Monday, December 6, 2010

Worst Decision Ever....

Let's back up to July....

I got an email from David Montague encouraging residents to sign up for the 2010 St. Jude Marathon in December. I had been feeling dissatisfied with my body, and decided this is the motivation I needed to start exercising. It worked for about 2 1/2 months. I went running at least 3 times a week and was working up my mileage... but then the life of a teacher happened. I began working super long hours and was unable to run anymore.

However, something crazy came over me this past Thursday when I got a text from David asking if I wanted him to pick up my packet for the race I had signed up for in July. I decided I wasn't going to let school stand in the way of my social life any longer. I had to follow through with this commitment.

Saturday morning I woke up bright and early and headed to Autozone Park. I didn't have a clue what I was doing. I was running on 5 hours of sleep, ate a heavy dinner, and didn't even have the pins to pin on my bib. I had to ask a stranger how to do it. I also had no clue what a D-tag was and how to put it on. I aimlessly wondered out to the starting line and stood waiting to see anyone I knew. I finally found some MTR kids. I stood around pretending that I was pumped when really I was terrified. I began having flash backs to 6th grade Cross Country. I hated 6th Grade Cross Country, but if there was one thing my mom and dad taught me from that was to not quit once you've committed. I was committed.

It was brutal. Around mile 2 I made a friend with a woman that was an expert on half-marathons/marathons. I was so impressed with her knowledge. She is the one that helped me through. She walked with me even when I couldn't walk at a faster pace than a crawl and beat me to the finish line just so she could be there waiting for me.

This half-marathon quickly became one of those moments where the Lord reminded me of my place. As I rounded the first mile and a half I began to feel the pain. I was thinking I was crazy for even thinking about doing something like this. Then I came down the hill down to riverside drive, and I saw thousands (and I mean thousands) of people that were going before me, paving the way. Tears immediately came to my eyes as I realized the reality of this in the world... Thousands of people have done life before, and as I make my way through life I will have people on the side cheering me on, people walking beside me to encourage me and help me make it through. So here I am tearing up with each step I take, and I continue running until around mile 7 1/2.

Around that mileage, my feet began developing terrible blisters. My meniscus was also beginning to pull and felt like it's going to break on me at any moment. I slowed down and began to walk. The further I went the more painful it became. Soon I was in tears not because of this profound revelation, but because of the pain I was experiencing. Every muscle, every step.. I was limping by this point. People were giving me crazy looks, because of the amount of pain they could see on my face. Then I had the realization that this is how I should be at the end of life. Exhausted, hurting, broken, and humbled. Needing mercy and grace. The amount of relief I felt as I stumbled through the finish line was almost unbearable. I was so choked up I was unable to talk.

After taking a few pictures with my friend I made in the race, she escorted me to the medical center. A nice student nurse treated my blisters (that covered the pads of my feet), and my friend Jessica and her family came down to check on me. I finally got some food, got something to drink, and my swelling finally got better after a few hours. I walked home and soaked in the tub.

The last few days have been extremely painful. I pulled almost every muscle in my body. I have trouble walking because of the blisters on the bottom of my feet, as well as my pulled leg muscles. Making this the worst decision I have ever made, but I wouldn't trade it. It felt like I was given the opportunity to bear a physical burden and have my eyes awakened to the life that Christ calls us to live. Victory through the hard things.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

A few funny things

I haven't posted since I started school. I am teaching at a Middle School. I thought I was only teaching 8th, but I also have one section of 6th. Boy are these kids funny. Here are a few stories....

1. I was lecturing about the Aztec Indians, and I was trying to build up the anticipation for the Religion part of the Aztecs. The whole lesson I was saying "Wait until we get to the end of the Aztecs! They did some CRAZY things." We finally get there and I write on the board, the gods required. I stopped and pretended that they didn't want to hear it, and that it was dumb. They were so upset "Please Ms. Cogdill tell us!" So I wrote living, and acted like I was going to stop and the kids shouted out again. I wrote human. The kids started guessing what it was "organs!" "arms!" "legs!" They all got quiet and had these funny grins, and a boy in the back yells, "PENIS!" The whole class laughed and I said "NO! Hearts! It's just Hearts! Y'all are trifling! Stop putting your minds in the gutters!" It was so funny. 8th graders are so hormonal. It's ridiculous.

