my grandma both worked at Center Street School.  I got to spend after hours there because they were there.  Getting to see the teachers after school and seeing the "secrets" of the school were some of my favorite memories of my childhood.  My mom worked as a teacher's aide for many years, but she wasn't fulfilling her dreams yet.

Sunday, April 29, 2018

End of the Year Bribes, I Mean Vibes

In my class we use a behavior system called Class Dojo.  It's a free app that is on my phone and a website on my computer that tracks student behaviors.  Students get positive points for exhibiting good behaviors and modeling our character traits.  They get negative points if they break rules.  I really try to focus on the positive side of it because it has really caused us to focus on our character traits this year.  The whole class can get points at the same time, too, so they really work together to get Dojo points.

Sunday, April 15, 2018

Motherly Love

Twenty-eight years ago today, my life changed in ways I've never been able to express with enough emotion.  It was Easter Sunday, and I was blessed with 8 pounds 1 ounce of pure love.  At 10:28 A.M., Dillon James Curtner was born and every moment since then, I've been grateful to be his mom. 

Sunday, March 25, 2018

Children Should Be Seen and Heard

What is the age that a person has a voice?  From what I've read on my Facebook feed, it's clear that many people believe that children should not speak up when they feel like they need to.  "I'm not taking advice from anyone that eats Tide pods."  Well I'm not taking advice from anyone that eats Tide pods, either.  Why is it that the stupid things that some kids do are automatically representing all kids?  Do we think that all adults don't deserve to talk because some do meth?

Sunday, March 11, 2018

Little School, Big Hearts

The school where I started my career is no longer a school.  It's now a beautiful church.  Recently the church decided to have a reunion of former Merriam Grade School staff, students, and families, and it was such an amazing experience.  I didn't get to talk to everyone I wanted to or get to thank everyone I would have liked to, so I thought I'd do it here today.  If I gave a speech at the reunion, this is how it would have gone:

Sunday, February 25, 2018

Not One More

As I watch people all over our country argue over what is best for our schools, I can't help but wonder:  Why is no one asking the teachers what we think?

I've been watching many say, including the president, we should arm our teachers.  Let me tell you now how I feel about this and then maybe you can understand, from a teacher's point of view, what that means.

Sunday, February 11, 2018

You're The Inspiration

I knew I wanted to be a teacher when I was as young as I can remember.  I just always pictured myself in a classroom.  I played school all the time.  My grandma was the school secretary at Center Street School so she always brought things to me to add to my "classroom".  I even got my own student desk when Center Street got rid of old desks.

Sunday, January 28, 2018

What Would Julie Do

In this day of posting all of our thoughts online, it's really hard to remain professional sometimes.  I am thankful on a daily basis that Facebook and Twitter didn't exist when I was growing up.  I'm also thankful that we didn't have cellphones and texting when I was a kid.  Don't get me wrong.  I wouldn't go back.  I love technology.  I just know that I would not have handled it well as a kid. 

Sunday, January 14, 2018

My Name Is Julie and I'm a Bookaholic

I know I've said it before but I love to read!  I have probably also said that my kids love to read, too.  I have a strict rule:  If you ever want a book, I'll get it for you.  It's been a rule since my kids were babies.  If they want a book, they shall have it.  They are not spoiled.  They just know that reading is important and money should never keep them from reading.  Now I realize they both don't need me to buy books anymore but I still do.  It's what we do when we get together.  We go to the book stores!  (They also use the library and other free places before you yell at me for not utilizing resources!) Every time we get together, we head to Half Price Books, Barnes and Noble, and any other place with books.  It's what we do for fun.  Now that baby Lyla is here, we also take her.  We read to her and she picks out books, too.  She loves to listen to us read to her and she's already got her own page on Goodreads!  She does also like to chew on books but that's another story.