Saturday, September 24, 2011

Back on the Gerbil Wheel

Yep, it's that time of year that I find myself on the spinning gerbil wheel that takes a brief pause at Christmas, but spin furiously until the last day of school...and I love it.  I am happier when I'm busy.  I need something to do.  Yes, I know there is always something to do, but I need something that satisfies me, something that challenges me, something that causes me to depend on my God to make it happen.  My every day classroom adventure provides the challenge and reward I need and Reach Them to Teach Them provides the faith builder I crave.

This week, I spoke with Scott Fitch at HT Hackney and he agreed to provide over 2,000 bottle of water for our Reach Them to Teach Them event on November 1st.  He even went above and beyond and said he could provide customized labels with our logo, mission statement, and other information we'd like to include. 

Our Two Rivers event was last Tuesday and much to our surprise and delight the weather was gorgeous and warm, but not too hot.  Vallie Collins had our crowd absolutely mesmerized with her survival story of the Miracle on the Hudson.  She is a polished, professional, and endearing speaker! 

I shared the mission of Reach Them to Teach Them by putting a face on our mission.  With Dakota Lee as our emcee and my powerpoint detailing Field Day 2010, I shared two extremes- Dakota, Mr. Hardin Valley Academy, and Martez, a little boy who needs someone to love him.  I was thrilled to have Nick Reveiz in attendance as my story centered on his willingness to let Martez sign his UT shirt in permanent marker.  Chelcie didn't mind having Nick there either!

Our silent auction went well, as everything sold, and our live auction brought energy and enthusiasm to our mission.  David Pozy did a great job bringing humor and financial challenge to a crowd with limited financial resources.  Next year we'll do a better job filling the seats with those who can help us financially.

Some highlights of the auction were UT skybox tickets that went for $950, and lunch with Inky Johnson that sold for $350.  All in all we raised about $7,000 which is not bad for our first attempt.  Especially when we consider that the event used to cost us money.  Youth Transitions provided a delicious "upscale-ish" meal for our guest and as usual, our volunteers were over the top when it came to customer service! 

We had about 75 guests which is fewer than we wanted to have, but we know that God had just the people there who needed to be there and we give Him all the glory and honor and praise for His answer to our prayer.

We have one month to go until 11.1.11!  I could never imagine that time to pass so quickly once school started! 

Friday, September 16, 2011

School News

It's official.  Yes, I have the best classes of any teacher in any school in the entire United States of America!  My students are the smartest, most thoughtful, most well-behaved CHAMPIONS in the world!  True, West Valley is vastly different from SMG, but I know for sure that there are at least 26 CHAMPIONS that come through the doors of SMG in the two years I was able to teach there.

We've already learned so many new things in the first five weeks of school.  We've mastered foreign words and phrases, Greek and Latin word parts, theme, plot, point of view, genre, time period and culture words, and we're ready to start our first novel on Monday!  I have a few students who struggle and seem as if they may be misplaced in my class, but I believe they are capable of rising to the occasion.  Absences are still an issue for me.  There's no way to recreate what happens in our classroom by sending home an "assignment."  I wish parents could understand that it's not a matter of picking up make-up work.  Their children MISS valuable learning experiences when they are not in class.

My colleagues are wonderful people and I'm so grateful for them and for the opportunity to share ideas with them.  I wish I had more to offer, but my middle school skills are a little rusty.  In spite of that, I believe this may the year to get my land legs back and push myself professionally to a higher level of teaching.  I've already found myself pushing a little harder to find the BEST stuff to do each week with my students.  They are responding in amazing ways.  I'm going to post the text from a few emails I've received since school started just to keep my motivated.

Hi Coach Crawford,

I want to thank you for the letter you sent home regarding Hunger Games.  I so appreciate you making sure parents are aware of what our children are reading and for respecting us enough to communicate that prior to starting the book.  I look forward to the discussions our family may have.

I also want to thank you for being the kind of teacher that middle schoolers so need and love.  My daughter has been psyched about Reading since the first day she met you. 

In support of what you do,
Mother of a 7th Grader
Thank you so much for the information and invitation to the 11/1 event. We would love to attend and look forward to the opportunity to be a part of something like this.

Thank you again for what you are doing for my son.


Sent: Wednesday, September 07, 2011 7:46 PM

School Fusion has not been functioning properly for about two weeks. My understanding is that "they" are aware of the issues and are working diligently to correct them.  Please let me know if the Fusion issues aren't resolved by early week.  I wish I could offer suggestions, but I'm technically challenged myself!

As teachers, we are all in the business of inspiring, or re-inspiring least we should be...Knowing that we are making a difference is the reason why we do what we do.  Thank you for sharing your son's positive response to our "Locker Room."  I am grateful for your support.

Check out our website for Reach Them to Teach Them  I'd like to invite to attend our 11.1.11 event as my guest.  Your children are welcome to join you.  Just let me know if this looks like something in which you'd be interested.  No one should ever be with a dream.

Dream BIG!

Amy Crawford

Sent: Wednesday, September 07, 2011 1:49 PM

Thank you so much for your response. There's something wrong on School Fusion because I'm unable to access any of your files or send a message. I apologize for the previous message's errors; I'm typing on my phone.

