For starters, yesterday was my last day of work at Whittier High School. I have been there since August of 2004 and as I walked out out the doors of the Science building, I couldn't help but feel like I was leaving home. I have had so many wonderful memories, experiences, co-workers and students over the last 3 years that leaving seems bitter sweet.
I love teaching and have had so much fun working with the high schoolers at Whittier. I taught them that "Biology Is Life" and told them that I would feel like a success if they walked out of my room at the end of the school year loving science. I feel I have succeeded in many cases.
I decided to become a teacher after my freshman year at BYU where I had an incredible teacher, Professor Booth, for Biology 100. I walked away not only loving science but wanting to be a teacher so that I could share my love with others. 4 years and several thousand dollars of my Dad's hard earned money later, I walked out of BYU with a degree in Microbiology & a Teaching Credential.
Whittier High has been my one and only full time teaching job (I student taught at Provo High and long term subbed at Montebello High and Dexter Middle School when we first arrived in Whittier) and I am so thankful for the things I learned and the person I became while there. I will miss my "kids," the amazing staff and administration, and the surge of joy I feel as I teach and watch a kids eyes light up in what I call the "ah ha" moment; when they finally get it.
One student told me I was leaving the best job in the world for a better one. And that is how I feel. I could only leave teaching for the real best job in the world, being a mom. 4 weeks to go!
Here are some pictures of the room I called home for the last 3 years. I was the adviser of the "Urban Art Club" so the president and some of his buddies painted my back wall.
All hail to you, Alma Mater, true We are proud to fight to uphold the Red and White All hail to you, Alma Mater, true For our Whittier High We'll do or die And always, always, love you, Whittier High.
Over the past 3 years I have taught 5 Integrated Science Classes, 8 Biology Classes, and 4 AP Biology Classes, as well as 6 Summer School "Science" classes (both Integrated & Biology kids together). I have had over 730 "kids," watched my first one from his entire family to ever graduate walk across the stage and receive his diploma, been called "Biology Mom," been the Biology Course Lead, won the Teacher of the Month from the Whittier Rotary Club, won the Rising Star Award, been honored at a luncheon, presented at 3 conferences on common assessments, and hosted 2 Parent Nights focusing on the Science Department. I have also created & developed power points and notepackets for every single student in my class, which, my 3rd year teaching was adopted by the entire department and published at Kinkos and this upcoming year will also be used by Pioneer High as well as some classes at Santa Fe High (both in our district).
While this seems like a long list of accomplishments, I still feel like I am walking away with the greater prize. I have learned so much from my kids and will always hold a special place in my heart for them.
At the end of each school year, I read each of my classes my favorite children's book, The Kissing Hand. The gist of the story is whenever Chester (main character) feels lonely at school, all he has to do is press his hand to his cheek to feel the warmth of his mother's kiss. I told my classes that no matter where they went in life, they would always have a special place in my heart and as they went on to accomplish amazing things they could always remember there is someone who is out there, rooting for them, hoping they will make the best decisions, and if they ever felt alone they could remember that Mrs. Johnson loves them.
While I did not personally graduate from Whittier, the last 2 lines of the Alma Mater will forever be imprinted in my heart, "...and always, always love you, Whittier High."
While I'm writing, I thought I might as well do the pregnancy update for you as well. Things are going great, he kicks frequently (so much fun!) and we have 4 weeks to go. I am feeling great, still teaching aerobics 4x a week, and Tyler & I try to walk together every day as well. He is currently "sunny side up" which I am hoping changes so I don't have back labor... We've enlisted the services of a Doula (amazing!) named Hillary who I think is going to help make our birth process smooth and enjoyable. We are working together on a birth plan and she currently has me listening to hypnobirthing CDs every day. I plan on doing this "all natural" as they say. I think it is a wonderful, intimate experience and I don't want to be "out of it" because of drugs/other interventions.
Tyler & I are so excited for the arrival of our first child and this new stage in our lives.
Here are some reasons I love being pregnant, in no particular order:
Here are some pictures of me throughout the pregnancy: We found out on January 3, 2007 at 8:57 am. After that picture it is weeks 16, 21, 24, 30, 33 & 35.
1. I LOVE feeling him kick. This is quite possibly the coolest sensation I have ever felt in my life. I love lying on the bed watching my stomach roll and sway like the middle of the ocean where the waves never crest but there are huge swells. It reminds me that there really is life inside of me...crazy!
2. I feel great. Again, I'm teaching aerobics 4x a week, am healthy, have gained about 20 lbs, and only threw up about 4 times total. My favorite comments to me have been, "Wow! You're all baby!" and "You can't even tell you're pregnant from the back."
3. People want to help you...even if you don't need it. I am not one for taking advantage of people (I'm a pretty independent person) but it sure has been nice having doors opened for me, students asking if they can buy me something ("you must be craving something?"), Tyler bringing me water while I'm lounging on the couch, and strangers asking if they can carry something out to the car for me (seriously).
4. People say the funniest things to you. This one is on the pro as well as con list I'd say...sometimes they make me laugh, other times I roll my eyes and walk away quickly. The funny/weird one from yesterday was (again, complete stranger), "big breakfast today, huh?"
5. I don't have to suck in any more. Boys, you might not know what I'm talking about but girls, this one will hit home. From the minute you find out you're pregnant, it is ok to have your belly hang out. Even if you were never big to start with, you no longer have to worry after a big meal to remember to flex your abs (aka suck it in) so your shirt doesn't look too tight. You can let it all hang out...and look beautiful! This one is kind of selfish and conceited...but hey, its true!
6. I'm going to be a mom. From the time I was little, I would fantasize about they day I could hold my own child in my arms, sing to him, rock him to sleep, and play sock puppets and prepare talent shows for when dad would get home from work. Enjoy those funny things that kids say, change diapers, make dinner, breast feed, sing more songs, teach them the gospel, prepare them for a mission and a temple marriage. I am SO excited to become a mom I can hardly stand it. Heavenly Father has trusted us to raise one of his own children and I want to do the best job possible. I know times will be hard, stressful, challenging, and difficult but Tyler & I can do it, and we are so excited. I can hardly wait for my little bundle of joy to arrive. 4 more weeks!!! YAY!
So, like I mentioned earlier, I am leaving the best job (teaching) for the better job (being a mom). Hip hip hurray!