stuff

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

"Maestra, my mom and I are worried about you."


This is the phrase my day started with yesterday. One of my lovelies came up to me and said that to me before the morning bell rang. My stomach dropped a little bit and I thought, "How in the world does gossip get around in this town when I don't even live here?!"


She looked at me with a mock-serious look on her face and said, "Well, tomorrow is crazy sock day and we are concerned because you wear mismatched socks EVERYDAY! What are you going to do tomorrow??? Suggestion...I think you should wear MATCHING socks tomorrow." (What bright little goobers I have :))


I told my pricipal about this conversation and she said, "Don't you dare wear matching socks tomorrow! I've been telling people about you and your mismatched socks. I think the reasons you do it are quite entertaining!" As she was saying this the assistant principal walked up and said, "Yeah! I am thinking that you have the right idea! I might do it too!"


What a trendsetter I am! :) Just kidding.


Note: The reason I don't wear matching socks is because I HATE having to match my socks when they come out of the dryer. It is SO much easier to throw them all into one (wicked cute polka-dot!) bin and just grab two in the morning. Plus, how annoying is it when one of your favorite socks gets a hole in it and you have to throw them both away?! Now, I never have to do that and I never have to worry about losing the mates to my socks!

"It's a Twister Auntie Em!"

Whew! Yesterday was interesting. We have had a slew of storms out here with raging winds. Yesterday, before school, a message was sent out saying that we were under a tornado watch until 11:00 am and to review procedures in case of a warning. Well...at 10:50 we had to "man our stations". The spot for my classroom is the boys bathroom on the first floor. Oh my. My students don't understand that PEOPLE PEE ON THE FLOOR AND DON'T ALWAYS MAKE IT IN THE URINAL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! They were putting their faces on the floor, on the urinal, and hanging onto the edge of the urinal. I really wanted to spray them down with Lysol after that, but figured that would be frowned upon. :)

Thursday, October 21, 2010

TGIFB! (Thank Goodness It's Fall Break!)

I am in total need of this fall break. I spent today at school because I was already in Goshen to get my hair done (which hasn't happened since before school started on August 13th.). As I explained to people who asked WHY I was going into school on my (much needed) break, my corner threw up and I needed to clean up the mess. This is why...

I have made it through my first parent/student/teacher conferences. WHEW!! It was very interesting. Thursday was amazing and went super smoothly. Tuesday, however, was busier, fuller, and had most of my "We need to talk" students. The one I was freaked about the most went super smooth.

I am surprised at how having my own classroom has affected my sleep this year. Last year I would have been the first one to tell you about how I could fall asleep, not remember any of my dreams and stay that way for 15 hours or so. U G H!!!!! Not this year. Since the day school started I have been sleeping HORRIBLY. I have no trouble falling asleep, but it's the hallucinations and sleep walking that are driving me nuts!!!!! I have at least 2-3 dreams A NIGHT that consist of me dreaming about something about school. I have been getting out of bed, walking around my room, searching for things that aren't there and getting dressed. I thought it was simply the stress of teaching, but it has been happening for OVER 10 WEEKS! I thought it was "normal" but it turns out, it's not. I went for my annual doctor's appointment today and he said that if this continues he wants me to see a sleep specialist. Who...ME?!?!?! You've got to be kidding me! I am the person who can sleep for 18 hours at a time and can fall asleep at a moments notice. I'm a bit weirded out.

Sorry it's been so long since my last post, but it was time for conferences. Those of you who teach can understand completely.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

I Heart Them

Ok. Today, my poor students were feeling very much like I was yesterday. I think I had 3 or 4 students cry and I didn't even give them anything to cry about! When I came back from PD this morning it was time for chess. My students were very excited about it, but I could tell that everyone was a bit stressed. I could hear an undercurrent of bickering in the room and some of the kids had taken to yelling at their partners. Oy.

Sooooo...we made it through chess (thank God) and went to lunch. I made it through lunch (thank God...seriously) and went out for recess where another one of my students was crying. Lordy Lordy. So, after recess we had community time. It was much needed. I told my kids to just start telling me all of the feelings that they had had this week. They said things like sad, angry/mad, jealous, stressed, nervous, happy, tired...etc. I asked them to give reasons they felt that way and more than half of them said that they were sick of having guest teachers. I feel their pain. Today marked their third guest teacher in four days. Poor babies.

It was very sad and sobering to hear them talk about their feelings. One little girl said that she was sad because she missed her dad because he doesn't live at home anymore. As she is saying this and getting even sadder, the little Hispanic boy beside her leans over, rubs her shoulder gently and says, "That's hard. My dad doesn't live at home either. I'm sorry." OMG! What a great, gentle and loving bunch of students I have. We have put a few more bricks into the foundation of our community today.

