The Influence of Technology

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I am the first person to tell you that two of the greatest inventions was the act of texting and phones that could help you gain enormous amounts of logic.  

However

I am becoming increasingly aware of the problems these devices have caused.  As a Social Studies teacher, can you imagine how many times I’m told a day that my subject doesn’t matter for them to learn because they can just use their phones to find the answers?  

I’m about to sound like an old woman, so prepare yourselves.

Technology is great, but I’m so tired of never seeing anyone’s eyes.  I’m tired of students thinking their slick and looking in their laps and pockets and jackets like I don’t know what they’re doing.  I miss making human connection on dates.  We are so consumed with typing, we don’t even look up anymore.  

What are we missing?  What could we possibly gain from looking down?  How many times have you walked into someone or something because you were looking down?  I have quite a few scars from my own misadventures.  

I miss looking into someone’s face and seeing them, really seeing them.  Seeing their souls through their eyes.  It sounds cliche, but it’s true.  An episode of Girl Meets World addressed this a few weeks ago.  The main characters Riley, Maya, Farkle, and Lucas all saw how much they needed to stop looking at their phones.  

I think we need one of those lessons too.  As a society, we are becoming worse at communicating in person.  On the phone, we are fantastic.  Congratulations, we have mastered that skill!  

Just think about it.  And watch this video.  It might change your mind on a few things.

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Dear Students

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Dear students,

 

As the school year is beginning around the country and you prepare for school, I know many of you are not very happy.  You wish summer would last longer.  That the sun would continuously beat on your skin and the sand would stay permanently between your toes.  I understand that.

But just as you are buying school supplies and enjoying your last bit of summer, your teachers are hard at work.  We are buying school supplies, decorations, and endless supplies of crafts.  We are sitting through meetings and trainings that tell us the same thing we’ve been told over and over again.  We stay up late making our decorations to make our classroom functional, organized, and cute.  We are draining our bank accounts to make sure you have everything you could ever need in class.

Some of us are praying over you and the school year.  Preparing ourselves and you for a year of learning.  We are taking deep breaths when we hear that we have the “difficult” student this year.  We have been moved to new grades, new subjects, new classrooms, new schools, all without given a chance to catch up.  We have new principals, counselors, deans, rules to follow just as you do.  

Our hands hurt from cutting out individual letters and gluing them on paper.  We are getting paint and glitter on everything we own (and glitter never goes away).  We organize everything just so, and the minute you walk in, you mess up the perfect organized desk.  

But we love it.  We love seeing your faces light up.  Getting to know you and your quirks.  Figuring out who is the teacher’s pet, who’s the class clown, and who’s going to drive us crazy.  We love seeing new backpacks, pencils, notebooks, ready to begin.  

So students, know that we are working hard for you.  We are preparing ourselves and we hope that you will open your mind to learning.  Because it’s going to be a good school year.  

Sincerely,

Your teacher

Focusing on Me

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I think in the hustle and bustle of life we forget to be happy.  I know I do.  I get caught up with going to work, buying the things that I absolutely need right then (not really), paying my bills, remembering to eat something that’s somewhat healthy, and the list goes on.

We live in a beautiful world.  A world that is full of colors and miracles all around us.  Sometimes I look around when I’m driving to and from work and see the sky.  I mean, could God have created a more beautiful sky?  Every day the colors and shapes that the clouds and sun make are just…wow.

Society tells us that being busy is a fact of life, because in order to be happy, you need to work hard and be busy.  I’m not saying that working hard isn’t a good thing; it is.  I work very hard to make sure that I make enough money to pay my bills and to make sure that I’m doing something productive with my time.  However, when that busyness leads to us no longer having time for Christ or ourselves, it has become a problem.

Think about how many times a day you check your phone, whether it be Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, email, text messages, EVERYTHING.  It’s kind of sick isn’t it?  I’m not guilt-free here.  And I’m going to be really honest with you, I don’t know how long it will take me until I don’t do that anymore.  But I do know, that it is a problem and it needs to be dealt with.

I get so consumed by checking all these social media and communication that I forgot to look at what’s around me and what I have in my life.  I see everyone on Facebook putting the best images of their lives up.  And it does get to me.  I mean how can someone look good in every single picture they are tagged in and/or uploaded?  Then there are the big life moments.  Those adorable wedding pictures?  The engagement shots?  The big diamond rings on their hands? The babies looking just oh so adorable.  Right when they post those things, my hair is probably in a messy bun and if I have make up on, it’s smeared because I was getting tired and needed to rub my eyes.  My cats are probably meowing at me and I need to clean my house.

When we spend so much time looking at these things, despite the fact that nobody’s life is perfect, you start to believe that there is something wrong with you.  We live in a land of “if only” I had this, “if only” I was married/engaged/in love/dating….need I say anymore?  We can’t reside there.  We have to live in the NOW.

So this weekend, I did something spontaneous and slightly crazy.  But it was all for me.  I woke up and decided that I was going to go somewhere I wanted to go.  I didn’t have a real plan or even an idea of where I would stay, but I did.  And it felt good.  I realized as I was watching the fireworks in the sky that this was one of the first times I did something for me in a really long time.  It was magical.  I highly recommend it.

Why don’t I do this more often?  Why must everything I do be for other people?  Why do I deny myself the things I enjoy just because it doesn’t fit in with the standards and norms that society has inflicted upon me?  I can’t change that this is where my place in life is.  There are days I wish I had a second income to help with bills, but that is not what God has for me right now.  Right now, I need to be focused on me and my current state of life…NOW.

