Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Relationships Matter

My Sequoyah Teacher Squad
As educators, we hear the phrase, "build relationships with your students" all the time. It is true this is something that we as educators need to be doing, we need to be building healthy and effective relationships with our students. Kids need to know that we care. Another phrase that gets tossed around is "kids don't learn from people that they don't like." This is true as well. Our kids respond better when we take that time to get to know them. What they like and don't like. How they learn. What their lives at home might be like. These are all important things that we need to know. Relationships Matter.

But there is another relationship that matters. The relationship between educators. We need each other. We need our community. We can't do this by ourselves.

If you know me you pretty well, you know that I'm a big extrovert(ENFP for life) and making friends has always been pretty easy for me. At my old school, I had a group of ladies that were some of my closest friends. When needed help with our students, needed a laugh, needed a round at Happy Hour, or just needed to reach out and cry we had each other's back. Not only were they my friends in my school building but they were my friends outside of that building. Our text threads are pretty hilarious.

Well...I moved to a new school. In another district. In another city two hours away. In a moment of total realness. This has been one of the hardest things that I have done, new things are always scary. I'm so excited and looking forward to this new journey and a new chapter in my life, but it comes with some bittersweet writing.

Like I said, making friends has always come pretty natural to me. But I'm struggling, I'm having a hard time. While it might be easier to just stay in my classroom and keep my head down and just plow through. That is not what is best for me and for my students. What makes me happy and "centered" in my life? People. I need people. If kids learn from people they like. Kids won't learn from overwhelmed, sad, and lonely Meghan. Educators need other educators. We need each other. We are better together and we need this community. We need it to sharpen our own skills as educators, we need adult contact because we spend all day with children. We need adult conversation! In this day in age in education, we need to advocate for each other. We stand up for each other. We go to other educators when we have our "teacher hearts" broken. They are shoulders to cry on and the perfect person to partner with on those dress up days.

I'm struggling to find my place and finding my squad, I know that it will get easier. I also know that this bluesy feeling I will be gone once kids show up. This takes time and it won't be overnight, but it will get better. It is already getting there! I have already started building important and needed relationships.

Educators, please don't try to do this on your own. You will get burned out so quickly. We need people. So find your squad. Celebrate your squad. Go out with your squad. Hold tight to anyone that you have ever said is a part of your squad, no matter what school you are at. Teachers, you are amazing people and you are even better when you surround yourself with like minded people that love and support you, but also call you out when you are in the wrong. Reach out. Always remember that relationships matter.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Excuse Me, What?

I have been in church since I was born. I have struggled with my faith at times but I have never once believed that my faith in Christ would destroy children. But apparently according to Christian blogger Matt Walsh I'm destroying America.


The public school system is not dedicated to the destruction of Christian values. The public school system is dedicated to the education of America's children. All of them. Every single one. With any type of institution, including the church, there are problems. The public education system has flaws, we have our problems and our issues. Because we live in a far from perfect and broken world. This tweet Mr. Walsh is not only offensive to public educators, but to the thousands of Christian parents that send their children to public schools.

Mr. Walsh, did you know that the beginning of every school year I pray over every seat in my classroom and the kids that will sit in those chairs, including the ones that might not believe the same things I do? Did you know that buy Christmas presents for the ones that I know might not get presents on Christmas Day? Did you know that rejoice with my students in their successes, mourn with them when they are hurting, and spend many restless nights worry about their well being?

Each day I shower my kids with love, compassion, and kindness. There are days that I mess up and thank God there is grace. Jesus showed these same values too. So how am I destroying Christian values?

I am a broken woman and a sinner. I struggle with sin every day. I'm far from perfect, which is the reason I need Jesus. Every single day.

So your tweet, Mr. Walsh will not change who I am or what I believe in. I will still be a public educator. I will still fight for public education. I will show the love of Christ to those I meet every day. I will give grace because it was freely given to me. Even to you, I will extend that same grace. Mr. Walsh, what are you doing to show those values?

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Take The Leap

Each summer I find myself around this time sitting in this same spot. With my computer in front of me, and that beautiful Tulsa skyline out my window. In this spot I wrote my goals for the upcoming school year, revised my syllabus, worked on the calendar for the year, made lists of repertoire that I was looking forward to possibly teaching. This time, it is different. This time I sit here weeks away from moving not only to a new school but a new grade level and a new city. I hope in the next few paragraphs you will accept my deep vulnerability. that you will read these words with compassion and with understanding.

I am so nervous. I am so scared.

This time in Tulsa has been such an intense period of growth in my life. Probably one of the biggest. I moved here as a young 22-year-old girl ready to change the world in my middle school choir classroom. In a few short weeks, I leave here as a 28-year-old woman ready to change the world in my high school classroom. In this season of my life, I have been blessed with the richest friendships, covered in love, and challenged. This is comfortable. It is familiar. It is safe.

I am taking one of the biggest leaps of faith I have ever taken. While I am nervous and scared, I am hopeful. I am expecting things that are bigger than my thoughts can even begin to comprehend. Like Friday Night Lights says, Clear Eyes and Full Hearts. Well maybe not clear eyes, I cry a lot.

For weeks I have been telling myself that I can't be nervous or scared. You know what, my students need to see that I'm nervous and scared. Because I'm human, my students are human chances are they are scared and nervous. It is so okay to be nervous and scared. What is not okay? To do nothing about it. I am nervous and scared, but I also I know that I am knowledgeable in my content, that I love kids, that I am the best Meghan Loyd that I know how to be. I am a hot mess, but I have embraced and nurtured those messy corners of my life. Students, especially teenagers need to see this type of vulnerability in their teachers. How can they relate to us and trust us if we pretend to be whole and perfect people? When that is far from the truth, we are broken and imperfect, and that makes us beautiful. Now before the classroom management police come after me, yes teenagers smell fear from a mile away. We must be the adult in our classroom. We must set the expectation and the example, but we must do so with realness and with compassion. Confidence is great, arrogance has no place in the classroom.

I have been trusted to lead students in one of the most beautiful and life changing art forms out there. I have been trusted to develop not only student leaders but leaders from my middle school feeder patterns. It is a lot, but oh for the love how wonderful it is! I thank God every day that I get to do this. That I get to take this leap of faith. I love the Bible story of Esther and who knows maybe this is my "for such a time as this." With clear eyes and a full and grateful a heart, I leap forward. What if I fall? There is someone there to catch me. What if I fly? I sprinkle glitter everywhere I go!

