Thursday, September 27, 2007

What a week! (and a half!)

Time sure flies when you're having fun! (and sometimes when you're not!)

This past week and a half have been interesting. The week went well, despite the fact that I found out that we have progress reports due by Friday the 28th. I've been frantically working on that most days since then. In the middle of my frantic rushings, I went to Liberty University to the Extraordinary Women's Conference. It was a good time with a lot of good speakers (Chonda Pierce, Kay Arthur, Angela Thomas, Jennifer Rothschild, and Gloria Gaither) They were ALL GREAT speakers. I just wish I wasn't so exhausted so I could have gotten a little more "refreshing" from their messages.

I've spent the past 3 days staying late, working on grades. I shouldn't even be posting this because I still have lesson plans and some more work on the progress reports to do. (along with a field trip in January, one in November, and did I mention Book-it begins on Monday??) One of my students was also pulled out on Monday because of family financial struggles, and I just found out another student may be soon diagnosed as being special needs! (but I'm not stressed!)

The sum of this post is that you would be in prayer for me. I know there are many teachers with many more struggles than those I have, but I would covet your prayers now. I hope to begin posting more "light-hearted" posts soon, but for now, I'm just working on organization!

Monday, September 17, 2007

Well, here it is -- the one section of my apartment that is clean! (and it's still clean since I took the picture -- ignoring that I took the picture this morning as I was leaving for school) My mom came over on Saturday and between her and my friend Karen, we managed to get the kitchen in decent shape. My bedroom looks not much different, but the "office" looks a lot better -- at least the boxes are organized (boxes of books near the bookcase, boxes of files near the file cabinet, etc.)

School is doing well too -- the organization is coming. I've had a couple of parents make some very helpful suggestions which I plan to, or have already implement(ed) . The grading is getting a little less overwhelming, so we'll see how things go from here.

On to funny stories:

Story 1: We have just arrived on the playground. I have duty. A student is talking to me and I answer him as we walk out. I stop at the edge of the playground and watch the students "settle". I'm just watching, making sure they don't go beyond their boundary. The student I was speaking to stops mid-sentence and says, "You look creepy!"

"What did you say?"

"You look creepy! You know, like one of those movies or something where the person is watching the kids."

"Do you think I'm going to turn into a vampire or something?"

"No, you just looked creepy."

--Nothing like a 3rd grader for honesty!

Story 2: Same student, different teacher (she told me later) The students were to run 2 laps around the field next to the playground. The student says to the other teacher, "If you lean forward, your fat helps you keep moving!"

Story 3: This really isn't a story, just a question. If a student starts the day with X number of books, but part of the way through the day has X-1 number of books, who can miraculously find it for them? Apparently the answer is the teacher, because that's who they come to when they can't find a book or a paper. Even more amazing is that, somehow, by some amazing power within me, I can locate this paper or book with little to no difficulty. Usually the paper can easily be found in the black hole in front of the student known as their desk.

My students wrote some "all about me" papers -- I'll post some of those later this week -- they are very creative!

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

WOW! Two posts in one week!

In art class this week, the art teacher taught my students how to draw birds. One student drew this and gave it to me. I thought I'd share this with everyone!

So . . . students . . . classes . . . learning . . .

We started reading groups this week. This has caused much stress in my life. It's amazing to think how many times you have to repeat a simple phrase such as "be quiet" or "stop talking" and they still don't understand it somehow. The elementary principal has been in twice this week and has offered helpful suggestions to me regarding this. I, of course, was open to any suggestion and started using them today. (which of course, also meant she did not come in to observe today!)

On the up-side, my parents came up yesterday and helped me get a little more settled. At least now my clothes are in the dressers and I have more than just plates, bowls, and glasses in the cabinets! Things will be so much better once everything is put away (right???)

Last night was exciting - a tractor trailer got stuck trying to come around a curve just down from my apartment. He had apparently not been driving for long, had bad directions, and ended up stuck in a 90-degree uphill turn! I think he was there for one and a half to two hours until he finally got out. I guess it's not that exciting, but it's news for me!

** An item of prayer**
The 1st grade teacher here has had some health problems and cannot continue teaching this year. My school will now have the position available. Please pray for her health and the filling of that position. A retired teacher is substituting until a replacement is found.

