December 31, 2008
Anyone else feel like this phenomena seems to happen earlier and earlier each year? It's along the same lines as selling Christmas decorations in October (which happened this year). Why are we always in such a hurry to get to the next thing?
Maybe it's wishful thinking, but I feel like winter is practically ignored when it comes to clothing. The fall line is revealed, a couple of sweaters are added to the mix, and then the spring line is introduced. I was still waiting for the really warm stuff to be revealed. Did I miss something?
Certainly, I recognize that there are parts of the country that do not freeze over into a winter wonderland, but I feel somewhat slighted that these massive clothing chains have dismissed winter before it truly arrives. Would it really be that difficult to sell winter clothing all winter long? When I finally get sick of digging out my car in ballet flat shoes, it would be nice to walk into a store and actually find snow boots still on the shelves rather than flip flops. I'm just sayin'!
December 29, 2008
1. Subbing - The 2007-2008 school year was a tough one for substitute teachers. Many districts had moved to electronic systems that no longer gave anyone preferential treatment. This is certainly better for the new subs, but for those of us who had worked our way up the ladder, this was a tough pill to swallow. Jobs I would have been guaranteed in the past were now taken by others (it is a first-come, first-serve kinda thing). I went from working 4-5 days a week to hoping for 2 (and most of those I nabbed because my friend and I cheated the system... and because he gets sick a lot). Combined with my knowledge of the upcoming weeks of zero paychecks, I was a stressed girl for a while. The good news is that I really did learn a lot from subbing. The great thing about being in so many classrooms is that I get to see so many ideas - and steal the ones that work for me! :) I also made some good friends in the process!
2. Student Teaching - In March, I began my student teaching experience. My cooperating teacher was amazing, and I feel eternally grateful for her guidance and support. I taught 7th grade language arts and social science. It was a much different experience than my subbing days. I certainly missed the paychecks, but it was awesome to be in the same classroom each day and really having an opportunity to know my students. I was challenged by the new curriculum and by learning classroom management (something that cannot be taught). I really enjoyed working with those students and came to feel like they were really my students!
3. Graduation - In June, I received my Masters of Education from DePaul University. I don't think I was very challenged by this program, but I do feel that it prepared me for the classroom (for the most part). I had some fabulous instructors and made some great friends in my program. The decision to obtain my teaching certificate was certainly the right choice for me. I think about where I might be if I had stayed in marketing, and I know I would not have the sense of accomplishment that I feel today. I needed a career where I could feel like I was making a difference. My only regret is that I didn't do this earlier!
December 28, 2008
We decided on an appetizer theme for this year's menu rather than a traditional Christmas dinner. We served chicken fingers, meatballs, meat and cheese platters, shrimp, veggies and dip, pizza bites and so much more... we had plenty of food to feed a small army. Even after 16 people made their rounds (and I do mean rounds), we had plenty of leftovers!
With some assistance (my sister came early to help with the last minute items and my dad helped me clean), I was able to pull off the evening without a hitch. I only wish I had remembered to document the day with some pictures!
It was an exhausting yet wonderful day - I hope yours was just as great!
December 19, 2008
They line to adopt a child stretched outside the classroom on sign-up day. Students spent days contemplating and shopping for the perfect gifts. I was overwhelmed at their generosity - and that they were sincere in their efforts to please these children.
I was fortunate enough to take a small group of children to deliver the gifts. It was such an amazing experience to stand there and watch my students act as Santa's Elves. They were so excited to watch the reactions of those little guys as they tore into their presents. The smiles on those faces and the hugs my students received were probably the best gifts they will receive this year! I was so blessed to be a witness to that experience!
After a lengthy bus ride (thank you Chicago winters) our little ladies and gentlemen enjoyed a wonderful morning at the theatre followed by a leisurely lunch at Portillo’s. They were very well-behaved and even received two compliments from other patrons at the restaurant. Once again, I was a very proud teacher!
December 18, 2008
December 15, 2008
I first knew it would be a rough morning when I awoke at 3:00 frigid in my bedroom. I realized immediately (from the sound of the blasting air) that my bedroom window was not locked shut, thus leaving my room more-than-comfortably exposed to the cold. I have a closet full of extra blankets, but it was even too cold to emerge from my covers to gather a down comforter. Instead, I covered my trembling body with extra pillows and willed myself back to sleep.
I woke up extra early for the day. Knowing that the roads and my car would likely be full of ice, I allowed myself plenty of time for an extended commute. However... I did not anticipate that after 25 minutes of pre-heating my car (thank you again, C for my wonderful remote starter!), my windows would still be covered in layers of ice. And my ice scraper did not help at all! I literally drove to school with no view out my rear window (even after my 50 minute commute) and only one of my windshield-washer-fluid-projector-thingies working (and of course, it was the the one on the passenger side that worked). Did I mention that it took me 15 minutes to drive 3 miles? I think I knew people in high school that could run faster than that!
How much longer until Spring break????
December 11, 2008
I know that some people think I am crazy when I admit my emotional response to the realization that I am much closer to 30 than I cared to remember. You see, I had this mental list of all the things I wanted to accomplish by the time I reached that milestone. And none of these things are done!
My mom has always said that 30 is the age when a person truly becomes an adult - when people stop thinking of you as young or inexperienced in life. By my 30th birthday, I planned to be happily married to the man of my dreams with 2-3 children, a perfect home and the perfect job. Lofty dreams, I know, but I think that the overall hope was for stability and happiness.
In reality, I am unmarried, childless, living with my parents, and just starting my second career. But you know... I'm actually pretty happy with my life. Maybe it's time for a New Plan!
Frau had a 3 tardy policy. Our first two were freebies, but after that, we were assigned "quality time." Yes, these were truly detentions, but there was something about spending "quality time" with our dear German teacher that was much less threatening.
As a teacher, I think I'm truly starting to understand the value of one-on-one time with my students. I already mentioned one student, in particular, but I have seen many positive changes after giving several students some "quality time." Sometimes, this means I need to pull a child after class and simply ask, "What's going on?" Sometimes they just need someone to care.
These are the moments I am reminded how much I love my job!
December 5, 2008
I'm not talking about moving across the country or buying a new car. I'm talking about a new hairstyle. Seriously. This is that much of an issue for me. I've had long hair all of my life, but now that I am approaching the end of my 20's (I know it's still a few years off, but that big 3-0 feels as though it is looming just ahead. But that's another blog for another time.), I feel that it is time that I lose my long locks. It's time to accept the fact that I am, indeed, and adult!
I admit that part of what has inspired this consideration is the fact that my hair has gotten much thinner over the years. I don't think I'm in any danger of having bald spots, but my hair is significantly thinner than it was when I was younger. I'm not sure what's causing this, but I do feel the need to accept this reality. Long, thin hair tends to look stringy, and that is not a look I desire.
This is sort of the style I'm considering (with many more layers for volume). What do you think?
December 3, 2008
A couple of weeks ago, J asked if he could sit with me behind my desk in a spare chair. Although this is an odd request from a middle school student, I permitted him to move. At the time, I was willing to negotiate pretty much anything to get him to stop talking and stay on task!
It's been about two weeks now, and J is still happily sharing a desk with me during his language arts classes. Because of his proximity, he is often the first student I ask to do me small favors (turn on the projector, hand out papers, etc.), and he is eager to comply with my requests.
J's behavior has dramatically improved with this new seating arrangement. I think he really relishes in having that "special attention" from me and with his added responsibilities in the classroom. It's amazing how such a small, seemingly meaningless change can sometimes have such a profound effect.