I am in the process of reevaluating my life.  Where does my time, money, energy, happiness go?  Who and what am I spending it on?  It really is something that I need to think about.  I think all of us need to consider that maybe we are unhappy because our priorities are mixed up (as Ron says, “She needs to sort out her priorities).  Maybe it does mean taking a break from social media and reading a book, taking a walk, doing something that makes you happy and not frustrated.  Maybe it means deleting those things altogether and starting new.  I’m trying to find people to do this single life with.  While I still love my friends that are married and engaged and I still hang out with them often, it’s important that I find other people who are more like me and have the same problems I do.

By having all these friends in various places in life, I get to see the positives of my past and the hope of the future.  Isn’t that an amazing thing?  My friends, focus on you and your life now.  Let’s get out of this jealousy phase and the trying to be perfect phase.  We can do this.

Wandering in Love

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I’ll admit it.  I’m a self-proclaimed Pinterest-holic.  In my spare time, I spend a lot of time on there.  I have the normal boards that every girl does: wedding, home, beauty, dream closets, etc.  But lately, there is one I am spending a lot of time on.  The travel section of Pinterest is full of beautiful photos of faraway places that have become my dreams.  I remember when I was little, sitting and reading my books like a good, little nerd, there was a sense of wonder at these places.  I wanted to be the lost princess in Russia, the young girl attending the magical school that is Hogwarts, a hobbit in the Shire.  These became my life and love.

 

What wonderful and dangerous worlds these were.  They were filled with magical creatures, amazing architecture, and love that transcends all things.  Love.  The most beautiful word when you are a hopeless romantic.  

So now I sit here, in my twenty’s, and how badly I want those two things I read about and dreamed about: love and travel.  

Honestly, they go hand in hand.  In books, there are the “real” books where love happens in unlikely places, but isn’t it more amazing to find that characters fall in love at places like Pemberly, Hogwarts, the arena in the Hunger Games (although that one is a little wowzers)?  When Mr. Darcy comes to propose to Elizabeth (again), he’s walking across the beautiful countryside of England (think movie if you have to here).  His language, the setting, it’s like a dream.  As I was reading this at the grand old age of 12, I remember thinking, England is where I need to go to fall in love!

As a 24 year old teacher who lives with her cats, I can honestly say, that yes, I want to travel and fall in love.  And until those things happen, I will continue to read and obsess over pictures on Pinterest.  After all, isn’t dreaming part of the fun?

 

Fight Like a Girl

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I’m sure you’ve seen the video about it.  If you haven’t, do yourself a favor and watch it here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XjJQBjWYDTs.  I have seen this on Facebook but never took the time to watch it.  Then I did.  And wow.

I work with teenage girls who spend all their days with other teenage girls.  And the brutal, honest truth is, that these girls are mean.  They can be evil, backstabbing snakes who can suck the life out of a person with just a few words.  But, they can also fight like a girl.  And being able to fight like a girl to them is no different than fighting like a guy.  They have something going for them that other girls do not in the sense that fighting like a girl isn’t derogatory.

 But they are also being told something that is just as disturbing.  

They are being told they are not beautiful unless they are showing insane amounts of skin, have vulgar mouths and language, talk like they are illiterate, and flaunt everything on social media.

This hurts me almost as much as that video does.

My mother taught me some basic beauty tips while growing up.  When I was a teenager, they bothered me to no end, but then I came to the realization that they were good for me.

  1. Modest is hottest.  Between my youth group and my parents, I was told that it is far more attractive to wear clothing that fits well and covers everything up.  A little mystery is good.  I have never had the perfect body (and probably never will), but I wear clothes that are flattering to ME.
  2. Makeup does not need to be so strong.  I mean the raccoon eyes, people?  Really?  It is not pretty nor is it functional.  Makeup is expensive.  It does not do well to spend a fortune on makeup like you are painting your face with it.  Makeup should enhance the natural beauty, not cover it up.
  3. Social media is not a place for dirty laundry.  I don’t understand why this one is so hard to understand.  The fact of the matter is that when you put everything you’ve got onto Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, etc etc, you are risking your future.  I fully expect that whatever I put on these sites will be seen by my current or future boss.  If you are putting things out there that have no business being there, you are putting your own future on the line.  Pictures where you are underage and drunk?  Please tell me you are kidding.  Pictures that are suggestive in nature?  Why would anyone hire you when that is your profile picture?
  4. Talk like the intelligent human you are and not a toddler.  Enunciate your words.  I probably said this 5 million times a day while teaching preschool: “Use your words.”  It is not acceptable to talk as if you are illiterate.  Know your audience.  Sometimes, my friends and I talk like we can’t form a sentence because we are just being silly.  But I guarantee you, that my friends and I would never pull that with our bosses nearby.  We would never dare talk like that to a teacher or professor.

I sit every day with teenagers.  I know that each generation is different and each experience is different.  But what a disservice we are doing to ourselves and to our posterity that we are allowing these to be the norm.  Why would the girls want to be like us when they see instead Kim Kardashian being flaunted for her body and provocative clothing?  I’m nothing special.  I’m a simple teacher with cats.  That’s my claim to fame.  Why would they idolize us when they see that money is everything and people like the Kardashians, Rihanna, Lady Gaga have money and show off everything they have?

It is not just saying things like “like a girl” that need to change.  We need to change how we hold ourselves and who we esteem.  We need to teach these girls that it is okay to be different and to be covered up and to do good things.  It is okay to be INTELLIGENT.

I want my daughters to think that it is normal to be successful, respectful, modest, beautiful in everything they do. I am going to do my darndest to teach my students that these things are beautiful and amazing and worth fighting to become.  I just wish I wasn’t fighting society while doing it.

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