October 31, 2012

Is That Supposed to Be a Compliment?

"Ms. L, you look like a pumpkin today," one of my students casually mentioned as we walked to the classroom after lunch.

"A pumpkin?!" I squealed as my eyes bugged out of my head, "Is it because I'm round??" I pouted.

"Oh, no!" she informed me with all sincerity, "It's your orange sweater."

Uh huh.

Guess who has a new sweater for the Goodwill pile?




October 28, 2012

It's True What They Say...

Thank you, cold front, for finding your way to Baton Rouge. While the drop in temperature hasn't been appreciated by the locals, this Chicago girl certainly loved it. It felt like a big bandaid for my soul that still aches to be in the Windy City. We donned sweatpants, hoodies, and slippers, slept with the windows open so we'd have a good excuse to snuggle all night, and I've been busy making some of our fall favorites: chili on the stove, cornbread, and pumpkin spice cake. I tell ya, nothing makes Joel love me like when I feed him a good meal. :) I guess it's true that the way to a man's heart is through his stomach!

We're having a lazy Sunday at home today. We're both still in our pj's, and I have no intention of changing that today. We've spent hours snuggling on the couch drinking chai tea lattes and sharing plans of our dream home as we watched HGTV. And now, as I type this, he's shimmying and shaking as he plays balance games on the wii board... we're quite the entertaining couple, y'all!

Really though, we're soaking up the last of our time off together because tomorrow morning, I'm headed back to work. Finally. (I say that for my co-workers and students, not for myself.)

Even though I'm still not feeling 100% (Most of my hearing has returned to my right ear, but my left one is still a mess.), my alarm is set for 5:30 AM. Teachers are only allowed 10 days off (sick and personal leave) per school year, and I've already managed to use 7 of my allotted days in the past two weeks. I want to save those last three days in case I get sick or something else important happens.

Also, I've decided that my students simply need me back. I was able to check Kickboard (our school-wide PBIS system, with which we document all behavior) from home several days last week, and I was astounded to see how terrible my students' behavior has been across the board. I liken it to puppies pooping in the house when they're angry at mom and dad for going out of town. They're feeling abandoned, and they're rebelling.

So, even though I'm not completely me yet, I think half of me will be better than no me at all. I need to save my students from themselves and get back to the curriculum (versus the babysitting that's been happening recently).

But things, they're gonna be changing around my classroom.  Yes, indeed.

October 23, 2012

Teaching Integrity

For various medical reasons, I have only been in school for two days in the past week. After a visit with the ENT today that confirmed that I have a severe double ear infection and cannot go back to work this week (because it's kinda hard to teach when I can't really hear... seriously), Joel took me over to my school so I could drop of my medical note to my principal.

While I was there, I decided to run to my classroom to check on the sub notes from the past 3 days. Before I even got there, though, I was stopped by various co-workers and students who informed me that today's sub actually left school in the middle of one of my classes. Yep. They were that bad.

I expected to find frazzled notes from the substitutes telling me what has been happening in my classroom. Instead, I found nothing. Not even a name of who had been with my students. (Perhaps because they were left unsupervised on more than one occasion?)

What I did find, though, is that my classroom was in shambles. My filing cabinet had been ransacked; the giant bags of candy from Sam's Club that I keep there were completely gone. Empty. All that was left was the plastic bag itself.

The plant pot I keep on my bookshelf of pens for student use (which I've had to refill on three different occasions already) was completely empty. I am not exaggerating whn I say there were probably 100+ pens in this thing. We have a good system going. Students take a pen, sign their names on the white board, and erase when they return. Any remaining names at the end of the day lose money from their paychecks (our school-wide PBIS) system for being "unprepared for class." Now? I have no pens to offer. And I'm so disgusted that they would steal them like this from me that I don't want to refill it... AGAIN!

And most disturbing is the fact that students also went through my personal desk. I keep a giant box (once again, from Sam's Club) in my desk of assorted sandwich crackers for the days when I need a snack or forget a lunch. Apparently, my students felt they were entitled to these as well, because more than three-quarters of the box was taken.

I feel violated. Betrayed. By students who have been whining all week about when I'm coming back because "they can't learn" without me.

I think this calls for a good lesson on integrity, because this behavior shows me that my students are clearly lacking in it.

I'm also trying to think of appropriate consequences. I'll never know exactly who was involved, but it had to be a good number of students. Something has to be done, right?

If you have any good suggestions, I'm open to them.

October 14, 2012

Fake Fall Break

For the first time in my entire life, I had to work/attend school on Columbus Day. Apparently, Southerners don't have any respect for the man who didn't discover America. The nerve!

When I first discovered this atrocity I was indignant, but my anger quickly subsided when I looked further at the school calendar and saw that this weekend was Fall Break. Or, as it should be called, Extended Summer Break because I'm still waiting for fall.

