Thursday, March 29, 2012

Happy Spring Break!!

I am running away for Spring Break (not really...but kinda). My kids were bat-shit CRAZY today. So glad I don't have to see them tomorrow or we might not make it through the day with all of us still alive. They got in trouble in music...which is at 8:30. We start at 8:20. So that tells you the kind of day we had. Sheesh!

I had a girlie doc appointment after school (as a "you can't stay late and work" excuse) and OUCHIE. Not really how I wanted to start my break!

My little girls and I are heading to our cabin TONIGHT. The Oldest and The Husband will come tomorrow. I just want to be there. It is where I find peace and harmony. And Lord knows I need it.

Have a good week and be safe!


Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Seriously 2012, enough already...

I kind of officially hate 2012. It has not been a good year so far. I'm ready to wave my white flag and say "uncle" because I'm D-O-N-E. I can't take anymore. I just can't.

On top of my own crap, today I got a call about an availability to get Middle Child into see her new therapist (who specializes in working with children with Asperger's and Autism). This therapist is only at this clinic on Wednesdays and thus getting an appointment after school is hard because she's only there the one day. Last week when we were there I had them put us on the waiting list as the first call for any cancellations due to my schedule. So we got a call today.

When I picked Middle Child up at school, I talked to her social worker for just a moment and he told me that Middle Child said she isn't "normal". Well of course "normal" is a relative term. No one is really "normal". She said she doesn't like having her bathroom issues (the poor kid has dyslexia, irritable bowel syndrome, encopresis, asperger's and Lord only knows what else). It's a lot for her. She's only 10. Today in session, she said sometimes she thinks about being dead.

I nearly lost it right there. She's 10 years old and feels like this? And I had no idea! :( When I got home I told The Husband that I most definitely will NOT win Mother of the Year for that one. Christ. I'm D-O-N-E. My plate is full. No more thanks!

I feel terrible. She's such a matter of fact kid and usually I read her well. The only comfort I have at all is that this might be something she is parroting from TV...but I try to be mindful of what they watch of course. The therapist had us do a mood rating (which I had to read to Middle Child since she can't read) and I was so sad and shocked by some of her answers. I had to bite my tongue not to say anything so I wouldn't influence her answers. My heart is breaking for her. 

I know that she gets her anxiety from me. That one is so on me....but the rest of us I just don't know where it all comes from. She is picked on at school because she is "different". She feels like the staff bullies her. She has zero impulse control and takes things that don't belong to her. It is frustrating. I'm so ready to just home school her because I've had enough. 

I feel like everything is falling apart and I don't know what to do. On top of that my students have been lazy as hell this week and I am SO sick of it. I really miss big kids, bad. And the "guru" came back with feedback and from the little I already heard, he says we have to differentiate in EVERYTHING. Ha...right. Okay dude. Whatever. Give me three assistants and it will happen, until them, show me how it's done with 28 kids and ONE adult when all of the kids are on  vastly different levels and you already don't have enough time. AND he bitched that we only had 3% of our kids proficient in crap idiot! We don't have time to TEACH it with all of the other crap you want us to do. 

I am so glad that tomorrow is it...9 days of bliss. I am going up north and forgetting all of the miserable shit in my life because I.AM.DONE.


Monday, March 26, 2012


So, I decided to put my musings in a book. Likely self published (although if there are any publishers out there who want to pick it up, I won't complain *wink*).

Not that my teaching life is so amazing and I'm all fabulous and whatnot...but my past -- you know the one that has made my life hell for most of 2012? -- has shaped who I am. And I finally spilled the beans about something that I kept to myself for like 20 years. Not kidding. It's what prompted the whole purple hair thing (which btw I have not done...yet), the tattoos, the meltdown I had in February.

I'm sick of lying about it. Hiding it. Pretending it isn't so. Because it is. And I'm going to write about it....have been actually. I have about 13k words so far.

I had a half day of work today because I had to take Middle Child to the doctor. As I was driving home for the hour or so I had before I had to pick her up, I was thinking about naming it after my blog...because really, this blog has a lot of my stuff in it. Better written than if I tried to recall it all from memory. Just have to add the real bombshells.

I don't know. Sometimes it seems like a great idea. And then the insecure part of me thinks "who wants to read your *$@# anyway??"

Regardless I will write it. Whether or not I do anything with it remains to be seen.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Why yes....

