Thursday, March 31, 2011

Thrilling Thursday

We made it! Whew!

Spring Break has arrived. It couldn't have come at a better time! We agreed to start a Time Out room after Spring Break and today had a floor meeting with the kids about it. Mrs. CT started then just handed the floor to me. I was not planning to say anything because it was her idea. So I got rolling, then she totally interrupted me because she thought I gave them too drawn out of a presentation.

Uh, then don't put me on the spot. The more I am around her, the more I can't stand her. It's sad really. She is definitely NOT the same person that I student taught with. It makes me sad.

This also made me realize why my kids are better behaved than hers. I take the time to REALLY explain things. Indepth if needed. She doesn't. She just expects them to "get it". It doesn't work and she should know that. She's beyond her prime and needs to go. I am secretly praying that Mrs. Principal moves her to 4th grade to knock her off her pedestal a bit.


We got a lot done today despite it being the last day before a long break. I left so exhausted. I didn't bring anything home even though the kids finished projects today and turned in some other things. It's just going to have to wait until April 11 because I am OFF DUTY.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Wacky Wednesday

Today really wasn't too wacky, I just wanted to keep up with my theme I've apparently got going this week!

I've heard several teachers in my building say this week that their children are *already* checked out for Spring Break. I haven't been mean enough to point out that my kids aren't. 

I am a huge believer that children rise to the expectations you set for them. They do. If you assume children are going to be huge screw-balls, they will be. If you assume that they are going to do the right thing, 95% of them will (sadly there are always a few that just can't help being naughty!). If you expect your students to be "checked out", they will be.

I had a student ask me Monday about my Spring Break plans. Since I knew this was going to be something they continued to bring up, because they're kids and they're excited, I stopped what we were doing and we talked about it for about 5 minutes. I pointed out that I know they are so excited for break but that it doesn't start until 3:10 on Thursday and we still have work to do. I haven't had an issue with it since. WHY is it so hard for these "veteran" teachers to be real with their children?! I know for sure that my kiddos have been better because I acknowledged it and we nipped it in the bud. 

We've had a great week so far. I know tomorrow might be a bit harder for them because it's the last day before break but I have a full day planned and hopefully we can get through everything. I planned some "extra time" for to throw in some fun stuff to keep them interested and excited. Hopefully it goes well. We're all ready for a break but I am all about maximizing every second I have left with these kiddos.



In more disturbing news, that really is *wacky*....today after school our custodian, who I chat with when she comes to take out my trash and vacuum in my room, told me the most disturbing thing I have ever heard. She said that Mrs. CT was telling a group of teachers, and her, about catching two boys writing notes in class. Not nice notes. Full of curse words such as the F-bomb and the word that rhymes with witch. So Mrs. CT confiscates the notes and reads them out loud in the class and then continues to repeat these words as she says to them "so who exactly are you calling an [F-bomb] [witch]?"

Um, what?! I was appalled when I heard that. She is losing it. I don't care what kind of example you are trying to set, that is beyond inappropriate. Part of me hopes that those children go home and tell their parents and they complain! I would be seriously ticked if my child came home and told me their teacher, who is supposed to be a professional, not to mention an ADULT used those words in the classroom, regardless of whether or not she was trying to make a point. 

I wasn't in on the conversation but I am very tempted to slip a little "birdy told me" note into Mrs. P's mailbox because I find that to be completely and utterly inappropriate and unprofessional. After I heard that, Mrs. 4th grade also told me that Mrs. CT is "recruiting" kids on the playground for next year. Who does that?? And I had to laugh because Mrs. 4th grade told me she is going to just stay positive that I don't get displaced from our building and she's going to make sure those "recruited" kids come to me. She cracks me up!

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Terrific Tuesday

If yesterday was a bit manic, today was anything but. We serve breakfast in my school and children can start having breakfast at 7:30 in the morning. The breakfast line ends at 8:10 so children have time to eat before classes begin at 8:20. Due to the way our school is designed, you pass through the cafeteria area to get to the office. If I have things to copy or drop off in the office in the mornings, I pass through this area and often get hellos from children and sometimes even parents.

I have one young lady, who I just adore. Every morning that I go down through there, if she sees me she always says hello. If I am wearing a dress or a skirt (which happens but is rare), or wearing something new and really pretty, she always exclaims how pretty I look that day. It's so sweet and I told her this morning that I was not letting her go to 6th grade because I need someone to fill my bucket like that every day next year too!


Throughout the day today, I continuously complimented my class on how well they behave in the hallway. We are supposed to be a Positive Behavior School. I can't stand it when things are done in name only. One of the things we agreed to implement was Silent Hallways. My class is continually the only class who comes up the stairs and goes to their lockers in the morning and after recesses without running up the stairs or excessively talking (they aren't perfect -- they are children after all -- but there is very minimal talking from them). The other classes up there are loud, disrespectful and just downright disruptive. It is one of my biggest pet peeves!

Because we're supposed to focus on positive behavior, I made sure to compliment them multiple times today on their excellent hallway behavior. Sometimes, when I hear a particularly noisy class, I will quietly ask them if they think that noise level is how we want others to judge our school and they always say no. I think that helps them to really realize how irritating that noise level can be when we use outdoor voices in an enclosed area.

In addition to this, they have music at the end of the day on Tuesday. Our music teacher was also the music teacher at another school I was at 3 years ago. After school today, we were chatting a few minutes and she told me that my class is the best behaved class she has in the building! (Our PE teacher often tells me this too.) She went on to say how encouraging they are and how much they boost each other up and that it is so great to see.

That made me feel amazing. Mostly because one thing I promised myself this year was that since there wasn't much "community" going on in my class last year due to the insane amount of meetings I was pulled out for, I was going to make sure I had a community of learners in my classroom this year. Her comments made me realize that we've done that. We talk all the time about how we don't have to be best friends with everyone, but that we have to learn to work together since that's a life skill that we're going to need as we grow up.

After that conversation with Mrs. Music Teacher, I went upstairs to ask Miss New Teacher something and she asked me if my kids had been off the wall today. I said no, why. She said both her and Mrs. CT's classes were crazy with spring fever and not listening, etc. I told her that we had a bit of that problem yesterday morning but I nipped it in the bud -- that yes, I know they are excited about Spring Break but it doesn't start until 3:10 on Thursday and we have work to do between now and then. And then only 9 instructional weeks left after that in which to really get them ready for 6th grade. They seem to realize how short of a time that really is and have buckled down the last couple of days. I really attribute that to my being real with them and acknowledging their excitement but also letting them know that now is really not the time for it because we still have things to accomplish in the next few days. 

