It is hard to believe that my third year in teaching is coming to its end. This was my first year at Merced High School, and I am thankful that it all worked out the way it did. This time last year, I was packing up my classroom because I was leaving El Capitan High- reluctantly. I didn't want to leave. I was sad to leave. I was bitter that other teachers were staying and I was going. I was pessimistic. But my heart is eternally optimistic, even when it is overshadowed by the pessimism. This time last year, I was contracted to teach at a continuation school. Summer began. I saw a job post for Merced High School. I applied on a whim. I was hired. I waited for move-in day. I moved in. The first day of school arrived. My daughter had a sky-rocket fever and I called in-- on the first day of school at a new school! It was my nightmare, come to life. But, the optimistic in me walked into school on the second day, and I met my 170+ students.
And now, I don't want the school year to end. My students are amazing. They are the reason I have more grey hairs then when I began. They are the reason I show up to work in the morning despite the pessimism drowning me because I am NOT a morning person-- I get up nonetheless, and I put on the upbeat music, and I dread arriving to work during the entire drive from Atwater to Merced, and some times I consider call in just for shits and giggles. But, I keep driving. I don't call in. I don't show my negative Nancy mood the second I step on campus. I see my students, waiting outside of my classroom, walking into my room, saying good morning and hello, and my mood transforms. I realize they are the reason I came to work today. Every single one of them are the reason. They drive me crazy. I tell them I love them just like you love family-- where you love them even when you don't like them. And it's the truth. I'll miss not seeing their faces every Monday through Friday.
Come August, a new batch of 170+ students will stroll in. And I'm sure I will love them just as much. How can a heart love so many peasants?
The time has come... in less than a week I will be in the classroom, meeting you all! I'm undoubtedly excited to meet every one of you. This will be my last blog post, since from here on our we can catch up in person.
In the last two weeks, I have been trying to rest and relax, which isn't easy for a teacher to do! I'm naturally hard-wired to work 25 hours a day (yes, I said 25 hours!). A couple of events happened: my daughter got her first shots and her ears pierced, we attended a friend's wedding, and a nephew had his baptism (it was a fiesta theme!). And, we went to the pumpkin patch again, but this time with my step-daughter, Hernan's daughter from a previous relationship. Her name is Kaylee, she's 8 years old, and she is the sweetest little girl and the best big sister to Mikaela! Take a look at a picture of her and Mikaela below!
Okay kiddos. Keeping this one short. Have to go finish reading Lord of the Flies to prepare for my sophomore class, considering I haven't read it since SOPHOMORE YEAR OF HIGH SCHOOL! (That was 2005-2006!) Thankfully I'm a fast reader. And it's an incredibly interesting plot... Sophomores, just wait until we get to the end of the novel!
See you on Tuesday, ya'll!
September has come and gone, and would you believe we are almost in the middle of OCTOBER?! I can't wrap my head around it. You have been in school for about TWO months now, which means it's crunch time! Grades are due this Friday for first quarter, you will soon begin second quarter, and before you know it, we will be on Thanksgiving break and Winter break to enjoy some cold weather.
You may have heard by now from Mr. Lang that I will not be returning quite yet. If you recall, I was set to return on October 3rd. Sadly, I wasn't able to do so because some unexpected health issues arose for me. If you have ever experienced a serious health issue, you know that it can be scary and stressful. Even when a family member or close friend experiences a serious health issue, it's stressful and scary, especially not knowing what the outcome will be. I'm happy to say that, so far, I am doing better. As a teacher and professional, I don't like disclosing every little detail of my life to my students. But, my way of connecting with you all is to share some aspects of my life (as you can probably tell from my blog), as I hope you will all share tidbits of your life with me. Perhaps one day I will share a tad bit more about this scare, but for now, please know I wish I was there with you already. Because of this chaos, my doctor extended my leave an additional month. That means I will be starting work on Tuesday, November 1st. And if all goes as planned, that will be the day we meet. (Finally, right?)
Meanwhile, in the past week/two, I've been going to doctor's appointments, and when we're feeling up to it, my family and I have been keeping busy with a couple events. We went to Mikaela's first MLB game (Dodgers vs. Giants) and her first pumpkin patch, we walked down Bear Creek, and we even attended a wedding. I'm trying to soak in spending as much time as I can with this little peanut because she grows up! No health issues are going stop me from enjoying this little girl. Perseverance, kiddos, perseverance. And drive. But mostly, love. That is what pushes me forward.
