Friday, July 29, 2022

Friday Five: Frank's Birthday Five

It's that special Friday again, friends! That annual treat for me and you - every year, Frank writes a birthday guest blog for me (see 202120202019201820172016201520142013), and today is that day!  

Here we are again with my favorite birthday tradition, my yearly five. 44 has been quite the year indeed. I was back to work doing aftercare and substitute teaching in Haddon Township, student taught and graduated from Rutgers with a Master’s of Teaching, and I am now the new 2nd-grade teacher at James Stoy School in the Haddon Township school district. There have been so many people that have helped me get here but the number one person is my wife Amanda who worked so hard to support the family during these last two years. So in that vein, I figured I would write about the five things I have learned in my first full year in elementary school.

Kids are funny - I spent so many hours this year laughing and most of it was caused by the kids. They are often repeating the jokes and they soon get old but their timing and the things they say will make you crack up

Recess is life! - Even the meek and timid kids become savage warriors during recess. I don't remember games being so life and death when I was young but it gets more competitive than the super bowl. Days are made or broken depending on kickball outcomes.

Integrity is valued - Spending over 20 years in sales teaches you to win at all costs no matter who it hurts. Those with integrity are often stolen from, used, and thrown away when they no longer serve. In this field, it is the opposite. Your integrity is rewarded by the staff and the students. Kids have a large bullshit meter and they know when you aren't genuine. If you are genuine you will be rewarded with effort, kindness, and a bond that is pretty incredible.

People help if you ask - Even further they will help just because. Every educator I know has either done something to help me, offered to help, or advocated on my behalf. It is inspiring to receive all of that kindness and the only thing they ask in return is to pay it forward. For someone with my history, this was very strange and difficult at first. I now know that if you help people and put good things out there they come back to you. What a great lesson to learn at my age.

I have found my calling - This is truly what I was put on this earth to do. I am so lucky that my former career was thrown away because of Covid. I was highly successful, making great money, and was completely miserable. I am a rookie and I have a ton to learn but I am a teacher. I am completely addicted to helping my students learn and grow. It has been the most rewarding professional year of my life. I was great at sales and it never felt like I fit in. I am home, completely comfortable, and with people who are just like me. Not a lot of people get the chance to do what I have done at this age. I am so lucky to have been given this gift which was spearheaded by Amanda and Eva. 

I am so proud of Frank for this beyond mid-life change, and Amanda for carrying a heavier load while he did that. I am really happy that Frank became a teacher, he is perfectly suited for it and we need more good people in education. We should also stop grounding the already good people in education down. All of us owe a great debt to our educators and school staff and some of this country has not shown that recently. Let teachers teach and treat them as the professionals they are, not the all-day babysitters some people have gotten twisted into thinking they are. And while we're at it pay them more for doing so. Get it together, everyone. 

Happy birthday Frank, thanks for doing your annual post which I love. See you tomorrow! Happy weekend all!

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