Another life update…

Several things have changed at Woodson – just in the time since I have graduated from high school (which wasn’t thattt long ago)…

  • Updated flooring
  • A big, heavy mat that the football guys use to practice rolls and tackling
  • Security cameras and fobs to unlock the outside doors
  • An intercom system
  • A second portable building for pre-K/K
  • New bell sounds (including funky dance music played when school dismisses)
  • Tutorial periods built into every morning and afternoon
  • New teachers, staff members and students (many in different rooms, too)

…but so many things are the same…

  • People still proudly wear black and gold.
  • The building still looks much like it always has on the outside, since being built in 1928.
  • We still call the our gyms the Old Gym and New Gym (though this is the New Gym’s 20th anniversary!).
  • There are dogs that everyone knows and loves, and we give them treats but also have to chase them off the football field during games at times.
  • You can turn to anyone for anything, and they will help you (Thanks to Mrs. Briles for teaching advice, Mrs. Matthiews for candy and Mrs. Lester for markers!).
  • We’re still a little family – just with a few different members – that works super hard, whether we are serving chili at Homecoming, driving bus routes after school, taking money at sporting events, decorating for school functions, counselling kids about love and life, spending our weekends and evenings at extracurricular functions, grading homework, making copies and lesson plans or researching new ways to present the correct information to students.

I ❤ Woodson ISD

I have been around education my entire life. My dad started out as a math teacher and head football and basketball coach then worked his way up to being principal and, eventually, superintendent. My mom has taught sixth grade, as well as family and consumer sciences, health and physical education classes. Almost all of this has been done at Woodson ISD, my second home. I started kindergarten there in 1997, as the “new” gym was being built on campus (right behind my house, since my family still lives in the school-owned, two-story house they moved into in 1991). I remember crying in Mrs. Bellah’s fourth grade classroom when my favorite childhood cat died. When 9/11 happened, my fifth grade teacher, Mr. Bundy, tried to explain to us what was going on. I graduated from WHS in 2009, after years of basketball, academic events, breakups and makeups and being taught everything from literature and exponents to lessons on how to be the best I can be and to bloom where I was planted.

Hook ‘Em

The University of Texas at Austin was my next stop for learning; as an 18 year old, I wasn’t sure exactly what I wanted to do, so I started out in business, to be generic, realized that was not for me, began writing for The Daily Texan (one of the oldest and winningest college newspapers) and transferred into the school of communication, to study magazine journalism.

Adulthood

After graduating a semester early, I wasn’t in a school setting – but I was still learning! From 2012 to 2015, I had some amazing moments (started my own freelance marketing/writing business, attended New York Fashion Week, interviewed celebrities like Ryan Gosling and made many fun memories with friends and family) and some growing moments (like a quarter-life crisis, where I didn’t get a dream job – even with a degree from UT – so had to work six jobs and live paycheck to paycheck).

Back To Woodson

I heard that journalism was a dying art, but I was determined to make a living writing…but in the meantime, as a backup, I decided to get a teaching certificate. It seemed neat to pass my passion for writing and reading on to others, especially since I wasn’t finding that full-time magazine job I wanted. When I completed my training, there happened to be an English opening at a high school near me in Austin, so I applied and made it to the second round. When I didn’t get that, though, I heard that Woodson had an opening. I joked that I should apply…and then I did. I interviewed with the principal and teachers and was presented in front of the board and got the job! My at-the-time boyfriend, Tommy, and I picked up, left our friends and beloved ATX and moved to a small town so I could teach in an even smaller town.

My Thoughts On Teaching

Pros:

  • You do get to pass your passions on to others.
  • Your work schedule is nice, with long holiday and summer breaks (You still have to plan lessons and attend trainings – but it’s better than a 9-5 every.single.day.ever.).
  • I got to help with basketball.
  • I was surrounded by other creative and caring individuals.