So what is your leap of faith? What is calling you out of your comfort zone? What is holding you back? For the love, take the leap. I'll hold your hand and we can do it together.

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

30 by 30

Being a blogger can be really rough sometimes. You pour a lot of your heart and soul into what you have to say, and then you push it out for thousands of people to read, or in my case like ten people to read. Focusing on education and educational issues has been time-consuming and draining. And I'm pretty sure no one even cared anyways. So this blog is doing a little change up. I will still write a few things about teaching, education, and the all that crap. 

So in 445 days, I turn 30. As I was thinking about this milestone moment in my life, I came up with a list of things I have always wanted to do. I will call it my 30 by 30 list. 

Some of the things on this list are really ambitious, and I might not accomplish all of them, but this more about the journey that I will be taking. What I find most interesting is that really only one of the things on this list relates to my career. I'm totally okay with this. 

These are in no particular order, I just put them in some form of a list. Some of these are specific, and some are pretty general. As I accomplish a thing on a list, I will write about it. Again, it this is not about accomplishing everything on the list but the journey that it will take me one. If I do accomplish everything on the list, amazeballs. This is going to fun. This is going to be challenging. This is going to hard. This is going to be joyous, and this is going to be best year ever. 





1. Complete a 5k without having to walk. 
2. See the West Coast.
3. Go on a solo trip to Europe.
4. Pay down some debt.
5. Run the OKC Memorial Half Marathon.
6. Go to Boston.
7. Go on a super cool hiking/camping trip.
8. Read all the Sherlock Holmes books...or at least listen to them on Audible.
9. Take a Slo-Mo jumping video in Times Square.
10. See the Grand Canyon.
11. See a glacier.
12. Go skydiving.
13. Move into a house.
14. Beach trip anywhere (I have done this before lots of times, but I could always go for more beach times).
15. Go to Canada.
16. Attend a national conference of some kind.
17. Spa trip with my besties.
18. Try new foods from another culture.
19. Buy my parents something cool.
20. Have a pen pal.
21. Go to a legit wine tasting at a real winery. 
22. Get another tattoo. 
23. Go to an NFL game.
24. Have a smash cake photo shoot.
25. Record some songs.
26. Go camping at a music festival.
27. Meet the Hanson brothers.
28. Ride a camel.
29. Have Hershey compete in an agility contest.
30. Go change the world. 



Sunday, June 11, 2017

35 Years Later

On June 6, 1982, in a small church with no air conditioning in Arkansas, Willam Bradley Loyd, and Janet Lynn Flanders became husband and wife. They, later on, went on to have the coolest daughter ever, but this isn't about me!

My parents have been through highs and lows. They raised three kids, and in a few short weeks will have all of them out of their house. They have stood by each other and been there for each other through career changes, caring for aging parents, the time they gave me Benadryl and talked for like fourteen hours straight, Taylor breaking his face on a railroad tie, Philip, and his learning disabilities, and well...me. I was a handful.

They have provided my brothers and I a great example of what marriage should be and should like. They have loved each other faithfully, and they have had a lot of fun along the way.

I feel like the key to their marriage's success has been the fact that they both snore like freight trains. So it doesn't bother them at all!
 
To Mom and Dad: Happy 35th Wedding Anniversary. Thanks for getting married in that sweltering church in the beautiful Dynasty like wedding gown. I can't wait to write about your 40th, 45th, and 50th Wedding Anniversaries! *Also please remember that Taylor and Philip did not do something heartfelt and awesome like write you blog. They may have stayed home with your dogs while you were on your special getaway a trip, but I delivered in the emotional "Oh my gosh, my kid is so amazing" department.

I love you so much and thank you for every concert you attended, every Nutcracker performance and rehearsal you were at, helping every time I moved (which I promise you won't have to help with this time), and for loving me even when I am a loud and talkative extrovert, and it is killing your introvert vibe.

Love,
Meghan aka Meggie aka Baby Girl aka Megaroony aka Werido

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Keep Breathing

High School Seniors, current College Students, and College Graduations,

This is one of the most exciting times in your life. It can also be one of the scariest times in your life as well. Many of you are embarking on a journey that you planned, but for many of you, it is nowhere close.

We each have our journey, our own story that we are creating and telling. Your story will be different from your family and from your friends, the most important thing, stay true to your own story.

You will have huge successes, celebrate and reflect upon them, it is okay to brag a little, but not too much. Those successes will have a lasting impact on your life, but what you might not believe is how some of your failures will be some of the best motivators for your life.

My sophomore year of college I had to take College Algebra. Math is not my thing, it has never been my thing. I visited with my professor (seriously do that), got some tutors, and I was still going to fail. I was ready to let that one class completely derail my plans of becoming a Choir teacher. I kept trying, but it still wasn't enough. I spent my summer retaking that class. But that one failure, it became a huge motivator for me. I learned about my resilience, about my own ability to keep breathing. Because sometimes that is all we can do.

You will be challenged, you will be pushed to your limits, but you keep breathing. You may change your major, you may not even have a job in a field that is even related to your major, or you may six years down the road find a new dream job.

Yes, it will be exciting, and it will be scary, but you keep breathing. I am starting a new chapter in my career, and it is exciting but it is scary, and sometimes I all I can do is remind myself to keep breathing.

There will be nay-sayers and haters, there will be people that will work to keep you down, but you keep breathing.

Go change the world, and when it is hard just remember that sometimes all you can do is keep breathing, you will be great and amazing.


Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Donut Worry Be Happy

I interrupt this blog that frequently is centered around policy and budgets and fidget spinners...to bring talk about one of the greatest days and loves of my life.

Tomorrow is June 1st, one of the best days in history, it is a day to be celebrated. It is a day that we can aside our differences of last-minute budget deals, political parties, opinions about the previously mentioned fidget spinners, and we celebrate. I just want to make sure that this beautiful, magical, and happy day gets the covfefe it deserves.

Photo Credit Vanessa Perez
Happy National Donut Day!!!!

In case you might have missed it, I love donuts. I don't get birthday cake I get birthday donuts. So really for me, every day is national donut day, but they somehow taste better on June 1st.