Okay. Now back to YOU guys. With the end of the first quarter approaching, I urge you all to aim for the best grades you can possibly achieve. If you kept up with work the entire quarter and your grades are good, keep it up and know that I am proud of you! Now, if you have a ways to go, don't give up. Never give up. The end is near but the end has not yet arrived. Study hard. Work hard. You're a Gaucho. You got this. And if you're up at this hour (12:09 a.m. Wednesday), finish up the last of your assignments (if you're doing homework) or close that YouTube channel, and get some rest. Grades are important, but sleep is vital.
Good Night, kiddos.
Gauchos! Hello again from your teacher Mrs. Valenzuela. I hope this blog finds you well. I will quickly update you with what I have been up to. It's quite a short list. I have been: feeding baby, changing baby, burping baby, bathing baby, stopping-a-crying baby. MY WORLD REVOLVES AROUND MIKAELA. Not much time to be Mrs. Valenzuela. I only exist as "MOM" right now. Luckily, my husband is taking time off (called "baby bonding") to be with us and help this busy momma. Who knew something so tiny could be so needy? But she's worth. I mean... LOOK AT THAT SMILE. (See third picture below.)
Mikaela is as healthy as can be. She can burp like a grown man. She has started to smile like a little ball of sunshine. She can sleep (almost) all throughout the night. And she is a Giants fan. (I'm praying they make the playoffs via wild card!) As for me, my health has been better. It's hard work recovering from a baby, and some unforeseen issues have occurred. On another note, Hernan and I celebrated our one year anniversary this Monday (September 26), and our little celebration was great. I hope one day we can reach our 50th, 75th year anniversary. It doesn't hurt to dream!
Last blog, I mentioned I would be attending an ECHS football game. Well, I went to my first two El Capitan football games these past two Fridays. Since my health is "meh" and Mikaela is still teeny, we left after halftime both games. But they were a blast! I had never been to any sort of high school football game in Merced. They were certainly different than little ol' Le Grand High School or Delhi High School football games. I deeply enjoyed the band playing throughout the game. To any of you on the band, great job! And of course, I loved that varsity beat Golden Valley on homecoming. I even saw one of you there, as one of you said hello to me. (To whoever you are, you will have to tell me your name on my first day at school!)
Okay, Gauchos. I'm off to put my baby Mikaela for a nap. Maybe Mrs. Valenzuela can fit in some Zzz's also.
It has now been about a month that you have all been in school. (Actually... it will be exactly a month tomorrow; whoa!) I hope you have enjoyed having Mr. Lang as your substitute. And, I know that you have a new sub now, and I hope you are all treating her well (which I am sure you are, because you seem like great students although I've only "met" you virtually!). Back to School Night was yesterday, and I hope you were all able to attend. Homecoming week is next week, and I encourage you freshmen to participate in as many activities and dress up days as possible; and sophomores, I hope you continue the school spirit in your second year as Gauchos. It kills me that I am not in the classroom with you all (especially during Homecoming!), but the time will come.
As for me, I have been spending time with my baby girl, who is now 6 weeks old. As I type this, she's laying in her baby bed smiling at who-knows-what (maybe dreaming about pooping?). This weekend, my husband and I were fighting over which onesie she was going to wear on Sunday-- her red and gold Niners onesie or her black and silver Raiders onesie. She ended up in red and gold this time. My husband claims she looks better in black and silver, but I beg to differ. When she's older, she will have to make a decision as to which team will be her favorite. Fingers crossed it will be the 49ers; can you just imagine if she ends up liking NEITHER?! I wouldn't be surprised if she ended up favoring another team-- Cowboys, Jets, or Rams. Hmmm. Time will tell.
I will (hopefully) be at the ECHS Varsity football game tomorrow, so if you recognize me from my photos, please feel free to say hi! I will be there with my mini-family, cheering on our Gauchos.