Monday, September 10, 2007

No the kids didn't kill me

I know, I know -- it's been a whole week (and some change) since I last posted. I'm very sorry for this -- all I had to do was move. I don't know why I didn't post anything :)

Here's the week in review:

Monday -- Labor Day ! I was home and went to our church's annual picnic. It was really great to relax some and play volleyball. Before the picnic, we loaded some of my furniture (which a couple in my church was graciously storing for me) onto a borrowed truck with the help of a former employer. After the picnic, we started loading up the other truck with some help from the neighbors and one man in our church (thanks Mr. Nichols!) After that was loaded, I went back to stay with my friend one last night before "the move". (while my parents juggled cars)

Tuesday -- School is back in session. The teaching part of this week is sort of a blur, so I'll add those details later. After school, some of the teachers came over and helped my dad unload my stuff into my apartment. My uncle was bringing up the other truck after work, but didn't arrive until after they had left. My dad and Uncle Steve ended up unloading that truck (with minor help from me) Then we went out to dinner and everyone went home -- except me!! I was home!!!! My first home ever!!!!!!!! hmmmm -- scary.

Wednesday -- It was so nice to only have to travel 5 minutes to school instead of 20! I went to school (details later), then came home (I love saying that! :), attempted to accomplish ANYTHING then went to church. After church, I was beat, so I went to bed.

Thursday -- Lesson plan day!! This after school day was encompassed with attempting to grade some papers, and getting my lesson plans together to be able to turn in on Friday. Needless to say, I need to work on this on -- 2:30 is VERY late to go to bed!

Friday -- My mom came up and we went to Wal-Mart for some "staples". This took longer than we expected, but we were at least able to get some dishes washed and paper in the kitchen cabinets. Then my friend Karen came over and we watched a movie and just relaxed.

Saturday -- Karen left sometime around 9ish (I think), but I didn't get up until about 11:30. It was soooo nice to sleep in again! I worked on getting more paper cut out for the cabinets, and grading some papers for the students (did I mention that I HATE grading penmanship???!!)

Sunday -- So refreshing to go to church and get recharged! The church I've been attending has a Sunday School for 20-something single people -- and I'm not the only one in it!!! We had a good discussion about leading people to Christ and tools we could use to do it. We made a bridge to show the communication between God and man before the fall, then when Adam and Eve sinned, the bridge collapsed and we could no longer reach God on our own. Then when Jesus died on the cross, that cross became the new bridge to God and the way to everlasting life with Him. We used pipe cleaners, construction paper, tape, markers, and play-doh to illustrate it!

Monday -- Today. Getting back into the groove of things. Sometimes I stop and think "is this a dream -- is this really real? Am I really doing what I've wanted to do for so long??" It sort of worries me -- I'm afraid I'm going to do something that's going to screw it up and it's all going to disappear. An encouraging note to that is the the elementary principal came in to "observe" me today (she did warn me). She left me a very encouraging note about Science class and my transition from Bible to Science. The main thing she is encouraging me to work on is maintaining class discipline. I think I'm too much of a softie. I guess I need to crack down on them a little more. I keep "blaming" their inattention on them, but it is I who need to demand their attention at all times. Please pray that this will become a reality.

I guess that's all for now -- I'm already close to novel length, so the school stuff will have to wait for later. Until then, here's a picture a student drew for me. I scanned it in and cropped off her name. She drew me a picture of a "colorful butterfly" but had a little spelling difficulty.

Saturday, September 1, 2007

Day five (and some of the weekend stuff)

ahhhhhhhhhhhh -- the weekend!

It was sooo nice to sleep in today! My poor body isn't used to moving at such early hours of the morning! Why couldn't I have found a school that starts at noon??

Friday was a great day. I had another student bring me an apple. (another one brought one to me on Tuesday) The main difference (other than the fact this one was inside a ziploc bag) was that he then felt it necessary to explain to me why he gave me the apple:

student -- "Do you know how I thought to give you an apple?"

me -- "no, how?"
at this point, I'm expecting something like "they're good for you" "we had a lot at home" or "I saw so-and-so give you one" NO -- instead, he said:

"from watching cartoons"

Oh, the thrill of living in a modern society!

I am "home" this weekend -- in the middle of all the teacher "stuff" I have to do, I now get to pack my entire life and move it an hour and a half away to my new apartment. Not that I'm not excited to have a place of my own, but I have a LOT of junk!! This weekend is officially the "figure-out-what-you-have-and-only-take-what-you-need-to-not-starve-or-smell-bad-or-wear-the-same-clothes-for-five-days-in-a-row" weekend. (oh, and having a place to sleep is good too)

Well, it's late, so I'd better go for now. Pictures of the place will come eventually.

P.S. to my sister Karen -- I still don't know what to say . . .