Sunday, December 20, 2009

Thankful for Christmas Break

Wow, Christmas break could not come at a better time. Although I had time off to be with my husband I am feeling drained. In fact, I'm feeling like I should change my career. I have never felt so underappreciated. It's such a strange feeling, but as a teacher you would think you would get a Christmas greeting or thank you, etc. but this year is the first year I felt a little jipped by my students. I was speaking with a friend who is also a teacher and she informed me that that's the reason she no longer bought her students presents. I had not realized that fifth grade was such a difference. In third grade I felt so appreciated by my students and their parents. Anyhow, this year, not so much.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Back to School...Back to School....

After over a week of vacation and hanging out with my husband, who is home on leave, I went back to school today. It was good. My "Yeller" has been officially unenrolled in my class and was taken out under police custody and cuffed in handcuffs. What a sight. It's really taken too long for this to happen, but hopefully where he is going they will be able to rehabilitate him. Two things stand out in my mind from today. Actually, two conversations.

1. "Mrs. Jones, are we ever going to meet your husband?" Student asked.
"Yes, you'll probably see him tonight at the Christmas concert. Why?" Mrs. Jones replied.
"Well, he must be a cool guy if you wanted to marry him," Students responds.

2. "Mrs. Jones, will you promise me something?" Student asks.
Mrs. Jones hesitantly replies,"Let me decide, what?"
Student begs, "Don't get pregnant and have a baby. Then you'll have to leave us again like Mrs. _____ did to her class. I don't think I can handle a sub again."

It was a pretty funny day today. I must admit I like this class so much. Although they have their moments where they drive me a little crazy and overwhelm me with their lack of know-how, they are such loving and wonderful students. I can only imagine how amazing they might be when they grow up.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Bloody Mess!

At the end of my day I was rushing to get out of school. However two of my students rushed into my room with a kid holding paper towels to his face. As soon as I looked up I noticed blood gushing out between his fingers. He had hit his head slightly on something and his bloody nose from the morning started up again. It was INSANE!! He moved the towel to show me and it was like a rushing stream! I threw on my gloves and grabbed some of those nose tampons. We rushed to the office without one drop spilling out onto the ground. I managed to clean him up a bit and stick a nose clog in. He bled right through it! Another one was soon bright red. It was quite a sight. Lucky for the office staff I am first aid certified. They were looking disguisted and I told them I'd finish taking care of it. It was pretty crazy. I felt like a mini-hero. =)

Papers, papers, papers..

I am so close to finishing grading papers. I wonder how people manage to get things graded so fast!? I hate having to sift through the writing and determine if they met rubric criteria. In fact, I think I need to do more true/false and multiple choice worksheets. That'd be awesome. But alas, I do not work that I'm off to finish, so I can get them all inputed this week. Wahoo!!

Monday, November 23, 2009

Today...ah, today...

Today was such a funny day. Mostly because my students were really struggling with their D.A.R.E. essays and so I did a mini-essay on the board to show them how to answer the question and use a lead at the same time. Then somehow we went from talking to what D.A.R.E. has taught us to someone asking the questions, "When will your husband come home from Afghanistan? When will we get to meet him?" Another student added they really wanted to ask him questions about war.

"But we shouldn't ask him questions about war because Mrs. Jones might get sad and then cry," remonstrated another student.

Another student piped in, "Ya! I don't want to see Mrs. Jones cry!"

"Ya, that's so sad. I like her too much to see her cry. It makes me want to cry," another student chimed in.

"Mrs. Jones is sensitive. There's nothing wrong with that Mrs. Jones. I'm sensitive too," added, yet another student, to the discussion.

Several other students remarked thoughfully as well, but I was quietly laughing and grinning from ear-to-ear. Today I realized how much my class loves me back. It's a great feeling to feel loved back when you put so much time, effort, and money into lessons and into your classroom.

I also received such a wonderful email from a former parent. It makes me so happy to know that I made a difference in their child's life. My eyes literally welled up with tears as I read the email. All the struggles, all the screaming in my head, the gray hairs, and stress melt away when you get a note from a parent or student. It makes every little disaster feel like a learning experience instead of a catastrophe. It reminds me to continue to be dilligent, strive for perfection, be kind, be compassionate, be fair, and most importantly, be loving. This particular student taught me the importance of asking questions and using a calm voice before jumping to conclusions, like most adults do. He taught me the joy of playing jokes on parents (which he loved to do every day after school)...heheeheh... and patience. I learned a lot of patience, compassion, and unconditional love from my class last year. I know as the years progress, my students will make me a smarter, kinder, and a more wonderful person. I hope that all of my former students will always know how wonderful they are and that they too make a difference in my life. Thank you parents and students for changing my life as well.