A brief history, National Donut Day started as a Salvation Army fundraiser for World War I doughboys. Many donut shops even today still partner with the Salvation Army for National Donut Day.

A few weeks ago I moderated the Sunday night #oklaed chat. That chat was over the topic Survive and Thrive: How to Combat Teacher Burnout. I asked the question, what is your favorite donut?

The answers varied from raised glazed donuts, cake donuts, maple long johns, bear claws, apple fritters, and a few fancy donuts. For one brief moment in time #oklaed was brought together in peace and harmony. Donuts brought us together, and donuts made a really terrible stressful and budget crisis time a little bit better.


So tomorrow, go get a donut, a sausage roll, and cup of coffee. Sit down with a friend and talk about life. Be intentional, love each other, and take a picture of your donuts and post it on Instagram.

Love what you do and when it gets hard, keep doing it and eat a donut.

P.S. Show me how you are celebrating National Donut Day! Tweet me your pictures to @meghanloyd or post them in the comments below!

Thursday, May 25, 2017

I Did It For Me

Today I gave myself a raise. Since the Oklahoma Legislature couldn't seem to do it, I did it.

But was it actually raise? I just paid off my car, five years of having $250 going back to my credit union, that monthly expense is no longer a part of my life. I just have that money to save and go to paying off other things.

I'm going to say this without being sassy, salty, or shady. Oklahoma House of Representatives leadership, Senate leadership, and Governor Fallin are you really that stupid?

Okay, I lied, I'm going to be sassy, salty, and shady.

I should not have to depend on paying off debt, which is wonderful and people should do it, second jobs, or living on a prayer. You made it clear who you represent this past week. In your mind, you represent oil and gas companies, not the average hard working Oklahoman. Because the average citizen paying 4% tax increase on a car is okay but not asking an industry that can easily pay that 4% is just terrible will lead to our downfall.

You had four months to get a budget together and to raise revenue. Instead, you wait until the last minute, rushed through legislation with large disregard for the Constitution.

I'm done even pretending that you might have my best interests, my friends best interests, my former students, and future students interest at heart. I know that are many members of the legislature that have fought for my friends and students and for me. Thank you for all you do and for your service.

For the rest of you, I'm going to fight for me and do it for me. Considering I can't depend on you to do it for me.

Monday, May 22, 2017

Teach Them How To Say Goodbye

Six years.

For six years, I have been the choir teacher at Sequoyah Middle School in Broken Arrow, OK. That journey and chapter of my life ended today. 

In this place, that has been my home, I laughed, I cried, I made music, I found joy, I found anger, I found frustration, but more importantly I had the chance to have an impact on over 500 young lives that came through my Vocal Music classroom.

As much as I want to talk about the impact that I might have had on their lives, but they had an impact on mine. Telling them, I wasn't going to be returning was one of the hardest things I have ever had to do. They will forever hold a place in my heart. Every student that sang in my choir got to be a part of a bigger story, one that they may not have even known they were a part of. They are forever a part of my story. My journey as an educator and as a musician.

I love the Broadway musical Hamilton, it is an obsession. My favorite song, One Last Time, President Washington has Alexander Hamilton pen his farewell address. Hamilton wanting Washington to stay begged him not to go, what words get me every time?

If I say goodbye, the nation moves on, it outlives me when I'm gone.

I was the fifth choir teacher in five years when I walked through the doors as a young 22-year-old, I took something that dead and gave it some life. But it is time for to outlive me when I'm gone. I made my mark, I built "my nation, " and now it is someone else's turn. I said goodbye to my students, their families, my staff, and my friends. I taught them how to say goodbye, and now I'm off to my next adventure.

To the staff at Sequoyah Middle School, you are world changers. You keep loving and leading. You are exactly what those kids need. You have loved me, encouraged me, and challenged me to be better. I will never forget the lessons that you taught me. 

To my beautifully talented students, you are world changers. Don't ever believe that you are less than just that! You sing, and you keep singing. The world is a mess, and it needs and craves your voices. Don't ever stop to singing. When you are happy. Sing. When you are sad. Sing. When you fall and you have no way out. Sing. We talk about this before our final concert this, you always have a reason to sing. It might be painful, it might take every ounce of emotional and spiritual energy to sing, but just sing. I tell you all the day, you have a song to sing, and the world deserves to hear that song. 

This chapter is done, and I'm thankful for the ink on the page. The next chapter, Meghan Loyd, Vocal Music Director, Midwest City High School. 


Saturday, May 20, 2017

Work Work Work Work

It has been a hot minute since I wrote about the Oklahoma Legislature...

It is a Saturday, and I worked today, which is not uncommon for most teachers, but it is uncommon for the many people that work in our state house. Will guess what? They are working on a Saturday. Maybe if they didn't check out every Thursday at noon, we would have a budget. Or maybe if they didn't spend time working on stupid stuff, and worked on important matters from the beginning, like a budget, they wouldn't be scrambling in the end.

So yes, it is May 20th, and we still don't have a budget.

FOR THE LOVE JUST RAISE THE EVER LOVING GROSS PRODUCTION TAX!!!

The 7% increase as proposed by Democrats in their Restore Oklahoma. Make the largest industry in Oklahoma pay their fair share of the tax burden. The compromised

I have been told this by many in the Oil and Gas industry. You drill where the product is, not where is the tax rate is cheap. So thus began the months and months of educators, parents, and people that just truly love Oklahoma and want it to be healthy and stable for years to come began to lobby for the raise in the GPT.

Meanwhile back at the ranch....some people got their star-spangled panties in a wad. TV ads begging people to call their legislatures and ask that the GPT be kept at the level it is, and some real big time O&G, paid big bucks to send people to the state house to protest. Yet when teachers do it, we are terrible, lazy, union thugs looking for a day off.

So let's recap......

No Budget
No Better Plan
Wackadoodles are running amock.
And in some crazy twist of fate, Nathan Dahm is running for US Congress. God Bless America. Start your prayer circles now.

I know, I know, not every legislature is a terrible human being, and many have been working really hard for people like me, you know someone who is not a millionaire. So to those that are fighting and have been fighting. Thank you for the bottom of my jaded heart. To those of you that are not willing to compromise, get your star-spangled panties out the wad they are in, remove the log from your eye, and do the right thing. I might bring you a donut.