I heart them.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Prettier not Shi**ier

My new mantra for my classroom is, "I need to do fewer things prettier instead of more things shi**ier." My mom said that my meltdowns are right on schedule. Meltdown #1; August 13, 2010. Meltdown #2; October 5, 2010.

The subject today was, "I'm sick of feeling like my best isn't good enough." The analogy that I used today was, "I feel like I am hovering above a treadmill and just when I think it is ok to put my feet down and jump on, someone changes the speed and I'm lost again." I drove home from school in order to get to a doctors appointment, but had to go to a home visit first. Therefore, I was running about 10-15 minutes late. So, I tried to be the nice person and call ahead but when I did they told me that if I wasn't going to get there by ______ time that I needed to reschedule. I had to reschedule. That wasn't the problem. The problem is that I have PLENTY to do at school that I could have stayed and worked on instead of coming home.

I guess that was a blessing in disguise. I had a gut-wrenching, mascara-ruining, almost-dad-waking meltdown in my mom's kitchen which has lead to a night of nothing. I am going to put the sub plans that I have not done yet (for tomorrow) out of my mind and quit life for the evening. If only my school corporation had voted balanced calendar into effect...I could have been looking forward to a three week break starting on Friday. Do you smell what I am stepping in????

I am signing off now and spending the rest of the night creating...with this...Photo courtesy of Herrschners.com
Wonder who I'm going to make a scarf for this time.......?

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

PUMP-kins

Too funny today! I gave a group of students a book called "Halloween" during guided reading yesterday to read for homework. One of my students (a wicked Hispanic cutie) had trouble saying the word "pumpkin". She said what some kids do; "PUN-kin". I had the group look carefully at the word and repeat it after me. She was laughing while trying to do it because it felt funny to her. I explained that she wasn't reading the whole word or saying all of the sounds in it. She got it then. :) She came up to me this morning and said, "I practiced last night, maestra! I can say PUMP-kin now!" She was very proud of herself and I am proud of her determination to say it correctly, too!


Now on to REALLY important things...SHOES! I bought a new pair of shoes today at Woldruff's Footware.  They are sexy Dansko clogs.  I got the inspiration from one of my fellow teachers who just bought them the other day.  I left school to go get them and hers was the first room I visited when I got back to tell her that I copied her.  They are hott!  (Yes, I meant to write 2 "t's".)  Here is a photo for your viewing pleasure.

NOTE:  I am thinking that I did my citing correctly.  If I did not, please leave me a KIND message and let me know what I should have done differently.  Thanks! 

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Are We There Yet?

It's only Wednesday, isn't it?! Sorry about the slacking last week! This week has gone well at school. I had professional development last week on Thursday and had to leave early on Friday, which meant that I didn't get much done those days. I decided to come in on Sunday and ended up planning my entire week and staying 6 hours. That helped a TON! However, I can't do that every weekend. I need some time away from this place, you know?!

So, I arrived home last Thursday to find an envelope addressed to me on the counter. As I picked it up I thought to myself, "This is a nice envelope! It feels like the ones I sent my resume in." Then...I saw the name of the law firm in the corner. My stomach dropped and I did a quick inventory of any lawsuits filed against me...there were none. So, I decided to be brave and open it. THAT was a mistake. I started reading and got as far as, "You have been subpoenaed to appear at a deposition on October 4th at 10:00 am..." I started bawling. All I could think was that I had to miss ANOTHER DAY away from my students. I have already been out of my classroom during instructional time for 17 hours this year.

Let's just say that I ran pretty hard that night.

I feel a little more sane this week. I told my students that when they get too loud I didn't want to have to yell to get their attention back. I want my voice to be used for learning, not yelling. So.........I have started keeping my recess whistle on my all the time. :) I give it a little toot when they get out of control to bring them back so that I don't have to yell. It's worked pretty well so far! I told them that my goal was to not have to use it by Christmas. HA!

Let's hope Friday comes quickly! Plus, now that I have found out that I can write here at school (AFTER SCHOOL HOURS ONLY!!!!) I will update more often. Happy Wednesday!

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Can You Pass The Tissues?

Oh what a week, what a week. I know that most teachers feel the same way I do, but I've got to get it out! My school is working on implementing learning goals in place of grades and a couple Wednesdays a month every team gets to meet for 3 uninterrupted hours. Some of those hours are filled with information for us and things that we are working on while the other hours are spent meeting as a team. This is done so that we don't have to meet after school. They are greatly informative but there is so much handed down to us to take in that I regularly get overwhelmed.

