Thursday, September 30, 2010

A New Perspective on an Ancient Art

Thinking of names for characters is difficult—for me at least.

Right now I have this novel idea that I have been mulling over for the past year or so. Just now I have been getting scenes and characters down on paper.

The two main female characters, the names just came to me. But I am having a hard time coming up with an appropriate name for the male character. He is such a strong, integral part of the story that I can’t just don him with any name. It has to be strong, reflecting his personality, his essence. And thus, I have delayed. He simply remains “the brother” or “D—,” so that I can going on with my writing instead of wasting time worrying over what to call him.

It’s driving me crazy.

I haven’t been very proactive in thinking of a good name, I suppose.

I’ve mostly been waiting for it to hit me in the head one brilliant day.

I know it will eventually.

In the meantime, the writing must go on. I found a brilliant blog on writing just the other day. I always get excited when I find a wonderful, helpful blog such as this one by Roz Morris. She wrote a post recently about how writing must be “play” before it becomes work. As soon as I read that, I really, really wanted to write all of a sudden.

Writing as play? It’s such a simple idea, but when I read that, I suddenly realized that I was approaching the blank page with this apprehensive attitude, much like I feel when I am going to a job on a nice sunny day when I would much rather be outside.

Roz says: “Novels need play time before they grow up… So start playing with it early. Collect material. Give it its own folders. Brainstorm a few scenes for fun and let the good bits sneak up on you like the first one did.”

And just like that, I was in the mood to write, to brainstorm, to create. To make lots and lots of bad mistakes in the hopes of producing something beautiful.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010


Yesterday, I rearranged my room. I moved my bed to where my desk was, and I put my desk in the corner where my bed had been.

Ben, my four year old brother, didn't realize my bed was moved, only that it was missing from the old spot.

When I asked him where he thought it was, he said:

"Poof! It's on the roof!"

He's so funny. :)

Creating Beauty: The Dance

Perhaps the best advice is not an answer, but a question…

Questions from The Dance:

What if it truly doesn’t matter what you do, but how you do whatever you do?

How would this change what you choose to do with your life?

What if you could be more present and openhearted with each person you met if you were working as a cashier in a corner store, than you could if you were doing a job you think is more important?

How would this change how you want to spend your precious time on this earth?

What if your contribution to the world and the fulfillment of your own happiness isn’t dependent upon discovering a better method of prayer or technique of meditation, not dependent upon reading the right book or attending the right seminar, but upon really seeing and deeply appreciating yourself and the world as they are right now?

How would this affect your search for spiritual development?

What if there is no need to change, no need to try to transform yourself into someone who is more compassionate, more present, more loving or wise?

How would this affect all the places in your life where you are endlessly trying to be better?

What if the task is simply to unfold, to become who you already are in your essential nature—gentle, compassionate, and capable of living fully and passionately present?

How would this affect how you feel when you wake up in the morning?

What if who you essentially are right now is all that you are ever going to be?

How would this affect how you feel about your future?

What if the essence of who you are and always have been is enough?

How would this affect how you see and feel about your past?

What if the question is not why am I so infrequently the person I really want to be, but why do I so infrequently want to be the person I really am?

How would this change what you think you have to learn?

What if becoming who and what we truly are happens not through striving and trying but by recognizing the people and places and practices that offer us the warmth we need to unfold?

How would this shape the choices you make about how to spend today?

What if you knew that the impulse to move in a way that creates beauty in the world will arise from deep within and guide you every time you simply pay attention and wait?

How would this shape your stillness, your movement, your willingness to follow this impulse, to just let go and dance?

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Capturing a Moment

While weeding through my insurmountable pile of folders, looking for stuff to throw away, I came across this exercise my Asian Lit professor gave us to do my last semester of college.

We were studying haikus, the way they are a form of meditation, capturing one moment in time.

He instructed us to choose one haiku and write about it for one minute. Not to add to it, but to take that moment, open it further, and discover what is inside it.

Here is the haiku I chose, and what I wrote:

“A frog leaps
into the ancient pond

A frog leaping into the pond suspends a person in that very moment when nothing exists but for the sound of water splashing lightly and spreading into rings that grow larger and farther apart until once again the water settles and the surface becomes smooth and clear, as if the frog had never been there.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Why So Serious?

