Trees of Transition

Planting seeds of hope throughout our world through sharing photography and thoughts on teaching, cooking, and life transitions.


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Painting Beside My Students 


Teaching students who want to learn from you and are painting with you is invigorating. Today I started my arts and crafts club at school. A few months ago, when I was showing students how I wanted them to do a demonstration speech, I showed my students how to crochet. Several students were very interested in learning; those are the students who showed up to my arts and crafts class! 
This week we started out with watercolor painting. I taught them how my mom taught me: just start painting and figure it out. I gave them a few tips such as more water for lighter colors and less water for darker colors, but I just let them explore and do what they wanted. We had four unique and cheerful paintings done at the end of the hour! I was able to also paint some Easter pictures to decorate our classroom.
Sitting next to the students painting is a great way to connect with them. I have three 6th graders, one 7th grader, and one 8th grader. I am so happy to just to talk with them about what they enjoy, what kind of art they are interested it, and a little bit about their family. I left work today feeling happy and satisfied. Art brings people together.
-Mary Hope
Copyright 2017


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Greeting Card Fun

I’ve been having fun creating cards this week! I’m learning to just do what I love even if for a few minutes. See more at My Etsy Card Shop–Trees of Transition Art.

Have a happy Friday, Friends!

-Mary Hope

Copyright 2017


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Learning How to Diffuse a Person Who Wants to Fight

Today some of my students just wanted to fight – verbally. Since I have been working on my own anger issues, I was able to let them voice some of their opinions; however, I did not let them get me riled up and give them a show. The students did not like me butting into their conversations, but if they are going to talk when it is time to do work, I will interrupt what they’re saying. 
Yesterday during our GREAT program about gang resistance, students practiced their listening skills. I learned a thing or two as well, and so when they were venting their frustration today, I pulled out a note pad and start taking notes. The students wanted me to give them a quick response and reasons, but I told them I needed to think about it. One student got so mad because it seemed like she wanted a fight today.
I did not give into their desire to fight; I am glad for that. When I explode at students, it does not turn out well. I am thankful that I am learning how to be around people that are angry but I do not need to let their anger pull me in and cause me to do things I would regret. The students did not focus very well on the rest of the lesson; however, they did settle down. 
One student respectfully shared her opinion on the topic, and I could hear what she was trying to get across much easier than the other students who are all riled up. I said to that student “Thank you for sharing your opinion respectfully.” So even though I’m still thinking about a response, it feels like a win because I connected in a positive way with the one student, and I kept my cool.
What I learned about diffusing an angry person, is to not respond in the same manner. I could see I was making one student even more angry because I was not getting angry back. Then when I moved on with the lesson, she just sat down but I did not say things I regret.
I can let other people feel angry, but I do not need to join them. I can model self-control and keep on teaching. What happened today was not a pleasant, yet I am glad it happened because I gained another tool in my relational toolkit.
Peace!
-Mary Hope
Copyright 2017


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A Strategy on How to Deal with Furious Parents

Recently I received a vicious email from a parent of one of my students, and it was no fun to deal with; however, I learned a helpful strategy on how to deal with anger from this situation. There had been a misunderstanding about that parent’s student, and I had not dealt with it the greatest because it was Friday afternoon, and I was just trying to keep the peace. After talking with a couple fellow teachers, I was able to brush off the angry words and keep perspective. A few months ago, I would have shriveled up under the scorching words, but I have been learning how to respond in a healthy way to anger and not shrivel.

Anger is a messenger that tells us something is wrong, and it also covers over hurt and insecurity. By quickly having other teachers to process the hurtful email with, I was able to get the perspective that this person was showing way more anger than the situation prescribed, and I did not need to let the anger control me. That parent’s anger was theirs, and I didn’t need to let it hurt me. In light of that insight, I waited a day before I responded to the email (to let both of us cool down) and in that period I talked with a wise lady who gave me an even better strategy to help the situation.
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The Transition Junior High Students Need to Go Through

Some days after my junior high students leave, I feel like a wrung-out wash cloth, but there are lessons to finalize and papers to grade, so I have to persevere. I have to put one foot in front of the other, and a few minutes later my strength starts to wash back in. Having 29 homeroom students at different stages of differentiating from parents/leaders in their lives is exhausting, but also intriguing.

The junior high developmental stage of differentiating is fascinating; I am drawn to it partly because there are so many transitions going on AND because I didn’t go through those stages at the normal age. (I had to learn it later!) Students NEED to distinguish who they are from their parents/teachers as they figure out who they are; students do this through challenging their authority figures often. Being reminded of this by my counselor this weekend was so helpful because my job is to still support/encourage/teach these students, but not let them be disrespectful while encouraging them to figure out and share what they think and believe about topics.

I can only do this with support from family and from God; my strength is renewed from their love.

Teachers, keep on persevering because what you are doing IS making a difference (and Spring Break is around the corner!)

~Mary Hope

Copyright 2017