I am so proud of these kids. And proud of myself. I did not let last year weigh me down. I did not let it ruin my career and passion for teaching. I lifted myself up -- because in reality, no one can do that for you. You have to do it for yourself or it just isn't effective. I often said in the fall that I shed Former School like an old skin....I think that is true now more than ever. I feel like myself again. I am happy. I go weeks now without even thinking about Former School and when I saw a couple of my former (naughty) students in the paper last week [not because of anything bad thank goodness!], all I felt was indifference. Not guilt or anger or sadness. Just "eh". 

I've come a long way and I doubt I can ever tell my fabulous fifth graders this year how much they have given to me. Well more than I have been able to give to them. I am one blessed lady.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Manic Monday

Mondays always tend to be just a bit manic for me because it's my recess duty day and I don't have any specials on that day. So usually I don't sit down from the time I get to school (between 7-7:30 a.m.) and lunchtime (12:10 p.m., usually 12:20 by the time I drop off the kiddos, get my lunch together and get to our lunch location). Often I am jamming out during that Monday morning because it's SO busy: we get through Science, Social Studies and Word Study before recess and Writing and Reading between recess and lunch. There isn't much time to breathe let alone sit around! 

This morning I did something I rarely ever do: I gave the children a seatwork assignment that allowed me to sit and get a few things done at my desk. I rarely do this simply because the time I have with my students already feels so crunched and limited that I like to maximize every second. But today I had a few things I had to finish that I didn't quite get to on Friday during our records time so they were ready for the children to take home today.

I had the kiddos write 10 of their spelling words in sentences. Notsomuch because I like this sort of activity but because at this point in the year, I really want another way to look at their grammar. I am a firm believer that, especially for ELL kiddos, writing sentences in isolation in this manner gives you a great look at their fluency with writing English. This took most of the children about 15 minutes to do. It was enough time for me to complete my tasks and get them started on the day's work. We got so much accomplished and I always feel great by lunchtime on Monday -- feeling like we've really put the pedal to the medal and real learning is going on.


During our recess time today, the only day I am required to be outside with the students, I walked around as usual. I stop and chat with certain groups (usually trying to touch base with all the groups in my supervision area if I can) and make my presence known. Sometimes I think it helps these children know that someone is nearby. I often have children follow me around for a moment or two after I've visited their little section to talk to me. Considering we only have our 4th and 5th graders out at our recess, I find this to be quite enduring. 

It also occurred to me today, as I watched some of our 5th grade boys running around and having a grand ole time, that the next 9 weeks are likely to be the last 9 weeks that these children get to experience recess. We push them so hard to get ready for 6th grade, which I think is definitely warranted because middle school is a whole new world for them, but it was also kind of sad to realize that. They are children

More and more, I think we expect children to be little adults. We expect them to know what to do all the time and always make the best choices. I think that is unrealistic. Yes, I do expect my students to know how to make a quiet line. This isn't unrealistic because they've been expected to do it every year in school and it's something they get a lot of practice in. No, I don't expect my students to make the best choices when faced with conflict. They are kids. They have to learn from their mistakes. Does this mean I encourage them to fight or do things incorrectly? Of course not, but I also know that unless it is something we have gone over and over and over....they make mistakes. That's part of who they are. You learn and grow at their age so hopefully when they are MY age, they know better. 

I'm not sure why that struck me so profoundly today. Perhaps it is because while I am very excited for spring weather and then summer...I know I am going to miss this group so much and part of me dreads the end of the year. Especially because I know next year is going to be all about being super super consistent, firm and supportive to get those children to do what they should be doing now.


Remember those spelling sentences I mentioned above? After school I was reading through them, looking for grammar issues and things of that nature. One of our spelling words was "ashamed" and one of my boys, who is very much struggling and hasn't always had his education as a number one priority wrote the following sentence:
I am ashamed of my grades in school. 
It just about broke my heart. Poor kiddo. I am also a firm believer that you don't get up to 5th grade and not know you are behind or low or a slow learner or whatever you'd like to call it. This child has been really working much harder since we had a "Come to Jesus" moment a few weeks ago and I laid in on the line in terms of him getting out of his education what he puts in. While that sentence tore at my heartstrings, I also decided to use it as a teachable moment and I wrote on his paper, by that sentence "Don't be ashamed! Keep trying and do your best. You can do it!" and added a smiley face.

I hope it makes him feel better when he sees it. And maybe, just maybe, this child will learn that Mrs. Sunny is right. Yes, she can be strict sometimes but she cares and that's why she pushes so hard. I hope he gets that message from all of this. He might just be that one child I save this year.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Wow

When I started writing in this blog last spring, it was really just a place for me to write about and reflect upon some things happening in my little world of education. From leaving the worst teaching situation imaginable to celebrating the amazing accomplishments my students have made this year, it's just somewhere that I can be "real" in the unreal world that has become our educational system.

That said, I am constantly in awe that anyone reads this blog. I know everyone says that but honestly...I really wonder sometimes if people read because it's like watching a car accident. You morbidly just have to keep staring. Some days when I log in to check my reader and see what's going on in the world of bloggers, I see that I've gained new followers and it's always quite flattering.

I have never, however, bothered with the "Stats" tab at the top of the dashboard area. I never even really paid it much attention since I really write for myself and not because I think I have an audience. Imagine my utter and complete shock when I clicked on that innocent little tab and discovered that in the last month, I've had 6,000 page views. Six thousand! Three zeros! 

It's kind of humbling to realize that people seem to be diggin' what I'm saying. I can be one tiny little voice in the big bad world of education.

And it's kind of cool.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Convenient PD

Today I went ahead and purchased the Webinar for The Cornerstone. If you haven't read The Cornerstone, you're missing out. Angela is a genius.

Really, she's a teacher. She's taught in the inner city areas and has had many different experiences from the DC area to Florida and now in New York as she is working as a consultant. When it first came out, my interest was definitely piqued. I've been an avid fan of her website since before I became a teacher and once she published her book, I knew I had to have it. There are a lot of great strategies and tips in there, even for more seasoned teachers.

One reason I looked back into purchasing the Webinar is because I'm thinking ahead a bit to next year. Since I decided to stay positive and assume I am going to be at Current School, in 5th grade, until I hear anything to the contrary, I know that I need to start rehoning some of my procedures and thinking ahead. The current 4th graders are a disorganized and rambunctious bunch. While I love both of the female 4th grade teachers, I also know that their students run their classrooms. They are lovely and great at teaching but management is not the best. They are what I refer to as "soft"...they don't really seem to know how to really lay down the law and set the tone for the expectations in the room.

I know that I am going to have to be a lot tougher next year than I have had to be this year. So I dug out my copy of The Cornerstone and purchased the Webinar (which I got for a wicked discount since I have the book, yay me!). I've only downloaded the note-taking guide and watched the Introduction which is only 10 minutes and I'm already certain this is going to be a FAB-U-LOUS decision on my part.