Cons:

  • Not everyone loves writing and reading, but some people seem to love complaining about not loving it, which makes trying to get them to learn nearly impossible.
  • Even if you’re super organized like me, the preparation never ends, since there are state standards to adhere to and essays to grade and full lessons to plan…and some kids rush through assignments and some days bring substitute teachers, so you need back-up lessons…and some schools, such as the small WHS, need one teacher covering many areas, meaning planning for four different English levels + journalism + high school theater + junior high theater.

As said, I’ve always been around education, so I heard my parents’ stories of students and classes and TAAS/TAKS/STAAR and extracurriculars and inservice. I never thought I’d end up teaching, but I was SO excited to give back to Woodson, to share my knowledge and to use my experience/creativity/organization in the classroom and beyond.

However, here are some things people don’t realize…

  • People can be lazy and rude. Yes, different personalities and interests and people are what make our diverse world so neat. In a school setting, though, a certain level of effort and respect is expected. I know perfection is impossible – from anyone, in anything – but I was surprised at how many students seemed to not care about failing grades or bad attitudes. I know school can be challenging, and balancing activities + homework + life can be a lot; I was in this exact classroom not that long ago, though, and while several people failed tests and got d-hall (myself included, at times!), there was that level of effort/respect. We knew that we came to school to learn and work and study, so there was no point in complaining – just get it done! We joined the extracurricular activities we were interested in, and we showed up to practices and games, ready to work there, too, resulting in state championship football games and competitions/trips at Galveston and gold medals, blue ribbons and pride. This year’s volleyball team made it to the playoffs, and that’s the first time that any of these high school students have done that in anything; there are many factors that could play into this (tougher competition, changes in coaching staff, fewer players, etc.), but I have to wonder about the effort + success correlation.
  • Teaching is a lot of work. I don’t think many people realize the amount of behind-the-scenes details that go into this job – even someone like me, who saw Mom grade papers after the bell rang and had to wait on Dad to get home from practice/games/board meetings. The lovely STAAR test alone leads to certain things having to be taught to certain grades at certain times, all to try and pass this one test that keeps changing and getting harder. On top of that, there are normal concepts that each subject brings – such as making sure students understand fractions, commas, cells and the history of our country – and you have to find the textbook and worksheets and accompanying texts/papers and quizzes that go along with all of that. Finally, we are also responsible for instilling these young people with deeper lessons; there isn’t a state-issued list somewhere that says this, but a. students are sometimes with teachers more than their parents and b. at Woodson ISD specifically, we’re all taught character traits – like determination, honesty, punctuality and respect – and to “be the best we can be” (our school motto:).
  • Last but not least, Woodson’s population is only 296. There are less than 50 students in high school, and these students share a building with every grade, down to pre-K. Many of these kids are also bussed in from Graham and Breckenridge, as parents like having their children in more one-on-one settings and able to participate in more than one activity. As mentioned, with a smaller school and staff, your English teacher is also your UIL and OAP director and assistant basketball coach, and your principal and superintendent teach classes and coach teams, on top of all of their other responsibilities. This is how it’s always been, and for many years, Woodson had the same staff members, who were familiar with their jobs/roles and became family. Over the years, retirement and graduating children have brought in new, younger teachers – teachers who like starting out in smaller settings. Changes are going to happen in any school, and people move for numerous reasons. It can be said that Woodson is at a disadvantage, since we’re small and in the middle of nowhere and don’t have baseball. But we do have…
    • Exciting six-man football (State runners-up in 2008. State semi-finalists in 1980 & 2001. Quarterfinal champions & state runners-up in 1978 & 2007. Regional champions in 2006 & 2009. Bi- district champions in 1993, 1994, 1995 & 2000. District champions in 1957, 1960, 1967, 1973 & 1996. The boys’ teams saw success under Coach Gordon Thomas from 1992-2002, and under Coach Reece Walker from 2002-2008.)
    • A staff that hustles and cares (Do you know these people? You probably do, ha. They’re amazing.)
    • History (such as the town being named after J.O. Wood and his son, an impactful tornado, a railroad and a Japanese balloon bomb)
    • Awesome community members (and many are graduates of Woodson AND started booming businesses here – like Jones Trailer, BJB Transport and the Woodson Inn – where other current and ex-students work)
    • A high reputation (Woodson ISD was started by passionate people who hired other upstanding faculty members…members who helped make all the positive things mentioned in this very long piece possible…winning games and building a new gym and earning awards/praises from the state/surrounding schools and sending kiddos off to state competitions/top universities/high-paying jobs…and then possibly having them come back to spread some of that goodness around (i.e. Ashlee Sullivan, Kim Miller, Nanci Baxley, Melissa Vickers and Richard Sullivan).