Friday, May 12, 2017

Survive and Thrive

Burnout. At some point, every person in every career is going to struggle with burnout. I personally think those involved in education in some form tend to burnout more than other professions.

I personally have experienced the pain and sorrow of burnout. When you just feel like you are going through the motions and don't know if you will ever find the love you had for your profession again.

Burnout sucks. I think right now we are all feeling it. End of the year, the legislature has yet to produce a budget, I don't know if I can do this any more burnout. If you are an educator and you haven't experienced some form of burnout, may I ask what your secret is? Seriously I want to know, I haven't met a teacher in my years of teaching that didn't struggle with burnout.

When a teacher is burned out, you can bet that their students are feeling it too! So if you are ready to dive into this topic join educators and me all over Oklahoma on a Sunday night #oklaed chat. Chat starts at 8:00 pm CST. Below are some of the questions! These are just three of the ones I will be asking, I will be releasing all the questions on Saturday...maybe I can't make any promises. I hope you can join us!!!

What healthy boundaries have you created to help keep work at work?



How do you find joy in an educational climate that sometimes is anything but joyful?

How does teacher burnout affect student learning?


Thursday, May 4, 2017

Brothers

October 3rd, 1991 and January 6th, 1993 are two paramount days in my life. Because in those days I became a bossy older sister and then a bossy older sister again. I role I was destined to play. Telling them what to do was the highlight of my childhood. It might still be the highlight of my adulthood.

Me, Philip, and Taylor. Pictures are hard.
My brother Taylor entered into this world and would not stop crying. At one point a very sleep deprived and grumpy Meghan proclaimed "take him back and get a new one." I hated/loved the kid at the same time. My mom would have me sit on the floor and lay him across my lap, and when my mom wasn't looking I would move my legs, and he would fall to the ground. I had some issues as a three old. Taylor has always marched to his own drum and managed to stand out in our family against his loud mouth extroverted sister, and that hated/loved his infant's guts. He wore his underwear backward so he could see the Power Rangers in the front, and took his Kindergarten yearbook pictures with a busted nose, black eyes, and busted lips because he tripped on the playground and landed face first on a railroad tie. That accident led to the discovery that he has Von Willebrand's Disease. Basically, homeboy's blood doesn't clot. He has handled a life full of hour-long nosebleeds and bruising with humor and grace. My little Tay Turd has grown into a fine young man. He is the best kind of nerd. He still stands out against his extroverted sister, and does so in all of his introverted glory. He works hard and wants the best life possible. It might not be the direction or the plan that he had, but he is dedicated to his career in the trucking industry. For every truck driver on the highway, there is a dedicated group of men and women that tell that drivers where to go, when they can stop, and when they have traveled too much. His leadership over his drivers keeps those on the roads with his drivers safe, and it keeps his drivers safe. I still boss him around and let him know that I'm the boss, which is comical because he is a foot taller than me. I glad my parents didn't listen to an overly dramatic three-year-old me, I'm kind of happy we kept him.

Then there is Philip...

Philip came into this world only two weeks after the death of my grandfather. He was what my family needed at the right time. I handled his birth a little bit differently than Taylor's, I mean didn't fling him to the floor while I was holding him. Philip, P Man, or Phoppy depending on who is talking to him, has a pretty unique story. In first grade, it became very apparent that he struggled with reading. I mean struggled with reading. He was later tested, and we found out that had multiple learning disabilities. My parents were told that he would never read at grade level, would never graduate high school, would never go to college, and would struggle with learning and reading his whole life. Let me tell what this kid, my parents, and a dedicated team of teachers made happen. He started to read beyond grade level, he made the Arkansas All-State Choir three years in a row, he graduated with honors and as a member of the National Honor Society, he got accepted into college, he passed his national boards exams to be an athletic trainer, and on Friday he graduates college with the Cum Laude distinction. Not too bad for a kid that was never supposed to read. If I could take one moment and be an education advocate, if Philip had to do what our third graders in Oklahoma are asked to do with their state reading test, Philp wouldn't have made it this far. Our Phoppy has come a long way from the kid that used to wear and play in his "thinking costume" aka his bathrobe, that ran out of my grandma's house naked to greet a group of firefighters that were passing out candy canes, and that broke every ceiling fan globe in our house playing swords. He is loving and kind, and he still gets worked up when I tease him. He still gets me things when I demand them from him, and he only does so with minor amounts of complaining.

So to Tay Turd and Phoppy, I'm so proud of you. I'm thankful for our childhood, but I'm more grateful for our adult friendships. Now remember I might be a foot shorter than both of you, but I'm still the boss and in charge. Because bossy older sister is a role I was meant to play! Now for the love, will one of you please go get me some Kleenex for the crying I just did.

Monday, April 24, 2017

The Not Enoughs

A little over two years ago I started out on this blogging journey. This blog was never meant to be just about education and education policy. However that is what it turned into, and I don't regret it at all. But for my two blogger birthday, I wanted to get back to the roots of the For the Love, why I started in the first place. To share the love that I have for the all the things around me, and all the things that make up my life.

For those that are only here for commentary on education or for some education policy, bare with me. You won't get that in this post, but maybe you will get my heart or the heart of for the love.

I'm a hot mess. Y'all, such a big giant huge hot mess. I mean did leave my underwear on the floor of the QuikTrip gas station. I have had strawberries on my ceiling from blender with no lid moment, and I have more than once started to make coffee with my Keurig and not have a coffee cup in place.

I have embraced all of these qualities about myself. All the quirky and oddball things about things. I have embraced them and loved them. I have prayed over it, and Jesus has blessed it. I'm sure He even laughs at me when I leave my undies on the floor of a QT or have coffee spilling all over my counter.

But there are parts of my life I haven't embraced. Parts that I struggle with, parts that I look in the mirror and I see a broken, and incomplete woman.

I am not enough. 

I am not effective enough.
I am not smart enough. 
I am not talented enough. 
I am not blogger superhero enough.

I am not enough. 

I have always struggled with these things. This is nothing new for me. I have had these struggles for years. FOR YEARS.

I have allowed these "not enoughs" in my life to affect every part of my life. Every relationship, every encounter, every job, and every fiber of my soul. These "not enoughs" have held me back and I have kept me from becoming the woman God I want to be, the daughter I want to be, the sister I want to be, the friend I want to be, the writer I want to be, and the teacher I want to be. I believed the lies I told myself.