Substitute Teaching is teaching me to not take myself so seriously.

On Thursday, I was a roving sub. I went from room to room for half an hour each while the teacher went to a meeting.

In some classrooms, the class was at P.E. so the teachers had me grade spelling tests while they were away. One teacher had me make a bunch of copies. In two rooms, there were student teachers so all I did was sit there and grade papers so that there would be another teacher in the room.

The kids were fourth to sixth graders, and in several classes, the kids graded each other’s math assignments while I read them the answers.

My favorite was a fourth grade class toward the end of the day. My main job was to split the students into their reading groups. Naturally, chaos ensued. The students were confused as to why they had a sub all of a sudden. Apparently, the teachers did not make this clear to them.

No one wanted to get into their assigned groups. The teacher had grouped them by the rows they were in. The kids were all over the room, asking if they could be in a friend’s group or telling another kid he couldn’t be in their group. Some students had no idea what group they were in.

In my loudest, most authoritative voice, I ordered everyone to get back into their seats. Then I told them to look at who was in their row so they would know who was in their group.

“How old are you?” someone asked.
“You look like you’re 18!” said a curly-haired girl in the back.

For some reason, I didn’t care what they thought. In any other circumstance, this bugs me.

I had the groups go to different parts of the room to do their reading. This was difficult to get them to do as well. One group tried to sit underneath the teacher’s desk. One group kept asking if they could go in the closet. At least two groups were sitting down.

“They’re making fun of your name!” curly-haired girl said, pointing to the group sitting against the wall.

Again, this doesn’t bother me. “That’s okay,” I said.

“Your name is funny!” said the blonde haired boy sitting against the wall. The kid next to him laughed in agreement.

I just smiled. “I think it’s pretty funny too.”

Then, I went from group to group and made conversation, asking what the story was about and such. The kids would talk about random things and I simply went along with it, all the while, redirecting them to their books and fielding their protests about having read this story three times already.

“Miss Wieser!” said curly-haired girl when I came around to her group. “He took my turn! I was supposed to read next.”

“Well, then you can take his turn,” I said.

“No,” she said. “He took my turn.”

“You can take both their turns,” I responded.

This time the girl didn’t say anything. She just grinned and laughed.

Overall, this was my favorite class of the day. I felt like once I stopped taking myself seriously and balanced my serious teacher attitude with speaking to the kids on their level, I was able to control them better and gain their respect.

I noticed that in classes where I was all business/completely serious, I didn’t connect with the kids as much. It makes me realize how important humor is in the learning/teaching process.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

OK Go - This Too Shall Pass

I have fallen in love with OK Go music videos. Just when I think they can't do better, they prove me wrong. :D

And there's an accordion!

And a jagnormous xylophone!


Saturday, September 25, 2010

Sweat Rings, Sore Feet, and Happiness

I never thought I would say this, but I enjoy subbing.

At the end of the day, my feet are sore.

My shirt has sweat rings under the armpits.

I am hot and sweaty and tired.

I am thirsty from talking more than I am accustomed to.

My mind is on auto-pilot from being pulled at in a dozen directions.

But I am HAPPY. In fact, I feel happier than I have in the past three months when I did not work at all.

Yes, teaching is way out of my comfort zone. I never ever thought I would be doing something like this. But the more I do it, the more confident I feel and the more I learn from my mistakes.

I have figured out something about myself.

I need to be working. I thought that having a few months break from a job would be good for me. I thought I would get a lot of writing done. I thought it would be a nice stress-free interim before I had to find a job again. I thought a lot of things.

Instead, what happened is this: I had an identity crisis. My parents drove me up the wall. I felt like a teenager all over again. I didn’t write as much as I thought I would. I felt depressed almost all the time. I fantasized about moving to Canada. Or Ireland. Or Virginia. I’d live in the mountains like a hermit. Or camp out near the beach. I felt useless. I was frustrated that even if I wanted to move I couldn’t because my back wasn’t fully healed. And so many more things that I’d either bore your socks off or make you cry. Or both at the same time!

And now I am substitute teaching. It is hard. It’s challenging. But it’s also more rewarding than I’ve ever imagined.

I like kids, and I didn’t know that before.