I think we can always improve, no matter who we are or how long we have been teaching. If I have learned anything in my 5 years as a teacher, it is that what works for one child or group of children, may not necessarily work for another child or group of children. You have to look at things objectively and make changes when and if necessary to help children be the best they can be. 

I'm really excited to watch the rest of the Webinar and see what new thinking I can get, not only to tighten up some things THIS year, but also to get myself mentally ready for NEXT year.

Friday, March 25, 2011

The Best Friday

Today was great. Lots of laughs during our PD so it went by fast. I even turned to Mrs. Principal at one point and whispered "is it allowed that we're having this much FUN at a PD?!" and she whispered back "just don't tell M---- [her boss who is a huge witch]!"

I love PD that is useful as well as informative. Michigan is changing over to the Common Core Standards so our new reading program that we are getting is being aligned with it and they also announced that in the next two years they'll be upgrading our Everyday Math to the newest edition because the current one does NOT meet the CCS. Interesting. I'm not sure what the real difference between the two editions is, I'll have to check.

One thing I do love about Mrs. Principal is that if we finish early without skipping anything, we get to leave PD early. Former Principal would NEVER have allowed that. Ever. We were supposed to have PD from 8-11 a.m., then an hour for lunch and records time from 12-3 p.m. We got done with the PD at 10:40 so we had an extra 20 minutes.

I went to my room and got all of my report cards finished up except the comment section for about half the kids and then took a lunch break. I just drove to McDonald's and got lunch and drove back to school and ate at my desk while listening to Pandora and reading emails and such. I did mostly a "working lunch" and that's just fine. I got a LOT of organizing and cleaning done in my room this afternoon too and even though there is more to do (isn't there always?!), I feel much better about it all. The only downside is that I realized that I forgot to do my Monday folders and thus, I will have to get to work early Monday and do them since I have recess duty that day too.

After work we had an event sponsored by all of the unions in our district (teachers, secretaries, etc). Free food, free alcohol and raffle prizes on a Friday afternoon?? Count.Me.In.

I had two glasses of wine, a nice dinner and even won a gift card in the raffle. Very cool. And since I did get enough done during my records time today, I didn't have to bring any work home this weekend. I am all about the relaxation.

I need every Friday to be like this!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

The Plot Thickens

Wow. Just wow.

Today we had the counselors from Middle School come to our school to talk to the 5th graders and give them kind of a general overview of what middle school will be like and whatnot. I had totally forgotten that Mrs. Counselor from there was the counselor at my school last year. She came into my room and I was like "OMFG!" and ran over to hug her. I'm sure my class thought I was completely insane!

It got the wheels in my mind spinning though. I have been praying so much about being able to stay in my current building. Despite last week's BS drama, I really do love it there. Those kids have my heart for sure. I have been really stressed out lately thinking about their transition to Middle School and am working with our school-home coordinator to put some mentoring and such in place. Well, now that I know that Mrs. Counselor is there (and hopefully will be there next year), I have a connection there. If we both end up staying in our current positions, I am going to be in a much better position to follow-through with my kiddos so they will realize my relationship with them does not need to stop just because they are no longer in my classroom.

One of my colleagues from Former School who taught 5th grade always impressed me in her willingness to visit her students at their middle school and keep in touch with them. Especially because many of our middle schools do not have good reputations at all. I want to be able to do something like that also. Helping these kids realize they always have someone to come back to if they need help or are struggling with something.

I would LOVE to be able to stay connected to these kiddos as a go-between with My School and Middle School. I know for damn sure that Mrs. CT and Mr. 4th grade never did/do that. It's a real shame. I just hope that part of the reason I got the transfer as easily as I did last spring is because I have work to do there -- to "change the world" if you will and make it a better place for every kiddo who comes through my door.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Transition

I haven't made it much of a secret that I have a lot of anxiety about my kiddos traveling up to Middle School next year. Not because I think that middle school is so hard...but Middle School is not a school I would ever willingly send a child to. Ever.

We are really lucky at my school that we have an on-site counselor and a school community coordinator who work with parents and students on a variety of things. Our school community coordinator, Mr. S, is wonderful. He's new to our building this year, just like me, but has definitely caught on to how things flow and he is really a great guy. I like him a lot.

He was helping me with some things with two of my boys, trying to get some mentorship in place as these boys are definitely "at risk" for failure. We talked yesterday and he mentioned that since it's so late to the end of the year, it may be impossible to get them mentorship still this year but he'd try to connect with Middle School and see if we could get something started now that could follow them to 6th grade.

I got an email from him after school today and he told me that he went up to Middle School yesterday and literally stood in that office for about 5 minutes watching the secretaries do their thing and whatnot and not one of them asked if they could help him or welcomed him to their school. This makes me sick. I am supposed to hype up 6th grade for these kids knowing they are going to a school like that?!

So that made a decision for me...I emailed him back and offered to help him make some connections at Middle School and try to get something rolling for these kids. Middle school is not supposed to suck. It is supposed to be a time for these kids to really grow and come into their own. How is that possible when even the staff are unfriendly? (And with as needy as some of our kids are, this will devastate them to not be able to have a "relationship" with the office staff.)

It pisses me off and makes the transition harder for ME. So we'll put our heads together and see what we can do to help in this transition because these kids deserve better than that. I haven't busted my butt and given them everything I have all year to have them "get lost" in the big bad world of 6th grade because of unfriendly staff and a lack of a transitional effort from the elementaries to Middle School. Sheesh.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Success

Sometimes bribery is the only thing that motivates certain children. I try really hard not to use bribery too much because I think children need to understand that motivation and doing a good job needs to come from within.

However, we all have one or two children who, no matter what, just don't get it. They have no motivation and unless there is an extrinsic incentive, you aren't going to get them to do jack. We got an email yesterday about summer school. Many years we have summer school in our building and then we get a lot of children who come because it is at their home school. This year, however, the program will be at the neighboring elementary. Our district prioritized children based on their MAP results from the winter test session.

I have a couple of boys who just do nothing, regardless of what I say or do. And one of them has a mother who claims her son has never struggled until this year [to which I asked her honestly if she'd like me to get out his file because he has struggled every year]. At any rate, since the district prioritized the children based on these scores, we got a list of children from 5th grade who are being highly recommended for summer school by the district. I asked Mrs. Reading Coach this morning about it and said can we kind of push them a bit about this and say (even though it isn't entirely true) that if they are recommended for this program and don't attend, they won't pass 5th grade. She thought it was a brilliant plan in thinking of the two boys mentioned above. 