Then others started to say I wasn't enough. Their deep cutting words, cut into the already bleeding wounds of the "not enoughs" that I had already built up in my head. Here is the thing about how we think about ourselves. We eventually start to believe and live out the lies that our mind tells us every day. I want to fight back against my "not enoughs" and embrace them like I have embraced my hot mess. But here is the thing, and lean in close. My "not enoughs" and your "not enoughs" are meant to be overcome, not embraced.

Yesterday my senior pastor, Craig Groeschel, preached on those not enough moments in our lives, and I loved how he stated it perfectly.
God Loves You Deeply.
Good Values You Highly.
God Provides For You Fully.
God Planned You Carefully.

Those "not enoughs" they can take a backseat. They don't get to be embraced like my hot messes, oh no, those soul crushing things; they get taken out. They do not get to control me or my thoughts any longer.

I am effective enough.
I am smart enough.
I am talented enough.
I am blogger superhero enough.

My life is messy, but it is my embraceable messy. Those "not enoughs" they don't get to be a part of them. They don't get to speak power over my life anymore, and those that keep the lies going don't get to be a part of my life either.

What mess do you have that needs to be embraced? What "not enoughs" do you need to let go of? Be every ounce of your beautiful messy you! Let's sit in the mess together; there might be donuts.

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Pick Joy

I'm just so tired. 
So on Monday I lamented about how my sweet, thoughtful, loving, funny, and semi-adorable Middle School Choir students had lost their ever loving minds! Y'all the struggle was so very real. So real I don't think that even the most mentally strong human beings on the planet could handle. 

Then came Tuesday. It was the same. I was like having two Mondays in a row, I'm not about that life. 

Then came Wednesday. Glorious, beautiful Wednesday. Everything just fell into place and my sweet little angels were back. I mean they are still Middle Schoolers, but you get the picture. 

My planner as a little box for some daily inspiration, the quote that day was super profound and awesome. Okay so actually this quote was really on the Thursday page, but it applied more to my Wednesday.

"Today, whatever may annoy, The word for me is Joy, just simple Joy." John Kendrick Bangs.

Y'all (please read this blog in my sweet Arkansas accent) this quote is the bomb! That perfectly describes our life as educators here in the crazy world of Middle School. 

Today, whatever may annoy.....spinners, slime, the dab, JuJu On That Beat, farting, body odor, being "roasted," and all that other crazy crap that Middle Schoolers do...I will pick Joy! 

I will pick Joy when my Men's Choir can't stand still while singing a beautiful ballad and my "basses" sound like lawnmowers because the refuse to sing up. 

I will pick Joy when my Seventh and Eight Grade Women's Choir love each other then hate each other then love each other again. 

I will pick Joy when my Sixth Grade Girl's Choir slides down to their pitches on "fruited plain" in America the Beautiful even though have literally gone over that darn phrase 75,000 times. 

I will pick Joy when my Show Choir's facials and energy level match that of the box of fish sticks I have in the freezer. 

Because I only have just a few more days with these kids. Some of them have been a part of my life for the past three years. I can't think an age group that I love more. Yes, their brains fall out, and they go a little nutty in the month of April. However these kids, my kids, they are my joy in a world full of annoyances. 

Monday, April 17, 2017

Middle School Man

Me throughout the entire month of April. 
Holy Moly Spicy Gucamole...Middle School is rough. As I have had discussions with many different middle school teachers and staff, after Spring Break is a very difficult time in our lives. We love our students, we love them so very much. But oh my stars and garters...what has happened to their brains? Y'all I love my students and I really cannot put into words how much I love them, but oh good gravy. Cabin fever is real. The struggle is real. The cabin fever brought on by state testing struggle is real. If there is another Full Moon between now and the end of the school year, I very well just might lose what very little of my precious sanity I have left.

This has been one of the most interesting years in terms of funny, what it in the world are they thinking things that Middle School Kids have done.

The 2016-2017 School Year: the year of the dab, the bottle flip, the mannquin challenge, Andy's coming, the slime, and the spinners.

Teachers we have survived the snezzing dab, water bottles flying through the air, children freezing in time, yelling out Andy's coming and falling on the ground, the homemade slime craze (seriously a sixth grade girl at my school made 40 bucks selling slime), and the spinners that are supposed to help kids focus, but are now just distractions.

And we taught them stuff at the same time...or at least we tried too.

Stay strong, hold steady, don't die. We can do this!

Where else but Middle School will you find something so wonderful and so crazy at the same time? Middle School is the bomb. Now excuse me, I need to go bang my head against the wall.

Friday, April 14, 2017

100% Real

Sometimes people suck. Sometimes people say mean things. For the love, people say mean, hurtful, and harmful things. Sometimes they don’t mean it, and it just happens, but then sometimes they know exactly what they are saying and what they are doing. As educators, we develop a tough skin to all of the things said about us and said to us, but sometimes we just can’t have a tough skin about some things.


I love my job as a Vocal Music teacher. I love every part of it, and yes, some of it is hard to love, but I do. One of those hard to love areas is when I hear the one comment (in some form or another) every Elective and Fine Arts teacher hates hearing, “You aren’t a real teacher.” I can handle when I hear this from those outside of education, but when I hear it from other educators, I can’t even describe the hurt I feel. Just stop. Please for the love just stop.

I can assure you, what I do in my classroom is 100%. I went to and graduated from a real college. I earned a real degree. I teach at a real school. I teach in a real classroom. I teach real children. I am a real teacher. My classroom and my subject area might not look like your classroom and your subject area, but I do not teach at and in some magic fairyland. It is 100% real.

So many students I have had the opportunity to teach and love come to school not because they love going to math class; they come to school so they can sing, play an instrument, draw and create amazing masterpieces, act in plays, play sports, create computer codes, and learn a new language. For many students who feel they would never be successful in another area of their school career, they are successful in mine. They show up each day knowing no matter what happens in another class or any other circumstance, they can come to my classroom and be so successful. If that isn’t real, I don’t know what is….

This needs to stop. Teachers, we must stop shaming each other and check the egos at the door. It doesn’t help us and certainly doesn’t help our students. We are fighting uphill battles daily and fighting each other shouldn’t be one them. For the love, we need to get it together, before we end up biting ourselves in the butt. Legislatures, this applies to you too. I hope you understand how vital and important Electives, Fine Arts, Humanities, and Athletics are to students and to student engagement and success. However many schools due to the budget cuts that they have to deal with are having to cut and end these incredibly important programs.

