A Teacher’s Perspective

I have had a few parents ask me lately about the general failings of the educational system. After careful thought, I wrote this 6-page essay on my view of what is happening. Although I am a teacher, I am also a mom of four children, a former homeschooling mom, and a proud citizen of America. My hope is that we will fix what is broken.

Here is my excerpt:

Why the Educational System is Broken
On any given day a typical school opens its doors and runs business as usual. Students, teachers, staff, and parents fill up the campus to begin another day of learning. There are a myriad of pencils, paper, backpacks, lunch boxes, and water bottles that shuffle around to be used for this one goal: to educate the children. Yet, every day, people are asking the same question and wanting to know why their children are not succeeding in a place that is supposed to guarantee an educated, literate, and self-directed person by the end of 12th grade. Where did the link break to allow a child to fall through the cracks in the system? The answer to this question lies with one word: link. The educational system is comprised of several links that hold together to have a common goal: create a circle of strength to embrace every facet of the purpose and goal of education. When one link breaks, the other links are jeopardized and may fail.

The first link is the government. Education began a long time ago, and the government stepped in to organize and fund this new entity. In America, the government relies on the taxpayers to work and turn a portion of their money back to Uncle Sam. Then, Sam is supposed to organize and distribute the money to the states for the educational institutions. As with every organization, there are no perfect humans in charge. Therefore, the allocation of funds varies from state to state, district to district, and even school to school. Yet, when the allocated funding is based on attendance, district test scores, or other measures, the balance can be skewed. Those that control the purse strings control the wave of currency and how it flows to those who need to keep the wheel of education moving forward. When the purse strings are broken, twisted, or cut, the educational system suffers, but most importantly, the people who are in the educational system suffer.

The second link is the district or charter that operates each school under its care. The districts are responsible for hiring the administrators, teachers, and staff to oversee their most valuable asset: the students. One local district is directing and overseeing a student population of 34,000, and manages over 4,000 teachers across the city limits. There are a lot of working parts to running a district successfully, and then it takes even more working parts to channel that energy to the daily needs of each school. Where the link in the district can get broken is multifaceted: the range of issues from legal to personnel can create a myriad of “hoops” to jump through and resolve. Metaphorical hands are tied in some cases, and other issues have easy green lights. The inner workings at the district level can either hinder or propel the successes of each school.

The third link is the individual school that educates a portion of the local population of children. In this one glance, the school is just a building, a brick and mortar icon that is a second “home” for many of the students. Some schools are in desperate need of upgrades, remodels, and keeping on track with safety codes. Other schools look like shining beacons of hope, safety, and success. Yet, the individual school is dependent on the very people who walk its halls on a daily basis. The school itself is a place designated for one goal: to safely house and educate the children who attend there. Therefore, this means that school is more than just a building. It truly indicates or infers a sense of home away from home. Precious lives are trusting that the schools will provide, protect, and promote success. When this link fails, the trust is gone. The students, teachers, and staff suffer from the lack of safety, and the fear from the lack of resources prevents the goal of education.

The fourth link of this educational chain is the staff of each school. The top leaders, the Administration, have been placed in these positions due to their level of experience and education. A well-oiled educational machine will run from the top down. The administration is responsible for the daily organization, function, and duties of all the working parts at the local school. They are responsible for the safety of the campus, the hiring of teachers, the management of students, and the care of the grounds. A lot of responsibility rests on the shoulders of the Administration team, and the link is broken when the support for Administration and by Administration is not there. Since the Administration is deemed the middle man between the district and the teachers, there is a lot of stress and reliance on them to keep a school functioning at an optimal level. Burnout is one term for those who have experienced a lack of support and too much stress. The link can be easily broken through burnout, and this link is vital to the success of each school and each student.