Life Now

I don’t owe an explanation of why I came here, how I feel about it or what I will be doing now; but, as a writer, I wanted/needed to get all of this out. My now-husband, Tommy, is working to get job back in Austin – since we miss it terribly! – and my last day as a teacher at WHS was May 23. He actually fell in love with teaching when we were here, passed his content test with flying colors, spent the last year teaching at Olney and would love to be passing on his smarts to an ATX school. Since I started my own biz in 2012, I’ve kept that going on the side, and now it’s grown so much that I can write and tweet and blog and pitch publications all day, every day.

I loved being back at Woodson, and I look forward to continuing to give back to this amazing community, no matter where I end up or what I am doing. Thank YOU for helping to make Woodson so amazing, thank YOU for making the past two years so eventful, and thank YOU for taking even a tiny bit of inspiration from this and realizing that life is short, so we must bloom where we are planted and be the best we can be!

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dream a lil dream

when you fall asleep – “slowly, then all at once” – and when your mind wanders, pondering beaches, beauties and beer, you are DrEaMiN…and these are mine!

polar bears – i will adopt a boy and girl, turn part of my backyard into a freezer and repopulate the earth

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RIP Knut

travel – i’ve been blessed to see tons of our nation with my family, and i can’t wait to save enough to backpack through europe, adventure down under and even glamp under the marfa lights

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ut – this was the only place i applied, and i’ll always remember getting accepted on that chilly friday in october 2008 (2008…wow!)

nyc – i thought i wanted to live there but got to intern there instead, and what a dream come true

celebs – these creatures fascinate me, and i’m still working to build up my list of 116 sightings/convos

model – “you’re tall – you must model!” … someday

love – every little girl plans out her love life, and i love living mine

Capture

 

write – maybe i was born to do just this, whether it be in nyc (covering all those celebs) or just jotting down craziness on here

bevo – my dream car became mine in the most spectacular way – yay

btw betchya: what to blog about

Hello, my humble number of readers! It looks different around here, yeah? With a big, exciting, new chapter of my life (finally have one full-time position, paying all my bills, starting year three with the boy, end of 2013, etc.), I decided it was time for a blog change, too.

I’m pretty sure I’ll still be posting pictures of Cat and talking about my favorite TV shows, but I know I want there to be a more…sophisticated?…air around here.

Therefore, I googled what the best blogs should talk about, and this site told me I should talk about the following…Enjoy;)

1. That thing that happened in high school that pretty much changed your life forever

I guess I would say my first boyfriend, because first loves are fab, amiright? And while I’m glad I waited for such a great guy then…I’m even happier I have THE ONE right now…<3
2. The worst movie you ever did see, and why

My automatic response to this is “Big Fish,” because I remember hating in the theater, as a child, but I have been meaning to revisit it.
3. Your favorite recipe, even if you’re the worst cook in the world

My specialty is taking chocolate chip cookie dough, heating it up in the microwave for, like, fifteen seconds and eating the entire package, mhhmmm….
4. The day you left home

Oh, gosh. I was so excited for college. My family came down, and we spent hours getting my dorm just right. Everyone cried when I left – but me, ha – which I think was good for them, to see me so ready for adventure and education and that new chapter!