Our principal was walking around and visiting each table group that morning and when she got to my table was the point where my overwhelmed brain decided to let my eyes leak. When I am tense or overwhelmed it tends to come out in tears. I'm fine, but I need to let it out. The man on our team (Princess) looked at me and said, "You're doing on the outside what I am feeling on the inside." My team is super supportive and amazing. God has done some wonderful things this year and has placed some spectacular people in my life.

I told Spaceballs today that I think I need to have a sign strung around my neck (like they did in 28 Days with Sandra Bullock which was about rehab) that says "I need to remember to ask for help instead of trying to do it on my own." She laughed and said I was right. It's not that I don't need help. The thing is ASKING. I love help. I relish help. I just forget that I CAN ask for it. I'm allowed to need help. What a revelation, huh??

Thursday, September 2, 2010

The Honeymoon's Over

What a week, what a week. My students have been nutso this week. Let's start at the beginning...MONDAY: I woke up on Monday with a wicked bad head cold. I could barely breathe and felt awful. (Puffs Plus with Vicks tissues are AMAZING!) I managed to make it through the day, but the kids could tell I didn't feel well no matter how hard I tried.

TUESDAY: Things started to loosen up on Tuesday, but I still wasn't 100 percent. This was the day that my students forgot how to listen. (They totally reverted back to first graders.) I had to take a time out and repeat "If you cry in front of them you will never live it down." I was thisclose to having a freak-out on my class. I managed to make it through, but it wasn't pretty. I told my boyfriend about my day and he said, "Well, your 13th day can't be any worse than MY 13th day. 9/11 was my 13th day during my first year." That helped.

WEDNESDAY: I felt better this day, but my students were even MORE rowdy. Ugh! I had to make them back up and said "You're popping my bubble." They LOVE to be at my elbow all day and I know that I have to get used to it at this point in the year. We are beginning a chess program this year for our second and third graders and all the classroom teachers had to attend a webinar for 2 hours. Yeeeeeaaaaahhhhh...I'm keeping it mum. I made a really good to-do list, though!

THURSDAY: I sent my first student to the office today. He has been hitting other students at least once a day. I sat down with him to discuss it and gave him two options. Either he could fill out a social contract with me or he could go to the office and discuss what was happening because this was happening every day. Well, he rolled his eyes at me and said "Whatever", which was when I told him that he just made his decision and he was going to the office. I kept my cool with him, but was ready to flip my lid. I feel like the most awful and incapable teacher in the world because I couldn't deal with it in my own room. Tomorrow is a brand-new day and I make it positive or negative.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

You've Got To Be Kidding Me!

This has been a long week. I had to write my first classroom teacher sub plans for Wednesday morning. They were about 5 pages long for 3 hours of class coverage! However, the problem was that I spent so much time worrying about my sub plans that I neglected my OWN planning. THAT made for a fun afternoon. I felt like the worst teacher in the world until Chicklets took me by the shoulders and said, "Your first year is not for you to succeed. It's for you to learn. You will make a lot of mistakes and that's ok as long as you learn from them." (Or something close to that...it's not an exact quote.) I felt better after that.

Today was a lot better because I spent a long time making sure that I knew what we were going to talk about and do and when. My students were amazing. We had a fire drill today and they were one of the only classes walking quickly, silently and using self-control! They were awesome! They have gotten MANY compliments from teachers and administrators in the hallway. Yay!

After a great day, I had to rush home for an appointment. It felt weird to know that I didn't have to go to bed an hour after I got home. I was excited! And then.........I walked into my bedroom to find that my cat had HAIR-BALLED on my white comforter, my sheets, through to my mattress pad and my DS! Mom got a fun phone-call at that point (i.e. tears). It's a good thing that I love her because she very possibly could have mysteriously disappeared. Just kidding. Let's hope that my third Friday will be as awesome as today.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

I'm Watching You

One of my students is so funny! Yesterday he gave both Spaceballs and me the "I'm watching you" fingers (point at his eyes, point at us), with a GLARE! She told him to stop goofing off in my line and I asked him (yet again) to be quiet. I could barely keep a straight face!

This has been an interesting week. I will have my first guest teacher tomorrow morning, which meant that I had to write my first classroom sub lesson plans. I've been freaking over them because I didn't want to leave anything out, but I feel like I am still missing something! Ugh. My guest teacher will be there from 8:00 until 11:00 and my sub plans are 5 pages long. I don't have a guest teacher by choice. One of the things that my school is doing this year is 2 Wednesdays a month every classroom teacher in the building gets a sub so that teams can meet uninterrupted for 3 hours. (7:30-11:00 and 11:00-3:30 I think.) I like this idea because I have so many questions for my team and we are able to meet for an extended period of time without having to stay after school. (Although I am usually there until 6:00 or later.) Should be fun!