It is definitely Sunday night....because I have a pile of stuff to do and I am blogging instead. *wink*

It occurred to me that I really only have 3 1/2 days this week. I forgot that I took the afternoon off tomorrow to take Middle Child to the psychiatrist for a med check. So yay me. Hopefully my sub shows up. I hate trying to get half day subs for the afternoon because sometimes they bail at the last minute. But I didn't want to take the whole day since Mondays are kind of nutty and it's the last week before break. I want to at least get a good math, reading and writing lesson in. If the afternoon is a bit "off" won't be as big of a deal because all of the major stuff will have been covered already!

I spent some time today cutting, gluing and laminating the file folder games my team wanted no part of. Party poopers. Hmmph. My students are going to love them. And best of all, they cover areas we've already studied (time, money, addition and subtraction and measurement). Some of my kiddos are really awesome at math. And some are still counting basic facts on their fingers (d'oh!). Mostly because they never study at home. Ever. And it's hard to memorize them if you only do the work at school. But these games will reinforce some of those skills for the kiddos who don't have home support -- which is a sad fact in much of my district unfortunately. (I would probably die of a heart attack if I ever worked somewhere with massive home support -- because my job would be a million times easier and I dunno if I could handle it!)

I am going to bring the centers into school tomorrow so the folders themselves can be laminated. My small laminater isn't big enough to do those. I did laminate the game pieces and such at home with my Scotch laminater. I glued the parts onto cardstock and then laminated them so they'll last longer with the harder laminate and the cardstock back. We probably won't use them until after spring break due to how much we're trying to finish up this week. BUT the good news is that I plan to take 15-20 minutes per day from the day after spring break until the May MAP tests to do some math groups/review/intervention with the kiddos and these centers will be perfect for that. My team decided they're going to do a one day per week thing...but the more I thought on it, these are skills they need reinforced EVERY DAY. We kick butt with reading. We really do. Our scores in 2nd grade on the MAP are WELL above the district average (yay!). They are for math also but when I look at what my kids can actually DO independently...I know they need more help. I also know if I suggested this 15 minute intervention for math, my team would laugh and say when would we do it, blah blah.

So I will do it on my own. Because I will die if these kiddos aren't ready for 3rd grade. It will hurt my heart. They NEED to know and understand what they are going to be asked to do. Additionally, I am going to give my kids a practice MEAP based on old released items. My team won't do that either....but you know what? THEY NEED THE EXPOSURE TO THE TEST FORMAT. They do! I am so passionate about that. I am not a fan of teaching to the test, at all. BUT showing them a format on a test that takes DAYS to complete is not teaching to the test -- it is preparation so my low kids don't see that test in October and figuratively wet themselves.

They will thank me later for being tough on them AND making sure they ARE ready to move on. They will.


Saturday, March 24, 2012

Easter Baskets

Thought I would share some pictures from some of our recent crafts. I wish I was better at remembering to take pictures of some of this stuff -- things have been so insane that I often forget to pull out my camera.

We made Easter Bunny baskets on Thursday for "Thrilling Thursday" (normally "Fabulous Friday" but we didn't have school Friday).

Here is the directed sample that I made with the kids.

Here are some of their finished bags. We need to add cotton balls to the ears still. So cute.

On Monday, I will fill them with Easter grass and then on Thursday, our last day of school before Spring Break, I will fill each one with a small bag of Easter goodies for the kids to take home. I am SO not a creative person in terms of being crafty like this so I'm quite glad that Mrs. E is because she shares this stuff with me. I think that next year, if I am still teaching 2nd grade (we don't find out until late April what our placement is), I am going to strive to do a craft with my kids every week. They need it, especially at the start of the year because they still need that developmental time with scissors and such.

I do have to say that I am quite disappointed in my team's lack of.....I don't even know what to call it. One of my kiddos mom just ordered a TON of books (over $120 herself) from our Scholastic Book order. I tend to hoard my bonus points so I can get worthwhile things for our classroom. Thanks to that mom's order, I was able to get a set of file folder games for math. 10 for measurement, 10 for addition and subtraction and 10 for time and money. All areas that our kiddos REALLY need extra support in. I showed them to my team and they wanted nothing to do with it because of the cutting, pasting and laminating it will take for the centers to be ready. I'm so disappointed in their attitude about that. 

I have a proposal up at Donors Choose right now for some science materials since that is SO lacking in our school (not enough time to do the kits). And one of the materials is a file folder resource center. So I guess I know that I won't be sharing that with them either because it's "too much work". If it is for the is never too much work. 

I really do hope I am teaching 2nd grade again next year because now that I understand the curriculum a little better and have gotten another good feel for their development from start of the year to the end, I'm ready to make some big changes. I am definitely using Daily 5/Cafe next year now that I am more comfortable with Reading Street. I plan to spend some time this summer planning how my Daily 5 will look for next year. I am also seriously thinking of implementing a Math Daily 5 too (although it will probably be Daily 3 because of time). My fabulous hubby just let me purchase a subscription to and just in browsing through it last night, I see so many resources that will help me to implement Daily 5 in my classroom next year, no matter what grade I end up teaching.