So I put the bug in their ears today, even though nothing is official. I addressed it to my whole class, not just the ones on the list (because we're not supposed to tell the specific kids yet about summer school). So I told all of the kids that I'd been told the district was coming up with a list of children based on their latest scores and that we'd been told they may decide children on that list who don't attend the program will be back in 5th grade next year.

Let me point out that the two boys who know they are on MY watch list were at 100% attention all day today. It makes me sad to have to more or less threaten them with summer school and possibly failing the grade to get them to work but I'll take it if it gets us through the rest of the year and hopefully teaches these boys that they are only going to get out what they put in.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Sad

The longer I work with Mrs. CT as a colleague, the more I realize how lazy she is. Really, I'm starting to think she should just put everyone out of their misery and retire already.

First of all, two of my students spent at least 30 minutes of their own time organizing the hallway lending library. It is right outside in the common space between mine and Mrs. CT's rooms. Did they have to do this? No, but they know that it makes me sad to see the shelves looking so craptacular so they offered to fix it. They spent a lot of time doing it and then two of Mrs. CT's boys pulled half the books out on purpose just before dismissal. I'm sure she won't do anything about it because she doesn't believe her kids ever do anything wrong. It drives me bananas. I really don't like her class very much and I'm sure that they do what they do and act how they act because she lets them do whatever they want.

Second of all, in every school I have ever been in where 5th grade is the last grade in the building, they do some kind of 5th grade trip. I asked Mrs. CT about it during our collaborative meeting today and she said "no, we don't do that here". Now I remember when I student taught with her that they DID have a big 5th grade trip. But the two other teachers that taught with her at that time have both left. So really this message translates into "I don't want to fuss with organizing a trip so we just don't do it".

I think that is sad. These kids work their butts off all year and at the very least, I think we could organize something fun for them at the end of the year. Even just going to a movie or something. So despite what she says, I am going to see about doing a small trip for MY class because damn it, they deserve some sort of 'send off' from this -- it is a big jump to go from us to middle school.


Some days I have to praise myself for not gouging out Mrs. CT's eyes because now that I know her M.O., she makes me sick. Today during our collaborative, Mrs. Reading Coach came to pass along some information and said that Mrs. Principal was at a budget meeting. So Mrs. CT asks about when placements will be made and blah blah. I spoke right up and said that Mrs. Principal told me that no placements will be made until they know more about layoffs and ESL staff will be placed first. Her eyes were as big as saucers: either because she realized I'm onto her game or because she knows I'm more secure in my position than she is in hers. 

I'm tired of the stupid drama. I have more or less vowed to just ignore her unless absolutely necessary to interact with her. I can focus on my class and what we're doing and things will be just peachy.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Looking Ahead

There has been so much drama in my school in the last week that it makes me sick. Even moreso because the front-runners of much of it are all over 50 years old. They act like they are in middle school. It is so lame.

Despite all of it, Mrs. 4th Grade and Mrs. Other 4th Grade both have told me several times this week that they pray every day that I am still at our school next year. That made me feel really good. I love both of them, they are wonderful ladies but they are also very collaborative and that's nice. Mrs. CT is only collaborative when you bend to her whim and that isn't how it should be. It's sad.

I have chosen to take the high road as Mrs. Principal suggested and until I hear anything to the contrary, I am going to assume that I will be teaching in my same position next year. I truly hope I am. The kids in that school have my heart. I just love them, even the ones that make me want to bash my head into a wall sometimes!


This week we finished up a Compare/Contrast essay that we needed for the kids' writing portfolios and also the data that we put together monthly. I was a rock-star and got through every single writing conference in 3 days!! I pulled some during writing time and some during our SSR time and it worked out great. The kids were really excited to hear what I had to say. I also like to let them self-assess with the rubrics we use and then we compare our scores. This is important to me because I think the children get much more out of it when they give themselves a high score and then I have to bring them back to reality with the true score. The problem is that the rubrics are worded so weirdly that even the teachers often have debates on what score to assign. It's crazy. (It's the official standardized test rubric which is why we can't alter it.)

It was great having some one-on-one time with every single kiddo this week. One thing I hate about our timing is that I feel like I am often neglecting to really give the kids face-time because there's so much to do. But I also understand that conferences are SO important.

It has gotten the wheels of my mind spinning to think about how I can make some adjustments for next year. I really want these kiddos to be able to do well and be successful and grow as readers and writers. That means I may well have to rethink the timing that I give to my literacy block because right now we have 45 minutes each for reading/writing. I'm thinking I may want to push writing up to an hour for next year and then make some adjustments to the rest of my schedule from there. 

One thing I love about spring is that even though I am definitely not ready to be done with my group this year, I can start thinking and reflecting on this year and what I need to tweak and change for next year. It helps me keep that passion for teaching going even when you get tired and worn down. Right now, I am very thankful that in Michigan we take our standardized tests in October because I'm not sure I could handle having to deal with that mess coming up.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

The best email

I really debated whether or not I should say anything to my principal about the situation at school. Mostly because I feel like I need to handle my business but also because I didn't want to seem like I was being a tattle-tale (I know I have hated it in the past when people have done that to me). 

But the other 4th grade teacher said something to me about this situation today and was really upset and bothered by it too. She said that she thought Miss New Teacher and I were true rays of sunshine in the school and they are happy we are there. That made me feel better but also solidified my decision to let Mrs. Principal know about it.

So I emailed her basically stating that Mrs. CT and Mr. 4th Grade are going around asking other staff if they want to team with them next year. I also mentioned that it was bothersome because at this point the position is MINE and because we do not know what is going to happen with budget shakeups and how the district will have to move staff, we don't even know (she doesn't even know!) if my position will even be available or not. I kept it short and to the point and ended with letting her know that I just wanted to make sure that she was aware of it in case she heard anything about it. 

She emailed me back the following:

I would highly recommend taking the high road. I am sorry this is happening.  Placing of staff is entirely my responsibility and their proposal will not happen. I have to place ESL first. You are also correct that until HR decides who will get laid off or displaced,no decisions will be made.   Stay on the high road.

I love this! First of all, that means *I* will have a solid placement before either of them because I have ESL and they don't and I loved that she mentioned that their proposal of working on the same team again isn't going to fly.

It made my whole night to be truthful.

That and the fact that this morning during our grade level meeting, I needed to go get my room ready for my kids and Mrs. CT was being kind of crappy about it. I finally said "well I don't have anyone helping me" and she said "neither do I" and I pointed out, kind of nastily, "Oh yes you do. You have E (her TA) and before her you had M. I've been on my own all year". With that I gathered my stuff and went to my room.