No, really... where is it? The trees are still as green as ever, and I'm still sweating. Bring on the cool breezes; jeans and hoodies with flip flops; pumpkin spice lattes (okay, we have those, but it's too hot to actually enjoy them), apple cider; creamy soups;

But even though the weather isn't cooperating, I'm happy to accept that I'm on Fall Break. I couldn't tell you, between my students and me, who needed this four-day weekend more. Oh wait... yes I can. It's totally me.

As soon as school got out on Thursday, I joined a coworker for a reflexology massage. Dear Lord, it hurt like you-know-what, but my feet felt very relaxed when we were done. It was a great way to decompress from the week (although I don't know that I'll ever do it again).

Joel and I had a much-needed date night on Friday. I straightened my hair, put on a dress and some makeup, and busted out my jewelry for our night on the town. Per my mother, he deserves to see me like this from time to time even if he loves me just as much in my sweats with my hair in a messy bun and a face sans makeup.

We spent pretty much all of yesterday shopping. It was nice to spend some time walking around the mall together and just enjoy the day. And It didn't hurt that I walked away with three new pairs of shoes. :)

Have I mentioned that I'm on day three of sleeping in? Those 5:30 AM wake up calls aren't getting any easier for me. I don't know how all you mamas do it.

Today will be spent finalizing grades and preparing for the new quarter. Neither are my favorite activity, but they must be done. At least I don't have to worry about the Sunday Night Blues since I don't have to work tomorrow.

October 4, 2012

THIS is Love

Joel loves my guacamole. So much so, in fact, that he has offered a daily trade of a personal foot bath and massage for a bowl of my guac.

Truth be told, he eagerly offers me the foot rubs without the exchange... but I'm happy to pay him in avocados!

October 3, 2012

Is This Real Life?!

Homemade cinnamon streusel muffins made by the world's best boyfriend!

My Thursday morning outlook has improved tenfold!


October 2, 2012

My Handyman

My friend, Carolyn, gave me this console table when I moved into my last house. She was trying to make room for all the baby stuff in her home and didn't need a table full of plants and picture frames with a toddler on the way.

Since the day I got it, I've had big plans to refinish it. There were water stains from her potted plants, and the light color didn't really fit with my other furniture. I ended up finding a perfect home for it behind a couch in my living room, and being that it was mostly out if sight, the refinishing project was on the back burner.

When we moved into this house, we ended up using the table as a TV stand in the living room. While I appreciate the height of the table, I despised the unsightly cables and cords that were visible. (Anyone who knows me knows much much I can't stand clutter.) Joel agreed that it was time to buy a real entertainment center, and after a little comparison shopping, we found one we love!

Not only did Joel (and Michael) stay up until 1:00 AM assembling the new stand, but Joel immediately jumped into the next project of refinishing the console table for me. I'm a lucky girl to have my very own handyman to take care of these projects (he also fixed my broken closet door, repaired a drawer on my IKEA dresser I poorly put together last year, fixed our broken garbage disposal, and changed the oil in our cars.)

It felt great to come home and see my "new" table in its perfect home. And the view during said project wasn't bad either! :)

My First Fight

At the age of 30, I can officially say I was punched for the first time in my life. (Okay, I'm sure there was punching between my siblings and me when we were kids, but this was my first non-family altercation.)

Something must be in the air today because my students were involved in two fights before 7:30 AM! Silly me, I chose to step in the middle of two scrappy girls who went at each other in my classroom.

I couldn't even tell you what set it off. I've never seen these two girls speak to each other before, but there's obviously quite a bit of animosity between them. All I know is one of the girls screamed at the other, "Do something about it then!" and she sure did.

It felt like several minutes (I'm sure it was just seconds) passed while I desperately held them apart, getting pelted with punches, slaps, scratches, and kicks. Thankfully, one if my boys finally pulled one of the girls away, allowing me to focus on the other (feistier) one while another student went to get help.

I am easily twice the size of these little girls, but my arms are swollen and tender from their little fists.

For the record, no one ever told me I'm expected to step in and break up these fights. But, as the adult in the room, my instinct was to step in and protect my students. (Although, that instinct isn't nearly as strong when its two boys fighting...)

By the time the two girls were finally separated, I was out of breath. And as soon as they were escorted out of the room, I had to refocus my attention on regaining control of my class and proceeding with the lesson as if nothing happened. And, I had six more classes in a row before I had a chance to sit down and breathe.

And people say teachers are paid too much!

I Miss These People

...like crazy.

My Uncle Tom was visiting Chicago from Denver and snapped this photo of my adorable parents while they watched the Bears game in a bar.

I am so jealous I don't even have words. What I wouldn't do to hug these two at this very moment.