Friday, March 23, 2012


Why are short weeks always so...weird??? It does not help that every day this week was GORGEOUS. 80+ degrees (which is unheard of for March in Michigan). And today was gross. Rainy and way colder than I thought it would be. It was a no-kids day and I happily skipped out of my house this morning in capris, sandals and a t-shirt and promptly froze my behind off all afternoon. Oy!

I must've been really excited about no kiddos today because I left my keys at home. I never do that. What the heck?! Thankfully one of my colleagues was in the office to buzz me in. Sheesh. Kind of glad I forgot to lock my classroom door last night too otherwise I would've had to sneak in through the class next door. What a pain. I couldn't get my laptop or whatnot out so I had to sit at the kiddos computers but I didn't mind that so much.

I always feel like I never get as much done as I really want to on days like this. Because I am bound and determined not to do a darn thing school related on Spring Break I figured I'd rather work this weekend so I am set and can leave with the kids on Thursday. I have a doctor's appointment at 4 on Thursday afternoon so no dawdling allowed.

I'm very ready for some time off. I just want to sleep. Lots of crap happening in my life so far in 2012, a lot of it negative, and it's just hard not to want to curl up and sleep until it all goes away. But I pick my head up every day and keep going. Because I will not be defeated by my past. I am strong and I just have to trust that there is a reason all of this is happening now. It will be okay. It's just draining to have so many huge things happening all at once.

We made super cute Easter Bunny Baskets yesterday. I will post a few pictures soon. I am turning my brain toward next year and all of the things I want to do BETTER than I did this year. I'm not done with this group yet of course but I am making notes and being very careful about reflecting on what has worked and what hasn't so that I can go into 2012-2013 with more focus. It will be much easier because a) I hope to be teaching 2nd grade again and b) I won't have the process of NB hanging over me anymore. I can just focus on the teaching itself.


Monday, March 19, 2012

T minus 8 and counting!

Oh the weather has spoiled us lately. It has been GORGEOUS. No one wants to learn...we want to play. And honestly I kind of want to play too. I'm in serious need of a break. Spring Break should be a month long. Really. At least it should be so if the weather is going to be such a teaser! 

At any goes on. My big blue box made it to San Antonio today. What.A.Load.Off. Not that I was that worried (I did ship it Priority after all so they'd take a little more care with it). Considering I wanted to barf all afternoon Friday after realizing I was DONE and shipping it off....a big sense of relief came over me when I realized that it's there, it's safe and all contents have been accepted. Whew!

8 days left for teachers before Spring Break. We have some guru from a big educational firm coming in to do surveys and observations and whatnot. Generally, he is already being a pain in the ass and I think the staff at my school would collectively like to kick him in the teeth. I'm not worried. I have nothing to hide at all. But clearly this guy is NOT an educator because there were issues with the scheduling and he basically said make it work or else. Nice. Because we don't have STUDENTS we're responsible for or anything. Sheesh. So glad I am not on the leadership team because I'd have to sit in a meeting with this dude for 4 hours over the next few days. No.Thank.You.

There is much work to be done and I'm overwhelming thinking about it all. I will buck up and do it, however, because that's what we do, right? You work your butt off, make it happen and move on. I will do the essentials tonight. The rest can wait until planning time tomorrow. 

Spent the weekend at my cabin (aka my happy place, aka the best place I have ever been in my life) and on the way home yesterday The Husband said "so are your batteries recharged?". Yep. Until today when reality hits of course! *wink* I am so planning to spend my Spring Break there. 10 days away from Internet, computers and reality. 10 days in the woods, away from it all. Peace. Relaxation. Bliss. Man, I can't wait.

Friday, March 16, 2012

The End

Today marked the end for me. It's over now. Finito.

Well, at least part of it. I made a goal to complete my NB portfolio by today. No matter what. Hell or high water and all of that.

I mailed that blue box at 1:04 p.m. EST. And felt kind of sick to my stomach. I'm not sure WHY I felt like I needed to hurl for about 2 hours after I mailed it...but I did. Now is the time that you start to wonder about it. Because's gone. You can't fix anything else. It's done. You have no more control over what you have done because you will never see those papers again (at least not in any form that would allow you to revise them and send them in again).

I got my nails and toes done afterward. Spent about 2.5 hours at the salon because they were quite busy. I didn't mind though. Feels nice to treat myself to something after working my butt off for so long. The Oldest mentioned that I will actually be able to RELAX and they will get to see me again.