2. This is again my 8th graders. They had done so well working on their study guide for a long time. They started to get restless the last 20 minutes, so I told them they could ask me any question within reason the last 5 minutes of class if they worked really hard the next 15. They did. They worked so hard. When I told them time was up hands shot into the air. The first 3 were the usual.... Are you married, do you have a boyfriend, and do you have any children. After each question the kids would freak out because my answer was no, no, and no. The next question was "If you could eat anyone in history who would it be?" "You mean, if I could eat with anyone in history who would it be?" "No, for example, I would eat Santa Claus, because he would taste like candy and cinnamon!" I didn't answer the question, because I just didn't know how. I had never thought about eating someone before. So weird where their minds take them.

3. Background: 6th graders are so small! I don't know if you have seen one lately, but that is still the age range where girls are taller than the boys. It's ridiculous. So most of my boys do not come up to my shoulder.

I have this cute little boy in my class. He is one of the littlest and really quiet in class. He listens pretty well. The other day I was walking past his desk to help the girl behind him, and he grabbed my hand. "Ms. Cogdill! You're not married?!" "No, I'm not." "Why Ms. Cogdill, why aren't you married?" "I'm just not" "Well, don't you have any kids?!" "No." "Why?" He was so worried about me not being married, me not having kids... It was cute.

A lot of this is a cultural thing. In their neighborhoods, girls get pregnant at a really young age. Everyone has at least one child, or is in a relationship with someone. It's interesting to see the difference in this particular neighborhood even from Whitehaven. There are much higher rates of poverty and higher interdependence. The kids share everything, walk home in groups (mainly for safety), know all the same people... I don't know if there is true correlation between poverty and interdependence, but it's interesting to see the way that it has changed the dynamic of the classroom. Most of the time, it's for the better.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

School is Near!

I finally got a job! I will be Ida B. Wells Middle school's 8th grade History teacher!

Now it's time to get all the work done...

Wednesday-Friday I am hoping to break the standards down for at least the first two eras of time period. This means from the "beginnings" to settlement in America. It will be interesting to see how long this takes me. I am going to learn a lot along the way. If you have any ideas for supplemental resources in my classroom I am all ears.

While I am breaking down standards I am listening to David Crowder's Illuminate. Last night I decided it was going to be my cd for the year, so this morning when I began working on breaking my standards now, I got very into it. I realized an hour into it that it even felt like an act of worship. It made me stop midway through and praise the Lord for caring so much for us and allowing me to be a part of His story.

School work has never led me to anything but prayers of help me get through this, but this morning I was humbled and completely gracious that the Lord has given me this opportunity. The placement to impact lives is always a blessing, and I pray that I will always be willing to follow. Praise God that He invites us to those places.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Great Overview

The I love Memphis blog does a great job of explaining why Memphis is such a great city. I've found myself thinking a lot of the same things about Memphis.

Check it out!

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Maybe more on Dramatic side...

But I promise it has a great point.

Yesterday Matt found out one of his students was killed while robbing a man. Read the article. (Hint: Don't read the comments. It will only make you angry and sad)

Lately, I have not wanted to work on school or even go back to the classroom. I feel burned out on teaching. A lot of it has to do with the fact I was so tired of talking about education and teaching towards the end of the residency year. I needed a break.

Then something like a student getting shot, or sitting down with a friend that encourages me to seek purpose refreshes my thoughts about entering the education world in 20 days. It gets me on fire for the work that I am doing. By providing my students with a solid education I am proactively fighting for their lives. (Dramatic, I told you... the point is coming).

By caring and giving an education to a student, it tells them that they are worth more than the life society tells them to live. It is the only way out of some of the situations they live in. It enables them to establish themselves and have purpose in life. Whether they choose education over other things is up to them. It is this thought process that brings me to my own depravity.