Miss New Teacher told me at recess that she was shocked that I said that but that it was the best thing she'd ever heard me say. Sunny FTW!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

A Traitor Among Us

Sometimes you have to liken being a teacher to being back in high school, even if you teach elementary.

Almost two weeks ago, I posted about The Facebook Fiasco. I immediately knew that the so-called tattler was Mrs. Cooperating Teacher. I knew because a) she was a facebook friend and b) she was the only one on my friends list who knew of the situation at school. I was really pissed when I found out about it and have really had minimal to say to her since. Mostly because I could not believe that she would stab me in the back like that. But also because this person is someone I thought was a friend, not simply because she was my CT once-upon-a-time but because she encouraged me to try to transfer to our school and all of this.

So I have been civil but I also keep my distance. I just don't have time for those kind of games. I'm not 12 years old anymore. [Which reminds me, when I related this whole thing to Miss Music Teacher, who was also my music teacher when I taught 2nd grade three years ago, she said that same thing "Oh, my Lord, are we 12?!" Then she gave me an ego boost by telling me that Mr. Former Principal from that school where we were together still talks about me coming back there. :)] At any rate, I am around her out of necessity and that's really it. The relationship is so beyond repair. I would never, EVER stoop that low and do that to someone...let alone someone I had mentored and acted like I cared about.

Fast forward to this afternoon. Mrs. 4th Grade came into my room to ask me a question about something utterly unrelated. We are ELPA testing and their first day was today. She said the sub assigned to her class just came in and took over like Mrs. 4th Grade wasn't even there. She wanted to know if that had been the case with my sub too. My sub had been a student teacher at our school this fall in kindergarten and did a long-term job for a teacher who had surgery. She came in with the materials but really let me kind of run the show (which is how it should be). I admitted I would have been really pissed if that sub had come into my room like that, acting as if I wasn't even there and/or that it wasn't my room.

As we were talking, Mrs. 4th Grade said she wanted to tell me something but didn't know if she should. At that point I chuckled and said "well now you have to tell me because you've piqued my curiosity!" I could tell that she really was uncertain about how to tell me whatever it was. Then she said that she didn't know how I felt about our school and whether I planned to stay [sidenote: she said this simply because of how the staffing is done in our district, it's very weird] but that she wanted me to know that Mrs. Cooperating Teacher and Mr. 4th Grade approached her about teaching 5th grade with them next year. She was very upset about this. She told me that first of all she wanted me to know she is NOT interested in my position but that second of all, she was very offended that they approached her at all as if they have a say in how the staffing is done.

I was kind of floored by this. It has been a topic of discussion because with budget issues and me having no seniority in my building, I might get transferred out. But I could not believe that these two people, who eat lunch with me every day and are all nice to my face would go behind my back like that as if I don't even matter. Mrs. 4th Grade was really, really pissed and upset by it. I have never seen her so up-in-arms. I thanked her for telling me and said it was good to know who was truly on my side.

We had a really great talk and I admitted to her that I would team with her and the other 4th grade female teacher in a heartbeat over working with Mrs. CT. And I know that the reason Mrs. CT is being such a backstabbing bitch to me is because I don't do things her way. When I was her student teacher, I didn't have a choice. I had to do what she wanted because she was evaluating me. However, nearly 5 years have passed since then and I have definitely come into my own. I have better management than she does, I have a better rapport with my class than she does and my kids are, dare I say, smarter than her kids. (I know for certain she fudges most of her data -- mine is authentic.) 

It made me feel so much better when Mrs. 4th Grade and I were talking and she told me that two of the other ESL certified staff, who in the event of staff shakeups due to budget would possibly be moved into my position, have already as much as said they WON'T work with Mrs. CT because she's controlling, conniving and isn't a real team player. 

It's amazing how you notice someone's true colors when the chips are really down. 

At this point, and I told Mrs. 4th Grade this and meant it sincerely, that if I end up transferred away from our school, then it is meant to be. I won't lose sleep over it. The only people I need to be accountable to in my job are 1) my students, 2) my students' parents, 3) my principal and 4) myself. And my conscience is clear because I know I give everything I have to my students. When I was unable to do that last year, I left. I would again if it ever really came to that (and thankfully it hasn't). I will continue to do my job and I will do it well but I will also keep watch for any knives making their way toward my back.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

The best formula

Pandora + The Husband Working Late + Diet Coke (duh!) + Charlie and the Chocolate Factory on TV (ie. something to keep The Littles entertained for a bit) = all DIBELS information inputted AND all ITT tests scored, marked and ready to go.

YES!

Daylight Savings = Hell

I am so tired! The time change is really messing with my mojo this week. Wow.

I think I could have crawled into bed at 5 o'clock this evening when I got home from school. Which isn't much different from when I was sick last week. How is it that one measly hour lost throws a person off-balance for 5-8 days? I am hopeful that I am back on track by the weekend. Sheesh!

I do love that it is light out when I drive home. Even if I'm driving home at 5:30. I haven't stayed that late this week but I'm sure at some point soon I'll be at school late trying to get (and stay) caught up. Plus the weather is warming up just enough to give us all spring fever. Today we got an email that said since the snow is melting, the students new game is throwing rocks at recess. What goes through the minds of these little people that they would ever think that is a good plan??

I am really ready for Spring Break. I'm not sick of my kids or anything like that...I just need a break. 9 days without lesson plans, papers to grade or a classroom of children to entertain. One of my girls asked me what I was going to do for break (ie if we were going anywhere) and I said no, we were just staying around home because I had some appointments and such that week. She then said, "are you glad you won't have to see us?!" and I had to chuckle and said no, I wasn't glad about that because they keep life interesting. They really do!

Yes,  I need a break from being "on" for them all day but I will miss them (well, most of them *wink*). I am excited for the latter part of our year together. I plan to make it as academic, yet fun as possible. We had to take a district survey last week and one asked if we thought our students had enough opportunities to be creative and I honestly answered NO. We are WAY too academic. They don't know how to have controlled fun because they never get to. When they do, they can't handle it. It's sad.

So we're going to change that. Fun and academics rolled in one.

I am already also thinking of a few things I want to try next year for management, in terms of homework being returned and such. I'm sure I could do it this year too but it seems like for some of that stuff, being consistent with it from the start will be more effective. I love that even though I have this amazing group this year, they are still teaching me and helping me to grow as a teacher as much as I am (hopefully!) helping them to learn and grow as students.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Lesson Plans and More Lesson Plans

Since I've been sick for the past couple of weeks, on and off, and really sick this last week, I'm pretty much behind in my lesson planning. As in, a few weeks I haven't even really written them. Oh no! Fire me now because I didn't spend 90 hours a week making sure every t was crossed and every i was dotted so I must be ineffective. Please.