Saturday, November 21, 2009


ARGH!!!! I have procrastinated a little stack of papers to grade....and now it's grown!! I have to get it done! I don't want to. It seems I will never have enough time in a school day to plan lessons, grade papers, prepare to teach, have PLC's, and teach.... AND pass AYP!?!?! Yowza!?!WHEN WILL THE MADNESS END!?!?!?! Until then, I'm off....too much to get done.....

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Disappointment sets in....



If you would have spoken to me over an hour ago you would have seen an extremely cheerful and excited person. However disappointment sets in.... Thursdays are my fabulously wonderful days, not only because I have extended prep, but because Thursdays are the days that I slip away to the magical land of golf. =) However it seems that Thursdays are unlucky days at Mountain Falls. The driving range manages to be closed on days I REALLY NEED TO WACK THE CRAP OUT OF SOMETHING. *SIGH* I have friends who are trying to make sure I don't over work myself any more and get me to leave work nearly on time. Today I did leave on time: 3:30 pm. It was a MIRACLE! Usually I work until the moon comes up and coyotes come out. This year I have friends who are getting me to have a life. THANKFULLY. They schedule exercise programs and golf to times really close to after school. This gives me no excuse to stay at school and melt into the walls of my classroom.


I didn't sleep well at all last night. I have been so exhausted, I feel like I'm coming down with one of the millions of things my students have had. Sometimes I feel like my classroom is just a sesspool of germs. There are so many nooks and crannies to clean, it seems like an impossible task. My mind raced wildly last night, thoughts of the millions of undone tasks came to mind as I tried to throw myself into a much needed sleep: papers to grade, lesson plans for weeks to come, projects, house cleaning, church lessons, yard, brakes on my car, Thanksgiving plans, family complications, excitement for upcoming events....the list was endless. My mind is overactive and at times I'm completely ADD and/or ADHD, so I can relate to my students well.


(Back to my day....)
I made the mistake (...or maybe right choice? Not sure yet.) and gave my "yeller" a journal. I that I thought that maybe he could write down some of his thoughts in it instead of yelling at people, and that maybe it would help him let go of his anger. I wrote that little message on the first page and placed it in his mailbox. Done. However it wasn't. Any normal student would just say thank you. Nope. Yeller isn't "any normal student." He didn't say thank you, instead, this conversation ensued:

Yeller: (without raising hand) Can I read what you wrote to me to the class?
Me: I don't think it's necessary to read it to the class, sometimes people write things to YOU and it's personal. It's not really necessary to share with everyone what happened yesterday.
Yeller: Can I show everyone what you wrote to me then?
Me: No. It's not appropriate. If you really feel like you need to share it, you can share it during your time at recess.
Yeller: But it's so cool, can't I show it to someone? (as he's passing it to ANOTHER person to read).
Me: You already are. Put it away.
Yeller: (putting it on his desk) Can I get people to sign it since I'm leaving?
Me: (Thinking: WHAT DID I DO!? THIS "KIND" GESTURE WAS A HUGE MSITAKE!!!!! When ARE YOU LEAVING??) One word: Recess.
*Silence* Yeller continues to carry the journal EVERYWHERE HE GOES. IT IS NOW A PART OF HIM.
WOW! I can't help but wonder if I made a total mistake!? Some kids just can't take a little attention and always have to be in the limelight! It's impossble to get teaching done at times like that. This year I have a lot of kids who constantly want to share experiences. I don't know if it's just me, or if all teachers experience it, but MAN! I constantly tell them, "No more personal experiences, I think it's great you all have so many stories that relate to erosion (or whatever topic we are learning about), but we are going to have to move on."

I wonder if I'll ever be able to write lesson plans and complete them? It's been four years and I'm still horrible at pacing as I write up lesson plans. I always write more than can be accomplished, yet in my mind it seems totally feasible until I begin teaching. Then as I mark and scribble on my lesson plans I find myself wondering if others do the same thing. I've been really annoyed with my computer at home. I lost Word and so I have to do things over the internet in my email the past week. It's been painful, I can usually just copy, paste, or delete items in a document, but this week I've had to manually write in. ANNOYING!! I am way too dependent on technology.
Students were horrible for the Librarian today. I don't know what to do with them. Well, I do know what I AM GOING TO DO WITH THEM. They're getting a library seating arrangement. They are just too chatty with each other. I ALMOST wish they didn't like each other so much! I can only imagine how the end of the year will be if this is happening in the beginning of the second quarter!!! YIKES!?
Although I still get extrememly nervous for evaluations, I just tried to imagine she wasn't there today. Which helped me be more normal this first time. I did a typical writing lesson, introducing our next area of focus, leads/grabbers/hooks. I wonder if people plan lessons way out of the ordinary to be evaluated on? Maybe I should do that so I don't get so nervous of the critiquing of my everyday lessons., that would make me even MORE nervous, hehehehe. I guess I'll just continue to be borin'. Am I the only one who feels like this?
Overall, today wasn't bad. It was pretty ok and I survived 5th grade yet another day.
Score: Teacher 1, Students 1