Friday, September 24, 2010

The BIG Question

When I was checking my e-mail, I saw that someone commented on a blog that I started two years ago, which I completely abandoned and forgot about after one month. It’s called The Chameleon. I guess I thought it sounded like a cool name at the time, and for one of my posts I wrote about chameleons and listed a bunch of facts about them that I thought were interesting. Anyway, the comment, posted by Anonymous, said “booorrrring.”

I was laughing so hard when I saw that. I kept telling my sister to come see this, but she just looked at me weird. “I believe you,” she said. “I don’t have to look at it.” Okay, maybe it’s not that funny. It was surprising though, and I don’t care…I think it’s quite hilarious. Kudos to the person who even attempted to comment on my “boring” blog post.

To even it out, a person had posted even earlier: “That’s so cool! Thanks!” Ha!

Anyway, if you want to read about the time I got severe food poisoning the day I went to help my friend pick out a wedding dress, here is the link. You can also find several other posts that I vaguely remember typing out, such as “The BIG Question” (I was curious….what was this BIG question???), some stuff about the word “hypocrite,” the nature of Jesus, peace, and gut instincts.

Ha, the BIG question was kind of a let down. But it makes me laugh at my writing style just a mere two years ago. I’ve changed a lot since then.

But you know what??

That blog was not a waste after all!

Maybe I wrote that blog so that two years later, on this day, I could have a big laugh. Maybe in another two years, I will read the posts at the beginning of this blog and have a similar reaction.

Yay to blogging. :-)

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Subbing for Pre-School (Because I Am Too Exhausted to Think of a Creative Title)

Today I subbed for a pre-school class in a small rural town 15 minutes away from my town. I was a little apprehensive going in because I wasn’t sure how well I would do in managing an entire class of 3 and 4 year olds. I was comforted by the thought of having a teacher’s aide. The other part of me was excited. Three and four year olds are so cute! Even when they are being obnoxious as I found out today.

I’ve found that I am able to remember names rather quickly. I try to say the children's names as often as I can, out of necessity because I like to know a kid’s name when I am asking them to do something. However, it is so easy to get kids mixed up. For instance, during nap time, I kept telling “Irvin” to lay down and stop talking. Later, I realized his name was actually “John.” Irvin and John both were wearing the same shade blue shirts and they had the same hair and their faces had similar qualities. Poor Irvin. He was being a good boy, laying quietly on his mat the whole time! The thing is, when I said something to him about it, he didn’t seem to have any idea what I was talking about.

One little boy, “Jonothan,” seemed so sweet. When I brought them in from the playground for breakfast before the day began, he said, “You’re pretty.” Sweetness can be deceiving. Don’t get me wrong, I still thought he was sweet, but I soon learned that he did not like to follow instructions. At time he would be quiet and compliant, but at other times he would be loud and wouldn’t stay still. Nap time for instance. No matter how often I threatened to send him to the office, he still wouldn’t lay down and stay quiet. Eventually, I did send him to the office because he was making the other kids act up.

And I felt really bad about sending him to the office. He just was being a little boy. He wanted to make a tent with his blanket and several chairs. He wanted to talk to the kid next to him. In any other circumstance, I would have made a tent with him and told him a story. But this was a classroom of course and I wasn’t about to have the teacher aide come back from lunch to a rowdy class during nap time.

Anyways, it turns out that Jonothan is always like that, so the aide says. She got quite frustrated with him later in the day and made him sit at a table by himself with his head down.

And then she said something that broke my heart.

“You know what, Jonothan,” she said. “Don’t come back to school tomorrow. Stay home. We don’t want you here.”

Then he mumbled something about not wanting to go home. (I think). And the aide said, “Yeah, your parents probably don’t want you there either.”

I couldn’t say anything. I couldn’t correct or criticize the aide in front of a bunch of kids that she has to spend seven hours, five days a week with. I imagine that could be frustrating in itself. And I really like the aide. I have nothing against her. She was very helpful today. But I really really wished she had not said that. Because words can make such an impact on little kids. And telling someone, who only wants attention, that you don’t want him, that nobody wants him, is the most hurtful thing a person could say to a little kid.

At the end of the day, when we lined the kids up and the aide took them out to the bus, Jonothan still sat at the table. He wouldn’t get his bookbag. He wouldn’t get up and come outside when I asked him to. And so I knelt down by Jonothan and told him how special he is. I told him that I think he is a good person and that I want him to come back to school. I told him that people would miss him if he didn’t come back. And I told him that his parents would miss him too if he didn’t go home.