So for the love, please pass a budget, and some form of budget reform would be awesome as well so these 100% real classes and real teachers can be protected!



Friday, March 31, 2017

This Is A Joke, Right?

Surely this is a joke, a bad dream, just one big old got ya!

No state government would have ever year after year defund core services such as education, health care, police, and fire. Surely this is a joke, there has to be a punch line somewhere.

Surely this is a joke, no state would ever have 868,000,000 fewer dollars to run their state with, that would never happen. Clearly, this is just one big joke, they are pulling our leg, right?

No. This is not a joke. This is real life, this is our reality. Our state has 868,000,000 MILLION dollars less than what it needs to run the state. That is less money for education, health and human services, public safety, foster care, state parks, and our highways. How many of those things on that list do you depend on? It doesn't seem like a joke right now, does it?

Luckily our state has laws in place from keeping it from going into debt which is great, but still how do we survive this? Let's face it we have to do more with less, which is something we have seemed to have gotten used too.

We are all losers in this game. However, there is an even bigger group of people that lose in this situation, the children of Oklahoma. It is their present and their future that is being robbed from them. How can people be okay with this? How can people lay their heads down at night and not be outraged? I'm outraged, I'm devasted, and I'm heartbroken. Did I mention I was outraged?

In November we had our chance to make lasting change. We had a choice to make. I tell my students all the time that choices have consequences. We are reaping our consequences. I will admit State Question 779, wasn't the best plan for teacher pay raises and for funding education, but it was the only plan on the table. That was voted down for a better plan, a better plan to be made by the legislatures. Guess who we voted back into the office? The same officials that ignored the revenue failures, that ignored properly funding education and other public services, that gave out tax cut after tax cut to oil, gas, and wind energy companies. Elections have consequences, we are living with ours.

School districts across the state are being faced with the impossible, gut-wrenching, painful task of trying to figure out what to cut and still serve students with 12% less of what they are supposed to have. Some of the things on the table: cutting transportation unless it is required by federal law. Cutting Fine Arts and Humanities, and Athletics. Going to four day weeks which many schools have already done. Reducing central level and building level administration positions.  Closing school sites and increasing class sizes. Furlough days: those are days where the district is closed, and no one gets paid.

Is this what kids deserve? Is that what is best for kids? For the love, if you answered yes to those to questions, meet me outside. No! This is not what is best for kids. Kids deserve going to school five days a week, they deserve access to Fine Arts and Humanities and Athletics, they deserve to have the adequate staffing in their buildings, they deserve to learn in the classroom that isn't overcrowded, and their teachers deserve to be paid accordingly.

But by all means...let's try to pass another voucher bill that takes away funding from our already underfunded schools. I don't know about you, but I don't know a school that is flushed with cash.

We need a working budget, and we need revenue, and if you ask me I don't think to increase the taxes at car washes and increasing the taxes on tobacco products is going to get it done. Get down to business and get a plan together! The House Democrats have one in place, House Republicans get out from closed doors, get with your colleagues and make this happen. Just do what you were sent to office to do, serve the people of Oklahoma. You can serve the people by passing a budget that works and generates the revenue stream that we need. There are many that are on the frontline fighting this fight, and I say thank you. Thank you for standing up for our children and for us.

Those children that I am speaking of, they did nothing wrong. They didn't make the poor choices that have gotten us here, but unfortunately, they are carrying the heavy burden. Let me tell you about those kids, they are the kids that sat in my Choir Room with tears streaming down their faces as they sang "America the Beautiful." When I asked them why they were so upset, the response was overwhelming, because America isn't very beautiful right now, and we can't change it. My students are 12, 13, and 14 years old. Those answers are way beyond their years. We have to figure it out for them. They did nothing wrong, and they don't deserve what is happening.

Oklahoma legislature, you have a choice to make, please make the right one. Because this isn't a joke.


Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Tick Tock

Tick tock goes the clock
And what now shall we play?
Tick tock goes the clock
Now summer's gone away.

Tick tock goes the clock
And what then shall we see?
Tick tock until the day
That thou shall marry me

Tick tock goes the clock
And all the years they fly.
Tick tock goes the clock
You and I must die.

Tick tock goes the clock
We laughed at fate and mourned her
Tick tock goes the clock
Even for the Doctor

Tick tock goes the clock
He cradled her and rocked her
Tick tock goes the clock 
Even for the Doctor

You are creeped out yet?!? Nursery rhythms tend to do that sometimes. I will admit I'm glad my mother never read that nursery rhythm to me. I had my first encounter with this little rhythm on the British TV series Doctor Who. Because of copyright laws, I can't show you any Doctor Who clips. But seriously go watch it. The basic premise of Doctor Who is that the Doctor is a time and space traveling alien called a Time Lord. He travels the universe in search of adventure and tries to save everyone because he once couldn't save everyone. Plus there are beautiful people with British accents!! 

Tick tock goes the clock
April First is coming
Tick tock goes the clock
Even for the Legislature

April 1st the deadline mandated by state law for the Oklahoma Legislature to have a budget for common education in place. The problem is they have only met that deadline once. My friend and fellow #oklaed blogger explained this brilliantly on his blog View from the Edge, seriously go read it! 

Tick tock goes the clock
April First is coming
Tick tock goes the clock
Even for the Legislature

So what have these guys been doing with their time instead of working on a budget? Let's see: there was legislation the would put the Ten Commandments back on the Capitol despite the state voting against it in a State Question in November. They debated for two hours about a law related to bears. They tried to pass voucher legislation, and they spent some time on abortion bills that will be stuck down unconstitutional in a heartbeat. Well, ain't that special. Thank you goes the Democratic caucus that put forth a budget idea! Now, will it get approved? Will the Republicans have one? Will it get finalized by April 1st? 

Tick Tock goes the clock
You're running out of time
Tick tock goes the clock
Not that you cared anyways







Friday, March 24, 2017

What If?

