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Posts Tagged ‘teacher’

We began by talking about Martin Luther King, Jr. and how it appeared as if he knew he was going to die on the day that he actually did. We had an in-depth conversation about slavery, Washington DC, and President Lincoln. We talked about President Washington and even Obama. We talked about death and how it is ultimately inevitable that we all die. 

Somewhere in the midst of our deep conversation, my daughter paused to state, “You know, we don’t have your normal dinner conversations. We don’t talk about ‘how was your day’ and ‘did you stay out of trouble?’ We talk about this deep, random stuff.”

I’d never thought about it before, but she’s right. We aren’t your typical family by many standards. We don’t tend to piddle in the small talk which is somewhat ironic because I consider myself very involved in my children’s lives and my teen daughter is pretty open with me.

I have my children 24/7, for better or worst and as such we really are a close family. A typical day consists of the three of us sharing our one bathroom to get ready for school and work. All three of us then pile into the car and head off to begin our day. My son attends my school and spends the morning in my classroom with me until the bell rings and he leaves to begin his day. My daughter catches the bus at my school and takes it to her school. 

During the day, my daughter and I will text each other messages during recesses and lunch. I usually check in with her to see how her day is going. She often asks me to bring her a coffee knowing full well that not only is it not possible, but I wouldn’t anyways. We have segmented conversations in which I get a glimpse as to how things are going for her.

Having spent roughly half an hour with me before school, my son and I generally see each other once again at lunch time. Although he pretends horror at my appearance, I have been told on good authority that his face actually lights up when he sees me and that what we have is a little game. We have finally agreed that I will not kiss him and in exchange he will give me a side hug. At 8 years old and in second grade, he is too embarrassed to be seen with his mother. 🙂

After school, my son and I spend another approximately two hours together before we pick up sister. During this time, he and I have had our small talk. Once I pick up sister/daughter, she and I have some more small talk as we drive home. Once home (or out to eat), the dinner conversation begins. We have great conversations. I love how deep our conversations go, how anything is fair game, how both my 15 year old and my 8 year old are comfortable and capable in having these conversations. 

Life is good.

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*It is currently 93 degrees. Earlier in the week, the high was only in the 50s. There is something wrong with that in my opinion.

*The dog had emergency surgery this week. We were told to prepare for the worst. It has all ended well. She now has a 10 inch incision in her stomach. 

*My 5th grade boys freaked out about spiders twice this week while the girls could care less. 

*I went to a softball game this morning. That was fun. 

*Some of my students are begging me to teach 6th grade next year so that they can have me again. I taught them in 4th grade last year and 5th grade this year. I can not believe that they would want me for a 3rd year. 

*We got our preliminary state scores back (for the students) this week.  Our 5th grade students made a 65% increase in reading. That’s pretty amazing, especially considering how tough this year was. 

*I can’t get the dog to take her antibiotics without a treat, yet when I laid the cat’s antibiotic down on the bed so I could pry her mouth open, the dog came along and willingly ate it. WTH?

*A friend in Washington was told that she won’t be re-hired next year for teaching. All teachers with 3 years or less of experience have received pink slips due to the budget crises. That’s 83 teachers in her district. Meanwhile, my district is still trying to figure out what they are going to do. They are considering 4 day school weeks. 

*Government needs to get into the schools and see what is really happening instead of creating all of these regulations based on perceptions and cutting funding constantly. It’s not good for the kids and it’s not good for the future of America. We need to look at Japan and some of the other countries and get our schools straightened out. 

*Parents need to start parenting their children and stop being afraid to be the bad guy.

*I need to work on breaking my coffee addiction. It’s getting out of hand.

*I got my hair done today. That’s always a treat.

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YOU might be a school employee if you believe the playground should be
equipped with a Ritalin salt lick.

YOU might be a school employee if you want to  slap the next person who says,
‘Must be nice to work 8 to 3:30 and  have summers off.

YOU might be a school employee if it is difficult to name your own child
because there’s no name you can come up with that doesn’t bring high blood
pressure as it is uttered.

YOU might be a school employee if you can tell it’s a full moon or if it
going to rain, snow, hail….anything!!!  Without ever looking outside.

YOU might be a school employee if you believe ‘shallow gene pool’ should
have its own  box on a report card.

YOU might be a school employee if  you believe that unspeakable evils will
befall you if anyone says, “Boy, the kids sure are mellow today.”

YOU might be a school employee if when out in public, you feel the urge to
snap  your fingers at children you do not know and correct their  behavior.

YOU might be a school employee if you have no social life between August and
June.

YOU might be a  school employee if you think people should have a government
permit before being allowed to reproduce.

YOU might be a school employee if you wonder how some parents MANAGED to
reproduce.

YOU might be a school employee if you laugh uncontrollably when people refer
to the staff room as the  ‘lounge.’

YOU might be a school employee if you encourage an obnoxious parent to check
into charter schools or home schooling and are willing to donate the U-HAUL
boxes should they decided to move out of district.