Wednesday, November 18, 2009


This year I'm at a new school. Things are different from my first school, but I am adjusting the best that I can. I especially love all the new technology that I have. I've even written and been accepted as a SMART Board Technology recipient!! What does that mean? Well, it means I get to give up 30 hours of my time, after hours, to be trained on a Smart Board. It also means I will get a Smart Board in my classroom!! But if I change schools or move, I will not be able to take it with me! BOO!! Anyhow, there are so many changes this year. One of the most nerve racking change has been having a new principal. My new principal is great, it's just hard to adjust to not knowing what to expect. I'm mostly nervous because I have my first evaluation from my new principal tomorrow. I'm so nervous! I don't know why, I've been evaluated so many times!! In student teaching they evaluated us every week. Now we only get evaluated twice a year, but somehow my pulse quickens, sweat forms, and I just know one of the students will do something. Anyhow, I hope to God that everythign goes well. It's been so stressful for me because I can't read my principal. Usually I can sense if people like me or not, but I don't get anything from her. I get so worried about what people think about me I only hope she likes me. Well, I need to get some good sleep so I'll be extra energized tomorrow...HAR HAR...I'm also feeling pretty crappy. I think I'm getting sick!! =( Sad, Sad, Sad.... Wish me luck!

Why Blog About Teaching?

I've decided I'd start blogging about things that happen to me as I teach. Why? Well, I haven't been very good about journaling about my experiences since becoming a teacher. This is my fourth year of teaching and I've only written down a few challenges that I've faced as a teacher. Not only are challenges important to document, but the happy moments too! So many precious moments have been lost to time and I don't want to lose any more.

There are so many things that happen as you teach and sometimes never get to share. This will be my imaginary friend that I'll share with. Since I've lost my best friends (whom I vented to)and my husband is in Afghanistan, this will be a great opportunity to get everything off my chest so I can move on and grow. So here goes.....

(I've already started by copying two posts from my personal blog.)

Why I Hate Teaching: November 2009

Days when I hate teaching...
It's been a while since I've updated this blog. And it's ironic that my last post was about reasons WHY I teach when today I just need to vent about moments I absolutely LOVE being a teacher (sense the sarcasm yet?).This year I've been blessed with, yet again, another challenging class. It's been this way since the beginning of time. I've gotten a large majority of kids who have no faith in themselves, bottom of the class, lazy, bad attitude, scary parents, overly social/lacking social skills, emotionally scarred, you name it! But I completely believe that I was given these kids for a reason. I truly believe that somehow God led them to my room and wants me to do everything in my power to motivate them. However, yesterday I was at the end of my rope....and the knot was failing me, because I could feel myself falling into an abyss of anger and frustration. As I was falling into this abyss I couldn't help but think, "Wow, today is the first day I've had a student acutlly YELL at me. The joys of teaching, the joys of teaching, the joys of teaching." It happened when an extremely difficult student of mine, who happens to be a pathological liar and kleptomaniac, came walking through the halls when I was suppose to be free of kids. I glanced down at my watch, the time read 3:08 pm. I wasn't imaging things, he was back for me. And of course he should be, because all day he didn't do anything but sit in his seat and ignored the existence of me as a teacher. Sitting and looking at his desk. Sitting and staring at other students. Sitting and staring at a marker. The list could be endless. However that list would NOT include: following directions, participating in the discussion, writing assignments down, participating in practice, etc., etc., etc...... Now you can imagine my head was spinning. It actually wasn't. Not yet. It didn't begin to spin until I saw him that moment after school. He began speaking to me, "Lie, lie. Lie lie lie lie lie, lie lie lie lie lie. Lie, lie, lie, and lie. Continued lying, lying, and lying." I couldn't believe my ears. His mentor couldn't believe her ears either. Then the next shocker. I guess it never shocked me, so much as confirmed predictions about this child. "YELL! YELL! YELL! YELL Mrs. Jones! YELL! YELL! YELL!!!" I managed to keep my composure somehow, but I did get a few annoying yells back about how the world didn't hate him. All the students in our class didn't hate him. I didn't hate him. And that he was a nice kid who just constantly made bad choices. He didn't seem to understand and continued with the yelling of "The world is out to get me speech" as I was turning redder and redder and as fellow teachers walked by in disbelief. I was about ready to just walk away when reason hit this child smack in the face. I was "reason," but I didn't get to smack him in the face. Finally this insane child realized I cared about him. Twenty minutes had passed and I could sense more frustration building in my tone. I gently squeezed his hand, made him pledge his life on starting fresh, and walked away. Walking away made me realize there will be times in my profession when everythign I have done has done nothing. Where I have been utterly unsuccessful and hate it!! HATE IT! HATE IT! HATE IT! And although life is full of many challenges, and yada-yada-yada, I hate admitting defeat. My former principal, a very wise woman, always told me that I have to accept that I might not be able to change the world by reaching every child TODAY, that what I do reaches beyond today and into the future. As someone who find great joy in instant gratification, it frustrates me. I am constantly reminded of my inability to succeed and just pray to God that I can do more; that I can be better; that I can love my job and never feel like I did that moment I spoke with this child.


