Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Teacher Appreciation Week, As Holidays Go; One of the BIG Three!

Greetings to you my fellow BETs!

Every year, we have a little thing called Teacher Appreciation Week.  I honestly don’t remember when this is exactly, but I know it is near the end of the school year.  At times, it feels like a made up holiday week to keep us going for the final push to get us to the end of school.  Saying that out loud, it may very well be.
Teacher Appreciation Week Lunch-Day One

Regardless, the sentiment is appreciated by all teachers, of that, I am sure.  The principals often have treats for us during the day and at least one lunch is provided during the week.  These are nice extras, but totally unnecessary at my school, I believe.  Let me share why I feel this way.

Our principal is an amazing man.  He juggles the many facets of his job and is still able to keep everything running smoothly.  In the midst of this, he is wonderful at letting his staff know that they are appreciated on a pretty consistent basis.  He is truly a great manager, and this is high praise, as I have worked for some really great ones! (One of whom I referred to frequently as a prophet!)

My students are also amazing.  They provide all the encouragement I need on a daily basis, just by being themselves.  Yes, it is nice that they are asked to write us little notes during Teacher Appreciation Week.  Yes, I like to read lines like, “I like Mr. Ringenberg because he is chill!”, or, “Thanks Mr. Ringenberg for being such an awesome teacher and letting us eat candy in your room.”  Although those sentiments don’t necessarily translate to “Thanks Mr. Ringenberg for imparting your knowledge all up in this place!”, they do remind me that I am appreciated by my students, and what more could I ask?

My point is, that my students and principals don’t need to set aside a specific week to let me know I am appreciated.  I know this by the 2 minute conversation I have with my boss that tells me he is aware of what I am trying to accomplish in my classroom, and he is there if I need his help.  I know this when one of my students comes up and says “Are you okay?” and asks me what’s on my mind.  I know this because, at my school, we are all in this together, and we have each others back…student, staff, and teacher.

So, in closing, thank you for the recognition, it is appreciated, but unnecessary.  And, feel free to continue to provide lunch and treats for us!  I will not be accused of looking any gift horses in the mouth!

Remember, if you like what you are reading, don’t forget to follow me on Networked Blogs, or Google Plus, or subscribe on the top right, and recommend posts at the bottom of each post using Google Plus, Twitter and Facebook etc.  Thanks again for reading!

Monday, July 11, 2016

Glazed and Infused Bakery-Alright, alright, alright!

Greetings to you my fellow BETs!

Normally, I don’t post things such as what you are about to see on my blog.  I used to have an outlet for my cooking and restaurant fantasies, but alas, Examiner.com has taken down the “Open” sign and closed up shop.  So, this may be my only way to get this important food information to my massive worldwide audience! 

For those of you who have followed my food writing, you know that I love to cook and eat, and I love to find new places to eat with my family on our little non-nom-cations. (See what I did there?)  Usually, you will find these places featured on the Food Network, which is how we select our destinations.

A couple weekends ago, Grant (my son) and I headed to Chicago to seek out a few of these hidden gems.  I will eventually post about all of them, but today I want to share with you a special bakery.  This special little corner of heaven is known as, Glazed and Infused.  Obviously this is a nod to a film from 1993 called Dazed and Confused starring (alright, alright, alright…) Matthew McConaughey.  Other than a bit of a hippie/stoner vibe from some of the employees, that is where the similarities end.

Yes. that is a whole piece of hickory smoked, thick cut, sugar cured bacon on top of the Long John!
My words can’t do the deliciousness of their offerings justice, so I hope you will enjoy the pictures I share.  The flavors were amazing and the quality of the doughnut was just outstanding.  Sometimes at places like this, they try to remake the classics somehow.  They might make them bigger, they might use a different dough recipe, and usually these small tweaks are noticeable in a big and sometimes, harmful to the experience kind of way.  That is the beauty of Glazed and Infused.  They don’t try to change anything, necessarily; they just try to make it better.  Which they have done gloriously!