As such I dragged a bunch of stuff home this weekend even though I hate doing so. I knew I needed to start getting caught up because otherwise they'll come through our school for audit and my stuff won't be in order and that won't be good. I'm not that worried about it since I know what I'm doing and I'm certainly not skimping out on what I'm teaching simply because I didn't write the stuff down. But they like us to have it all written down and it won't kill me to spend one weekend working. (Two weekends might though.)

So today I have been spending a lot of time on plans. Past weeks plans that is. I'm supposed to write up my math plans a certain way because it's part of my evaluation (not quite tenured yet). I don't mind doing it this way as I pretty much always have but if you get behind, it makes for a very tedious couple of hours of planning. So to ensure that this doesn't happen again, I went ahead and planned my math block all the way up until Spring Break. Doesn't mean it'll stay exactly how I have it written out right now but the long form of it will be written up and that's going to save me a lot of trouble later. 

Once that is done, I still need to get my literacy plans and my content areas (science/social studies) sorted out for the rest of this week. Science is not our big focus in 5th because they take the standardized test on it in October so our true focus is on Social Studies since that is their content area test is 6th grade. I like teaching both but science gets to be a pain with all of the STUFF that comes with the lessons. When you have a limited amount of time to teach it in, it makes it harder as well.


I am so ready for Spring Break. Three more weeks to go. We have next Friday (the 25th) with no kids for PD and records so we can do report cards. Since I have nothing going on after school this week and we're finishing up two big tests, I am going to get my report cards done THIS week so I can spend that records time cleaning my room and starting to prep for Spring Break. We officially start our break on Friday, April 1st. The Oldest has that day off as well but The Littles have school. That means I can relax and just do my thing because The Oldest will do her thing too.

We have a lot of appointments and such set for over the break and thus we aren't going on vacation. The whole family will be home though and that will be nice. Middle Child has some neuropsych testing happening that week and we both have other doctor appointments in there too (easier to schedule them during the break so we don't have to miss school). I'm looking forward to a slower pace most of all. Even though 3 of those days I have things going on, there won't be as much rush as there is during a school week and that'll be nice.

Plus The Husband is going to be able to finish up our new office and we can move in that week too. Yay! I'm really excited.

Mostly I'd like the rest of my plans to do themselves but I don't think that's going to happen! I'll be taking a short break for dinner here soon and then back to the grind. At least I know that once it's done, I'll be a bit ahead with that stuff so I won't have to worry too much about getting behind again before break.

Friday, March 11, 2011

You must really like me!

Right now, I am sitting right here:

The best desk in the world! (And it comes complete with a fountain diet coke, score!)

I haven't been able to sit in this space for....about 6 months. It's not much but it's my little corner in our "office" upstairs and I have missed it so badly! When I was working on my Master's last spring, I didn't sit here much because there wasn't enough desk surface to spread out all of my junk. 
This probably doesn't look that bad...but this was just the beginning. It was ugly when I was done haha!

At any rate, I haven't been able to use my desk because the upstairs area where it is has been "under construction". Not this room itself, but the room connecting to it. This room (and my desk) have been taken over with tools, materials and other crap. I've dealt with it because I haven't had much choice. But tonight, I finally declared I had to have my desk back. Even if the rest of the room remains a colossal mess of "stuff", I don't care. I just want this little space for myself again.

You never realize how much you miss having a space of your own until you don't have it. Just like the desks at school. My first year teaching, I had a REAL teacher's desk, complete with a big surface and file drawers. It was amazing. I had those drawers filled to the brim too! But my current school (actually my last 3!) have these mangy "teacher tables" that only have one tiny little drawer (that barely holds post-its and pens let alone anything else). So now more than ever I appreciate this big desk I have at home because, except for the space required for me to really spread out my master's crap (trust me, at one point the entire table was full of papers and research and books and Lord only knows what else!), it's just the perfect size. My laptop fits nicely on the side and I have space for all of my grading and paperwork and whatnot that I may have to bring home.


This week has been a mixed bag. My students were fan-freaking-tastic (well all but two) with my illness and needing to be out Tuesday morning and all day on Wednesday. It's a book order week so pretty much every day, I've had kids giving me money when we get to school. Tuesday since I didn't see them to start the day, when I got there at lunch, 5 kids came up and gave me money. I looked at the sub and said with a straight face, "see, they love me so much that whenever I return from being gone, they pay me!" He burst out laughing. 

Book orders were due today and when all was said and done:
I'm not sure what it is about kiddos in my district paying with quarters but if it gets them reading, I won't complain!

In all, the munchkins bought $107 worth of books and things this month! Two years ago I had a class that always bought tons of things from the book orders too. Last year they didn't (but they weren't good at much but being naughty). I was very pleased to see that one of my kiddos who always tells me he HATES reading ordered a big Goosebumps pack. Hey, if it gets the kid to read, then I'm all for it!!

One of the kiddos mom forgot the money at home so she went home to get it and when she got there, the student went down to the office to get it. It was just before recess and he comes back in with the money and I said, really loud "wow, so-and-so, you don't have to pay me to give you recess!"

My class knows I'm a huge goofball so they just laughed and continued to get ready. I have so much fun with them. I'm dreading June when they leave me...because if I stay in 5th, next year will be rougher. The 4th graders clearly run their classrooms this year and it won't work like that in my room. I already have a feeling the first month or two are gonna be all about tough love.



Thursday, March 10, 2011

Meds FTW!

Meds and a day off yesterday were definitely what the doctor ordered. I felt so much better by this morning! 

My class did absolutely amazing with my crazy schedule this week. They are such a caring group. I'm going to miss them. Two boys were horrendous. Only those two boys. So tomorrow when we have our Token Tub party, they will, unfortunately have to sit out.

I hate doing that to kids because it makes me feel really mean...but then again, it's MARCH. And they are FIFTH GRADERS. They know how to behave, they know what I expect and they darn well know that I am not going to tolerate anything less than their best, regardless of whether I am there or not.


Tomorrow is Friday and I feel fabulous again so it's all good. Brought home a bunch of stuff I really needed to do....but then found out The Husband had to work late (until midnight!) so I nixed it all and took the little ladies to dinner and we've vegged since. I guess I'll just have to force myself to work a half day this weekend and get caught up. Life won't end. I'm sure enjoying not doing that work at the moment anyway!

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Decadence

Sometimes it feels so decadent to be home by myself during a weekday. Especially now that I'm back on the traditional school calendar. My old school was on a modified year-round schedule so a few times a year, I had a week off when my kids and The Husband were all at school and working. I only miss that schedule a teeny bit (really, I only miss the February break). So now if I'm home and everyone else isn't, it feels almost weird.

