Saturday, August 25, 2007

All About Teaching

Igot this from Dree at Chalkdust. Happy Back to School to all of you teachers!!!

I am a good teacher because... I treat my students as individuals. I really try to do what is right for each student. It really burns me up when I see other teachers force their styles on their studnets even if it doesn't work for the child.

If I weren’t a teacher, I would be... a children’s librarian OR a children's bookstore owner. I love books and reading and love to share that joy with others. (I used to think I wanted to be a chef but after watching all of the chef reality shows on tv I realized that I am much too picky of an eater to have that job!)

My teaching style is... energetic, comical, flexible, compassionate, fun, and sometimes noisy.

My classroom is... my other home. Sometimes it can get a little disorderly but I can tell you where anything is at anytime. I fell that it is homey and inviting for me and my students.

My lesson plans are... lesson plans??? Just kidding... My lesson plans are a loose guide of what I teach. They help me to set a focus for the week, month and year but are not fine tuned. The state standards guide my lesson plans and I throw in the CORE texts when they align to the standards. (you would be surprised at how much they are not aligned.)

One of my teaching goals is... to turn my students who are disinterested in school into disciplined and focused learners. This can be very tricky when they don't have the support at home. My other goal is to make my students lovers of books.

The toughest part of teaching is... I can't control many elements that I would like to be able to control. One of these items is silly mandates from NCLB and testing demands. Another big one is home environments. I have to remember that I can only focus on the areas that I can control and not let the other areas eat me up.

The thing I love most about teaching is... the smile on a student's face when they "get it" when I teach something. I also love the genuine appreciation that the students give me. That is priceless.

A common misconception about teaching is... ( I am stealing this answer from Dree because she nailed it on the head!) that anyone can do it. I’d gladly hand over my classroom and all its responsibilities for one day to any non-teacher, just to see what would happen. Another misconception is that teachers get nights, weekends, and summers off. Some people don’t realize the long days and late nights we have with things like Open House and Back to School Night and parent conferences. And they don’t know that we spend our nights writing lesson plans and grading papers and worrying about the one student who doesn’t quite seem to be on level with the rest of the class.

The most important thing I’ve learned since I started teaching is... I have great power over students and I need to use it wisely. Students, for the most part, worship and mimic their teachers. Whatever I do and say is watched carefully by students. If I say I like or don't like something, the students adopt that idea too. I want my students to become independent thinkers so I really try to foster that by not giving my opinions and trying to help students form their own thoughts and learn how to express them.

Happy Teaching All!!

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Nine is Fine!

Sabi will be nine tomorrow morning. Time has flown!


Kelly and Sabina - Nov 1998

Kelly and Sabi

Monday, August 20, 2007

So Much For Trying to Make A Connection

This school year I wanted to start the year out right. When I opened the door in the morning to let the kids in, I shook everyone's hands. When the kids went home, I had them shake my hands as well. I really liked the tone that it set. The kids knew that I respected them and they were learning a new way to show respect for me and other adults. The eye and hand contact were so important.

Well, that is over now. I am now trying to recover from a nasty virus. I have been sick since Wednesday. My attempt at connecting with my students drove me straight to getting sick despite my efforts to wash my hands after every hand shaking event.

I will have to think of something just as good but with no body contact!

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Sabi's New School

Sabi will be starting a new school tomorrow. So far I am happy about everything regarding her new school with the exception of the dress code. There are no uniforms at her new school...YIKES!

I have been shopping here and there all summer long trying to find decent clothing for her to wear to school. Aside from the fact that she is a hard girl to fit, the clothes out there are just plain trashy!!! It is hard to find pants with out words or butterflies on the butt and shirts that are solid or print without sassy sayings on them or without cleavage!

Anyway...tomorrow is the big day. Sabina will come with me to school and then pick up the bus at my school to go to her school. The thought of taking the bus excites her to no end!

Fourth grade ... where did my baby go???

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

First Day of School

Today was pretty good as far as first days go. The kids were ok and my new student teacher seems great.

The best part of though came about 2 hours after school. I was walking down one of the school hallways in front of the after school tutoring program. One of my new students was being picked up by her dad. She peeked over at me, gave me a HUGE smile and waved. She then turned to her dad and said in a most proud voice...'that's MY teacher!"

That was pretty cool!

Monday, August 06, 2007

Now...I Can Breathe!

This past week has really been rough with school prep. Why must I always insist on rearranging my room each year? My room gets worse before it gets better when I do this. I spent almost the entire week and weekend at school redoing the room, cleaning and trying to do a bit of prep. When I left school yesterday I felt ok but not great about the room.

Today, my student teacher came. She helped me with the final touches on the room. Luckily I made a check off list on the board and as we started crossing off completed tasks, I was feeling much better about life. At the end of our list the custodial crew came in and took away the mounds of garbage that I had accumulated and vacuumed. Bless them! My room looked great with those final touches.

As far as prep goes, I haven't looked at the CORE curriculum yet but I do have the first several days planned out. I also have my Parent Handbook ready (recently updated) for Back to School Night which will be on Wednesday!

I was so impressed with myself and my student teacher. We left school around 3:30 today and I was elated to be leaving at that time. I felt a bit giddy when I looked at the parking lot and I saw almost all of my colleagues were still there working hard to prepare for our first day tomorrow and I was happily jumping in my car. Oh...what a feeling!!!

This evening I spent about an hour here and there getting some last minute stuff done but I really had a super family night. My mom prepared a great dinner and we all just sat around hanging out with each other. Who could ask for more?

I feel so relieved of stress right now...relaxed and ready to greet the new school year.


Sunday, August 05, 2007

Busy MOnth

School starts on Tuesday. My room is still not ready. I have bulletin boards to do and messes to clean up. On top of that, I have to do some planning and prep for Back to School night which happens on Wednesday. To add to the school stress, I have to get some extra prep done because will have a student teacher.

Outside of school, I am trying to focus on planning for Sabi's birthday party. Since she is going to start a new school this year this year I thought it would be nice to plan a party that all of her new classmates could attend. The party is in 3 weeks so I have to get busy!

The highlights of this month will be:
1) My dad's visit.
2) Going to Monterey next weekend.
3) A Big birthday bash for my brother, aunt, and dad next week
4) Sabi's 9th b-day
5) A Bar Mitzvah

and to finish off the month with a bang...

6) Going to the Alejandro Fernandez concert!

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Shameless Sabi Plug

Sabi wants ideas for stories to write about on her blog.

She also wrote a Harry Potter Review.

Check it out!