First time teaching

I started my teaching career around mid march after this 4th grade class had numerous subs.  I cried almost every other day.  I really had no training, and my support was very limited.  I was at the school for almost two years, right when I was getting used to things and finally found my routines when I got riffed (laid off).

My second teaching experience was through a company that put teachers into private schools for supplemental learning.  I liked to call myself, “the bungalow” teacher.  It was an easy comfortable gig.  I got paid a reasonable salary (although it was half of what I was getting at public school) but I didn’t care because I was still living at home, and everything I had to teach was set for me in a binder.  Sure I put my own little style to it, but I didn’t have to lesson plan, I didn’t have to grade homework (only quarterly assessments), and my biggest class size was 6.  I was comfortable here for 4 years.

Then I got bored.

One summer I decided to reapply into the public school teaching system, and enroll into grad school as a social worker, you know just to gamble and roll the dice I guess.   As all fate decides I got accepted to both!  However, another variable came into play, I also got pregnant.  At first I saw it as a problem, then a friend said, “Cheryl there are people who are having such a hard time finding a job, getting to school, and getting pregnant.  You got all three”  What a way to put it into perspective.

So I chose the financial route, and decided to not pursue grad school, and go back to the public school. Double my usual salary? I’ll take it!

It was my 3rd teaching experience, but first time in middle school.  I started January, it was their second semester and they also had a few subs. I probably only cried once a week instead of every other day. (yep I got a bit stronger), but it was still tough, I was teaching the EL (english language) class, and got one training.  The school was huge and I was also getting huge (pregnant remember?). I rarely got support, and when I did it felt more of a “here do this and this and this” and I got really overwhelmed.  So summer was here, had my baby and took my maternity leave, and bonding time.  Only really got to teach my class for about 4 months.

Well that second year I find out that I’m getting displaced, which is different from being riffed, because I still have a job in the public school setting, just I don’t know where yet.

Then I found out about the current school I am at. A friend worked there and told me about an opening.  Smaller school and closer to home.  Great deal right? Wait it gets better.  They thrive on social emotional learning, provide arts for electives, and hold council circles every week.

I started fresh the beginning of the school year, and now we just started our second semester.  Of all the years that I’ve been a teacher, this is the first time I can say that I’m actually learning, and growing as one.  All the other years, I’ve felt like I’ve just gotten by. But I find myself being challenged, in a good way. The support that I’m getting is still overwhelming, but I don’t feel like I’m just working to “survive” anymore.  I feel like I’m working to grow and learn from my colleagues and my students. The teachers, staff and administrators are the best, and I only hope that this is the school I can finally call my home.




To do lists

So my little one is about to be 17 months old, and yes he still sleeps with us on the bed.

So our little bedtime routine is for me to lay with him till he goes to sleep.  During this time I usually fall asleep with him for a little bit, some nights, like tonight I lay awake going down the “to do” list in my head.

It stresses me out sometimes that I have so many things to do.  I start thinking of how  much time I have in the day to do X Y Z on my list.

Then I do the ninja move of rolling out of bed slowly trying not to wake him up.  As I am creeping out of the dark bedroom, little guy sits up and I duck behind the bed.  I am hoping he lays back down and puts himself to sleep, but I peek my head over and see him looking around.  At this moment I’m thinking, okay he’ll find his place and go back to sleep.  Then I hear him say, “ma?.. ma?” My heart melts, and he won this battle.  I lay back next to him, and he leans over and gives me a huge kiss.  At this point the list in my mind, the existence of my stress is left there floating around in the clouds, not so much as a rigid list to be done anymore.  All of a sudden I start calculating these exact moments and comparing it to the lifetime I will have with him.  These moments can not be replicated ever again, but that “to do list” will eventually be done.



Working around the clock

In a previous post, I had mentioned something about how we are creatures of habit, and how we just come accustomed to certain styles and behavior.

I just started thinking of my recent change in my working behavior ever since I became a mom, more so a working teacher mom who is trying to get used to her new school.

My schedule goes a little something like this.

630am wake up get ready for work,

7am bring baby to sitters

730 at work and prepare for classes

800-300 a dizzy world of teaching, managing, collaborating and creating our future

300-400 after school grading, prep, clean up for the next day

430-500 pick up baby and hang out with the best baby sitters who usually cook an extra serving of food for me.  I AM SO LUCKY.  FOOD FEEDS THE SOUL FOR REALS!