The donuts here are a bit on the pricey side.  Maybe not if you live in Chicago, but when you are used to paying a buck for a doughnut, three dollars may seem a bit excessive.  Don’t be fooled though; you get at least three bucks worth of love and enjoyment with every mouthful. 

So, next time you are in the Windy City, look up Glazed and Infused.  It’s easy to find and worth every penny.  But make sure to bring a big appetite and prepare to spend a little cash.  You will probably want to bring some home to your friends.  Best put them in the truck for the ride home so they will make it there intact.

Remember, if you like what you are reading, don’t forget to follow me on Networked Blogs, or Google Plus, or subscribe on the top right, and recommend posts at the bottom of each post using Google Plus, Twitter and Facebook etc.  Thanks again for reading!

Saturday, July 9, 2016

The Essentials of Spooning

Greetings to you my fellow BETs!

This morning my wife greeted me with a very simple question.  While handing me a large wooden spoon she said, “Do you want to open the window?”  Now, to many people, that may seem like a strange bit of theater.  To us, after thirty-one years of marriage, it makes all the sense in the world.  We’ll get back to why in just a bit.

Many things about marriage are confusing for men at first.  I remember being newly married and how jealous I would get if Brenda even talked to another man.  I remember not understanding her desire to just be in the same room as me doing nothing.  I also remember not understanding the protocol for towel folding vs. towel hanging in the bathroom.  I must admit, that last one still has me a bit confused.

Love is an amazing thing.  I think many of us have this romantic view of love early on in our relationships that looks more like a Disney or Pixar movie.  The gentleman and the fair lady meeting after first seeing each other from afar.  The expectation that the image in their minds would match the reality of who they would encounter as their hands first touched, eyes locked, and lips met.  In the movies, this meeting usually goes exactly as planned; They fall in love and live happily ever after.

Don’t get me wrong, Brenda and I, I believe, are living our happily ever after.  But it looks a little different than in the movies.  It involves things like making Rice Crispy Treats together and working together to get all (Read some) of the dog hair out of the living room. Or maybe even the situation I referred to in my opening paragraph.

Our house has many windows that work seamlessly.  They are the kind that when you open them, they stay at whatever level you opened them to.  Except, for the one window that we have to open to get a breeze going in our little house.  This one requires a large wooden spoon to be propped in the window well to hold it open for maximum breezification; Ahhhh! The wooden spoon!

Our life together has been a wonderful ride.  There have been ups and downs, triumphs and disappointments, happiness and pain.  Our love has carried us through it all.  But not the romantic, kissy-kissy, always happy to look you in the eyes kind of love.  It has been the kind of love that grows just by sharing space with a person.  The love that understands that the question you may have just been asked, has come at the culmination of a conversation that your spouse has had solely in their own head.  The love that comes only from years of taking that spoon and propping up the window…no questions asked…or needed.

Remember, if you like what you are reading, don’t forget to follow me on Networked Blogs, or Google Plus, or subscribe on the top right, and recommend posts at the bottom of each post using Google Plus, Twitter and Facebook etc.  Thanks again for reading!

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

The Impact of Being World Famous!

Greetings to you my fellow BETs!

Last week, the world lost a great one.  Bob Pickell, a music teacher here in Plymouth Indiana for 38 years, passed away unexpectedly, and to the great shock of his family and this community.  Bob was my friend, and although we were not close, I truly respected his talents and his connectedness with this community. He, along with his great impact on lives, will be greatly missed…This cannot be stressed enough.

Some may question my opening statement of “the world” losing a great one.  I challenge you to think it through for yourself.  I have preached for about twelve years now that people should “act as if you are World Famous.”  I’ve asked my students and several audiences over the years to imagine how they would act differently if they were indeed, World Famous.

The only caveat I add to this is that when I say world, I mean YOUR world.  Where is it you have a sphere of influence?  That is your world.  Be World Famous!  Bob was.