Oh, and lastly... to those reading Night by Elie Wiesel... This novel is actually one of my all-time favorite books. I read it for the first time two years ago, and it has made it to the top of my favorites. It's a tragic tale that Elie writes, but it's an important story to read and an important time in history to learn. My students last year (at Delhi High School, where I taught at prior to ECHS) were hooked on each page as they read about the difficult journey of Elie and his family. My fingers are crossed that you all enjoy reading this tragic memoir, as well.
Have a wonderful week, Gauchos. And we will meet soon.
Mrs. Valenzuela. Out.
Another week has gone by. I don't know about you kiddos, but it seems that this summer has gone by incredibly fast. I know for you it seems that summer is over and fall is here, but for me, as long as there is hot weather, it is summer. (Not to mention I haven't "started school," so it's a LONG summer for me!) And although I love summer, I am ready for this Merced heat to come to a close. I'm beyond ready for some cool weather, boots, and FOOTBALL. As I mentioned before, I'm a 49ers fan AND a big UCLA fan. I'm hoping to become a big ECHS football fan too! But, I can't lie... I will be heading to some Le Grand High School football games to see my goddaughter cheer. (And because that is where I went to high school! Some of you may have heard of Le Grand... I know ECHS has played them before for volleyball, football, and other sports during preseason/scrimmages.)
Another week down, another week closer to meeting you all. I read every single one of your letters where you introduced yourselves to me and Mr. Lang. I was incredibly entertained! Some of you were hilarious (with your smart-alecky writing)... some of you shared some very personal information that touched my heart (about your struggles or your family dynamics)... and some of you made me think Me too! (Like when I read that some of you are Niners fans, Giants fans, Blink-182 listeners, Mexican food eaters.) Reading your letters made me that much more excited to meet you. Nice job on your letters, kiddos. We have some work to do in terms of proper letter writing and grammar, but I know by the end of the school year, every one of you will have it down!
And another week for my baby girl. I know reading about babies might bore you guys. So this is where you can stop reading, or at least scroll down to the photos. Mikaela is 5 weeks old today! She's growing bigger by the day. She stays alert for longer periods of time now, and she has even started smiling (see photo below!). This little Gaucho is certainly growing.
Anddddd now... time for this mom to eat her Costco churro and take a nap while Mikaela still slumbers. See you soon, kiddos! Be good. Work hard. Remember, good habits start NOW. Start the school year off right!
Time is going by fast. Can you believe it will be September this upcoming week?! I haven't written a blog in quite a while, for the simple fact that my baby girl Mikaela has me wrapped around her finger and I'm as busy as can be with my little peanut. Mikaela will be one month old on the 31st-- which I can hardly believe! She's already changed so much in appearance and behavior. My husband, Mikaela, and I have been at home for the most part, but we have also gone out to dinner at Applebee's, and we even made a drive out to Arvin to visit my grandparents from my mother's side. (Extra points if you know where Arvin is! And no using Google maps....) I have about one month left of maternity leave. I hope time slows down a little with my baby girl, but I am also looking to meeting you all!
I hope you are all getting in the groove of the new school year-- especially you freshmen who are on a brand new campus. And sophomores-- it must feel great not to be at the bottom of the chain any more. I may be seeing some of you around at the football games, which I will be attending from time to time. If you see me, say hello! Let me know you are one of my students. Don't be a shy little clam. And of course, I hope you are all enjoying your time with Mr. Lang. Please be great students-- I haven't met you all but I undoubtedly believe that each of you have the ability to be a great student. Oh, and remember, good habits start from day one. Start doing your homework from the beginning of the school year! Don't slack. Don't fall behind. Do your work. Pay attention in class. Be respectful. Be Gauchos.
See you in about a month, kiddos!
Here are some photos of Mikaela in her first month.
I am officially a mom! My sweet little daughter was born. I'd like you all to meet my little peanut, Mikaela. You will soon notice that I'm going to raise her to be quite the fashionable little lady.
Name: Mikaela Valenzuela
Birthdate: July 31, 2016
Weight: 8 lbs, 8 oz.
Length: 21.5 inches
Click on the photos below to view them larger.
My Life in Photos
Our Wedding Video
I love sharing our wedding video. Hernan and I got married here in Merced on September 26, 2015-- just last year! Our wedding was absolutely perfect.
Facts About Mrs. Valenzuela
Name: Selenni Valenzuela (Mrs. Valenzuela to you!)