what you may not know about me… in my classroom. | olive june

what you may not know about me… in my classroom.

we have spent the last month at school focusing on poetry  and in my eight years of teaching middle school, i have never experienced anything quite like this month. there really aren't words to express what i have seen- but it has been the most powerful experience. students who don't care about school- are completely into the unit- they are all writing, creating, sharing in deep discussions, and exploring not only who they are as individuals, but more importantly, the importance of having tolerance and acceptance for all people in the process. 
over the course of this year, i hope to share more about me and my job as a teacher. i hope to share things that you may not know about me and i hope to share moments from my classroom with you all- it's such an important part of my life.
{and eighth graders have a way of making you take in the more important things in life} 

last week i had my students create a mini poster about something {positive or negative} that people probably do not know about them… they knew that people would see what they wrote, but that they would not know who wrote what {which is why they had to be typed}. i told them that i was going to hang their mini posters around the classroom for a gallery crawl. i had a vision for this activity- but what happened far exceeded my expectations. they all took the assignments so seriously, so maturely; showing so much respect for one another. we {including myself} all had tears in our eyes as we walked around the room {the honey trees playing in the background}. as young adults, i think they had an idea about the hardships and deep scars their peers were walking around with… however, they were all surprised by what they read. we had a discussion after and again, they were all so strong, mature, and encouraging to one another. we talked about always treating people kindly~ never actually knowing what they are really going through and the importance of never taking things in life for granted... to always be appreciative. 
it's really hard to describe the atmosphere and experience that day
but i was so proud of them all. 
sharing a few with you today:

anonymous 8th grade writings- 
what you may not know about me 
many were written about divorce… and were heartbreaking. 
- i used to have a little sister. 
- my grandparents are all gone- RIP. {my heart broke for this student- i know how much it hurts to lose people you really love and this student has the sweetest soul.}
- i have met the majority of my family once
- biggest fears - such as tornadoes, clowns, needles, stinkbugs, and getting lost in outer space
- i have so much energy - i don’t know what to do with it.
- i am a strong person.
- i feel pressured and hate to disappoint
- i might have an anxiety disorder.
- i was in foster care for three years
- i am scared of what people at school would think of me if i was me.
- you may not know that i want to be a model when i am older, but my peers degrade me and make me feel like i am imperfect and hated.
- home should be a happy place- not for me. {this is the first one i saw and hung upit completely broke my heart}
- i have many insecurities.
- i was adopted- i don't know who my real parents are.
- i tell them i am fine, but i am not fine.
- i am an atheist
- my house was haunted 
- i have been bullied this year in 8th grade. {:(}

*i love middle school students- they have the worst reputation imaginable- but give them a chance and they are so lovable- so creative- willing to explore possibilities and deep thoughts. i truly love them.*

note: these are students who attend a middle school located in an affluent/close-knit suburb of charlotte, north carolina. 

what you may not know about mrs. monaco: 

i almost walked away from teaching at the end of last year. 

and could not be happier that i didn't. 

God had other plans for me - and i know it was this year. 

it's been such a remarkable one so far- one i am so glad i was able to experience. last year i felt broken down and now i feel revived. i leave each day inspired and my heart feels happy again. 

something inside of me told me to keep going... 

the secret is there are so many things i hope to do in this one life- i am a dreamer and have a few 'dream jobs' … i was raised to always stay open-minded- to venture- and to always follow my heart. i refuse to restrict myself to one thing and believe strongly in taking risks. however, at this time in my life, this is exactly where i want to be - these kids make my soul happy and i adore teaching them. each day brings new adventure, laughter, and reflection. and right now- this is my 'dream job.' i believe the key is to have an open-mind and to take your life one year at a time always dreaming for the stars and always striving to become the best-version-of-yourself. <3

so thankful for a group of respectful, hard-working, and lovable students-
who inspire me every single day.

here are some photos i snapped yesterday around my classroom:

 do you do a 'what you may not know about me series…?

if so, i would love to follow you!

if not, are you holding something in that you have always wanted to tell people?

i believe that it can be liberating and healing to tell someone - 
even if it's one only person and even if they don't know it's you. 

ps: don't forget to join in this month's gratitude project link-up on the 29th {more info in the tab above} and in case you missed when i incorporated the project into my classroom - here it is! 
all are welcome!
feel free to use #simplylovegratitudeproject to inspire others - xo
linking up with sweet tawnya at all of life's little adventures and alycia at crazily normal today! 


  1. great prictures and i LOVE the mini poster !!

    1. thank you so much :) have a good day! thank you for stopping in today… xo

  2. these kids thoughts are amazing, so soul touching!

    1. thank you- they really are incredible and amazing souls! xo

  3. Oh my gosh I LOVEEEE This post and what an incredible activity!! I think it's so important to teach adolescents to write, writing is such an easy way to learn more about yourself! Some of the things they wrote took my breath away, I only wish I could have had a teacher as incredible as you in the eighth grade... I'm glad you didn't walk away from teaching, it is clearly your calling! If you don't mind I will probably share this post with my readers next Friday (just link to it) I share my five favorite posts every week on my blog. :)

    Also I would love to have you link up on the Saturday Spotlight, I love the stuff you write :) xo


    1. awe- thank you SO much!!! i would be beyond honored. your comment means so much to me - i would LOVE that. i am also very glad that i stayed- it's been life-changing and wonderful this year. thank you so very much again and i will def. check out the spotlight, too!! have a wonderful day and keep in touch! xo

  4. Wow, your students are so lucky to have you as a teacher - this was an amazing project to read about, thank you for sharing it with us. It's scary how hard life is for kids as young as eighth graders are. This reminded me of those 'Post Secret' books which I find utterly fascinating.

    1. Awe- thank you. I am so glad you enjoyed it and you are so right- it is like the Post Secret books- I love them as well. It's very scary. Such a powerful experience. Thank you so much for your kind comment and for stopping in… xo

  5. This is so beautiful & so inspiring. I'm currently in my Senior year of college, and started student teaching last week. It's so important to remember that each and every student needs to feel important and loved. It's easy to think that they're fine based on what we see on the outside. I want to be the person in their lives that cares enough about them to do activities just like this one.

    I would love to be able to do something like this with my fourth graders!

    1. Hi! Thank you so much and you def. should… best wishes with student teaching and I know you will be that person :)

  6. This is such a touching post! What a great project you did with your class. It was heartbreaking to read some of those posters. Your kids are lucky to have you!

    I love this peak into your classroom! I can tell you're a great teacher!

    1. Thank you, Jenna… it truly is so heartbreaking. I am the lucky one :) and thank you … loved your photos as well! Your comment is so sweet and means so much to me. xo