Thursday, December 27, 2012

My Sister is Home!

from her LDS Mission to Melborne, Austraila.

I forgot how much fun it is to have her around! She doubles the silliness in this girl's life.

Saturday, December 15, 2012


After yesterday's tragedy I felt to celebrate my love for working in the schools with my darling students. Each of these kids are pretty special, even the pestery ones. One of the things I love about teaching is the little funny like-notes the students leave all over their papers for me. This is how I know they like me.

I am pretty sure my face says it all - these three boys have taken to calling me mom (?!) and I can't seem to put a stop to it. They say they are my triplet, 17 year olds sons, of mixed race (huh?!) But I know it means they like me and respect me, (apparently).
I love it when the girls compliment my outfits on their papers - every teacher needs a little fashion-compliment once in a while, or this teacher does! 

I love that so many of my students call themselves my favorite. I guess they can all be my favorites if they want to. 

A lot of these kids live hard lives but they are full of life and full of love and full of happy little personalities that pop out at the most unlikely times. I enjoy being their teacher.

Monday, December 03, 2012

Sometimes the Bloopers

tell the best story.

Ah! There is a good one. (I still love all the rest).

P.S. This is us at Temple Square in Salt Lake City
(just in case you can't tell).

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Double Date & BYU Basketball

P & I with  our free Jabari Parker t-shirts. They couldn't say his name or BYU's on them, but 6,000 t-shirted fans greeted Jabari, who attended the game Saturday night.

Dad, Mom, Me & P

My cute parents - who met at BYU 40 years ago this year!
My parents came down to Utah for Thanksgiving last week and we all went to the BYU vs. Cal State Northridge game Saturday night. The game was a really good one, close score and a ton of fouls. What was really fun about the game however was shopping at the BYU Bookstore and getting free tickets to the game, and taking P on a double-date with my parents. It was fun to be there with him as well as with my parents who were just a little bit silly, and cheering a ton, reminiscing on their days at BYU. They like Patrick as well which is really nice, they appreciate his sense of humor and handyman skills, and of course the way he loves their daughter. :)

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Let Your Light Shine

Sometimes I worry if I let my light shine, I will come across as a prude or goody-goody, or at very least, didactic. I have come to realize over and over again, in situations where you have a relationship of trust, letting your light shine is essential.

I come in contact with youth everyday as a teacher, but we all come in contact with people in our sphere of influence all the time. Little examples we can set, or words of encouragement to do what's right, are never wasted.

I started a book last week, The Perks of Being a Wallflower, and it's sexually explicit. I stopped reading it and tossed it across my bedroom. A student of mine had asked me to tell her how it was, and she would tell me about the book Sold, she checked out from the library the same time I was checking out mine, and we would let each other know if they were appropriate books for nice girls like us. Haha. I got an e-mail late Friday night saying, Miss -----, my book was good and clean, how about yours? I e-mailed her back Saturday morning, don't read it, sexual content. She sent back and immediate, Thanks!

A male student of mine had me read a chapter of a novel he is aspiring to publish. He told me to skip the naughty scene he wrote on page 5. I told him he was better than that--he didn't need to write that in at all! He said sex sells--and I said you are better that, and you know it. You do not need to fall to least-common-denominator-appeal. I ran into him a few days later in the grocery store. He said hey, he re-wrote it and took the naughty parts out, and I would be proud of him because he wrote the next chapter and it wasn't naughty either. I told him I was very proud of him.

I noticed a very popular girl at the end of last year, cute, blonde cheerleader in a very modest dress at prom. I complimented her on her modesty and the next week at school took the time to talk to her mom about how proud I was that with all the immodest options available she had chosen to keep herself covered. Her mom talked of the fight she had had to make sure her daughter wore a modest dress. She teared up and thanked me for noticing and for pointing it out to her daughter who needed some encouragement to make good choices right now.

I'm not trying to toot my own horn, just to share what I am learning, which is people care when you notice they are doing what is right, and it shows them you love when you let them know you care enough about them to want them to make good choices.

I've been inspired by President Monson's talk "See Others as They May Become," from the October 2012 general conference:  See Others as They May Become
I pray that we will have the courage to extend the hand of fellowship, the tenacity to try and try again, and the humility needed to seek guidance from our Father as we fulfill our mandate to share the gospel. The responsibility is upon us, brethren." 

Thursday, November 15, 2012

I'm an Addict

Now may be a good time to finally admit what I have always secretly known, I'm an addict.
I am, in fact, addicted to reading. I was sick last week with strep throat, a sinus infection, and a high fever. I took two days off of work and did nothing but sleep, hydrate, drug up, and read. From Thursday morning  at 9:30 a.m. to Sunday at 2:00 pm (when I go to church) I read a total of 864 pages. That would be 400 pages of James Dashner's The Maze Runner, and 464 pages of Robert M. Prising's Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Mantience.

I have a problem. A smart problem. But a problem.

Friday, November 02, 2012

Mentoring an Editor

I was a little nervous this year about working with my new newspaper editor because I could just sense how much mentoring she needed. Teen girls in search of a solid identity need love and care. I always feel strongly the responsibility of being a good example, mentor and really, life-coach. It has turned out to be so wonderful. Watching her assume leadership and helping her assume leadership has brought me a lot of joy this year. I truly feel a sense of pride in her and her accomplishments, and really of my whole newspaper staff. We have worked really hard this year and our paper looks better than ever.

Most of us in our oh-so-cool Lion's Roar shirts

Compliment and constructive criticism day - always fun after a paper comes out!

