Monday, May 30, 2011

Packing, packing, packing

still packingggggggggggggggggggggggg blahhhhhhhhhhhhh

Memorial Day Weekend

1. Arkansas Travelers
2. Griffin Douglas "Griff Dog" Pepper Karaoka
3. Saying goodbye to MS people who are done with school (jealous)
4. Bare Naked Ladies at LR Riverfest
5. Sitting out on the dock at 3AM under the stars
6. 3 day weekend

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Killer Crew

I'm going to miss this crew right here.


I am moving in about 10 days! The moving truck comes on Friday. Yikes. Such a different feeling than when I left college. Moving somewhere new without any friends there for a job? I did not expect Texas in my future, but here we are. On the way to bigger and better things...

Friday, May 27, 2011

Crying, Bying

Some of my students have their last day today. I'm dying. (And crying) I never thought they would have the profound effect on me that they have. Blessed, blessed, blessed.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Sometimes there's highs, sometimes there's lows. This is a low.

Two days before the school year is over. Two days. I had a high today. I had a low today. Unfortunately, I am letting the low effect me much more. And I don't know why. So, hopefully writing about it will alleviate some of the stress and sadness I am feeling. I feel really sad. I wish I didn't.

First, the high:

I gave out student surveys today and reviewed their progress towards goal. Overall, as an 11th grade (not AP students) we improved 1.7 years in reading (YAY!!), 8% in ACT Writing (decent), and 3 points on the ACT Reading section (YAY!!). I gave each student their scores and showed them their improvement, and then they did a reflection on it. I had AMAZING responses from students about where they want to go, what they want to do, and what they are thankful. And I don't understand why I can't be happy -- because so many of them said THANK YOU  and LOVE YOU on their surveys. So reflective, so thankful, and so loving.

But, then I get a message on facebook from one of my students in 10th grade. She says, "Ms. Butla, saw this on fbook, thought you'd like to see it."

Why do you think I would want to see this? You didn't. You sent this to me to make me upset.

Why do kids do this kind of stuff? To be mean? To have some type of control? I don't know, but it has me feeling like complete shit. Why does this have more of an effect on me then the above mentioned surveys? I don't understand.
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Life is one big road with lots of signs. So when you're riding through the ruts, don't complicate your mind. Flee from hate, mischief and jealousy. Don't bury your thoughts, put your vision to reality. Wake up and live.

Bob Marley

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Delta Life, Easy

Fundraiser, Super Success.


We raised almost $1,000!!! We only needed $700 for the ACT Academy. Yayyyyy!!! Thank you to everyone who participated!

Monday, May 23, 2011

Fundraiser Success!

Elated! That's how I feel today. We had our faculty vs. student basketball game today to benefit my students going to the ACT Academy. This program is one week long at the University of Arkansas, and a great opportunity. We were fortunate (sorry for those of you who've read about this already) enough to have 16 students admitted to the program this year.

We did three rounds of fundraising. First pie your teacher in the face, then the actual game and concessions, and finally a shoot for $25 type of competition. We raised a lot of money, and the kids were great. I tried not to be in too much control, and allowed them to do all of the MCing. They really took ownership, collecting money, narrating the entire thing, and promoting the event. We put signs up all around school, did announcements, and had some funny other ideas.

The teachers won (WOOT WOOT) and I think everyone had a great time. Here are some picture highlights:

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Friday, May 20, 2011


Graduation was tonight... tearrrrrrssss.

Monday, May 16, 2011


I was talking to some second years in Greenwood this weekend about where they are heading next year. I surprisingly found that over 10 of them are staying in town and teaching again. Third years are beyond beneficial to the region and to other CMs coming in. They offer guidance and perspective that only a few years can give you. As I thought about their continued service, I though about how I don't think I could even begin to fathom staying for a third year. I don't know what has changed this year, at the beginning of this year I thought for sure I would stay a third year and study for my LSAT, moving on to law school in a cool three years.

Now, there is no interest in that. I don't think I am good at teaching, I don't like teaching, and I have no real desire to be better at it. That has been a point of frustration for me over the last two months. Usually I am good at what I do, or at least I become better over some time. I have been promoted within almost all of the companies I worked for in college. Here, I don't feel that I have mastered much. I am proficient in it, but not to the point where I am changing lives. I connect with the kids fine, investment being my strong suit, but regarding planning - no way, Jose. I hate planning, I change plans all the time, and generally avoid it at all costs. Yes, when I sit down and do it, I do well. The plans are good and thorough, and my kids master the material, but that's usually on Sunday nights. I just can't seem to want that. And, as we teach our kids, the "I want" is a huge part of your own education.