I have made it no secret that this school year has been rough. Between the election, personal and professional struggles, and everything else in between things have been crazy. So many times in these crazy and busy situations I forget to focus on the emotional needs of my students because I am just so consumed with my own thoughts and process. I hate admitting that, I really do. This week my fellow #oklaed blogger and friend Rob Miller reworked one of my favorite posts of his and reshared it for us. I loved how he phrased it as "listening with our eyes" what is so funny is I tell my students that all the time, however, I say that in the context of listening to and learning to read music. How often to I forget to listen with eyes to the needs of my students.

This had me thinking about a piece that I wrote a year ago, oh this world could be full of love.


Kid President is one of my favorite people in the whole wide world. I love watching his videos, I love having my students watch his videos, so basically I just love everything about him.

Yesterday this picture was posted on the Kid President Facebook Page.

It hit me like a ton of bricks. "What if every kid in the world knew they were loved?"

Talk about a heart check.

I know that right now I'm on teacher auto-pilot. It is April, and I'm stressed out. Testing is full swing, I have a concert coming up, a trip to Frontier City, NJHS induction, and all the other usual it is almost the end of school year. I know that we are all experiencing this craziness right now. Somehow I wonder if have forgotten that my students need to know that I love them. That I have become so wrapped up in the day to day things, that I have started to lose sight of why I got into this profession, to begin with. Because I love kids.

How great would the world be if every kid knew they were loved? What about the child that is hungry? What about the child that is abused? What about the child that is abandoned? What about the child that looks like they have the picture perfect life but the picture isn't what it seems? What about the child that is homeless? What about the child with no family? If they knew they were loved, what could they do to change the world?

Kids are fighters, and they are resilient. However, they get stressed out and hurt just like we do. Educators they come to us not only to learn but also to be loved. Right now kids across the country are taking High Stakes Tests. Tests that in no way can ever give the real picture of what a child can do or who that child is. Teachers, you have done what you can to get them ready, you have taught them and gave them your best, but right now they need love. They need to know that you love them. You love them beyond measure. That their enough is more than sufficient. That is the knowledge that they need.

To put this simply, I believe that if every kid in the world knew they were loved, the world would be full of love. So much love.

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Loved People, Heal People

When I first started writing on For the Love, the original focus was never education advocacy and policy, it just kind of turned out that way. I don't regret ever making the shift to that simply because I saw a need and I felt that I had a unique voice that could be added to the mix of already amazingly talented #oklaed bloggers.

My original intent of starting this blog was to tell my story, my journey in how I built relationships with others. I have always felt that my strength was building people up and making them feel loved. This is something that has been on my heart for weeks and something that someone out there in the world needs. 

Hurt People, Hurt People

I don't know how many times I have read that phrase, have had someone say it to me, or I have even said it myself. There are hurting people around us all the time. I would even venture to say that as educators, we might have more hurting people around us than most. I know that sitting on my choral risers are kids that are in pain, and carry deep hurt. They lash out, they misbehave, some of them retreat within themselves, and others just put on a smile and continue with their day. I can't even begin to understand what some of those kids go through on the daily. My job as an educator is not only to teach them notes and rhythms on a page, the right tone, and vowel shaping but to show them how they can heal their hurt with those things. 

Hurting people sometimes don't even know that they are hurting. Hurting people sometimes aren't aware that they are hurting others. Let me tell ya, loving a hurting person is so damn hard. Why? Because one of two things happen, that person will accept your love and begin to heal themselves and relationships around them, or what is sometimes the most common, they will continue to hurt you, others, and themselves and at that point, you just have to walk away. 

Loved People, Love People

I love people, or at least I try to love all people. I have been very open, honest, raw, and transparent on For the Love over the past three months. This has not been easy. Sharing my soul, with others has been hard. I have been hurt a lot, by hurting people. I won't go into details because that is when gossip starts and more damage happens, but I have spent hours in tears. I have spent days questioning everything that I believe. I have had moments that I thought about walking away from this blog because I was being hurt by it. Hurt people, hurt people, but oh friends may we never lose sight of the fact that loved people, love people. I would even venture to say that loved people, heal people. 

Loved People, Heal People

I could be so easy to continue in a cycle of hurt. That if you have been hurt to continue to hurt others. But what lessons do we learn in that, how do we heal brokenness if we continue to hurt and cause harm to others. The answer is we can't. The easy road to take would be for me to harbor feelings of ill will and hate towards those that hurt, and I will admit that there have been times in the past few months that I have wished ill will on those that hurt me. However, I made a choice to take the more difficult path. Forgiveness and moving on. Forgiveness doesn't mean that you want and need that person in your everyday life, in many cases it means moving on with your life so you can continue to love others. Sometimes and especially with students when we love them, when we accept them for the glorious, beautiful mess that they are, we heal them. We heal the hurt, and they are no longer hurt people, but they are healed people that then become loved people. It is beautiful when it happens. We break that cycle of hurt that is running rampant in our society today.

But then sometimes, we have to walk away. Those times are the hardest and scariest. Those are the times that we just don't know how we move forward. This weekend I made the decision to love those that have hurt me, hurt my family, hurt my friends, and even hurt my students, but I decieded that forgiving them also meant walking away. I could have choosen to continue to hate, but I choose to love instead. For the love, wouldn't it be great if everyone could do the same? 

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Dear Educator, 2017 Edition

Dear Educator,

A little over a year ago I wrote to you, and it seems we are in the same spot again this year. However, this time seems to be worse. I have struggled this school year, and I have been very honest and real with those struggles. There have been beautiful and meaningful moments, but those moments were fraught with hardship and pain.

This school year we have endured the failure of SQ 779, the circling voucher wolves, Betsy DeVos, and a revenue failure and the hurtful and harmful cuts to education.I can't sugarcoat this; it has sucked. But...we have such great power. There are those that are out there that want to diminish our power, our light, our impact, but for the love don't let them do it! Don't let them win. Be strong and fierce. Keep changing the world.

To the classroom teacher, I am in the same place you are right now: do I stay or do I walk away. I love this profession, I love my job, but the abuses of those in power are to much to handle sometimes. We are asked to do way more with less. But we do it anyways because we love kids. Right now you are enduring test prep, music contests, and all the other various aspects of our jobs. All the while backing plan B, C, D, E, and F for you and your family. Just remember that kids you have now need, but there will be kids anywhere that need you. You are changing and impacting lives every day. Is it easy, no! But you show up, and you do it. I love you, and for the love, I will fight for you as much as I can!

