Thursday, July 29, 2010

Insurance?..more like Un-sure-ance...lame joke. I'm well aware.

So, I went and got health/dental insurance today. As you could guess, it was less than exciting. After seeing what I'm going to be paying for it I definitely feel both a cold and a cavity coming on. I was sitting in the meeting listening to the guy talking about HMO and PPO and all I could think was ... I dunn"O". It was all over my head and extremely confusing. I was the youngest person in the room by a million years and felt like I stuck out like a sore thumb. Everyone had all of these legitimately worthwhile questions about coverage and certain policy changes, when I was still trying to figure out what a deductible was. It was embarrassing. Thanks, mom for always doing that for me, but you know what they say about teaching a man to fish. :)

Needless to say, I learned a lot. I'm grateful to have insurance and did not take out a large ominous life insurance policy on my husband. (In case you were wondering.) In fact, I have a wonderful husband and will give a testimony to his sheer awesome-ness. Last night we went and celebrated the fact that I finally signed my contract with the school. During dinner Adam mentioned that he wanted to take me somewhere after we finished our meal. I was immediately done eating because I'm not a huge fan of surprises and was ready to see what he had in store. Well, we began to drive. I noticed that we had entered the DFW airport. I thought..hmm. Napa? Spain? Paris? No No No..I jest. That's just wishful thinking.

Adam took me to a spot at the airport about 100 yards from a runway where we sat and watched airplanes take off and land. It was really amazing. He's such a thoughtful person and for him I am very grateful.




Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Dressing the part.

Child Labor?









To display the kid's work.
Birthday board: Incomplete









Student question board.












So we know what day it is.




Boy do I need new clothes. Five years of college may get you a diploma, but it for dang sure will not get you an acceptable wardrobe. As I prepared for yet another meeting for school, I had to sift through sweat pants, cut offs and t-shirts from American Eagle that say live your life. I finally settled on some jean capri pants and a shirt my mom gave me. Yes blog readers, today I wore Mom hand-me-downs. Have I stooped to an all time low? Mom, if you're reading this, I'm not by any means insulting your style, all I'm saying is that I had literally nothing to wear. I find it very important to have a professional wardrobe and will be making a trip to Ross very soon. While we're on the subject, I love Ross and feel that it should not be the red headed step-child to the big department stores. It has merchandise just as good, and for half the price. I mean, if you don't mind rummaging through racks of disorganized clothing or dozens of children screaming on the floor because they have been displaced from their mothers who must be lost in a pile of clothes somewhere, Ross is the place for you. Meet me there, I'll show you around.

I met with my team leader and my mentor today. It was both enjoyable and productive. They offered to accompany me to the 20% off sale, which was extremely helpful. I spent $98.00 and got a ton of stuff for my classroom. However, the place was an absolute madhouse. Imagine tax-free weekend, but imagine it surrounded by type A personalities (which most teachers are) and throw in door prizes and a free stapler and you've got my crazy afternoon. I somehow managed to keep my anxiety level to a minimum having had one mild panic attack and hives only a mere 20% of the entire trip. I must say, I impressed myself. I did get the stink eye from a veteran teacher when I eyeballed the only remaining "attitude is everything" poster. She grabbed it so quickly I didn't even have time to react. It's better off hers.

I'm feeling pretty stressed out because I have so much to do before school starts. I'm the only new teacher at my school so I won't have anyone who will truly be able to empathize. The good news is that everyone I'm around will have been where I am at one point or another. It's important for me to remember that.

This morning as I was reading the Bible, I was reminded of a very pertinent truth. In 1 Corinthians 16:13-14 it says, "Be on guard, stand true to what you believe. Be courageous. Be strong. And everything you do must be done with love."

Can I get an Amen...and a cardigan sweater...and maybe a pencil skirt?

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Every bit of 12?


I was at the district office to sign some paperwork last week, and was told by the Human Resources director that I looked every bit of twelve in my drivers license picture. I'll be honest and say that in an indirect way she hit on one of my biggest insecurities as a first year teacher. I am so paranoid that when my students' parents walk into my classroom on that first day they will ask, "Hello little girl, it's so nice that you dressed up for the first day of school. Now, I don't think your teacher would appreciate you being back there behind her desk. By the way, have you seen the teacher?"