ACT Academy, Part II

Earlier this year we had our juniors apply to the ACT Academy, a week long program at the University of Arkansas-Fayetteville. The program is twofold, first the student has an awesome opportunity to practice for the ACT with trained professionals who offer advice on testing strategy and provide familiarity with the test. Second, the program is so great for our students especially, simply because of the opportunity to get a paid visit to Fayetteville. Out of the 15 students that were accepted this year, only one of our students has ever been to Fayetteville, even though it is the most successful college in Arkansas, in a pretty mountainous area, and is a great city.

As I mentioned we have quite a few students attending this year. The fee this year was $75, but we were able to drop it down to $40 because all of our students are on free and reduced lunch. To make up the difference we are going to be holding a fundraiser this Friday by having a junior class vs. faculty basketball game. We will be doing some fun things during halftime to hopefully get some more money as well. I hope it all works out. I am really proud of this group, one said they didn't want to attend, but the rest are pumped. They were excited to hear their names on the announcements, excited for this fundraiser (their idea), and just so excited for the opportunity.

I am happy that even though I am leaving, I am still having an impact on these kids. I think that the ACT is such an important part of this experience. It something I held onto and something that I used to invest, inspire, and motivate my students. I hope that as I transition into the RGV that this is something I can inspire my corps members with as well. And, most importantly, I hope it's something my kids will continue to work on after I leave.

Sunday, May 15, 2011


State Bound!

Two of my girls qualified for state a few weeks ago. Here they are competing. We got to take them to north west Arkansas for the night and day. We had three competitors - two in discus, and one in hurdles. We didn't win anything, but the discus girls got top 10 in the state! Congrats to all three, I'm very proud of you!

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Fleeting Moments

I feel reinvigorated. I had a fab weekend (two in a row) coupled with an awesome email about a potential lead on housing in the RGV. I have been pretty nervous about that whole process, and if this works out, so much pressure would be off. I'd have somewhere to ship my stuff, a date on when I could ship my stuff, and a place to sleep instead of La Quinta.

I am having a surprisingly easy time starting to separating myself from the Delta. I like it here, I like my roomies and friends, but I have not been too sentimental or sad in general. I am ready for a new start. I am ready for a job that ends when I finish my work. Teaching never ends. There is always something you should be doing, or somewhere you should be. I was thinking today on the way home about the enormous task list I had if I wanted to do it. I didn't want to do it. I am ready to be done teaching, so ready.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Stressed OUT

I thought this last 6 weeks was going to be reflective, calm, conclusive. Really, just relaxing.

I do not currently agree with that. I am stressed about where I am moving, when I am moving, when I am telling my kids, what I am doing for the last two weeks when I am done with this novel, how to close that classroom up, amongst other things.

See ya blog.

Dirt Road Anthem

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

ACT Academy

15 students were accepted to the University of Arkansas ACT Academy this summer!! That's up from 5 last year!! More to come....

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Happy Happy Happy Birthday, Abbs!

To one of the best around: Happy Birthday to Miss Abigail Pamela Smith!

Closing Up Shop

Time is running down. Only 6 more weeks in my commitment to Teach for America. How does it feel? I really can't believe we're already two years past college, two years past living in the South, two years teaching in a classroom. It has really made me think about how people make it through this experience.

To be thrown into a classroom without much training, in a place you've never been before, with people you've only just met ... and all in a failing school. What makes us push through that experience? How does Teach for America truly select people that will succeed through that experience? Or even, how do they select people that will simply last the two years? I have much respect for this organization and their ability to figure information that like out. Obviously there are some mistakes they make, but overall, with a 90% retention rate in the program nationally, they are doing pretty damn well.

When I think about why I've made it - I don't really know. What are the qualities that I exemplified that made them think I'd make it? Maybe my competitiveness or intense disinterest in failing anything. As I transition away from the Delta and into the Rio Grande Valley, I think it will be interesting to see what I identify in CMs as they push through their first and second year.

As for these next few weeks, I've got a lot of loose ends to tie up in Arkansas. Then, deuces.