Our special October edition 2012
I appreciate the hard times and good that come with a class of this sort where we work hard to produce a product. The other day one of the students said we are like family, and we are. They are my little school newspaper family, and as such sometimes I'm like their mom, sometimes their sister, their friend, or even their grandma when I call them out on something inappropriate.

Every year I think - this will be my last, I've mentored enough young writers, I can't possibly care for anymore students like I did the last, and every year I do.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

The Grand Tetons, Wyoming

Could this National Park be any more beautiful? Fall Break, 2012.
The unmistakable  Grand Teton mountain range in Wyoming

Taggert Lake, Grand Tetons

Taggert Lake, Grand Teton National Park

Jenny Lake, Grand Teton National Park

Buffalo--or--Great American Bison, as it were.

Camping Friends- Patrick, Me, Todd, Noemi, & Alexis

This guy was pea-cocking for the ladies. No joke, he was all puffed up and there were two or three ladies with him. 

This is not zoomed in, I was this close to this big guy! He walked right past us on the hiking trail.

Monday, October 08, 2012

And that is what happens when you date a high school teacher.

Two of my favorite students made this little present for me and left it on my filling cabinet.  It is a pretty creative little grass umbrella made out of tape, paper clips, and magic markers!
My T.A. wrote me this little sticky note saying: "Mrs. Baker loves her boyfriend" and stuck in  on my podium while I was lecturing. It totally threw me off and made me blush! 

Beautiful flowers arrived for me today from my cute boyfriend!

Not sure if my cute boyfriend knew what he was getting into dating a high school teacher. Not only am I super duper busy grading papers and planning lessons, and thus not giving him quite as much time as he would like, but he also probably didn't realize how interested my students would be in him, everything from trying to google and facebook stalk him, to staring at us at school events he attends with me.

It is way more fun for me though, because my students leave me little presents to tease me about dating someone, and ask all sorts of questions just to distract me mid-lesson.

The cute thing is though, sometimes said cute boyfriend sends me little presents too. These beautiful flowers arrived in the front office for me today! They are so beautiful. How could I not fall for this man?!

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Stuart Falls & Friends

Patrick & I and Heidi & Andy on the Stuart Falls trail.
Heidi and Andy and Patrick and I went on a double date this past weekend up to Stuart Falls / Sundance area. The leaves were so perfect! It has been a beautiful fall, where rarely the yellow and red are both fairly vibrant at the same time.

Stuart Falls - beautiful in the fall, especially.

I love this picture of Heidi & Andy! So cute!

The Stuart Falls trail takes you right through the gorgeous red leaves.

I was just being silly taking pictures over my shoulder and got my eye too! :)


You cannot even see Timp behind up because of the lighting, but there it is!
We had a really good time. I love the mountains and appreciate life-long friendships! It was fun to spend time with Heidi and Andy and enjoy a date. I can't believe Heidi and I have known each other for so many years! I was happy to introduce them to Patrick as well.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Big Cottonwood Half-Marathon

Cami & I at the finish line - thanks Cami for running this with me!

Me with my finishing medal and race number.
I ran my first half-marathon on Saturday up Big Cottonwood Canyon. I finished in 2 hours and 24 minutes, which surprised even me. I was sure I would walk half of it and die, stumbling through the finish line after 4 hours, but no. I actually ran the whole thing!

I am pretty proud of myself. I just wanted to prove to myself that I could do it if I really wanted to. It has been a goal of mine for a few years and I finally pushed myself to do it. When I signed up roommate kind of laughed at me because she wasn't sure I'd follow through which made me want to do it even more. It helped that a lot of it was downhill, not to mention how gorgeous the fall leaves are right now - I told myself to just take it at a good pace and focus on how beautiful it was to run down the canyon.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Squeezing Blood from Stone

We recently got served stats of test results in our classrooms over the last x-number of years of teaching.

Guess what? My students tests scores went down last year. It made me pretty sad, and a little mad. Now, they didn't go down very much a all, but no one likes to see their name next to a downward trending line.

Do you want to know why my stats went down? Your guess is as good as mine, but here is mine:

I'm working hard to finish my masters degree in education. I am still working full-time teaching 200 + students including the English Language Learners at my school. I chaperon events, run the school newspaper, mentor little teens who have real needs, and had a student teacher teaching my class for three and a half months last year. Aside from that I've been dating a lot of over the last year. I kinda want to have a spouse instead of lose one like all those heroic teachers seems to do in teaching movies like Freedom Writers and Mr. Holland's Opus.

I guess what I am saying is I am a real person, with a real life. You can't squeeze blood from stone, and you can't kill off your hard-working teachers in the name of the numbers game. Because you know what? If you have never been a teacher you have no idea how difficult and time consuming and even emotionally taxing it can be. We love your children, but we also have to love ourselves.

You can't reduce good teaching to numbers.

Thursday, September 06, 2012

Football & Me

My cute boyfriend in trying to help me understand the wonderful world of football. I watch football games on occasion, but really have no idea what is going on. I know guys pounce on each other and try to get the ball through the goal posts and that is about it. Well, now I know a little more, and it is actually a whole lot more enjoyable to watch football games when you know what is going on! Imagine that. He is a very patient teacher and I am learning actually quite quickly.
Said boyfriend is teaching me the positions and plays in football with  some interactive video games, which actually is really helpful, and not something you would ever imagine me participating in. Haha
BYU vs. WSU - was a white-out game. It was kind of cool to see the whole stadium  decked out in white. 

I thought this was hilarious. The kid in front of us is obviously just learning how to spell correctly, because WC  stands for Washington State, and I guess he thinks they "suk."