I found out today that I have a volunteer in my room every day! Psyched!! :) She is 87 years old and a real fire-cracker. It's awesome that I have her in my room because she is fluent in Spanish and is able to give better translations than I can. She is ON TOP of things! It was amazing how much smoother things went today simply by having an extra body in the room.

A struggle that I will be thinking of in the coming days: What do I do with my behavior problems short of pulling my hair out? Kidding about the hair, but I have some great kids who need some assistance. A topic to bring up tomorrow?? We shall see.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Deodorant

It has been an interesting, tiring and trying two days. I have a student who CONSTANTLY has to have the last word. I will ask the students to quietly put their things away and he will loudly and emphatically respond "OK, Miss D-M!" or "You GOT it, Miss D-M!" or "Of COURSE, Miss D-M!" Oh my gosh!

He is an extremely quirky and well spoken boy (and constantly speaking!) He tells me a different story every day. Today, the story happened to go like this: "Miss D-M, do you remember me telling you that I have a very strong sense of smell and that it is very sensitive?" I said, "Of course I do. Why do you ask?" "Well," he responded, "I can smell your deodorant. Don't get me wrong! It smells nice. I just wanted you to know that I could smell it." I had to stifle a laugh while I replied "Well, thanks for the compliment!" If only I could convince him to write the way he speaks!

I got the nicest compliment yesterday! Our second grade interventionist, The Donald, was in my room in the afternoon while we were doing our math and for a bit of free time. She said, "I just want to let you know that your classroom management seems to be working really well. Your students are under control and understand the directions and options that you give them" I was so surprised! I gasped, "Really?! I thought they were a little nuts this afternoon!" "Oh no," she said. "Your class looks great, especially being only the first week of school." I hugged her in the middle of my classroom! I had a great example set for me in student teaching, with my partner teacher at the beginning of last year, and in some of my friends' rooms at my former school.

I think this year is off to a great and interesting start!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Apples for la maestra.

The last two days have gone pretty well. I am not quite as exhausted as I thought I was going to be. However, I have been dragging my tushie out of bed at 4:30 am each day so that I can get to school early and make sure that I am ready for my day and to try to get ahead a little bit. I have started training for a 10k on top of my first year in a classroom. Am I CRAZY?? I have been pulling 12 hour days at school and then coming home and running around 2 miles a night.

Things have been going well in my room. My students are so stinking funny! I have a little one who draws monster-truck helicopters on everything. I have another one who can't sit still. He keeps falling off of his chair! I also have a little friend who likes to move around my feet when I am not looking. I sat on her last week, and stepped on her twice today. I had her sit on a red place-mat so that she could see where I wanted her to stay and so I didn't hurt her or break my neck!

I have gotten two APPLES from my students in the last few days. I thought that was ancient now!!! They sure know how to suck up to the teacher! :)

I bought a mirror to put by my sink that serves two purposes. Little girls like to primp (before school, of course) and I wanted to put inspirational quotes or questions on it that they could see along with themselves. I found a great quote today. "Don't be afraid to fail. Be afraid not to try." I think this quote is perfect because we were given a CD of positive songs for students that includes one called "Perseverance". I'm excited to use the two hand in hand.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Fan-TAS-tic!

Oh. My. Goodness. Today was AMAZING! My students were ON this morning. I only had to tell them some of my directions once and we made it to our 8:10 special on time! The morning went very smoothly and we only had to take 4 bathroom breaks. :-/ They are still on "unstructured time" in their little bodies, so it seems like they need to use the restroom every 5 minutes!
Today we created a magic word that releases them from the carpet. I had heard my friend San Diego use a magic word with her class and I liked the idea. I told them that we were going to work together as a class to pick an alternate word for "Go" to use in the classroom. We made a list of words that the kids could think of. (My favorites were watermelon, lasagna, and soap.) The highest vote was for "puppies". I said it quite a bit today, so I guess it's a good thing that my class didn't pick a food word!
I thought of my Potter this morning as I lugged my case of DDP (Diet Dr. Pepper) up the stairs and into my room. We loved gifting each other with random acts of carbonation last year, so I think of her whenever I crack on open. These came in very handy after lunch because my friends were on a downward spiral. We were able to get through the first bit of our math calendar packet, but Quizmo was a bit of a mess. That's to be expected this early in the school year, especially when it's so hot out!
Today put a smile on my face as I continue my walk down the road of the unpredictable joy of teaching.