I recognize that I look young, and hope that my students' parents will see my youth as a good thing. However, I recall a time when I asked a parent of one of my students during student teaching if she would mind if her child was in a classroom with a first year teacher. Her response was harsh, abrupt and what I hear in the back of my mind every time I get told I look too young to be a teacher. She said, " Are you kidding? Of course I would mind. How would you like to be in surgery with a first year brain surgeon?!"

All I can really do is prove myself to them over time. I mean, I may be new, but I am on the cutting edge as it pertains to the latest educational research and technology. I have a ton of energy (most days-today is an exception...and yesterday...and tomorrow) and am ready to use all I have spent the past 5 years learning to do!

I am also aware that I'm certainly doing well If one of my biggest complaints is how young I look. I'll probably kick myself for ever viewing it as a bad thing.

I'll leave you with a quote from one of my heroes:
"The secret of staying young is to live honestly, eat slowly, and lie about your age."
-Lucille Ball

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Patterns:Emotions:Relevance


Patterns, emotions and relevance are the three components that are involved in order for true learning to occur. Today I attended the last day of my three day conference in which I attended a "Brain Based Learning" seminar. It was absolutely fascinating to learn about the make-up of the human brain and about the mechanics involved in memory. I certainly learned a new way of looking at teaching.

I'm reading a book that has been recommended to me by numerous teacher friends and future colleagues. The book is entitled "The First Days of School," By Harry Wong. I am really enjoying the book and getting a lot of practical tools to use on those first few days. In reality, how to approach the first few days of school were never taught in any of my Undergraduate Coursework, nor did I experience the first days of school while in my student teaching experience. I am surprised by this fact, mainly because the foundation for the rest of the year is established within those first few critical days of school. It is there where the students meet and make first impressions of the teacher, classroom, procedures ect. I am blessed to have been turned onto this book and will hopefully feel prepared when that first day arrives. (August 23 if you were wondering) A quote within the book really stuck out to me. It also intimidated me a bit, but was a definite reality check. It read, "The beginning teacher must perform the full complement of duties while learning those duties." Scary, huh? Definitely a sink or swim situation. I'm buying water wings.

So next up, I'm preparing to buy stuff for my classroom. This will include a valiant attempt on my part to pray money into our bank account. I never realized how expensive it all would be. I mean, how many inspirational posters can one classroom handle?

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Trusting My Brain


Welp, I've officially started the adventure of my first year as a teacher. Wow. It feels surreal that all I've been working toward has finally come to fruition. I am truly blessed to be working in such struggling economic times. I will be teaching 4th Grade Math/Science. Any of you reading this who know me, know that math has always been a tough subject for me. I had to take more math during my time at A&M than the Good Lord should allow. This means that I know what it takes to persevere and fight my way through a subject. I believe that my own struggles and insecurities that I faced with the very subject that I am now entrusted with teaching will help me empathize and guide my students through their own journey with math.

Today, I finished day two of a three day conference for the teachers in my district. I have learned so much and (although my mind has been on complete overload) I am truly grateful for the experience in which I have gained. One of the speakers made a comment that I will never forget. She said it in reference to speaking with students, but I took it to heart. She said,"You've got to tell your kiddo's to trust their brain." I find this so incredibly helpful. I believe her comment spoke to me so clearly because, out of all the new insecurities and anxieties I am facing upon starting my new job, I have finally come to realize that I am prepared, intelligent, ambitious, flexible and fully capable of being a phenomenal teacher. I just need to TRUST MY BRAIN! Thank you, Joyce Junetune for your amazing advice. To you I am forever indebted!

Although, this post may seem like a literary self-affirmation, I am enlightened by my experiences and am trusting that I will continue to come into myself as a teacher. The teacher that I was born to be. I look forward to learning more at the conference tomorrow.

I got home and felt so motivated that I decided I'd clean out the refrigerator. Well, I'm pretty sure I gagged as I threw away macaroni that I have no recollection of cooking. My motivation went out with the macaroni.