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campfireA typical day at work includes putting out several fires. I work with fifth graders. If you have worked with, or been the parent of a fifth grader, you know exactly what I am talking about. Hormones are raging, tempers are flaring, emotions are soaring. We tend to relate these things to the girls, but the truth is that boys are equally “terrible” in their own way. 

This year, my classroom has consisted of 33 students. I have 14 girls and 19 boys. It’s been an adventurous year!! In addition to the classroom, I have also been attending school full time to complete my master’s degree (I’m done!), am on various “teams” and committees, and am the Administrative Assistant. Administrative Assistant is the fancy way of saying, “We don’t have enough money in our budget to hire an assistant principal although we recognize that we need one. Instead, we will pay a teacher a small stipend to take on the roll of ‘administrative assistant’.” Of course, they are always able to find someone willing. 

This week, I have taken off my teacher hat and stepped completely into the principal role due to an illness. Whenever you cover for someone else, you find yourself in a position of knowing minimal history and trying to base decisions on what you know. For example, has this student been in a fight before or is this the first time? Is this a trustworthy student/parent or should I listen with caution? 

dinosaur_asteroid_5This is not the first time that I have stepped into the role, but this is perhaps the most difficult time. It is nearing the end of the year, the weather is in the 90s and beautiful, kids are tired of each other, tired of the system, and ready to move on to the next year. This week, instead of  in addition to the normal fires that I put out, I am finding myself battling forrest fires. I am trying to tame fires without knowing exactly how or where they began, a very difficult task.

Tonight, as I was unwinding, I found myself wondering if I had committed to attend any games this weekend and realized that I was smiling. You see, whenever a student invites me to attend one of his/her games, I makes sure that I attend at least one a season. The truth is that I am lousy at watching. I usually get caught up in talking and when a shot is made or the ball is hit, I find myself scrambling to catch up to what just happened. I’m good with paying attention during action packed games, but the reality is that my students are still learning basic skills. Few of their games are action packed. 

Years down the road, when my students look back to the fifth grade, I hope that they will remember me in a positive manner. I am willing to bet that the “athletes” will not remember that I taught them math, science or writing, they will remember that on Saturday, I came and watched their game. They will remember that;

A champion team from Garner, NC.

A champion team from Garner, NC.

“My teacher saw me make my first touch down!”

“You saw me pitch for the first time!”

“Did you see that triple home runner that I hit?!?!?!”

They will remember that I sat in the bleachers and cheered them on and we talked about it for the rest of their time at the school. They will know that I care, not because I have to, but because I really do. They will know simply because, “You really came to my game!”

This simple thing is what makes all of the fires worth it. 

 

 


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I mentioned in yesterday’s post that my son was better behaved during my meeting than I was. Let me share a few minutes of that meeting with you. My son was unsuspecting in these pics. It was shoot and click, no aiming. I got what I got. Not too bad if I do say so myself!

I also took various pictures of unsuspecting colleagues, but I will save them the humiliation of posting…especially since they don’t even know that they were victims to my bad picture taking. Keep in mind, these pictures were taken on a cell phone.

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“GROWING OLDER IS MANDATORY. GROWING UP IS OPTIONAL.”

I saw this on myspace today. I like it. I like it a lot. I am definitely growing older, but I refuse to grow up. Ok, I do have to grow up somewhat. The responsibilities at this stage in my life are pretty endless, but I refuse to give into them. Being goofy and silly is so much more fun. I teach 5th graders. At that age, they are beginning to think that they are too good for being silly. Let me tell you, when they see their teacher acting silly, singing songs, making up rhymes, doing crazy dances to help them remember things, etc., it doesn’t take much for them to let their shields down and have some fun. One student in particular gives me the craziest of looks. It’s simply become a game between us. The more that she looks at me like I have lost it, the odder I get. We laugh, we joke. I tell her to stop giving her parents a hard time. She confides in me that she is being a “brat” at home. It’s all good.  During that terrible fifth grade year when hormones are going crazy, boyfriend and girlfriend relationships are being explored, the body is changing, kids don’t know who they are (child, teen or adult), don’t know what they want from life, during all of the demands and stresses and frustrations, they can look back at their teacher and say, “She was nuts!”

Ok, that’s not the impression that I hope to leave on my students, but oh well. So far this year I have taught my students a few songs and dances. During our bookstudy when the book started talking about a fawn, I sang to them the song from Sound of Music – you know, “Doe, a deer, a female deer…” The reaction that I received? Most of them started to sing with me. I taught them a random dance that I made up to help them learn some math terms. Months later, it’s stuck. I look like a complete idiot/dork, but they know what those words mean. 

The older I get, the crazier I get. You might find this hard to believe, but I am not really getting crazy, I have just let go of the image that I felt that I had to uphold. I don’t care if my kids think I’m nuts. I don’t care if someone walks in and sees me being a dork. I care that my students are learning and that we all enjoy being there. At the end of the day, I want my students to know that I care about them and I enjoy being with them. 

Grow up? Nah. I want to enjoy my life as an off the wall kind of person, not as a prim and proper, predictable person. Someone’s gotta be me, and I think I’m doing a pretty fine job of it.

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