The fifth link in the educational chain are the teachers. Some people may think that the heart of education lies within the teacher. And yes, for the millions of teachers who show up everyday, their heart is evident in everything they do. The teacher is the one who stands before a class and pours the learning into the minds of the students. It is a picture of one of the most fundamental needs as humans: to be poured into, mentally, emotionally, and intellectually. The heart of education is inside a classroom, and this is where the goal of education takes place every day. Yet, for some classrooms, the teachers do not bring in their heart. Some teachers are burned out from the lack of support, lack of supplies, and lack of respect. Other teachers are there to collect a paycheck and be a warm body to oversee and manage a quiver full of children. And, then there are the many teachers who truly love their job. For them, it is more than a job, and more than a career. Teaching is the passion that burns within them, to reach the heart and minds of the children in their care. But, this precious link can be broken so easily when the teacher does not meet the expectations of the school, the parents, and the students. The statistics show that 42% of teachers will leave the post after three years of teaching. Therefore, the link is broken often at this point due to high turnover in positions, and the lack of consistency due to many factors listed above.

The sixth chain in the educational circle are the parents. Parents and guardians play a crucial role in the educational goals of their children, yet so many parents do not realize their importance. On a societal level parents are their child’s first teacher. They birthed these little humans and chose to raise them. The parents are responsible for nurturing and training them from infants to five years. Ask any educational psychology student in training, and they will tell you that the most important formative years are these first five years of a child’s life. What happens during these five years will set the
foundation for a child’s future in all aspects. Health, nutrition, safety, day to day learning at home, sleep, play, and love are all so important to the future of a child. Yet, many parents lack the experience, time, or intuition to provide even the basic needs of a child, and then they expect the schools to make up the difference when the child is placed in the school’s care. The parents are one of the most important links to a child’s education, bar none. While the schools play a huge role in education for cognitive and intellect, parents are also relying on the schools to fill the gaps for the social, emotional, and mental well being of the children. These gaps were never part of the plan when schools were established. These gaps were supposed to be filled at home. These gaps ARE supposed to be filled at home. When parents fail to uphold their duties at home, the students and the schools suffer in society.

The seventh link in the educational chain are the students. The children come to school in kindergarten either very excited or very scared. As a former kindergarten teacher the witnessing of tears and laughter are very common at this age. Young students naturally want to learn, to love, and to be loved. Period. Yet, the rigor and demands placed on the youngest students tend to burn them out faster than ever. The students are there to learn, but they are also expecting so much at their home away from home. They have needs to be met, and they bring in their baggage from home, unexpectedly, unknowingly, to have their gaps fulfilled. As the students progress from year to year, they still learn more and more. At one point, however, their love for learning starts to wane. The light in their eyes diminishes into a ember, barely holding on to the last spark that once blazed their heart and and their minds. The link begins to break when the love for learning fades away. The students literally and metaphorically check out, because they, too, are burned out, by the very system that is supposed to support and sustain them into adulthood.

The eighth and final link is society as a whole. The American society is so dependent on education, yet the irony is that the support is not wholeheartedly there. Yes, there are resources, funding, buildings, people, and space, but the lack of priority on education is what breaks this link. It is the lack of mental, emotional, and physical support to the very institutions and people within those walls that creates the largest gap. Education is an afterthought to many people in society, rather than a top priority. If an adult has successfully journeyed through the system, they tend to move on into adulthood and just expect that the system is still running smoothly. Yet, it is clearly evident that the system still needs support. Just as the Golden Gate Bridge needs those posts and suspensions to keep it upright and safe, the educational system needs the posts and suspensions from all facets of society to keep it upright, safe, and successful.

The eight links of the educational system are crucial for the future of humans. If a link breaks, the other seven links must scramble to strengthen and uphold it together. Yet, in many circumstances, one broken link will lead to another broken link, until the whole circle is broken. Then, the chain falls to the ground, broken in pieces, and the people wonder why the educational system has failed. As a nation, as a people, it is
imperative that every person takes a role in fixing and creating stronger links. The educational system only fails when the people fail. The mindset and heart of the people must prioritize education as its highest gift so that the gift will continue to give to each future generation.