He just looked even sadder so I tried to distract him. I asked him if he had any brothers and sisters. He looked up and spoke for the first time. He has two brothers and one sister, but he doesn’t know how old they are. Do you guys like to play together? I asked. He nodded his head, but then said, “My other brother and sister hate me.”

I asked him if he had any pets. He started talking again. He has three dogs and one cat, some pigs and a bunch of chickens. We talked about his animals. I told him that his pets would miss him if he didn’t come home. And then I tried to take him out to the bus again. He still resisted. Eventually the aide and I had to practically drag him outside so the bus wouldn’t leave without him.

All the way home, my heart was breaking.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010


One thing I miss about college is the creative writing classes I would take. I miss sitting in a circle, passing around copies of my new poem, reading the poetry written by my classmates, being challenged on what a poem is. I miss the critique, the praise, the shameless bashing, all of it. I wondered, as I graduated, if my growth as a writer would slow now that I don't have such an audience for my work, an audience that will tell me their exact opinion, softened or not.


Silence splits your ears
pulls at tiny molecules
oxygen in the buff
spins it, wraps it, contorts it
like it owns the air between me and you

And I never knew you liked words so much
the way they see you, into you, around you
thread you inside out
the way they sew the rips and tears that
rend bitter-silence air

But even more
connecting me to the best part of you
that wants to love, to take words
wave them into spring trees
blossoming from cracked earth

And you rain cold words on me
that sizzle hot on my skin
make me run for shelter, the cave, the hole in the ground
I bury myself in the dirt, but there is never enough
Until you reel me out on your fishing line

strung with sunlight to blind darkness to submission

Sunday, September 19, 2010


I want
to touch the spots
that ignite my fire
to flip the switch
that turns me on
to stand in front of me
holding himself up
as a mirror to see through
to flare my anger and desire
into one vessel
and to not step back
from the river
that crashes down
the barricades of my being.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Bobby McFerrin - Don't Worry Be Happy

I heard this song on the radio while driving home today, and it had me laughing out loud. I could not stop smiling. The combination of him repeating the words over and over, and the tone of his voice just cracked me up. And made me feel good of course. Haha..."Don't worry, don't do it."

Eagle Attacking Trumpeter Swan

Here is an interesting picture. I never imagined that this could even happen. I wonder what that eagle's deal is...

To see the rest of the pictures that show the entire interaction, go to this site.

Poor thing was just minding its own business.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Rules of the Road

Time to spread some more writerly love. As writers, I know we all get discouraged. We listen to that voice in our heads that says we don’t know what we are doing. We don’t have any real talent or skill. Our imaginations are dull, our creativity is a joke. What do we think we are doing, trying to spin words from our minds? Stop. Give up. Don’t even try, that voice whispers or yells or screeches.

I struggle with that voice a lot, and some times I even obey it. I stare at the blank page and dutifully turn away with the sudden ADD that writers develop as their writing plods on in a straight line while the tracks curve sharply to the left. Then there are times when I somehow evade that voice. When my creativity bursts out of me like a deprived and needy child. Sometimes junk is the result, but more often I create a piece of art, a winning poem, an insightful scene or two that develops a novel idea that has been mulling in my head.

So stop listening to that voice. It doesn’t know what you are capable of.

RULES OF THE ROAD (excerpt from The Artist’s Way)

In order to be an artist, I must:

1. Show up at the page. Use the page to rest, to dream, to try.
2. Fill the well by caring for my artist.
3. Set small and gentle goals and meet them.
4. Pray for guidance, courage, and humility.
5. Remember that it is far harder and more painful to be a blocked artist than it is to do the work.
6. Be alert, always, for the presence of the Great Creator leading and helping my artist.
7. Choose companions who encourage me to do the work, not just talk about doing the work or why I am not doing the work.
8. Remember that the Great Creator loves creativity.
9. Remember that it is my job to do the work, not judge the work.
10. Place this sign in my workplace: Great Creator, I will take care of the quantity. You take care of the quality.

