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This time of year, back in the day…My classroom was the place for fun that enhanced our learning….We had time to incorporate into the curriculum, learning through special art and creative poetry projects that were made for our parents, as holiday gifts…

We truly enjoyed taking two special field trips to magical places that our children got to experience first hand: visiting a pumpkin patch farm and the viewing of the Nutcracker Ballet…Some of our children would never have had those opportunities…What learning!

We spent a great deal of time learning and appreciating different cultures and how they celebrated the season…And finally, the children couldn’t wait for the culmination of the celebration of the season with our holiday cookie exchange…Then off for winter break!!!

It is my hope that our public school teachers continue these beautiful traditions for our children…As we know, there are those children who especially need to know the Beauty of the Season…

This could be a Season of Miracles…

Our Season of Thanks….

Posted in Mission, Reflections, Thoughts About Children

“What will Happen Now?…

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Being an eternal optimist… I must keep my positive outlook… Having had many challenges in my personal life… I as many are feeling in the aftermath of this election, may want to give up the fight…

My positive outlook on life dictates for me not to give up, but rise and a call to action….

We as a People can not… As “Hillary” would emphatically say…

We are Stronger Together… For all that is right in our Country… For our beautiful children who need positive roll models…

Teaching those many years, my children who came into my classroom from poverty and dysfunction in their homes, would listen, with full attention when I would share some of my personal stories coming from a poor single family household…and how I overcame the many challenges I incurred in my life, made me work extra hard, paying my way with loans and grants for my college education; I was always hoping to provide them with insight …and guidance… Our young children want and must need to know…from us…In order to succeed….

Now that this election is over, I am deeply heartsick, and realize how divided our Country is… We as teachers have definitely witnessed how these changes have impacted our children…Children, especially from poverty need those positive role models to guide and direct their future…This is crucial especially those that may not get much if any support from home…

Having listened to such negative and hateful rhetoric, watching our media giving so much attention to getting the story… missed so much… The divide of our people…how their anger affects children, nor really caring about the effect..

As I witnessed first hand in volunteering for Hillary’s campaign this concerns me what kind of message we are giving our children..

However, In my own personal experiences canvassing neighborhoods for this campaign. Flagler County, in a Republican Community in Florida, I did meet many people from different ethnicity, age groups, and genders… I realized…We were all ready working together to get Hillary elected as our President…… I must be positive and hopeful… Those of the many of us; as the popular vote affirms, believe as I do…

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We need to keep up the fight for all the beauty our Country has to offer…We must continue speaking out for the “good”… We need to be positive role models for our children…

I feel we will succeed…for our children…This really is their future….!!!

Posted in Mission, Reflections

School Spirit…

With the beginning of a new school year, and the start of my second year since retiring…I am ready to reflect on those many wonderful memories …

The one I do hold dearly is that all through my thirty-eight years…I truly appreciate my children allowing me such a wonderful platform where I could utilize my unique sense of drama and creative talents into my teaching..

In today’s challenging times, with fewer resources, and many demands of teaching; even after these many years; It was the children’s love and innocence that provided me with passion to inspire them utilizing my enthusiasm and my strong sense of spirit…

They were a wonderful audience where each day was unique… And led to my success I felt as a teacher…

It was always my goal to find the fun… And now, I can recollect those moments of fun a teacher shares with his or her children… Through this captive audience, my children allowed me to keep my spirit alive…Keeping “the child in me alive”…

When I first began teaching in the early “Seventies”, I was young and fresh; our curriculum allowed time for the fun…We got to bake more often…Play and theater was a big part of the day…I myself enjoyed the opportunity to use drama in the classroom… I felt like I was playing a role, putting on a performance…to engage with the children…Never a dull moment…Each day was a new beginning….The years flew right on by….

Teaching the children of today, has certainly become much more serious… than just the “play”… I have needed to become a strong, positive role model… incorporating “my spirit’ to get their attention…even to manage behavioral issues…

For many of the children, I was their one positive constant in their lives… Utilizing my drama and creative spirit to reach them, even for that moment…Hopefully touching their lives forever…

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Posted in Mission, Reflections, Thoughts About Children

Politics in the Classroom..