Goals, Health, Reflection, Self-Love

Soothing the Soul

I found the above meme on another popular page today. Thank you ‘Empaths, Old Souls, and Introverts’ for sharing.

These words really hit a dart to my heart. And I began to ponder… am I finding deep, meaningful conversations with others? Am I sharing life and love and everything in between under the moonlit sky? Am I soothing my soul with the love I so desire to give myself? Am I being true to myself?

In the journey of becoming process driven there are moments of such profound clarity. When life throws a curveball and knocks you off track, find your way back through self accountability. Keep something in your presence to remind yourself of your journey this far.

And keep going. Don’t settle for mediocrity. Dont go cheap on yourself for a quick fix. Invest in yourself. Invest in soothing and nourishing your soul.

Find those friends and soulmates who will go deep with you. Ground yourself in roots of raw love and integrity and intelligence.

You got this. 2020 is about to begin. Start out the gate strong and determined.

Goals, Reflection

The July Effect

I looked out my front window this morning and thought, “Wow, six months ago it was New Years Day!” As I continued to ponder that moment a few more times in my pre-coffeed brain, I realized that the first of July could be as equally as productive as the first of January! Every new day, every new month, and heck — every Monday — can be a start-from-fresh-with-no-mistakes-in-it kind of day. We just need to rewire our brains that everyday is brand spankin’ new.

Of course as I perused through two of my social media sites I see that people are now making July into a verb: July-ing. I have also seen a meme or two about July 1st as a new Month and Monday all wrapped in one. Great! Keep up the good work you smart people!

Instead of calling it July-ing, I want to buck that newish trend and just embrace it as I would see it: The July Effect. For in my little mindset, July is a month that represents all that I love… summer vacation, hot weather, swimming pools, BBQ parties, fireworks, staying up late and sleeping in, and running around in bare feet (as long as I am indoors).

The July Effect is also a time to look back at the past six months and re-evaluate the year so far. Did I keep any resolutions? Did I accomplish any goals? Did I improve and better my life? Even if I didn’t keep a resolution, or accomplish a specific goal, I know that I honestly put forth the effort to better my life.


Well, I made smaller, daily goals. Whether I made the time to take my 2-mile power walk, or eat clean (high protein, lower carb, not processed if possible), read my positive affirmations, write in my journal, get my spiritual fix through great authors, or just REST, I hit many of those smaller goals.

And, I will continue with those small doses.

They say that in order to eat an elephant, you need to take one bite at a time. Well, I am not in the mood to eat an elephant, literally or metaphorically, so I have chosen the less traveled, backroads path of small bites, small steps, small motions forward.

And that’s the KEY… moving forward, even if it is at a snail’s pace.

A sweet friend reminded me recently that both the turtle and the hare finished the race. So it doesn’t matter how fast you go, your consistency is the KEY. Daily, small, incremental steps.

So, I encourage you today to embrace the July Effect with promise and positivity. Reflect on the past six months, but don’t let it discourage you in any way. Refocus your goals for today and through December 31st, but don’t let them overwhelm you. And lastly, Resume your speed in moving forward. You got this. I got this. Together, we are making LIFE happen.

Reflection, Self-Love

Crazy Beautiful

There is a popular song on the radio these days called, “Crazy Beautiful.”

I absolutely love the lyrics. I am not sure how much I can type without infringing on a copyright issue, so you can just click here for the link.

We are all beautiful creatures, made in the image of an amazing Creator. And you, yes YOU, have so many attributes about yourself to bless others. Take a moment to look at those wonderful qualities: your smile, your mind, your eyes, your hands, your heart.

Some of us have never been told to search for the beauty in ourselves, let alone in anything else. I can remember when my eyes were finally opened to truly looking and searching for the beautiful things.

A wonderful lady, whom I will call one of my mentors, showed the endless possibilities of finding the beauty in this crazy thing called LIFE. And once I saw it, I couldn’t stop noticing all of the beauty all around me.