True, true. All very true.

I am done with NB until April 9. I am taking the next three weeks to myself. Two more weeks of school and then Spring Break. And I am not thinking about NB whatsoever. It's forbidden.

Once we're back in the swing of things in April, I will begin my preparation for the assessment center. If things go well with my prep work, I may move my appointment up to the earlier part of May. Get it done and over with while my prep is fresh in my head. I'm not sure about that part yet. We'll see.

I felt kind of lost after I left the post office. This has consumed me for a long time. And I feel kind of empty now. Because that part is done. It's by far the biggest part of the process -- in my eyes at least -- because of the writing you have to do. Writing and reflecting. Reflecting and writing. And repeat.

So looking forward to heading up north this weekend. In March (!!) to open our cabin since it has been so spring-like. I am going to spend some time creatively writing while there. Because I will have time to first of all but also because the story is dying to come out. I got the big part out -- now I just need to make it prettier to read. Oddly enough there was a show on the TV at the salon where a woman revealed something she'd held in for 40 years....and it was so much a mirror to my own recent situation. I took it as a sign. The words are there. And they are powerful. And it's time they were told. I'm 99% sure I will self publish at Amazon since it's so easy to do. And I am pretty good at editing my own writing so hopefully that will be easy for me to manage as well. I don't expect to make money telling my story...but I do expect to heal. And if that happens, life will be amazing.


Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Are you KIDDING me?!

Let me preface this to say that I am going to TRY to recount this as positively as possible....but I may just go into rant mode. Hours and hours later and I am STILL trying to pick my jaw up off the floor. Unreal.

This morning my team and I had a Reading Street follow-up training. It was off-site from our school and we had to be there at 8. I did not go to school beforehand like usual, I just went to the school where it was held. We were in a classroom area with all of 2nd grade but split into groups. We had a lot of schools from the other side of town in our group. I kind of like that because it provides you with different experiences and perspectives.

We're sitting there, my team and I, listening to the presentation, hearing other people share their experiences and chiming in as needed. At one point, a table on the other side of the room said something about reading all of the tests to the students. Wait. Hold on read a reading test to the kids? After the 1st semester?? It's a reading test!!! How else are you going to know if kids are reading and making meaning??

So Miss W, who was sitting next to me, nudges me and says "Sunny, you are SO on with the MEAP, you need to say something about this". So I did. I politely pointed out that in 3rd grade no one will read the MEAP test to these children. They have to read it to themselves. Do you know what these 2nd grade teachers did?

They laughed. They laughed! One even had the nerve to say, we teach 2ND grade, not 3rd.


I hate to break it to you darling but the 3rd grade MEAP is based upon the 2nd grade standards!! So yes, you ARE responsible for getting these children ready for this test!

Miss W was literally shaking, she was SO pissed. Mrs. E couldn't pick her jaw up off the floor. THEN these other teachers say how they are "accommodating" these kids. It isn't an accommodation. It's cheating. If the child does not have an IEP that states the tests are read to them, you HAVE to teach them test taking strategies and let them make mistakes and then reteach. But you don't use the test that was corrected and then retested for your data...and that's what they are doing.

We left fuming. FUMING. Since I did not ride with my team, I got back after they did. Mrs. E was outside getting something from her car and stopped me and said Miss W went right into Mrs. Principal's office and was telling her about it. I snuck in and said I just wanted her to know that I have never been more proud to be part of a team that has INTEGRITY and is HONEST with our data. Later, I saw Mrs. Principal in the  lunch area and said again that I was still just reeling...and that even if my data is horrible, at least it is authentic!! She pointed out that these other teachers are going to be HAD because it will become obvious that they fluff their data, it isn't accurate and that OUR students are making solid growth because our data is not altered. It is what those children are able to do!

I am honestly just appalled. How can you call yourself a teacher if you lie like that?? It's a reading test! Designed to measure if they can make meaning without support!! I can tell you that none of my team was shocked when we thought about all of the children we have gotten from these schools and why they are so low. Their hands are held for them, always.

There are things about my team that I wish they would change...but even Miss W said to me, "Sunny, you push us toward the higher level, we needed you to help us do that -- these other teachers have no one pushing them and they are so unlucky". That made me feel good. Even though we've had our ups and downs, I do feel like we can be an outstanding team. We can kick some major ass. And our data won't be made up, "accommodated" or false. 

And damn it, I will happily stand up and proclaim that YES only half of my class made a benchmark scores long as those scores are THEIRS and not fluffed. Who does that help?? Certainly not the children.


Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Service Learning

Today was our Service Learning field trip! There were a couple of snafus but the trip was successful nonetheless. I only ended up with 19 kiddos of my 27 which is a great amount of kids for a trip like that! Some were absent, some did not get to go because their behavior IN school does not warrant me taking them OUT of school. 

The students and I read "Magic Trash" and made our own Magic Trash. Today we took a bus across town and presented our creations to a senior community to teach them about what WE learned about recycling. The kids presented their projects and told the seniors about them. Some were super cute: one was made from a laundry detergent bottle with the cap of an old sippy cup for a nose and that group named it "Pinocchio" because of it's nose. Lots of robots in the group and the seniors were really graceful and impressed by how creative the kiddos were.

Since my kiddos are all from the inner city area, most of them have never been to anywhere as nice as the senior community we went to. It's still in the city but on the other side of town and what a difference! The kids thought we left the state. One of my colleagues said "well that's 2nd graders for you", I've had 4th and 5th graders ask me the same type of question before. It isn't the age, it's the fact that so many of these children never go outside of their own neighborhood. Their idea of a trip is to Walmart. It's kind of sad.

Anyway, I'm really glad we did this. I'm not sure I would do this kind of trip again with kiddos so young. It was fun, they learned a lot and the seniors LOVED it....but it was a lot of work for me and on top of everything else this year, it got overwhelming sometimes. Couple that with the fact that 10 minutes before we were supposed to board the bus, I had to suspend a child (for pulling down another child's pants in the bathroom -- 2nd grade!! Who the &*(&* does that?!) AND my principal comes upstairs and says that I did not have authorization for this field trip. Are you joking? I have been planning it since August, everything was given to you in after we got back I emailed everything I had already given her (remember that whole CYA thing?) and then she emails me back with a form I have NEVER SEEN in the two years I have been there and says "this form has to be filled out too". Cue me biting my tongue and just shutting up. Because there is SO much I could say and would like to say. But I'm being positive. So I will not say them. I will just think them. 

Tomorrow is a half day reading training, then boring testing at work in the afternoon. So ready for's supposed to be absolutely beautiful and 73. Unheard of for this time of the year.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Spring Cleaning!

Well it certainly is starting to feel like Spring around here! A nice 60 degree day. It's been so cold that around here that means t-shirts! My girls are all not so happy with me because I declared today Spring Cleaning day! It has to be done, right? And now is as good as any time.

Especially because I wanted to throw open the windows, let in the spring breeze and ENJOY the weather. And I can do that best when I know my house is clean.

It hasn't had a SERIOUSLY good cleaning since the fall. It's not horrible, but it needs a good scrub down. And  that's today's task. Then I am taking my happy little iPad out to the deck and working on finishing up E1 and E3. In the sunshine. On March 11. Without a coat.

It's heaven. Really.


Saturday, March 10, 2012

Oh Saturday...

We've had some crazy weather here lately. It was SO warm the other day. I left work immediately at 3:30, picked up my kids, was home by 4:15 (that never, ever happens) and we went for a long glorious walk. It was fantastic! 

Then it got cold. Real cold. Sunny and gorgeous but about 40 degrees. Yikes! It is supposed to warm back up tomorrow (low 60s and yes that IS warm for us Michigan folk) and hit 70 by mid week! Spring feels like it might finally be coming. Sooo ready for it too.

The parent I wrote about the other day? Had nothing to say when I proved her wrong. My principal never apologized for insinuating that I wasn't keeping up with communicating with this mom. I do not and will not ever understand why we cater to families like this who contribute nothing but problem. It's ridiculous. And they are on a transfer. If I was in charge, they'd be gone. Period. Mom was all super nice to me at our parent event Thursday though. Imagine that -- I prove you wrong and suddenly you want to be my BFF. I'm telling you, the parents are often the worst part of teaching!!

Yesterday the kiddos painted their service learning projects. It was messy (one kid spilled a whole can...thank goodness he was over the non-carpeted area or we'd all be flogged) but fun. Our inspiration was Magic Trash and the Heidelberg Project. I'm super pleased that their projects actually look like Heidelberg fun.

We will let the paint dry over the weekend and then Monday afternoon the kids can add googly eyes, hair (string) and other assortments as needed. They have had a blast with it. We are going to a retirement community on Tuesday and reading them "Magic Trash" and then presenting them with our own Magic Trash creations!

I have had a lot of fun doing this service learning with the kids this year. It's VERY time consuming though and I'm not sure I would take it on this same level again in the future unless I was teaching older kids. It took SO much time and I feel like other things have suffered for it. It's been worth it, don't get me wrong, but on top of everything else I have been working on this year, it may not have been so wise to do it all! :)


Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Always, always...CYA

You know...I often lament that the worst part about teaching is the parents. Not them all of course. I have some amazing parents this year who are awesome.