Score: Teacher 0, Students 1

Why I Teach: Sept. 2009

Lately I have been wondering WHY I TEACH... I had contemplated all the kids I've made cry because I'm "too strict." LOL-Some actions have consequences... I've reflected on the many nights I've not slept because my lesson plans weren't "perfect." Only to realize that some of those perfect lesssons I spent all night working on were sometimes WAY over the heads of my students. I've wondered why I've spent much of my hard earned money back on my job and the kidsin my class....and why I've spent money on the supplies parents SHOULD HAVE BOUGHTFOR THEIR OWN CHILDEN.... I've contemplated in my mind the argumentativestudents and kids who "know everything." I've gone home crying too many nights because I've felt like nothing I ever do will ever give these kids a chance at a real life.... I've spent countlessnights on my knees in prayer for the kids in my class and ones I worry about at school.... I've been yelled at by a parent. I've been told that I'm assigning "stupid things kids don't need to do," about reading 30 minutes each night. The first twenty minutes of my day and last thirty minutes are the times I'm paid to plan all my lessons for Reading, Writing, Spelling, Science, Math, Social Studies, etc., grade papers, devise plans for struggling students, conference with parents of stuggling students or behavior problems, input grade, print progress reports/report cards, adjust scheduling, adjust classroom seating, map out standards to be taught before the CRT's (the test which AYP is judged), create sub plans, create emergency sub plans.....the list goes on. However, these aren't they reasons why I teach. I teach in spite of these things. I teach for several reasons. The one that sticks out in my mind most vividly is certain rewarding experiences. I'm reminded of why I teach because I saw a former student at Wal-mart. I'll call this kid "Howe" for privacy purposes. When "Howe" first came to me his father walked this petite boy up to me and told me that his child was not smart, he should have a 504, he'll lie, he'll cheat, he's not a good student. I was of course shocked, however since coming to Pahrump this has happened to me EVERY YEAR. This is year four. I replied that I'm sure that "Howe" was going to be an excellent addition to our class and I was excited to get to know him and despite what his father said, I'd heard excellent things about him. The first two months with "Howe" were very painful. He would run in the halls and jump against the walls with his feet and ninja kick them. I would talk to "Howe" every day and remind him of the rules. His behavior did not end there, he would not pay attention in class. His desk was so messy that he couldn't find anything in his desk. He wouldn't turn in his homework. He'd get bad grades on tests. He couldn't answer questions in class. He would get into trouble on the bus and on the playground. He wouldn't even look you in the eyes when you talked to him. Then one day I took him aside. We had a conversation about his future and the conversation ended with a question. What do you want for yourself? He looked me in the eyes and said, "I want to get straight A's.I want to be smart and be a good boy." I told him, "Then that's what you are going to do." We devised a plan and from October on, he was a changed child. He was a model citizen. He'd do extra homework. He would tell me about books he was reading. He would fold his arms in line. When I would look up when teaching, his eyes would follow me. He had changed and I had helped him somehow. There are many other kids I can think of with similar stories, however this one stands out in my mind because I see this little boy at the store often. And everytime I see him, he gives me a hug. And every time I almost cry. I love that kid. He's going to do something great with himself despite his circumstances. I keep a prayer in my heart for all former students, that they will be successful and make it out of their homes alive. Now if I were to take all the bad things and add them up and compare them with the number of good things, the bad would outweigh the good. BUT those precious, precious moments where you know that you really have impacted a childs life are the moments that make teaching worth it. It's a feeling that's undescribable. However, they are experiences that need to be written down because all the bad sometimes feels like it outweights all the good. It my book, it never will. I will always teach for the kids like "Howe" and the many others I have connected with.

Good Tunes

Get a playlist! Standalone player Get Ringtones