Here is a small list of treasures that I know are true in beauty:

  • A sunrise and/or sunset
  • A newborn baby
  • Flowers in bloom
  • Water in motion (ocean, stream, rain)
  • Children laughing and playing
  • A fresh cup of coffee
  • Mountains and tall trees
  • Hands that hold something gently
  • A warmly decorated table of food
  • A fire on the hearth
  • Two people hugging

As I ponder on becoming process driven through my second-half-journey, I have to remember that I need to be my own kind of beautiful, too. I need to embrace the crazy beautiful that makes me… well, me.

And the same goes for you. Have you embraced your own kind of beautiful? Have you accepted and believed and cherished the things that make you, YOU?

If not, I encourage you to start right now. Stand in front of a mirror and smile. Smile at yourself. If you have lost track of who you are , take a moment to introduce yourself. Get acquainted with the person inside. Embrace her (or him). Show some love.

It may sound crazy, but it’s a beautiful way to live and share your beauty with others.

Faith, Reflection

3 Nails… 3 Days

The Old Rugged Cross.

My mind cannot wrap around the reality of a death like this. It is beyond fathomable, comprehensible, and indescribable.

To be punctured by three nails, stripped almost naked, a crown of thorns piercing the skull, and placed vertically for hours until the body completely suffocates… he didn’t deserve this.

Yet, over 2000 years ago this was the most brutal form of punishment by death. This was reserved for the worst of the worst. The greatest felon received pure torture.

Oh, how pensive I have been. How quiet and still my soul has become since Maundy Thursday. Words are difficult to form. Thoughts are circling.

In the midst of all of this I am grateful and at peace. I am so humbled and thankful. I don’t deserve the grace and the mercy given to me by my Savior.

Whether you believe this story to be true or not, my soul verifies its truth in me. I know that I know that I know. And no one can change my mind.

You may have a different view. It depends on how you were raised. What you were taught. Beliefs you were made to know and understand. No matter what or how or why, as an adult you have the choice to walk away from it or embrace it.

I am not sure how much longer our world will recognize and celebrate the Lord’s death and resurrection. We live in a time where right is wrong, good is bad, and religion is a sham. But, I don’t see my faith as a religion… my beliefs are not my ticket to God.

The cross is the only way. And it’s up to me to walk away… or embrace it.


Stop the Ferris Wheel

Here is a screen shot of my IG page. I tend to write more consistently there, and I believe that the message is still the same.

Education, Gardening, Health, motherhood, Random, Reflection, Woman

Plant the Seed

We have all heard this before.

Well, maybe most of us…

Those who plant the seed may not always be the one who gets to water that seed. But, if we are blessed, we may be able to witness that seed sprout and grow in the future.

I have to slow down and remind myself to be patient. Especially in times of seed planting… not literally in seed planting, for I tend to have a black thumb.

But my type of seed planting is that of encouragement or knowledge or just… wisdom from a mid-life mama.

I have watched how my own four children have grown into some amazing human beings. As much as I want to take credit for their awesomeness, I realize that most of my “mothering” was really seed planting of their hearts and souls. I gave them consistency and intention and a whole lot of love and grace.

I believe that our society is lacking so much growth these days. The soil of our souls is depleted, and when a seed is planted we tend to grow cold, grow weeds, or just wither up and die.

We are in desperate need of a revival. A societal revival that emphasizes nourishing the soul of our souls. Taking time to find the things that make us grow as humans.






Remember, as I share my thoughts with you I am preaching to the choir. I am my own audience, too. I need to hear and see and believe these things.

For then, when my soul is nourished, the seeds that I plant in myself can grow in a healthy way. And I can bring the fruits of my labor to you, dear reader.

May you be blessed today because of your investment to become process driven, too.




Random, Reflection

Bend and Snap Your Way to Life

I am a child of the 80s.

I love anything and everything that shines brightly, promotes big hair, and sings without any auto tunes.