I haven't dreamed in a long time. As a divorced parent of three (4, 8, and 12), I'm usually functioning in "survival" mode. You are reaching my son with your teaching style. He taught the younger ones the 'I want it, you've got it' over the weekend.

I want that intensity for my family too. Middle school has eroded the relationship that I once had with my son. So, my dream is that God restore that and my son's desire for doing his best. Dream BIG?! Thank you for the reminder. I barely sleep much less have dreams anymore. But Proverbs 29:18 says 'where there is no vision, the people perish..." Again, I am challenged.

If there's anything I can do to assist, please do not hesitate to let me know.

Have a great day,

Sent: Wednesday, September 07, 2011 12:39 PM

I haven't entered the project grades yet because some students still need to do their presentations.  All grades will be updated by Friday afternoon.

Thank you for your support and encouragement.  I enjoy having your son in class!

Dream BIG!

Amy Crawford

Sent: Wednesday, September 07, 2011 12:26 PM

Coach Crawford,
I was reviewing my son's grades on the parent portal and noticed that he has an N for last week's project grade. I watched him work on the notecards with his dad during the week, asked my son about the presentation over the weekend, and he said that it went well. So, I wasn't sure if the grade hasn't been recorded or if my son was not honest with me.

My son used to love learning and putting forth the effort. Now his academic pursuits are frustrating to watch and I feel like the Gustapo every time I aske about school. He doesn't write down assignments, all of his work is shoved into the binder. And he's not completely honest about homework.Again, I am extremly frustrated.

Thank you for any information that you are able to provide. If you'd rather call, please contact me at _____.

Have a blessed day,
I just wanted to say thank you for all you have done for my son.  He is an amazing child, regardless of his issues.  I wanted you to know that you were the only teacher he wanted to keep.  He mentioned you specifically when I was explaining to him what happened today.  You are his "favorite" class.  I'm not trying to make you feel bad.  I just wanted you to know how special you are (and have always been).  He asked my husband about "the challenging question of the day?"   He said it did not occur during class time.  Is this something he could continue to do, even though he is no longer part of your class?  I still believe you could be an amazing coach (on the side lines) for my son.  He actually cried today when I gave him the news.  Thank you for anything you can do.  
It's notes like these that keep me in the game whenever I feel like giving up.  Knowing that I am exactly where God has called me to be and that He is using me to have an impact on the students He brings my way, keeps me inspired.  
**I've taken out specific names in the emails to maintain confidentiality.  When possible I replace the names with "son" or "mother"

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Exceedingly More Than We Can Think or Imagine....

Just enough time to document the journey tonight.  Whew! What a ride this God-given dream has been!  This has been an eventful week.  I had the pleasure of meeting with Mr. Jones and Mr. Breedon from Food City yesterday and they were kind enough to invite Joe and Ken from Coca-Cola to join us.  As only God could do, He allowed me to effectively communicate our "big dream" and I left the table excited, confident, and optimistic.  Food City has agreed to provide the food for BOTH events and Coca-Cola left the table with "You have sold me 110%!"  Coca-Cola wants to share our dream with their "people" then we'll talk about what their involvement could look like.  I'm in awe...

Then Phil sent an Inky quote as our Thursday morning motivator. I sent it on to Inky with a message about the people he is reaching through his words, then Inky emailed me back that he had just left a meeting with FOOD CITY!  Crazy, crazy divine appointments to be sure - It just so happened that a gentleman who runs HT Hackney happened to overhear John and Inky and expressed a desire to be involved.  John called me this afternoon and shared that Hackney can donate all the water we need... with specially designed labels!

I'm overwhelmed, in awe, and humbled.  To God be the GLORY indeed.

Special prayers tonight for Hallerin's family as they cope with the death of his mother today.  She leaves a legacy.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Miracles and Mustard Seeds

Week 3 already?  The days are sifting through my fingers faster than I process them!  My days back at West Valley are marked with a renewed sense of purpose and the resolve not to let minor inconveniences bother me...ever.  My students are absolutely the best kids I have EVER taught in 20 years!  They are polite, funny, intelligent, thoughtful, and insightful.  I'm almost afraid to say anything about them because it truly does seem too good to be true!  Of course, there is no perfect school and there ARE some challenges, but so far, at least when it comes to me and my neck of the woods, I'm happy to show up every day and do my "thang!"  My 7th grade colleagues are supportive, hard-working, and a pleasure to work with...I feel as if I am a part of the team, and it feels good to contribute.  I love the fact that there is very little "drama" on my grade least any that I am aware of! 

Parents at WVMS have generously opened their coffers and provided the resources I need to be effective in our Locker Room!  At last count, I had over $75 worth of iTunes gift cards that allows me to incorporate music into our Reading curriculum.  Yeah, our Locker Room is going to be ROCKIN'!

Reach Them to Teach Them is on the brink of something BIG, something I believe God has had in the works since the beginning...We're talking seriously with Food City about the possibility of being a title sponsor.  Food City has brought Coca-Cola to the table and we're meeting together next Wednesday.  Greater things, Lord.  Greater things...

God has provided a fresh, new team of volunteers who have stepped up to the plate with renewed energy and sense of purpose.  I know that this vision is from God.  I know I must be faithful in my actions and trust Him to do the rest. 

I wish I could ramble on longer, but dinner doesn't cook itself.  I miss my Chelcie.  Gotta get some Nutella to lure her home.