And that is why I love Julia Cameron. I hope I can be just as encouraging and supportive of beginning artists as she is.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Morning Pages: Unexpected Therapy

For about a month, I have been writing what Julia Cameron, in her book The Artist’s Way, calls Morning Pages. Three pages of long hand written first thing in the morning. The point of these pages is not to create art. In fact, Julia says not to show anyone what you have written. Put them in a manila envelope and bury them in a drawer, if you must. The point is to clear your head of all the muck and the concerns of the world that have been piling up, building layers in your mind.

Three pages of whatever crosses your mind….

At first, I felt like writing three pages of what seemed like senseless crap was a pointless endeavor. And then I began to discover that in writing the morning pages, I was learning things about myself that I would not have known if I had not written them. I began finding encouragement as I moved my hand continuously across the page. Sometimes it would take until page two or three before I felt like God was trying to say something to me, an answer breaking through the previously scrawled worries and confusion. I would write down those words.

And then I would put the pages in a folder, in my drawer and carry on with my day, feeling lighter, happier, more focused and hopeful then I did when I had just woken up. Sometimes when I do my morning writing, I talk about my plans for the day, what I want to accomplish, and then (most of the time) I do it, as if writing about it first is what I needed to actually know what I needed to do in the first place.

The morning pages have provided a way to tap into my intuition as well. Sometimes I will be in this mood that I can’t get out of or I will have this strange feeling that borders on foreboding or confliction. If I write about it, I usually get to the bottom of that feeling and what it means, what it is trying to tell me.

The best thing about writing these daily pages is that it refocuses my thoughts and my attitude so that instead of worrying over the small details of life or my failures or past actions that I am ashamed of, I can clear that out of my head so that I am concentrating on becoming a better person.

Here are some excerpts from The Artist’s Way:

“Morning pages are nonnegotiable. Never skip or skimp on morning pages. Your mood doesn’t matter. The rotten things your sensor says doesn’t matter. We have this idea we need to be in the mood to write. We don’t.

Morning pages will teach you that your mood doesn’t really matter. Some of the best creative work gets done on the days when you feel that everything you’re doing is just plain junk. The morning pages will teach you to stop judging and just let yourself write. So what if you’re tired, crabby, distracted, stressed? Your artist is a child, and it needs to be fed…

When people ask, “Why do we write morning pages?” I joke, “To get to the other side.” They think I am kidding, but I’m not. Morning pages do get us to the other side: the other side of our fear, of our negativity, of our moods. Above all, they get us beyond our Censor. Beyond the reach of the Censor’s babble we find our own quiet center, the place where we hear the still, small voice that is at once our creator’s and our own.” (12)

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Run for the Hills

I haven’t had another subbing assignment since last Thursday…which is making me think that I should sign up for other school districts if I actually want to make some money at this. There is another school district in my town, as well as one about a 15-20 minute drive from here.

Also, I’m kind of nervous about getting any calls for middle school or high school. One part of me thinks they might be easier than grade school kids, but the other part of me is still dreading it. I’m wondering if I would be better off subbing only for grades K-6…but I’m thinking I should probably try a few of the higher levels just to see what it’s like.

And then ANOTHER part of me wants to run away and live in the mountains somewhere. I keep getting this trapped feeling. I am back living with my parents, I have all these bills to pay, and I am doing this job that is WAY out of my comfort zone. Run for the hills, my brain keeps telling me. Run! Wow, I really need to find a way to cope because I can’t really go anywhere right now, especially since literally running is out of the question. The most I can do is walk at a slow lope. I’m just thankful I’m not stooped over and limping like an old woman anymore! My chiropractor said that my disc, which was bulged, will always have that tear in it, but at least the bulge is moving back where it belongs, which is OFF of my sciatic nerve.

But seriously, there are these moments when I want to move far away so badly and make a new life for myself. But I am here right now, and I have to make the best of it.

Wow…this post took an unexpected turn. But it’s the truth. This is how I am feeling in my most raw, unguarded moments.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Just because...

Some days we all need a little encouragement, whether from ourselves or another person...

Friday, September 3, 2010

Advice from a Pro

A lady from my church sent me a message yesterday regarding successful substitute teaching. Her daughter, Emma, was in the class I taught. Just thought I would share it.

Hey Emily,

Heard you had Emma's class...she said they were crazy. Here are a few things I have learned. Use them if you wish, disregard them if you wish.