To the building principal, I don't envy your position. You are wondering what your staffing will look like next year. You see the writing on the wall, you are asked much, and you have to pass that along to your staff. You are tasked to lead teams of people that are tired, worried, and scared, but you handle it with grace. Your leadership doesn't go unnoticed. You are also carrying the feelings of what comes next for you. Do you stay or do you go. Not to mention you deal with parents and students and handle their needs when the classroom teacher needs you too. Thank you for what you are doing.

To the superintendents out there, I cannot even imagine the weight of the world that you are feeling. I cannot begin to even understand the pressures that you feel. Not to mention that most of you have to make these difficult decisions that directly impact people's lives, in total isolation. I have others that I can frankly and freely talk to, but you sometimes don't get that luxury. You are the face of your school districts both the good and the bad. Many of you are the most selfless people that I know. You endure and carry not only the hopes of your teachers and staff but your students and your communities. You are making the hard choices every day, and while some may get angry, you are doing the best you can with the hand that you are dealt. I am so grateful for you.

Finally to my fellow education bloggers, it has been a little rough and crazy! Thank you for using your voice in this community. Blogging is never easy; it is in many ways an extension of ourselves. It is hard not to take the attacks and comments personally. I know I have had my fair share of it this year, and so many have offered their love and support. Keep raising the bar of the level of discussion and keep people accountable. Somewhere there is a person that needs to hear the words you are writing.

I know that the words of some unicorn and rainbows loving music teacher, but not be enough. Just keep fighting, don't let anyone take away your power. Keep changing the world.

For the Love,

Meghan

Monday, February 27, 2017

This World Could Be Full Of Love

A few weeks ago I wrote a post that was so incredibly difficult to write. This school year, not just for myself but for others, as been full of hardships. I would even venture to say that the last two months have been the worst.

Writing that post was a game changer for me. Have all the things gotten easier? No, they haven’t, and in some respects, they have gotten worst. But what changed? What changed was how I thought about myself and my teaching.

In my planner each and every day I write the words Be Present at the top of the page. This reminder to be present has changed my thought process. I don’t have time to worry about the future because I am focused on my present.

Being present is hard some days. Some days it takes everything I have to hold it together. But I have to hold it together. I have 180 lives that are needing my time and my direction. Today was a rough start to my day. In addition to dealing with the normal crazy middle school choir life and all that comes with it, I was keeping my eyes on Oklahoma Senate Education Committee's meeting. My blood pressure was going through the roof. Because some of this stuff is just bat crap crazy! I’m not ashamed to admit that I cried in one of my classes today, not because it was terrible and I wanted to die, but because it was beautiful and I needed to hear it.

My sixth-grade girls are working on this lovely and lyrical piece called “This World is Full of Beauty,” music by Tom Shelton and text by Gerald Massey and they love it. Just read these words these young ladies sing.

There lives a voice within me, an angel of my heart,
its sweet voice calls to me ‘till the tears begin to start.
Up evermore it springs like some magic melody,
And evermore it sings this sweet song of songs to me.
This world is full of beauty, as other worlds above,
And if we did our duty it might be full of love.
If faith and hope and kindness passed as love between our hearts.
How, through my tears and sadness, should my soul have a fresh start!
The dreary, dim and desolate should wear a sunny bloom,
And love should spring from buried hate, like flowers over winter’s tomb.
This world is full of beauty, as other worlds above,
And if we did our duty it might be full of love.
The leaves of the forest, and the flowers of the sod,
The happy birds that sing their songs in the ear of God.
The summer wind that carries music over land and sea,
Each has a voice that sings this sweet song of songs to me.
This world is full of beauty, as other worlds above,
And if we did our duty it might be full of love.
This world is full of beauty, as other worlds above,
And if we did our duty, this world would be full of love.


It is okay if you are crying right now because I am. Now picture some of sweetest sixth-grade girls in the world singing this song, you all have my permission to cry.

Right now I don’t feel like this world is full of beauty and it surely doesn’t feel full of love. But I have to be present. I have to have full on glittery unicorn faith that this will be okay. That this world would be full of love. I haven’t given up on love.

Educators, I know that this future is scary. Trust me, I’m making Plan B, Plan C, Plan D, and Plan E as well. Please as you plan for what is next, be present. Make this world full of beauty and love. It starts with us; it starts with those of us that are on the ground in this battle everyday. We have to, if only because right now you need beauty and love in your own lives. I don’t know about you, but I need a world full of beauty and a world full of love. Because I have this song that world needs to hear, and I’m not going to stop singing it.

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Dear Oklahoma....again.

Dear Oklahoma House of Representatives and Senate,

Hello, it’s me Meghan, the For the Love girl. Some you know and love me, and others well you know me.

One year ago I wrote to you asking what you would do address to the looming revenue failure and the educational funding crisis. Here I am again, doing the same thing. I was super nice and sweet in that letter.

To spend money, you have to make money. If tax cuts, slashing agency budgets, borrowing and borrowing some more, and other totally terrible options didn’t work, why are you still doing it? As a Choral Music Educator, when something doesn’t go right, and my students sing wrong pitches and rhythms, do I let them move on? No! We fix it. I look for the root of the problem, and I address it. After I address it, I put a plan in place to make sure it doesn’t happen again. Guess what, it happened again. You didn’t fix the problem. We are in a revenue failure again.

Everyone is feeling the cuts; there is no denying this fact. School districts are being cut $11.1 million dollars. What does that mean for me? Well for my school district that means roughly $10.09 less per student, I teach in one of the largest school districts in the state. For the love, you knew this was coming, and you did nothing.

By all means, let’s keep writing voucher bills that take away more money from public education and absolute nonsense bills that would get shot down by the Supreme Court in a heartbeat instead of focusing on finding actual and workable solutions to the problem.

Seriously, it is time for you to nut up or shut up. I was nice in my first letter to you, but not so much anymore. The people of Oklahoma sent you to the State House with a job to do, and it is time for you to do that job. Don’t let it be May and the week before the session is over before you pass a workable and common sense budget. If not, I don’t think the people of Oklahoma will be as forgiving this time around. Or at least I don't think they will, they re-elected most of you wackadoodles.

With Unicorns and Glittery Rainbows,

Meghan

P.S. OCPA-Come at me bro.