My First Weekend

I was exhausted this weekend! I was still in a bit of an emotional funk on Saturday, but was able to pull out of my tail-spin for a while on Sunday. It was predetermined that I needed to go into school on Sunday in order to do some more work in my room and do some planning as well. My mother met me there (brand-spanking new label-maker in hand) to help me with some bits and bobs in my room.
Well, she ended up doing a lot more than that. I was not prepared for how unwieldy the new technology (amazing, by the way, but SUPER confusing) would prove to be. After a technological break-down, including a bit of a high-voiced rant, I wisely reclaimed my formerly unwanted overhead projector from the workroom.
After that whole mess, mom and I commandeered Spaceballs from her room and asked if she could explain some of the curriculum for me. She spent an hour going over everything with mom and me, which was majorly needed. I managed to plan a pretty great day and only spend 1:00 pm to 6:30 pm in my room...this weekend.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

First Day of School!

Friday was interesting to say the least! It was my very first first day as a teacher in my own classroom. I was so nervous that I was going to mess everything up right off the bat. However, my boyfriend gave me a great snippet of advice. He said, "Just pretend you know more than they do and you will be fine!"
The day started with a bang on our HOT playground. I was very excited to say hello to all my new friends. I can see how important procedures are going to be in my room this year. I was frustrated for a minute when I couldn't get any of them to listen to me for a moment until Spaceballs reminded me that they came into my room as FIRST GRADERS and it was my job to MAKE them second graders. That helped me to relax a great deal.
The day went pretty smoothly. I did have a few incidents where students were pushing my buttons. For example, while we were getting settled in the group area, one little friend thought it would be funny to sneak into my reading chair when I wasn't looking. Well...I promptly sat on her! (On accident, of course!) Then, later that afternoon, I had to ask another friend to please get down off the counter because counters are for our computers and not to STAND ON.
I had such a release of emotions at the end of the day, I could barely stop crying. I wasn't crying because things went badly. I was crying because it was the only way to relieve the tension I had been building up about the first day of school and how I was going to do. My poor, wonderful, rose-bearing boyfriend received some of that on the phone in the form of an EXTREMELY funny voicemail.
All that being said, I have to admit that the day went very well and that I am wicked excited to see what next week has to bring.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Bea


We had an amazing day with a morning led by an amazing woman named Bea who showed us once again what it looked like to break out of our boxes. Today was the "first day of school" for Goshen School Corporation. On Friday we get our amazing students. Today was filled with things we needed to know and things that we felt as if were puncturing our brains in order to make room (at least in my head!)
Today I was able to see my favorite friends from the school that gave me my first chance at teaching. I have missed my Roomie and Potter immensely! (I have decided to give people that I have worked with and currently work with nicknames, so that they can stay precious to me and 0nly me :)). I was able to begin the new year thanks to my amazing partner teachers, Princess and Spaceballs! I reserve the right to call them what I will because of the few names that they have been called. Love you both and I am wicked excited to be in your presence in the next few years.
I am super excited to begin my year and life as a classroom teacher and see what my favorite friends have to add to my experiences!
I did have a super fun time setting up classrooms with my amazing LONG, Spaceballs and Princess tonight! Hope I can have an amazing update soon! Love, La Maestra!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Mailboxes!


Before I got a job as a classroom teacher, I never imagined that there would come the day that I would be overjoyed to find free mailboxes! However, when I went to a local "store" for teachers I found exactly what I was looking for! I had rigged some hanging shoe racks in a closet and that would have worked for now, but then I got lucky! I got them completely free!
I ran up to my mother clutching the box and grinning ear to ear in the middle of the "store". I couldn't even tell her, I was so excited. I simply bounced up and down on my toes and gasped, "Guess what?!?!" I held the box up for her to look at and said, "I know!! Right?!" (This is the actual conversation. I am usually a pretty well-spoken person, but I simply couldn't achieve it at that moment.)
When I got back to my classroom I immediately set them up and put them in their rightful place on my beautiful new shelves by the door. As I said, before I was a teacher, it was difficult to imagine being excited about mailboxes. However, I am over the moon today!
This is a marvelous photo of my fan-TAS-tic new (FREE!) mailboxes.

Monday, August 9, 2010

What Have I Gotten Myself Into?


Blowing bubbles with my little Dominican amigos.

This blog is about my first year as a classroom teacher (maestra) and the shenanigans that my students and I get ourselves into. Most of you have probably heard the phrase "Kids say the darndest things!" Well, it's true, so I wanted a way to share the funny, interesting, downright outlandish things that go on in my classroom this year. There will probably be tears as well (mine).