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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School is Out! Happy First Day of Summer

Releasing my students into summer happened a couple of weeks ago (huzzah!). Seeing the room without 34 desks, chairs, and students made it feel huge. On my last day at school, I took time to just sit and my desk and write out that list of suggested books for the summer (see: Young Adult Fiction to Read This Summer)

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Young Adult Fiction to Read This Summer

I’m just wrapping up my year of teaching, and I just sent off this summer book suggestion list to my middle school students, so I thought I would share it with you as well!

If the review is quoted, it is from Patti Tjomsland and her workshop’s “What’s new in Young Adult Literature” handbook that I received when I attended her workshop.


Shadowcaster (first book) and Flamecaster (second book) – by Cinda Williams Chima

For the second book: “Ash is forced into hiding after his father is murdered and his own life is endangered. On his quest for revenge he meets Jenna who shares his hatred for an evil king.”


Heartless –by  Marissa Meyer

“Ever wonder how the Red Queen became so heartless? Catherine just wanted to be a baker and then she falls in love with Jest which leads to heartbreak.”


Genius: the Game –by Leopoldo Gout

This book has a hanging ending! “First in a new series. Only 200 invitations go out to the best of the techies in the world for a huge competition. Tunde (an engineered genius from Nigeria) and Painted Wolf (an activist blogger from Shanghai) are invited and Mexican American Rex hacks his way onto the list. What is the real reason for this event?”

 And there are more…
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Why Is It Hard To Apply For Jobs?

IMG_0477Especially after being rejected for many teaching jobs the years before, last year it was HARD to start filling out those Applitrack applications after my husband pushed me. He believed I could land another teaching job before I could.

Here’s a passage I wrote last July when I was applying to jobs and trying to figure out my negative emotions; I was answering the question, “Why is applying for teaching jobs so hard?” My answer back then: “I feel shaky inside and scared of being rejected, so it is hard to even try.

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Dream Big!


Last summer I snapped this photo and wrote these words under it: “Dream big!” I felt those words connected with this photo because of the sunflower was over 10 feet tall! Later that day I applied to the teaching job that I landed the next week. Sometimes nature gives us the inspiration we need to push ahead. I’m glad I’ve been able to be a teacher again!


~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

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My Wonderful “Pushy” Husband and How He Helped My Job Hunt

img_0226My siblings know that I won’t do something if I don’t want to (and I drove them nuts), but now I have a husband who is “pushy” in a kind and helpful way. Last summer when I had a job that I had tried every ladder to move up, but there was no upward mobility, and my husband told me, “Quit! I know you can find a full-time teaching job.” Stephen is not annoy-pushy, but he is firm and kind-pushy. If he thinks I should do something, he encourages me until I think I can do it. I didn’t have as much confidence as my husband, but I believed him, so I resigned my job at the end of the summer semester, and then started the full-time job of job hunting.

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