But this one in for a rude awakening. Her child does nothing. NOTHING. (Not an exaggeration.) I prove this to mom weekly by sending home her child's BLANK papers and documenting it on our weekly communication form. Which mom signs. Every week. Which I save because I am not an idiot.

Yet this morning I get an email that mom called the hotline (2nd time this year) to say I never communicate with her about her child's (lack of) progress and she's "concerned" about her child's grades. Uh-huh. Not concerned enough to make your child stop going to the after school program (where she plays) if she doesn't do her work. Not concerned enough to KICK YOUR CHILD'S ASS AND HOLD HER ACCOUNTABLE. 

Principal set up a meeting with this parent -- without my consent or asking me if I was available because I really wasn't -- and then the parent doesn't show up. But don't you forget it is MY fault that this child is failing.

So I emailed Principal and laid it out. AND I copied every.single.paper. that has gone home regarding this child's progress since the beginning of the year. And guess whose signature in on them all? 

Yep. So wanna tell me that I haven't communicated with you about your kid?? Sorry but you picked the wrong person to try to bully. Because I do my job. I ALWAYS do my job. And I can back it up. And I tell the kids that too. Not a single other parent  has had anything negative to say about my classroom this year. Not one. Just her...and it is not a surprise to me that it's the parent whose child spent 3 months crying instead of working and now just plain doesn't do anything except mind everyone else's business. 

I told our secretary that I am going to just set my camera up in my room and videotape this child. And show her mother. And then see her try to worm her way out that.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

This is sad...

Sometimes I am kind of embarrassed by some people who call themselves educators. Isn't the whole point of being an educator to be a life-long learner and instill that in others? Isn't it??

We have an in-school tutoring program at my school that is run partly with volunteers from local businesses and also with college students who need hours toward their program. When the semester changed, we got new students from the college who have to observe the classroom of the students they work with before they begin. One of  my boys has one of these college students as a tutor. He asked me if I would mind if he and his classmates interviewed me for their cultural diversity class. I said that was perfect. 

Today the classmates came (he could not as his grandpa is ill). Two young ladies both named Sam which I thought was hilarious. They asked me some questions and I just talked a lot about our school, our climate and what we try to do for kids. One of the gals said they actually had a heck of a time getting anyone to let them come in to talk to them for their class. They even told me their professor gave them an extension on the assignment because they couldn't get anyone to let them come in.

I found that to be appalling. Yes, we are all busy. Yes, we are all overwhelmed. But I can not be the only teacher who would gladly give up her 45 minute planning time to talk to two pre-service teachers who want to know more about what teaching is like in the inner city (in terms of the cultural differences). I felt bad for them. They said I was like a God-send because I was so willing to talk to them and open my classroom to them. It wasn't a big deal at all! NOT.AT.ALL. 

I enjoyed it actually. I think they did too. I was honest and said that being a teacher right now can be very discouraging and difficult. It can be downright negative. But you reflect. You find ONE good thing to focus on that you did that day. And you run with it. I told them about my little guy who I have bent over backwards for to get him resource help. And my little gal who I am also getting resource help for. They are my accomplishments this year. I worked SO hard and documented everything so these kids could get the help they need and deserve. If nothing else, I know I did a good job this year because I advocated for and helped these two struggling learners. Both girls said they thought that was so awesome.

But I was just honest. There are days I question whether teaching is right for me. Because it IS hard. It IS discouraging. Kids get lazy, parents aren't supportive and you feel like you might as well bang your head against the wall.

But then a child writes you a note that says you're their favorite teacher. Or that they wish you would teach 3rd grade next year so they could have you again. Or they give you a sticker because they think you are fantastic. It makes it worth it. Through all of the hard stuff, the kids are worth it. 

I have never disillusioned myself that teaching where I do would ever be easy. It isn't. It's damn hard sometimes. The support you need isn't always there. But you pull up your big girl pants and you take it one day at a time. You MAKE IT HAPPEN. No matter what.

And it bothers me immensely that these pre-service teachers, who just wanted to get an inside perspective, from a teacher, had so much trouble getting anyone to even talk to them. That is sad. Sad and pitiful.

Yet, my principal has avoided allowing me to have a TA or Student Teacher. Everyone who comes into my room from the outside, constantly tells me I am fantastic. Why can't she see it? I don't need her approval, really. I know I do the best I can with what I have. But it also upsets me to see how excited those students were to leave our classroom today and want to go volunteer around the city and know that my principal likely wouldn't let them volunteer with me. Why? I don't know. I don't know what it is about me that she seems to have a problem with. But she has stopped it more than once and it drives me crazy.