500-600 try to think of what to make for dinner/entertaining a toddler/as many dishes as possible

600-730 dinner and winding down the boy for bed time, usually I fall asleep with the boy because I am exhausted, and I wake up at around

900-1100 lesson prep for the next day

repeat it all over again.



It’s this new word that the internet world have created to basically mean responsibility.

There are the usual gradual stages of responsibilities such as studying for a test, graduating, finding a job, getting into a meaningful relationship, going through a breakup.


Then there are the ones that slap you in the face.

For me I discovered that one of my major flaws and defense mechanisms is avoidance.

Once a situation becomes overwhelming to me, I put on a smile but in my head a storm is brewing and I’m trying to build my arc to escape this storm, and hopefully with the help of all my animal friends see the end of the rainbow.

On the bright side of that analogy at least I’m trying to think of a plan with a smile on my face.

oh yea an animals.

Warm ups

It’s nice to know that I do still have some readers.  Hello reader friend 🙂

Thanks for the nice comment.

I was getting into my work planning mode, when I find myself periodically checking my facebook, instagram, snapchats.  All outlets of waste of time, soul sucking, zombie like actions of seeing what other people are up to, eating, reposting some buzzfeed, taking a test type of bullshit, yet mind numbing satisfaction.

I caught myself doing this, and remembered what I promised myself.

So here I am before I get into that planning mode, not knowing what to really write about.

I guess I can write about my first day back after a 3 week break.

About how tired I am right now,

about how my husband is talking to me about redesigning the house while I am periodically agreeing and saying mmmhmmm to everything he says. Actually loving his ideas and ambition, trying to be supportive but really I have no idea what he is saying, and no idea how I could help.

I could write about how my students were either well behaved today, or they were just adjusting to being back at school that they don’t even have that energy to goof around right now.

I could write about how every few minutes I’m wondering if my baby will roll off the bed, again.

Or I could write about …

well I could write about….

I guess I can just write.



Like getting back into biking

after a long hiatus

can’t ride those 20 mile rides on the first day

I think I’ll just take a ride to the market and back

get my legs moving again

warming up for those 20 mile rides again



I went to church today and the sermon was about entering the New Year and how we should make our actions become our habits.  The pastor quoted Ghandi with this,

“Your beliefs become your thoughts,
Your thoughts become your words,
Your words become your actions,
Your actions become your habits,
Your habits become your values,
Your values become your destiny.”
Mahatma Gandhi

as humans we are creatures of habits, and for the past few years I have suppressed a certain habit that has been weighing me down emotionally, that habit writing.  Writing is an outlet for me for my soul, and I want to try to get back into it.  I know I know, I say this at least once a year, and I write one thing and then go back to my work mode habit and forget about writing.  I don’t even know who even reads this anymore, because it’s not “undeniable” anymore.

But this is not for my readers, it’s for me.  And I know I could easily write in a notebook, since it is for me.  But typing is just a lot easier for me, and faster, because I have a million other things to do, like right now prepare myself for the first day back of the second semester.


But I can’t get to work if I don’t let this particular emotion off my chest.

My dad went back to the Philippines today, I just dropped him off a few hours ago.  I played it cool, hugged him and left, but as soon as I got into my car I cried the whole 45 minute car ride back to my house.

You see, my dad has been going back and forth to the Philippines ever since my mom passed away.  It was his coping mechanism, and with that he found himself a new life.

When he left, we were both still in our very ripe grieving stages of losing my mom.  So when he left, I felt like I lost another parent.  I didn’t feel it at first, because my life was also changing.  I just got married, we just got a house, and now very recently just had a baby.

When my dad is here it may seem like to any other person that he does nothing but stays on facebook, and brags about his life in the Philippines.  Well yes he does that. But it’s the smallest details that he does around the house that makes a huge help.  Like take out the trash, wash dishes, cook us dinner. COOK US DINNER that is actually a BIG HELP.  Food feeds the soul.

But most of all, he is a great grandfather.  I love hearing him play with my little one, and hearing them laugh together.  That is probably what I will miss the most.

My dad and I don’t have the best communication bonding skills, our conversations are very limited, but his presence is all that I really need.  I wish we could talk more, bond more and create that relationship.

But as I said he has created his own life over there in the Philippines, and I am creating my own life over here now with my family.

Well that’s all for now, I do feel a lot better letting this emotional weight carry from my heart to my fingers on to these keys.  Thank you.




The blanket of clouds warm me up on this cool morning.

I look up and thank you, mom, for bringing me into this world.

Each wave crashing on the shore is a birthday greeting from the universe.

A quiet solitude moment to count my blessings.