Having taught back in the early seventies, post Civil Rights Movement and  having the most important opportunity teaching all children especially those that were mainstreamed from our society that practiced segregation …I  can remember just like it was yesterday,  entering into teaching with such passion that reflected my idealism and hope…As I do speak for myself;  many of my colleagues felt as I did…

I can even remember entering the classroom for the very first time, summer of…1970…doing my first field experience in preparation for my becoming a teacher….

I was going to “Change the World”…And “Make that Difference”!

The political climate of the Seventies was definitely pro education…It was more than just rhetoric… Federal programs such as Head Start with such a strong emphasis on early childhood education and Title I programs that assisted those children who struggled with their learning…were being funded and implemented…

Parenting groups also began at this time,  providing such educational and informative workshops for those parents who needed support and encouragement;  Hopefully in the end, becoming more knowledgeable and  involved in the educational needs of their child…And I too, even had the wonderful opportunity to be involved with…

I feel so blessed that I was able to be a part of this history; fueling my passion for saving children …So much so , that most of my forty years have been in primary education…

Over twenty five years as a first grade teacher, of which ten of those years, teaching children that were not on grade level…

 This  political climate of pro funding continued through the Eighties … However by the early Nineties there was a most definite shift… … the result from the direction of our politics right here in Florida, under the Governorship of Jeb Bush. .. Sadly, his politics encouraged the privatization of education, detrimentally affecting our children with the… “No Child Left Behind” Movement…And I as many feel the beginning of Public Education’s struggles….

Public Education was most definitely not a top priority any more…We teachers felt this in our classroom everyday… We had to deal with the strain of  more standardized tests, and more biased accountability…  This was now  the beginnings of vouchers and the privatization of  education…Our children were now  feeling  this emphasis, more demands and  less resources…We  teachers, feeling so unappreciated…and devalued…And more than ever the blame with all the reasons schools were failing…

“Our children were being left behind”… 

My first twenty years flew by so…Teaching was such a joy…

However, through the Nineties, and into this New Millennium with the demands and  fewer resources due to this political shift…Society’s politics has impacted families thus affecting our children… Children are now coming in to school less prepared…More of our children live in poverty and have emotional and physical issues… …And we teachers with all our creative talents have such unrealistic demands…Our classrooms are micromanaged and we are being assessed on how proficient we are…We educators have always felt being accountable is extremely essential…Children deserve the best… However we are not being assessed fairly due to the limits placed on with testing and collecting data… Many teach in overcrowded classrooms and fewer resources at our disposal….

How will the Politics of Today play out? …Thanks to President Obama Passing…The Every Child Succeeds Act, no child will be left behind

Some of the rhetoric has been ecouraging fewer tests and even giving recess back to children….

I feel this can be a fresh start, and we may be going  back to a time in History… the politics of the Seventies when all our children were important…We must prioritize funding Public Education for all our children…

 

 

Posted in Mission, Reflections

“Great Teachers” …2016

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It is my belief that teachers do not need a script to teach…They are born with a passion …to teach…

I have learned through the many years in the classroom that teachers may be technologically skilled…

However, the greatest teachers are quite unique with their skillful use of their creativity, and knowing just how to balance the necessary and fundamental skills that today’s teachers are required to teach;  essentially knowing the background, abilities and styles of their children;  And moreover, what is truly important, given all the constraints and demands of today…

“That Great Teacher” is the master of his or her class…

Today’s concerns and demands influencing and impeding the efforts of “That Great Teacher”  and the success she or he will have with their children, is the powerful political agenda…

This  political agenda does not want to provide the monies necessary that it takes for teachers to be successful

This  lack of money impacts Public Education today…What concerns me the most that those in charge with this power,  know so little about educating children, in addition to their biases and disinterest  with  the knowledge  of the fundamental needs of our children and moreover, the talents teachers of today must have, if children of today are to be successful….

Putting it simply…Politicians do not want to provide resources available to lower class size, and provide teachers the necessary resources to teach successfully… In addition to  requiring a the developmentally inappropriate curriculum that includes over use of testing and data collecting…They want to privatize education taking the necessary resources  away from Public Education…wanting it to fail…

With all that is not  happening In Public Education; those born with that passion for children and their  unique talents for teaching, may not even go into teaching, nor stay for very long…due to all these constraints and demands…Veteran teachers such as myself…can not wait to retire…

And now…There is  a new hope in 2016… Thanks to President Obama signing and putting into law…  the passage of  , , , , v….