Last spring when I was on my leave, I got to spend a lot of quality time with the dog, who never listened to me worth a darn before but now does. I'm sure this is because we spent days and days alone together and I was all he had if he wanted food and to go outside. He kind of had to be nice to me (which means listening to everything I say, haha!).

We always get MLK off in my district which is pretty much the only holiday we get that the other surrounding districts don't. So that's usually one day that I can count on having to myself, regardless of which calendar I teach on from year-to-year. But when I'm home like this, randomly because I took a personal day or a sick day like today...it feels a bit surreal.

Today was great. I definitely made a wise decision to just stay home and take care of myself. I got up with the kids and made sure everyone was around and ready for school and even fielded a parent phone call this morning (yes he called my personal number but I gave it to him for a reason so I didn't mind too much -- he felt bad when he realized I was home sick but you gotta do what you gotta do sometimes). I spent a little time on the computer after everyone had left for the day and then around 8:30 or so I started feeling that blah feeling again so I headed back to bed. Rest is best as the doctor told me.

And rest I did. I slept for several hours and when I got up, I felt sort of human again. I was even hungry. Not just hungry in the I-have-to-eat-to-stay-alive sense but hungry enough to even be craving something. Food is starting to taste like food again and that's very good. A shower and a tad bit of makeup later and I felt like a new person. Only left the house because I had to take Middle Child to an appointment at 5. It was good to get out a little bit though. I feel a million times better than I was feeling the last few days. (Thanks Tylenol and Amoxicillan!)

Hopefully this trend continues. I might even feel normal by Friday. That would make the weekend perfect.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

haha!

So after the crap that was Friday of last week, I got the last laugh.

Since 5th grade is as high as our elementary buildings go, any students who have IEPs have to have transitional IEP meetings in the spring to prepare for middle school. Since we can't control much about where they go and whatnot, the only thing we can do to best serve these children is to do the best we can to provide as much support as possible in the middle school environment based on the class types offered and what have you.

Yesterday we had some such meetings. A Really Tall Sub came into my classroom to cover for me so I could attend these meetings. Once in the morning and once in the afternoon. In-between, he was in Mrs. Cooperating Teacher's room. I have 5 years experience, she has almost 30. My class was amazing for Really Tall Sub. Hers, notsomuch. I could hear her kids through the bump out and hear him having to raise his voice. Not good.

So then he was back with my class at the very end of the day. When I got back from the last meeting, the kids were telling me that he could speak another language and they thought it was so cool and everything. So before he left, I asked him if he wanted to leave his number in case I ever needed a sub again. He said absolutely he would LOVE to sub for my class again and left his name and number.

I was on cloud nine that he complimented MY class over the other two classes he'd been in during the day. It was a big "so take that!" moment. Even our custodian was so happy when I told her about it, she left my class suckers for being so good for him while I was in my meeting. Really Tall Sub said, in front of the kids, that he could definitely tell I have them under control and keep them accountable. Go me.

So then today as I feel like absolute crud and whatnot, I just knew I was not going to be able to go to work tomorrow. So I called him when I got back to work this afternoon and he said he actually had a sub job for tomorrow already. I thanked him and said I'd try again in the future but then he said "no wait, you're the teacher with the really good class, so I'll cancel my other job and take yours instead"!!!

I was beyond happy with that. It was really nice of him to do that. I told him that the kids begged for him so hopefully they behave! He told me that they were speechless when he spoke in Bosnian to them and I said maybe he should do it again to keep them mesmerized. Whatever works, right??

I'm glad I made the decision to go ahead and take care of myself. I don't do it enough and I need to. Especially when I'm this sick and it's been ongoing forever. Next week we have some standardized testing for our ELL kids so I need (and want) to be well for that. Hopefully the super awesome medication I got at the doctor's and a day of rest will help me get better finally.

The Crud

There is just no other way to describe what I have besides calling it "The Crud". Ugh.

Two weeks ago yesterday, it started with a sore throat. It's that time of year and all so whatever. But then it got better and I thought I was FINALLY going to be over it and WHAM, it comes back and with a vengeance. I spent 19 hours in bed on Sunday. 19 hours! Out of 24!

At first, The Husband just thought I was being lazy. The kids were at my mom's for the weekend so he thought I was just enjoying it. Around 1 p.m. I made my way upstairs to the TV room (it took about 5 minutes to get there), he took one look at me and realized I felt like a pile of dog "stuff".

He gave me some meds, fed me some dry toast and wrapped me up in blankets on the couch where I proceeded to pass out for another few hours. I was hungry when I woke up again but food tastes like cardboard so I didn't get much joy out of eating (which is a shame...I really love food).

Yesterday I took the last of the DayQuil and went to work and was fine all day...until about 2:30 and it all just hit me again. I felt horrible. Sore throat, body aches, stuffy nose, etc. I knew I needed to suck it up and go to the doctor. Working in a germ-infested school isn't helping, I'm sure.

I took a half sick day today and went to the doctor this morning. I have sinusitis, an ear infection in my left ear and "signs" of strep. Lovely. When I called The Husband on my way to the pharmacy, he chuckled and said I was just a cesspool of goo. Very true. Apparently when I get sick, I make it worth it! [Last time I was sick like this, I had mono/strep and an ear infection -- and I was 28! The doctor at the med station said I was probably the oldest person in the world to have mono.]


I am going back to work this afternoon because I have a parent meeting after school that I can't cancel. But I am thinking that tomorrow, I may just stay home. I have got to kick these sickies and I want to feel well and normal again! I guess we will see how I feel in the morning.

Friday, March 4, 2011

What.The.&*%^!

Today was...interesting.

After the crap email from the secretary, which I snottily replied to (both her and principal!), I got to work early today and had a message from this parent. I called back, totally took responsiblity and said it was my fault, miscommunication, blah blah (hey, I'm nothing if not a complete PR butt-kisser! haha). The dad was wonderful and said it wasn't a problem, don't worry, yada yada.

I promised I would have the work by the end of the day and wouldn't go home until I personally delivered it to his hands. He was very grateful and thanked me for helping. So clearly not as big of an issue as Mrs. Secretary (who has another nickname in my mind right now!) and Mrs. Principal made it out to be.

So I go down to make copies and whatnot and Mrs. Principal calls me into her office (it's right by the copy machine). She tells me to shut the door. So I knew she was going to yell at me, thinking it was about the email. But she says she was very offended by what I said on FaceBook and if I *ever* did it again, she would take me to central office and have me reprimanded within an inch of my life. First and foremost, she came at me all ghetto (and she's a white lady -- sorry I worked in the ghetto and you don't scare me) and secondly she was very nasty to me. I said "what did I say??" and she says "you know what you said".

My exact post said how my silver lining of the day was my sub telling me how awesome my class was and that it was great after the kind of sub notes I'd been left last year. It was my silver lining after being chewed for something I had tried to take care of.