It wasn't too bad moving next door to this...;)

It wasn’t too bad moving next door to this…;)

5. That one time you told a huge lie and kinda got away with it

Hmm… “I shall not tell a lie” …
6. The hardest thing you’ve ever been through

Part of my revamp may to not be so vulnerable and open, ha. Sure, I KNOW you need to know about my antiques and outfits, but things like the above…I’ll spare us all.
7. 9 things you just can’t handle

Improper grammar (hinthint), snapchat, tequila, dogs slobbering on me, bad things happening to good people and vice versa, party-poopers, sad songs during slideshows (especially at graduations or weddings), broken nails and being out in the rain are all stinky.
8. Your day in photos

…would never be something I’d put you through – I’m NOT a selfies girl.
9. Your most excruciatingly embarrassing moment

I got pantsed in the seventh grade, and that was pretty dramatic for a young teen.
10. A letter to your 16 year old self

Is it sad that I’m not that different from that me? What I mostly remember is loving life, yet being quite emotional, which still rings true.;)

See. sixteen-year-old me seems happy, right? Rockin' those Claire's earrings with my high school besties...;)

See. sixteen-year-old me seems happy, right? Rockin’ those Claire’s earrings with my high school besties…;)

11. The day you started blogging

As a writer, I had been contemplating one for a while and finally decided to just start throwing random thoughts onto the screen. Sure, my family and besties – and random other lovers who randomly stumble upon “party” or “housewives” – like it, but another part of this revamp is to be more…general.
12. What your Facebook status might be in 2018

I already know I’ll blow social media – and this blog – up with pics of my adorable kiddos…Sorry and you’re welcome in advance!
13. What you’re addicted to

My loved ones, sweets and Bravo are all my life forces.
14. That time that you met a complete stranger

Being from a small town and being a female giant have both led to many conversations, which I love.
15. Fashion: Your top 5 favourite bags/dresses/looks/hair-dos/shoes right now

Ooo, fun! I’m loving layers with chunky jewelry, feminine dresses with biker boots, the whole I’m-barely-trying-to-look-grunge-but-it’s-coming-off-as-this-effortless-young-chic-thing thing, flats with colored toes and – of course – giant carry-all bags.
16. What you’ve learned about life so far

You’ve just got to go with it. Sooo many factors will determine where you end up and what you’ll do, and you can’t make everyone happy or do every single thing you want, so just go with it, live, and be happy.
17. What’s on your mind right now

I want mini smores, ever since my brother told me about making “trail mix,” with Teddy Grahams, chocolate chips and mini marshmallows…BRB!
18. Something you lost

I had a phone car charger for, like, a day…No idea where that went…
19. Bad habits

…exist for a reason, right? If I didn’t bite all my cuticle skin off when I was stressed or anxious, I could do something way worse, right? Right?!
20. A guide to the town you live in

Get ready, because a. you’ve probably never been to such a tiny place, and might go crazy without a gas station or mall, but b. you are in for the friendliest and most genuine fun; all 296 residents of Woodson, Texas, are like a big family, and it’s nice to just watch six-man football, drive around – with blaring music – on deserted roads and surround yourself with people who truly care about you.

See, population 296 (and Bevo Squarepants...;)

See, population 296 (and Bevo Squarepants…;)

21. What you want to be when you grow up {yes, there’s still time}

Someday, I will have a style-related job, whether it just be reporting on trends, planning events, assisting others with clothes and decor or a combo of it all!
22. Something you found

I found the perfect kitty, and I love my Catalina Crookshanks!

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23. The menu for your last meal ever

I’d have chocolate milk, cookie dough, mac’n’cheese and cheese-stuffed crust cheese pizza, with extra cheese, please&thanx.
24. A response to a popular blog post written by someone else

I’ll definitely go with Miss Rachel Week’s “Twenty-Something Thoughts for the Twenty-Something,” because I can definitely relate to her blog; she hits on what young girls are going through and does it in a fun’n’fresh way – love it.
25. Write a list post on things for people to blog about

Best outfits of the week/month, news on your fave celebs, things that keep you up at night and feelings about new chapters are all good blog topics…and all things I touched upon during my first month of this blog, two years ago (ew, lol)!

PS – This will be the last “btw betchya” post, because in 2014, I will not have *gasp* categorized days! #revamp

btw betchya will hopefully make you see we’re not all mad here