1. Remember YOU are the sheriff, the top dog, the big cheese, the commander of the ship. If they smell fear, not good. Use your confidence to your benefit. YOU ARE NOT....NOT...NOT THEIR FRIEND.

2. Be stern until you get the lay of the land...they have to earn "Nice Miss Wieser". Usually that doesn't happen your first time in the classroom. If you show them nice too early, they'll take advantage. If things go smoothly, they will look forward to your next visit and then you can be more yourself.

3. These are my three classroom rules, which I recite first thing in the morning for grade school classes. First, they don't talk when I'm all. Second, I don't speak to students who are out of their exceptions. If they get out of their seats and try to approach me, I look at them and say, "I don't speak to students who are out of their seats." When I tell them this rule, I ask a student to raise his hand and I walk immediately to his desk and address his concerns. They like the teacher coming to them and knowing nobody else can interrupt their time. Finally, do what you're asked to do when you're asked to do it.

Surprisingly, those three rules pretty much calm the class. The kids like the structure. Sometimes I have to prompt them by correcting an infraction, "Wait, the rule is you don't talk when...________?"

4. Before you ask for a student to respond to your question say, "Raise your hand if you can tell me....." Raising your own hand when you say it reinforces the desired behavior.

I don't use bribery ("If you guys are really good, I'll take you outside for extra recess.") I use rewards..."You have behaved so well, I'm going to leave a special note for your teacher and I'm going to read you an extra story."

For little bitties K and 1st, I've sometimes taken in a wrapped up book. I set it somewhere that they can see it. When their curiosity leads them to ask about it, I mention in an offhand way that it is just a little something extra for the afternoon...if we get all of our work done.

If you end up at the high school, make sure you let them know that even if they know you as Abbie or Isaac's sister, in the classroom, you are Miss Wieser.

Hope you find this helpful. Most of this I learned in classroom management class or during my student teaching, but some of it is from being in the trenches. If you're fair and not wishy-washy, they'll give you a fair shake. Don't be afraid to remove a troublemaker if you've warned them.


Thursday, September 2, 2010



After I came home and took an ice cold shower, I collapsed onto my bed and eventually slept for several hours.

I never thought that 24 third graders could tire me out SO MUCH. Wow. It was a crazy day, and I feel like I made a lot mistakes….but on the bright side, at least I will know what to do next time.

A few things to keep in mind for next time:

1) Find out who the teacher’s helpers are, and use them. The teacher I subbed for today assigns these helpers weekly, and I could have asked them to help me hand out and collect papers. But I didn’t.

2) Make sure students do not get out of their desks to ask me a question. I did not realize how important this was until today. I had kids coming up from left and right and behind, asking all sorts of questions.

3) Put my foot down, and don’t let one student do something that I can’t let every student do. When several students finished a worksheet, I let them put together a puzzle at their desk. Then, another student wanted to play with a puzzle when she was finished, but by that time there was not enough time for that and I needed the children to have their desks clear for the next activity.

4) No drinks at the desks. One girl spilled her water on her Math sheet and wanted a new math sheet, but there weren’t any extras. Thankfully, I was able to get her to finish it around the wet spots.

5) Make use of the teacher’s reward systems. I definitely should have done this right at the beginning, and also, I should have let them know what my own rules were as a sub.

6) I really had trouble getting the whole group to stay quiet all at once. I need to figure that one out…

Savannah, student of the week, was given the responsibility to help me and answer any questions I had. She was my go-to student of the day. The thing is, I didn’t know this until a couple hours into class time when the kids were starting to get chaotic. Anyway, she was a big help, but I could tell she was starting to look sad/annoyed when the kids weren’t listening to me and when I wasn’t able to get their attention.

In the afternoon, I employed the clapping trick I learned at the training program I went to yesterday. I started clapping in different patterns, and to my surprise, several students joined in. Then the whole class joined, clapping along with me. This worked to get everyone paying attention to me as well as bring them back to their desks. Savannah had the biggest grin on her face. Ha, I felt like I was finally doing something right. And this was right before a teacher stopped in, so they were all relatively quiet. I have to say, seeing that smile on Savannah’s face was the highlight of my day, and it made me realize how important it is for the teacher to be in control. If the teacher can have that control over their students, whether they like it or not, it makes the majority of the students feel safe.