Now....yes, I WAS talking about work. HOWEVER, the post is *so* vague and there is no way that she could ever prove that I was talking about school (except maybe pointing out that I mentioned school in the first part so the latter part must've been about school too) but it could be argued back and forth and thus, she wouldn't have a leg to stand on. AND it was posted on MY time and from MY home. I was not in the least bit scared about her threat of a reprimand.

I refused to confirm or deny whether or not it was about school although I did point out to her that she couldn't prove anything and she said "well no one here is stupid, we can read between the lines". Then she told me that she hadn't even read the post, someone else had told her about it. Sorry but are we in high school here??

I knew instantly who had told her when she said that and I was pissed beyond belief. There were few people it could have been because not everyone knew about the situation or would be able to read between the lines to figure out what I was talking about. I could not believe that this person would back-stab me the way that they had first of all, but second of all would twist around what I said and make a mountain out of a molehill.

She asked me about the homework issue and I explained my side and she was very negative. She said that she didn't see how I had a leg to stand on and blah blah. I said clearly she was just determined to think what she wanted and had already made up her mind before I even came in there. I also said I had already talked to the parent and made arrangements with him to have him pick the work up from me by the end of the day. She very snottily says "well I will be calling him to verify that". Like I would lie about it. Needless to say, she just planted herself firmly on my S--t list.

One thing you have to know about Sunny is that what you see is what you get. I don't pull punches. I say what I think, I mean what I say and I think I am a damn good teacher because of that. I don't pull the wool over my kids' eyes and I give it to them straight. For her to approach me in the utmost of unprofessional ways and then hound on me like *I'm* the unprofessional one will never be forgiven. Given the fact that there are budget shakeups likely to happen, I think it will be a blessing if I end up transferred. If I find out that Mrs. Principal will stay there, I won't. I am too old to play those stupid games. I am a professional, I do my job and I advocate for my kids. Period. If you want to take something I said and twist it around based on what a back-stabbing bitch told you, whatever. Be my guest. But don't expect me to bow down and kiss your rear-end because it won't ever happen.


The best part is that when dad came in this afternoon, and I apologized again and said I had dropped the ball and took responsiblity for that (even though I could easily argue that the secretary was largely at fault for the miscommunication), dad was VERY understanding and said it wasn't a problem at all. He said he could tell I cared about his child and just wanted to do the best for her in her absence. Mrs. Principal was out of the building this afternoon but I seriously wanted to transcribe that conversation and stick it under her door with a note telling her to eat s___! (Because Sunny is kind of vindictive like that.)


And that friends, was my day in the life of a teacher.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Highs and Lows

I just don't understand some people.

I have a parent who pulled their child out of school to take them to Mexico. They want me to send homework. They are officially off my class list, yet the secretary is hounding me to provide homework. Uncle or someone came up yesterday and didn't wait very long. I got downstairs (recall I'm up on the third floor) and he was gone already. So I called the number he'd left right away and left a message. No call back.

Then I get a nasty email from our secretary (which she CC'd to my principal) saying that Uncle came up AGAIN and called AGAIN today and I didn't have anything ready and that it wasn't very nice to this family. Then Mrs. Principal emails me and says I HAVE to provide homework if it is requested.

Excuse me, the child isn't even ON my class list anymore which means I am not obligated to provide jack crap. Secondly I called the family to ask how long she's gone for so I know what to send. I don't have plans ahead of time for 2-3 months! I mean get freaking real. I emailed back and said I was happy to provide homework if I could get the simple question answered of how long this student is going to be gone. It makes a huge difference if it's a week or a month. I am NOT happy about it.

If they're so worried about her falling behind, then DON'T PULL HER OUT OF SCHOOL TO GO TO MEXICO IN THE MIDDLE OF THE FREAKING YEAR! And secondly, if you DO pull her out of school, then ENROLL HER IN SCHOOL there, even if it is only for a few weeks. So to shut them up, I am going to print some stupid busywork and give it to the secretary. 

I am really pissed off that she insinuated in her email, and copied the principal, like I'm not doing my job. Screw you. Especially considering I told you I needed a time frame to make the packet worthwhile. So now, it'll be a pile of crap and you can thank yourself for that!!



Additionally today, the 5th grade team met to do some data and other planning. At one point we were talking about something with reading. We use Houghton Mifflin and it's very old (almost 10 years). It's very inappropriate for my students who are reading at a 2nd grade level. There are only 3 of them so I have them in some off-level work with the blessing of my reading coach. Mrs. Cooperating Teacher has the nerve to question my decision to do this for my kids because "it's not what the district says we have to do". WHO CARES?! They are not in my classroom every day. They are not watching these boys struggle to come even close to making meaning of a text four levels above their instructional level. Maybe I'm just in a crappy mood today but it made me mad. Don't question my practices as a teacher like you have a say in how I am teaching. You are not my boss. You are no better than me, even though you walk around like you are.

On top of that, when push comes to shove, it's my feet held to the fire over whether or not those kids achieve. And I guarantee that they won't reading a basal 4 levels over their little heads! I love Mrs. CT but sometimes, I definitely think she's beyond her prime. I'm all about getting feedback and whatnot from others but I do not have to justify myself to my colleagues. If my principal raises a fuss, then I can change things but I got the blessing from my coach to try it out and it has been working fabulously. I could care less what anyone else thinks!


Probably the only good thing from today was that I got so spend some building money on supplies for our DDI stuff and I got to leave right at 3:30 since I had a sub who left my room spotless. Days like this make me wish I could win the lottery and start my own school so I can do whatever I want!

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Tuesday Thoughts

We got an interesting email today around our recess time. It's not my duty day so I usually read emails and catch up on short amounts of paperwork during that break time.

Got an email from the communications office that our superintendent is finalist for a superintendency in another state. I can not tell you how thrilled I will be if he gets that job (and how sad I will be if he doesn't). When he first came to our district (same time I started), he made a lot of good changes. Some cleaning needed to be done. However, in the last couple of years, it has become tiresome. We might as well push our own faces into the mud as poorly as they talk about us. They claim we are all money grubbing and yada yada, but I can tell you that I'm not making the $90k a year that a new principal position is set to pay (not even half of that!).

So while  nothing is set in stone....I am hopeful. It's time to bring someone else in who can heal our hurts and get our district back on track. Plus, one thing that makes me wonder is that the email said this district pursued him, not the other way around. It could be a total line of BS but I don't think it is. If they headhunted him, I hope that means they hire him. 

Because I can guarantee that not one single teacher in my district will miss him. But it'll set some people quaking in their boots for sure because some of these high admins may not last if a new super shows up.