Howdy! I am Clay and the force behind – Making the Days Count.
“Don’t count the days, make the days count.” Muhammad Ali
I was born in North Carolina and traveled to Alabama, then Texas collecting brothers along the way. My mom and dad eventually settled in Sugar Land, Texas. My mom still lives in the house we grew up in. Every time I visit, I step back in time and I’m a little boy all over again. My two brothers still live close by and keep tabs on her. I moved away from home in ‘87, first to California, then back to north Texas for almost a year, and finally to the Midwest where I now live. I stay in touch with home, though I don’t visit as often as I would like, or probably should.
My wife, B, and I met in the summer of ’84 when she was working in a shoe store across from the restaurant where I worked that summer. We have been married since moving to the Midwest in ‘91. We have two children – W and O. W will be senior this fall and O will be in seventh grade – another year of living and working middle school kids. Then there is Ivy, a lively Brittany Spaniel who keeps us all on our toes and keeps us humble.
I teach middle school – eighth grade kids. I’ve been teaching as a second career after an early (and brief) mid-life crisis. 2015-16 will be my seventeenth year teaching kids, I’ve taught sixth and seventh grades and every CORE subject except math: English Language Arts, geography, world history, US History, and science. This coming year, I’ll be teaching a full load of US History for the first time in my career. I am excited to share my passion for the past, present, and future.
“The past is the cause of the present, and the present will be the cause of the future.” Abraham Lincoln, 16th President of the United States of America
I enjoy working with my students and MtDC.org came into being through the inspiration of my 09-10’ Language Arts class (thanks, guys). That group of kids will be in their first year in college this fall; that is hard to believe. How did they get older and while I stayed the same age! I have used MtDC as a way to show that ordinary events can be extraordinary opportunities to write and anyone and everyone has something about which to write, no matter how small an incident or consequence or how large an event.
I am only a middle school teacher by day, I am husband, father, son, neighbor, and the biggest kid my wife has. I enjoy following high school football (W is a senior this year), cooking, reading, writing, model railroading, and being outdoors. I am semi-active in Boy Scouts through my son’s scout troop and manage the troop’s website. Thanks for stopping in, please take time to explore and read Make the Days Count.
19 thoughts on “Who is this guy?”
What a great blog, Clay! I am impressed that it grew out of an assignment years ago, and you still have it growing strong. I always get exactly the same response from friends when they learn I taught middle school for more than 25 years. But it’s fun! Something about 12 and 13 year olds keeps you young! I spent most of my time in the sixth and seventh grades. And we all end up teaching everything, don’t we? I’m retired now but offer 100% encouragement and support to everyone still hard at work as educators. By the way, Olivia has a wonderful eye for photos! Great job to her! I hope you are relaxing and enjoying your time away. Best wishes, WG
Thank you. I look at myself in the mirror and I see a vibrant guy with a passion for teaching kids. When I see myself in photos, I wonder who is that fat guy with grey hair? At the beginning of the year I share the FedEx logo with my kids and remind them you can see what you want to see, what you are conditioned to see. I wrote about it in The Arrow and the Spoon. Sometimes I think I look like my mom and occasionally I think I resemble my dad. Regardless, the kids keep me young and moving forward. I keep sharing the comments with O and am encouraging her to get out and shoot some of the cottage flora. Thanks for stopping by and have a wonderful week!
Love the look of your blog and your free writing style. Glad to have crossed your path here.
Thank you – paths crossing is a result of taking chances, learning, and growing. Working to make EVERY DAY COUNT. Have a great day!
A transplant to the Midwest?? I knew I liked you, Clay 🙂
Love your blog! I’m a middle school teacher as well…aren’t they the best??? 🙂 Hope you are enjoying your summer!
Middle school is truly the best. When I meet other teachers and we share what level – i almost always get the eye-roll and thank you from other levels for picking middle school… i think it actually picked me. Summer is cruising and i am behind on my projects, especially my reading… but I am getting the rest and rejuvenation I need. Thank you for stopping and passing through, hope to see you again.
awesome self-portrait, Sir! 🙂 glad to meet you, I’m Mélanie from Toulouse, France, “old Europe”… my very best, have a sunny day and cheers! 🙂
thanks for stopping by – I’ve never been to to Toulouse only Paris, Nice, and Lyon… visited the Normandy coast a few times for a day trip and northeast towards Chateau-Thierry. would love to return and explore… but the world is a very large place and time (and money is limited)
Hi mr. Watkins!!! You are the best teacher ever!
Cade, thanks. Keep working hard and focusing on learning and doing your best – ALWAYS!
“…ordinary events can be extraordinary opportunities to write.”
Well said, Clay.
Thanks for stopping by today!
Nice to meet a fellow writer and dog lover!
Happy New Year!
thanks for stopping in – I am working on a bucket list, one that’s reasonable and realistic! thanks for stopping in, come back and visit and read about the adventures of Ivy! and others.
nice to meet you Clay! Nice picture and about page!
thanks for stopping by! I should add to my about page about how I write letters by hand – sometimes it’s scribble, scratch…. thanks for the reminder…
Hi Clay, just came across your blog and noticed you’re into model railroading. My father-in-law in Rockford, Il, just past and he was into model railroading as well. Is there a club or organization you could recommend that might be interested in purchasing his models? Thanks appreciate it. Ingrid
Thanks for stopping by… I collect trains and am into the hobby but I’m a late comer and am not well connected with the model railroad community – you might connect with a hobby shop in the area or in the western suburbs of Chicago – there are three who might be able to help – Des Plaines Hobbies, Grayland Station, or Al’s hobby Shop in Elmhurst. It also depends on the scale and era your father in-law was into, I had an old neighbor who was deep into the Chicago and North Western and had quite an extensive collection in HO. Clay
Thanks for the ideas. I’ll pass on to the rest of the family. Have a great day!