Every day I have a choice when I wake up. I can choose life and true greatness by denying myself as being able to do anything without Christ, or I can choose a life of ignorance in self greatness that leads to death. This changes everything! It changes how I wake up in the mornings (my 1s and 2s) and what trajectory I place my life on (8s and 9s). It changes how I teach in the classroom, and how I see my students (5s and 6s). It allows me to mourn for a student while being encouraged to seal the cracks completely, so that my students will have the choice.

Pray for Matt and the boy's family. Pray for MTR and the work being done. Most of all pray that every day we wake up choosing life in Christ, because it truly changes everything.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Summer Adventures!

Matt, Kaci, and I went on an adventure Saturday.

Kaci and I met Matt in Collierville, because I was getting new tires put on my car (I desperately needed them). Matt picked us up and we headed to bass pro shop. We looked at the kayaks there, and got a price range. We decided to go to Outdoor Inc in East Memphis to look at kayaks there. Matt drove us to East Memphis. I didn't like any of the kayaks there, but we needed to get the stuff to stabilize the kayak on top of my car. We looked into an official kayak rack, but I decided that was too much money to spend in one day. We walked out of Outdoor Inc with 2 styrofoam Vs and 3 straps to hold the kayak in place. Matt drives us back over to Bass Pro Shop. I buy the kayak (plus a dry bag and paddle), we put it on Matt's car. We go to pick my car up from getting new shoes! We go to strap the kayak down. Unfortunately, the kayak bent in my roof. This was terrible news. With my ingenuity I did something I needed to do...

It was time. This was the perfect way to fit my kayak. I no longer needed to get a rack or have V supports. Doesn't it look great? I have been thinking about buying a new car for a while now. I have plenty of money in savings to put a great down payment on the car. The only thing I don't like about it is that it's blue.....

I am just kidding. I don't have that kind of money. I wouldn't get an Xterra. I would get a new Subaru. I did the logical thing and made the investment in a kayak rack. It took us another hour to drive to Outdoor Inc on Union and then it took two hours to put it on my car (very tedious work I must say).

I spent a ton of money yesterday, but I really believe I will fully enjoy my kayak. I already went out in it once today, and my family had a blast on it. Here are a few pictures (Sarah is in all, because sarah posted them on facebook).

Taking it off of the car to put it in the pond.

The Kayak got played with in the pool. It was fun to watch everyone.

Matt and Kaci deserve an extra special shout out. They did so much to help on Saturday. Matt drove us around, helped me pick it out, put together the kayak rack, and as if that wasn't enough he unloaded it to the basement the same day. He did so much.

Kaci was there for me all day. She helped me make decisions, and comforted me when I felt sick because I had spent so much money. And then she played with me and the kayak.

I have really great friends. They are pretty spectacular.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Thinking Long-Term

Few random points that all seemed to pull together....

I had an interview Wednesday. It was a weird interview. They asked some of the most random questions. I don't think I got the job, just because I feel like I had no measure to base my performance on. I think I gave good answers, but i don't really know. However, whether or not I get the job, I will still be working in Memphis Schools this next school year.

In the Vietnam war, one of the main reasons we lost was we had no plan. We were extremely short sighted. We had no definite plans. Also, our soldiers were only required to serve on year. So literally when they reached the shore they were counting down the days until they were allowed to leave. (This wasn't the case of all the soldiers, but majority).

The problem with short-term:

If I was considering teaching in Memphis as a short-term profession, just somewhere to hang out for a year, I would not be as dedicated our put my entire being into teaching. I would find ways to make short cuts and not be investing as much energy as I do now.

These short-term soldiers were often more considered with themselves rather than the betterment and protection of their group. It changed their entire mentalities about war. It made them less effective and it was a constant supply of men who needed training, so there was little experience on the field. (yet another problem with why we did not succeed)

The greatness of long-term:

By committing and planting myself, I am able to insert my self into the story of God in a deep way. I am able to spend my time becoming as effective as possible. Stats say it takes a teacher 3 years to become effective, 5 to become good, and 7 to be an expert. That's a long time, but it's an investment well made. My returns on my investment will be greater because of the amount I invested in the beginning. It's the theory of compounding numbers (don't ask me to explain. I was trying to type it out, but it got too confusing).

Long-term leads to success. Hopefully I will maintain this mentality. Short term things are very lucrative.