With The Every Child Succeeds Act, no child will be left behind… Hopefully, every child could be successful and have the same opportunities…Great teachers with all their passion and creativity will be able to meet the needs of their children…

A new hope for 2016….and the future for our children’s right to a strong education…

Posted in Reflections, Thoughts About Children

“So Thankful…”

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I feel so blessed to have been a teacher for many years… back when  all children could have the same opportunities because of the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960’s….

Hopefully, now since my retirement…We will see a resurgence in providing for all our children those same opportunities because of the passage of…

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Posted in Reflections, Thoughts About Children

Fresh Start…

wpid-488b1c8fcac7474375e033493e2586f6.jpgThe school year 2015-2016 has begun…And I am “not teaching”…

I have such  mixed feelings about this… “How I love the children”…I had hoped the rhetoric about “children and their right to a strong education” would have come to reality by now, after my forty plus years… But sadly this is definitely not so…

In my teaching experience, children from diversity and impoverished homes…. these last eight years of my career I have observed they are “Our” forgotten…

How my children so wanted to learn,  but because of overcrowded class size,  fewer support personnel; and moreover unrealistic, developmentally inaproppriate curriculum with too much testing…  I felt quite frustrated  and even anger…

Our children, our Future deserve so much more…

This beginning school year, I had to visit my “school” to volunteer and check on my “children”, as I promised…

Well, I observed that our school is tackling more demanding challenges; Higher numbers of children because of school closings, not enough personnel to handle the demand, and more expectations…

So this will continue; Until our Government answers…But will they ever listen?…

And I will always speak out!        Until..

I am now in the final weeks of my career as a public school teacher…🍎

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Reflecting on my thirty-eight years; I have taught so many children from grades ranging from kindergarten to fifth grade; dating back from 1972, up to the present.. I even had a wonderful opportunity teaching a college seminar for beginning teachers at the University of Florida, while on a sabbatical working on an advanced course work in counseling education…

I feel so blessed…touching the lives of so many children….

I did have to retire briefly for five years due to my health…However, I still was able to advocate for children in the court system during that time as a Guardian ad Litem…

Teaching, being an advocate for children has been my lifetime passion…

I have such mixed feelings about my retirement…

It is my strong belief that I am leaving at a time our bright intelligent children, especially those from poverty, who souly rely on our public education system are not being adequately represented…Our priorities for children are hindered by an emphasis on testing and collection of data…Our schools that teach children from challenging homes have fewer resources making teachers such as myself overwhelmed and devalued by being micromanaged…And making all this even more difficult;
fewer strong, young, professional teachers will no longer commit to such a rewarding career...

For this I have such regret…

As for myself…I will always feel the need to advocate for our children, and their right to a strong free public education…
And know that I really did make a difference!

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“Letting Go”…

Posted in Mission, Reflections

“New Direction”…

Google Email:

New Direction

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From: Janis S Sexton
To: Christopher Lake… teacher representative, Karen L. McCann… President of Alachua County Education Association

Details:

Dear ACEA:
I have appreciated being a teacher in Alachua County since 1972…On a personal level, for me, our district gave me that wonderful opportunity…
I am retiring this year and for these last 10 years, I  have been quite concerned with the direction our public education of children from poverty have experienced…

It is my belief and experience, these precious children have been so neglected…We have crowded classrooms with fewer resources…Yet demands are extremely unrealistic..
I feel our school district does not address the real issues…We are now going to close schools, shuffling our children, taking  more resources away…And I question how will that help these children?…
Young, strong teachers are so micromanaged…Will they make teaching a lifetime career?…And will those in charge want to acknowledge their dedication…with such unrelenting demands?…

Sadly I have kept quiet…however,once I do retire, I want to actively get involved…I can and do share my concerns on social media…
Thank you for representing us,
Janis Sexton🍎

From: Karen L McCann…President ACEA..                                                        To: Janis S. Sexton

Details:

Thank you for your words of wisdom. I am happy to hear that as a retiree you want to make your voice louder and will now have more time to become more active. I will see you at the ACEA retirement dinner in May, at least I hope.
You can join our union retiree group TRACE and start coming here for events .

Thank you for your love and caring of our most precious lives, our children.

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