Drink this bottomless mimosa to quench my thirst.

I’ve loved, grieved and loved again.

The birth of my son brings a new definition of birthdays.

I always think of you mom, but no more than ever my birthdays are not to celebrate me, but to celebrate you.

So as I sit here thanking the world for another year,

my one birthday wish is that you were still here.

And though I know that’s not physically possible, I feel you near.

Feeling that love you gave 33 years ago when I came into this earth,

as I now share it with my son, and continue what you gave me from birth.


when the definition of caring is removed from sharing

I’ve been thinking about what I “share” on Facebook lately.  It has consumed every free time I have.  I get caught up also in what people have to share find myself knowing someone better but not really.  When real life social actions take place, nothing is really new anymore because, “oh I saw that on facebook that you… ”

So now when I get the urges to blab about whatever I am thinking about on that moment and that time, I find myself deleting that last comment. I want my social interactions to be new, to be fresh, to feel human again.

Facebook has been such a social dichotomy  for myself and I would like to think for many.

I love and I hate it.

However I have  been practicing to not rely on my smart phone to put me to sleep, or have it be part of my morning waking up routine.  I need to get in touch with myself, my soul and my surroundings.

and so i write this….


Nourish the soul with nature and love.

Finding one connected with millions and yet feeling solitude.

From the bitter complaints, to the petty food posts,

baby announcements, and political quotes.

but what is a text and picture on a screen compared to a touch from a human being?

An emotional touch

A physical touch

Silencing our voices with posts, likes, and comments.

We need to be heard and seen

but not through a computer screen

break free and reconnect

with the human spirit all around us.




when the leaves are brown

So I have this tree in front of my house that just causes a mess every fall.   Last year I would sweep up our yard everyday after work, and would complain that the next day there would be no difference.  This year I have taken a different approach to fall.  Instead of bitterly sweeping up my yard, I took light in the fact that my concrete yard and driveway is now a bright orange.  I would just sweep enough to at least make a decent walk way to the door, and sweep maybe once every other week or so.  If I did sweep I would just laugh when the leaves would fall again.  There is something about sweeping that is meditative, and there is also something about not sweeping that makes me smile at the vibrant colors, the movement of leaves falling, the sounds of the crunch, and the texture of each line in every unique foliage.

Each time I task, I think of some poetic line, and remind myself that I should write a poem about this.  Then my mind goes back and forth and I say I should just write a story.  But each and every time I am outside doing this chore, I think of only one metaphor.  This tree represents my everyday struggle and balance with the changes of life.  I am one leaf, I could also be many leaves.  My friends, my family, my students, my classmates, my kasamas are also the leaves.  Going with the “flow” we all fall.  We all get shaken up a bit.  Sometimes it’s on purpose, sometimes it’s the wind, sometimes it’s an inevitably cycle.  But not matter what, we , or I am part of something bigger.

and so I wrote this poem…

collectively the leaves fall on the pavement

colors so bright against the gray.

all dried up they crush against my shoes.

creating a beautiful mess.

push them against in piles,

bring them all together

gather them around

scoop them up

isolate them in a bin.

Then a gust of wind shake up the branches they fell from,

and the beautiful mess starts all over again.

Stages of Grieving, because the home is where the heart is.

There are so many ways I am processing the aftermath of the destruction that they typhoon has made on my mother land.

I think it goes into all the stages of grieving

1. Denial and Isolation

Do I want to see another picture of a mother crying over her dead child? No I’d rather see what food or selfie my friend is posting on line right now.  Forget that people are starving and waiting for food, and medicine.  I think I’d rather scarf down this $10.00 meal, post it on my $200 phone and post it on my $150 a month unlimited data plan.

2. Anger


Climate Change


Relief Efforts





3. Bargaining

If only they were prepared

If only there wasn’t logging 

If only there wasn’t mining

If only there wasn’t imperialism

If only there wasn’t capitalism

If only …

4. Depression

Leave me alone in my thoughts,

My problem is so insignificant now.

I want to cry

I can’t cry

my head hurts

my heart hurts

how can I eat when others are starving?

how can I complain of this pain when they have lost more?


5. Acceptance

“Coping with loss is a ultimately a deeply personal and singular experience — nobody can help you go through it more easily or understand all the emotions that you’re going through. But others can be there for you and help comfort you through this process. The best thing you can do is to allow yourself to feel the grief as it comes over you. Resisting it only will prolong the natural process of healing.”

but others can be there for you and help comfort you

but others can be there for you and help comfort you

but others can be there for you and help comfort you



can be there

for you