I have a lot to give. And I know I won't stay in a K-12 classroom forever. I have too much to share with adults, with pre-service students, with teachers who want to better their classroom practices. And it upsets me that anyone is stemming that giving right now. Because it is there. And clearly not everyone is willing to share or give back. It's quite sad.


Monday, March 5, 2012

Oh bullies...

It's always a little scary going into work on a Monday after a Friday off. But today actually wasn't too horrible. I have lots of grading to do (the kids finished up some tests last week) but otherwise I wasn't too behind this morning so that is good. For the most part, behavior was really good today as well so that's even better.

The biggest issue that I have with this class is that they don't shut up. Ever. They talk all the time. After 113 days, it's kind of old telling them that it's Zero Noise Level time. I may just throw in the towel on that one. I made a point when they didn't get to work on their projects because they wouldn't be quiet long enough for me to tell them something they needed to know. They were upset that they didn't get to work on their projects and I pointed out that it certainly wasn't because *I* wasn't following the rules. *sigh*

We've been talking about bullying and all of the children were asked to sign a paper that says "I Am a Kid Against Bullying". I signed it too even though I am not a kid (well, that's debatable...). Then one of my kids had the absolute NERVE to get caught passing a note that said, "Are you so-and-so's friend? yes or no".

I about hit the roof. So he is getting a referral for bullying and he is not going on our Service Learning trip. We spent 30 minutes today, 30 minutes Friday (at the assembly they had when I was not at school) and 30 minutes Thursday talking about all of this. And then he writes that note and has the nerve to not be slick enough to not get caught? SO not going on any extracurricular trips with me. No way. 

After school we had a super short staff meeting and then some time in our rooms. I got about half my math tests graded and would like to finish my reading benchmark tests too. I don't know how far I'll get considering it is already 8 p.m.! Time slipped right away from me at school. I left just before 6...I had no idea it was so late. It was gorgeous out -- all sunshiney and nice (but cold). I didn't realize how late it was because it was so sunny. Oops! Guess I better pay closer attention to that clock because I am not planning to be at school that late again this week until Thursday when we have a fun activity happening at school. I am bringing Mr. Sunny and all of the girls. It will be super fun.

Sunday, March 4, 2012


Hmmm. I'm not sure "newness" is a real word...the grammar psycho in me kind of wants to pick a different word...but I also kind of like "newness" and thus, I am going to leave it be!

I'm sportin' a brand new blog look. Yesterday while I was procrastinating taking a break from working on NB, I was messing around with some blog looks. I get bored easily and wanted something that really reflected me but wasn't going to cost me a fortune. Well fortunately I stumbled across The Pixelista and found some super cute and free blogger templates. [You have to like her on FaceBook to get access to the free stuff but it was worth it!] I also found a super quick tutorial to help me make my very own blog button (finally!) and voila! I'm feeling all fancy and cool.

Then because I just wouldn't be me if I didn't keep procrastinating -- I decided to make myself a new signature too. With my trademark Diet Coke (and please Diet Coke police, I am your #1 Fan so don't kick me for using your product, okay??).

I feel all new and fabulous. And that's how I like it. What better way to be POSITIVE than a makeover??

Speaking of being positive...I often dream things and then they come true. My mom says I have "The Sight".  I can't predict the future or anything but I get what I consider to be signs every now and then and usually in the form of dreams. I have had some mild anxiety about next year because while I do truly miss my big kid friends....I also want to get GOOD at something. The more I think on it, the more I want to be in 2nd grade again so that I can start to perfect some things I have tried this year. Plus I won't have NB hanging over me so I can be *gasp* creative. What.A.Concept!

Anyway so I had a dream the other day that I got a letter from the district offices saying I would be teaching 2nd grade at my school for 2012-2013. I can only hope that is true. I won't get a letter from the district as that only happens when you transfer (voluntarily or involuntarily) and that won't happen for me since I'm ESL endorsed and have tenure now. I am crossing my fingers, toes and eyes that I do stay in 2nd at least one more year. I really do want to make some changes (for the better) when I will have NB behind me, can use what I have learned about myself through the process and have TIME to be creative again. We will likely find out at the end of April what our positions will be in the building for next year. While I won't be mad if I go back upstairs -- a huge part of me hopes my dream is accurate and that I stay where I am. It hasn't been a peachy year but I do like the curriculum and think I could do good things with 2nd grade if given time to try.

Saturday, March 3, 2012


I don't know how I ever finish anything. I mean seriously. I procrastinate SO much. It's probably an illness!

