Tag Archives: learning

Growing Pains: Adjusting to the new year

3 Aug

Growing Pains Pic

After being an educator for many years we can sometimes get in a cynical space. We think we know everything there is to know about our professions, then we get a new administrator or a new group of students and suddenly we’re discombobulated, not because those folks are completely out of whack, but because they are different and do things in a way to which we are not accustomed. We feel uncomfortable and trapped in our own classrooms or buildings. These are the “Growing Pains.” At first it seems like a hindrance, what we’re doing is no longer working, it’s no longer changing student behavior, it’s no longer moving the needle on your scores, it’s no longer part of the changing culture of your campus. In actuality these situations are opportunities to learn innovative ways of doing things and to better ourselves. Similar to the feelings in childhood when your body is pained from its growth and change, we tolerate the pain because we know that on the other side is a stronger, better person. Here are some tips to reduce your “Growing Pains”:

  1. Seek clarity – If you don’t understand a change, ask targeted questions about it, not to poke holes in its perceived necessity, but to truly try and gain an understanding of the purpose.
  2. Adjust softly – Take a step back and allow the change to happen, you may grow to love the new ways. Pick your battles.
  3. Focus on building relationships– When we take a deeper interest in our co-workers and students we can get a deeper understanding of not just what they are doing but why, we can better understand their perspective and as a result communicate more successfully to make sure that the transition and growth benefits everyone involved.

If you are experiencing “Growing Pains,” stay confident that once you reach the other side of that obstacle you will find that you have grown, professionally and emotionally. Seek to understand the purpose of certain changes, find a piece of it that you believe in, grab it and run with it. You got this!

Toshila Darjean



Funny Things Kids Say #2: Dollars and Sense

17 Sep

Dollars and Sense

Recently, as I was shopping in teacher heaven, also known as a dollar store, I witnessed a thought-provoking exchange between a mother and son. The young boy who could not have been much older than 4 years was bent over studying the toys intently. Already the boy had one in his hand when he reached out and grabbed another at which point mom intervened.

Mom:  Son, you only get to choose one toy.

The little guy stood up, looked at her, threw his hands up in an expression of utter confusion and disbelief and said,

Son:    Geeze mom, it’s just a dollar…

I fought hard to hold in my laughter and pretend as if I was not paying much attention. Mom looked around, a bit embarrassed, before gathering her son and getting him up to the register. I didn’t see whether or not she relented and allowed two toys or stuck to her guns and allowed only one.

While I use that very same line on myself time after time in the dollar store as an excuse to purchase more stuff than I need or know what to do with, money, its value and what it takes to earn it is something we have to begin teaching our children from the age that they begin understanding the concept of money even in the vaguest of ways.

Find ways to allow your children to earn money whether it be with daily chores or special odd jobs around the house and pay them accordingly. When you go out to stores and different places, make them spend their own money on things that they want. Soon they will begin to value money and start understanding and comparing their time and amount of work that they do to the prices of items available for purchase and you will be amazed as you watch them begin to understand the value of a dollar, hard work and how the two are closely related.

I can’t tell you the amount of joy I feel when I see the pride that my children have when they go to the store, pick out something that they want and pay for it with their own money. Ironically, I feel the same amount of joy when we go to the store and they pick up an item that they want, look at the price and put it back with the note, “It’s too expensive; I can’t afford it.” It lets me know that I am raising responsible children who will grow into adults with the tools to function financially.

Toshila Darjean

When we align, the stars will shine



Welcome to 5 Star Student!

16 Aug

Kids holding hands

Welcome to 5 Star Student! My name is Toshila Darjean and I decided to start this blog in order share my experiences as an educator and as a mother in hopes that I can create a forum in which the sharing of my ideas, knowledge and experiences may be of assistance to parents, teachers and others for the benefit of our children.

The name 5 Star Student holds significance because I agree with modern educational standards that suggest that children need the positive influence and encouragement of parents, themselves, administrators, teachers and the community in order to become well-rounded, productive adults that have the ability to contribute back to society. Each of the 5 components is essential to our children’s success not only in school, but also in life.

Come back and check out my weekly posts and share your ideas and thoughts as well!

Toshila Darjean