And I am a fan of glow sticks. Those little neon tubes are so fun to crack, shake, and wear. It reminds me of my younger years running around Disneyland at night as the parade marched by and the fireworks blasted in the air.

As someone who is methodically meandering through the middle aged years, I find life more complicated. In the past I could shake off a minor hiccup and keep life going at full throttle. But nowadays I find myself hitting the brakes, or even going in reverse.

This past month has been one of those “hitting the brakes” periods for me. I experienced a setback recently that felt like I had undone all the healing and progress I had made since 2014.

I was mad at myself.

I felt ashamed. Bewildered. Confused.

But I am learning in these process driven moments that it is okay to bend backwards. Maybe even break a bit while we put on the brakes.

—> Break while we brake. <— that’s good stuff right there.

So I am writing this to encourage you. To give yourself permission and forgiveness and GRACE to slow down. Stop if you must. REVERSE IF YOU HAVE TO.

But, after a spell, find the momentum to start again. Find a friend and share your feelings. Read a good meme to make you laugh out loud. Seek the things that fill your soul.

We are all little neon glow sticks ready to shine. We may need a nudge or a bend or twist to light up. Just like Elle Woods in Legally Blonde… girl, you gotta bend and snap! It works every time!!

Faith, Health, Reflection, Woman

Taking back my power

Healing begins the moment you choose to take your power back.

I never realized before that I always had the power within me. I knew I was strong and independent, but I allowed too many people to come in and take the wind right out of my sails.

And for years I suffered.

Why do we allow others to have this much control? Why do we cower when we feel guilt or shame? Why are we not standing up for ourselves?

The only answer that I can muster is that I was a people pleaser. I wanted to be liked. No, I wanted to be loved. I wanted to be valued.

I wanted to matter.

But, there is a cost when it comes to relationships. Whether you invest in a friendship or a love relationship there is a cost.

It will cost you your time.

It will cost you your energy.

It will cost you your heart.

Because, if you are anything like me, you truly value your investment in humans. You have a deep love for connection. You treasure the precious moments and memories.

And sometimes that investment will take rather than give.

The key is to be prepared. A healthy person must know ahead of time that other humans are gonna fail you!

YOU are going to fail you.

Yet, if you know the risks and you choose to accept the chance anyway, then failure may be an option.

But failure is NOT a permanent option.

It is a…

F – first

A – attempt

I – in

L – learning

If you allow yourself to catch some scrapes and bruises, your heart “skin” will become a little thicker. Your mind will become wiser. And your soul will become stronger.

In the journey of becoming process driven, I am choosing to take my power BACK.

I am choosing to guard my heart more, to solidify my soul more, and to still find human tenderness in the trenches.

So look out 2019!

I’m baaaaack!



Word of the Day: Distractions

I have written about this before, but I wanted to share it again. If I read a particular word once in a day from one source I carefully consider its message. But, when I encounter the same word a second time from another source, I sit up straighter and pay attention.

The Universe wanted me to be aware of distractions today.

I find it very easy to be distracted on a regular basis. Whether it is the digital attraction of social media to the accident on the side of the road, we are easily distracted as humans.

And I find it difficult to avoid the distractions on some occasions.

In my journey of becoming process driven I have to embrace what is set right before me. And if that “whatever” is a distraction then I will embrace it.

But only for a moment.

After that point I do my best to politely or intentionally change my course. This is the stark difference between complacency and competence.

Many of us are on a mental map of cruise control. We set the course, but then we let go of the steering wheel. We allow ourselves to be distracted by the urgent instead of grabbing the wheel and steering toward the present intention.

I have found people can be a huge source of distraction when we are set to cruise control. They may be lovely or caring or even downright genuine, but sometimes we need to step away and take time for self in order to get back on track.

As I ponder on distraction I will quickly allow it to be acknowledged, and then I will move forward in my process driven goals.

Moderation. Balance. Intention.

Continue reading “Word of the Day: Distractions”