Yesterday I had the day off to work on NB. And I did. A little. But I also did some creative writing. And was astounded that while I have been dragging my heels with NB lately, I was able to produce about 4600 words of text yesterday in about 2 hours when I simply chose to write for myself.

Writing is very cathartic for me. Words are powerful. I have always loved words. I'm sure that's why I'm such a voracious reader. Words can bring you joy, sadness, hurt and more. And finally writing everything down that has been going through my head is the cheapest therapy I've ever had, that's for sure. It was quite amazing to check the word counter in my Scrivener program to see how much I had actually written in such a short time. (When I was doing NaNoWriMo in November, getting those 1700 words a day was often torture and I wrote 3 days worth in 2 hours yesterday!)

I guess I had some things I needed to get out. I am writing it like it is going to be published. I don't know that I will ever actually publish it or not, but I'm writing it with that end in mind. We shall see if I ever get the nerve to do anything with those words. There are happy words, fun words, sad words and angry words. And a lot more angry words to come if/when I keep writing. That's why I just don't know what I will do with the end result. It may just end up one huge rant. No one wants to read that. But the words need to be said. Even if they are never shared.

My goal for today, no matter what, is to finish my E1 since I didn't do as much as I should have yesterday. We did watch some Harry Potter last night as I promised myself I would do. It's so hard for me to sit in front of the TV though because I never do it. Later today we are going to watch more HP and relax. I have so much to catch up on from school also and my house is a mess. I need a maid! I am going to work hard to balance NB, the stuff I need to catch up on from school, relaxing and trying to pick up around my house so it feels like we're not living in a sty (I mean, it's not that bad but it's driving me crazy).


Friday, March 2, 2012

Marching POSITIVELY into March

I'm kind of proud of myself that I refrained from being all negative when I posted last night. Because I really do have many, many MANY negative things I could say. But I didn't. And I won't.

I have decided that since I have 4 weeks (eeek!) until my NB portfolio is due and Spring Break starts...I need to make March as positive as possible. February was such a craptastic month. Not just for me, but so many people I know had really bad February's too. I don't know if it is because our winter this year has been so weird and crazy or what. It's so easy to fall into that Debbie Downer mentality too. (Someone should do a study on why it is SO much easier to be negative than positive. I'm sure the results would be quite fascinating.) 

Anywho, I am going to focus on the good things. I am not going to let negativity at work get me down. I will do my job, do it the best I can, work hard to be there for my own kids and keep my sanity as best as I can. While I do not regret that I decided to do NB now, I am feeling more overwhelmed the closer we get to the deadline. There's just so much to include in that final package. It's nerve-wrecking and kind of scary to think you might miss one little piece of paper or sticker and your whole entry becomes invalidated. But no pressure or anything!  *wink*

I'm glad I took today off. Yes, I am working on NB but I'm not at school. I'm all alone with my dogs, a huge diet coke and my computer. I'm getting there. I am hopeful to get through all of E1 today and send it to my reader this afternoon and get cranking on E3 that has been driving me insane. I will be starting fresh with that one. Going back to my video and analyzing it like crazy and then writing. This will not defeat me. I am a survivor, right? What doesn't kill you makes you stronger! (Or in my case, what doesn't put me in a padded cell will make my stronger!)

I'm itching to do some creative writing but time is lacking. Oh well. At least I will have Spring Break.


Thursday, March 1, 2012

TGIF for me!

Today was my Friday. I have so many negative things I could write about but I will refrain for now. I wish being a teacher could be a more positive profession. I fear that is not possible in my district sometimes and it's a bit scary.

I was at school until 7 tonight. I had The Littles with me. I picked them up, got some snacks and headed back. All set for my sub for tomorrow. I was set before but I made some changes. Tried to have the kiddos take their unit test online...not a good idea. One kid got a 33% and she is NOT dumb. So I nixed it all and they will do the paper version tomorrow. This is the most immature group I've ever had. I'm sure I could have done it with the 2nd graders I had in '08.

So they'll do the paper test where they can highlight and show proof and hopefully it'll help. They also have assembly for PBiS tomorrow. In between the assembly and testing (I split the test in 3 parts) they will do a Dr. Suess writing I found on TPT that is called "Purple Pancakes and Bologna". It should be fun for them. They have computers and book buddies which will cover most of the time between lunch and recess. After book buddies I left a Dr. Suess graphing activity for Fab Friday where they use goldfish crackers to sort tally and graph their colors and then of course they get to eat the "data". :)

I was at work so late and still brought home a full rolling cart of stuff to do. :( I am working on National Board tomorrow and then having my Harry Potter marathon Friday-Saturday. I will worry about that pile of junk on Sunday.

I need NB to just be done already. I'm SO over it.