I had an awesome choir teacher in high school; Ed Eby.  He was an older teacher when I came into his class, but he was dynamic.  He made us work to become better singers, but also to make us better people.  I bet over the years, I have shared a story about Mr. Eby to at least a hundred people.  I bet you all have had a teacher like this as well.  Someone who reached you in a way that you needed to tell the world.

So, let’s do Bob’s numbers:

38 years teaching X 500 Students per year(Probably low)                            19000

Let’s say that half of those, 9500, talk about him at home at least once
add 3 people at home X 9500                                                                             28500

Let’s also say half go to college and tell just 25 friends about him, so
9500 X 25                                                                                                             237,500

And let’s say just 20% of those tell 10 more friends
47500 X 10                                                                                                          475,000

Total:                                                                                                                    760,000

Remember, that’s just his school connections.  What about all of the other organizations he was involved with?  What about friendships and family connections?  How many stories about crazy Uncle Bob have been shared?  I would submit that the number above represents a small portion of his impact on the world; yes, the world!

So, 760,000 lives positively impacted.  Not bad for a mild mannered choir teacher from a town of 10,000 located in the middle of a very large cornfield!  I’d call that World Famous!

Well done, Bob.

Thursday, June 30, 2016

A Very Special Birthday

Greetings to you my fellow BETS!

I decided to change my opening greeting because I never know exactly when I am going to post, or when you all will get around to reading it.  So there we go.

Today is not my birthday, let's just get that  out of the way. A week or so ago, I made the comment that I have hundreds of stories about my kids at school that I want to share.  I believe I made the comment that they would be for “Another Day”.  Well, welcome to “Another Day”.  I won’t share all of them of course, just one for now.

Over the last two years, I have kind of kept myself at an arm’s length with my students as a whole.  Some kids of course, you connect with quickly, but for the most part I have tried to shield them from seeing the real me.  I’m not sure if this is for them, or if this is for me.  Maybe a bit of both.

This year, I discovered that I have a few “Birthday Buddies” here at school.  I’m not sure why, but this really got me excited.  I love the fact that I share my birthday with some of the kids!  So much fun to be had, now multiplied by the additional characters!

In learning this, I apparently made it clear as to when my birthday actually falls.  Now this could have been when I mentioned I had birthday buddies.  Or it may have been when a student asked me directly.  Or possibly it was when I would announce every day, two weeks prior to the date, how many shopping days were left until said event.  Anyway, it doesn’t really matter how they found out, but they did.

I was really touched when one of my students came to my room before her class with the bag of goodies you see in the picture.  If you can’t see it well, there is a chocolate bar wrapped in a Dementos wrapper, some truffles with wings added to resemble Golden Snitches, a bag with a Gryffindor tie on it, an awesome Prefect Badge, and a wonderful birthday card with Ron, Harry and Hermione on it.  Obviously she and I had shared our love for the Harry Potter series before this date.

What really got me though, was the time and thought that it took this student to put this together for me.  This was one very special moment for me this year.  A couple of other students also got me candy bars(my students know me), and I think I got a special Doughnut and Coffee in the morning as well.  I also got many, “It’s your birthday today, Mr. Ringenberg?  Happy Birthday!”, which of course was also cool.  But the Harry Potter Gift bag.  Did I ever do any of that for a teacher? No, of course not.  Heck I probably never even acknowledged my teachers’ birthdays.

My takeaway from this was that I need to be that thoughtful in preparing for my kids in the morning.  My lesson plans may not thrill them, and my homework won’t score points for me I am sure.  But maybe, if I plan on being truly present with all of my interactions with each of them, I can convey a measure of thoughtfulness, as my students do to me.  Let’s hope so, huh?

Remember, if you like what you are reading, don’t forget to follow me on Google Plus, subscribe on the top right, and recommend posts at the bottom of each post using Google Plus, Twitter and Facebook etc.  Thanks again for reading!