Monday, January 25, 2010

Teaching Stories Volume 23082

I am battling the nastiest flu on Earth right now. I look and feel miserable but this week is one of my busiest (there are a few weeks this quarter where the calendar works against us and we have all 4 classes plus student teaching) I'm also in the middle of getting ready for my first teaching observation (where my supervisor comes to evaluate MY teaching), Basically what I'm trying to say is that don't expect anything content wise here. I'm barely holding on.

Here's what happened in 2nd grade today:

My paraeducator: You don't look so good today...
Me: I'm fine, really.
Para: Really? Lying about being sick? Western is bringing you along fast aren't they.

Z: Miss W, do you want to hear a REALLY sad story?
Me: um, sure?
Z: When I was 3, my dad had to go away because he was in the navy.
Me: Oh man Z, I'm sorry. Is he back now?
Z: UM YEAH. It happened when I was 3, weren't you listening?!

Sunday, January 24, 2010

A boy and a girl go to see "The Lovely Bones"

After it's over:

Boy: I can't believe you!
Girl: What?
Boy: You didn't warn me. You just said oh this is my favorite book, oh peter jackson is directing it. YOU DIDN'T WARN ME.
Girl: Warn you about what?
Boy: She was MURDERED WHITNEY! He put her body INTO A SAFE and you didn't even tell me thats what was coming. There is NOTHING lovely about that.
Girl: I'm sorry, I figured you would google it or something
Boy: I just feel so sad
Girl: hahah
Boy: I can't believe you're laughing.
Girl: I'm sorry, I'm so glad you appreciated it.
Boy: I didn't just appreciate it... It like... blew my mind.

*5ish hours later:
Boy: I just cannot believe that movie.
Girl: *snore snore snore*
Girl: it's 10, of course I'm sleeping.
Boy: How can you sleep after we just saw something like that?
Girl: Really?! I knew we should have seen The Tooth Fairy instead.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Knives and Snatchy

I was going to write about what has been going on in my life but I'm feeling snatchy tonight.

So snatchy in fact that something I said pissed C off so much he turned off his phone. I'm tired and school is slowly sucking out my soul.

Instead I'll share with you a teaching story.

Today in my second grade classroom:

J: Miss W, Can I ask you a REALLY serious question?
Me: Sure J, what is it?
J: How old were you when your mom let you use a real steak knife to cut up steak?
Me: Um, I honestly don't remember, probably like 10?
J: Aw man, I'm 8 and a half and she keeps saying I'm not ready. I'm SO READY Miss W. I know I won't cut off my fingers.
Me: I'm sorry, maybe you could talk to her about it?
J: Could you?
Me: Well, that's not really a teacher thing, I talk to parents about reading and math.
J: what if you say "J can read 94 words a minute and I think he's ready to use a real steak knife".

Love it.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Let's Get Lost Tonight

Awhile back, C and I created a rule where we were only allowed to talk about work or kids from work a maximum of 10 minutes otherwise we found that the nights we spent together were full of negative feelings and constant worry about the kids that we spend our time with, what we could be doing better, how we have been doing the best that we can.

Today this rule was reinforced in full force because I have been beating myself up about one of the girls in the class that I student teach in.

On Fridays they have their test on the story that we spent the whole week working on. This girl (we'll call her B) turned in her test and her answers were no where near right. Her spelling was off and her answers missed the concept completely. When I ran through the questions with her verbally, she answered almost all of them correctly but when she went to write the answer in the spot, it was gone. It was like something short circuited and instead of running correctly, it just burnt out.

My first instinct was that she has a hard time with fluency or comprehension. Maybe me telling her the questions verbally was the key, so I wrote the plan to up her reading this week to see if it would make any difference. When I assessed her on Monday and Wednesday, she read two different stories that were two different skill levels and she did great so reading isn't the problem after all.

My next guess is motivation. There could be something at home that is making her have a hard time focusing, it could be environmental, maybe the people she sits next to or near are distracting her. There are a million and one maybes and I know that I won't be satisfied until I figure out what it is and I fix it.

The thing I struggle with the most is accepting when I don't have all the answers, accepting when I am doing the best that I can do with what I have been given. I need to learn to leave B and all my other kids at school. I need to draw the line and separate myself from my work.

Otherwise I'll be over my ten minutes before I'm even through the door.

Thursday, January 14, 2010


I've had that postsecret saved on my computer for quite some time. So long in fact that I've transferred it from my old laptop to my dearest Juliet.

I don't know what first compelled me to save it, I save a lot of secrets in a folder just because so many of them ring true to me. But there is something about this one that is stored in my brain as well. On days when school is tough and I'm tired or unsure, my mind drifts off to the alternative universe. The world where I'm not student teaching during the day to come home, change my clothes and go to school at night.

I'm a feminist to the core and I absolutely love teaching but there are some days when I think that settling down and being a mom is what my soul wants. Not a relationship or a husband but raising and loving and nurturing my own children.

Whenever I consider this for more than a few minutes, I immediately push this thought process aside and go back to writing lesson plans and grading spelling tests.

One day, I'll have both. "Have it all" as Liz Lemon says. Until then, whenever this feeling sneaks up on me, I'll allow myself a few minutes to think about this postsecret and then I'll move on.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

This is an adventure

Sorry dear blog, life has been happening and I haven't had time to be around as much as I'd like.

I recently made a list of personal goals (note, not new years resolutions).

1. I'm going to stop giving people so much credit for how they make *me* feel. I am responsible for my own thoughts and actions and it is up to me and me alone to determine how much power people have in my life.

2. I'm going to stop ignoring every time someone does something that I *know* is no good, because whenever said person rarely does something nice and surprises me, they win me over and I lose the argument with myself that this situation isn't right.

3. I'm going to work on redirecting all my energy into teaching. Being aware of the effect and power of my words.

4. Allow less time for wallowing and more time for living.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Dear Host Teacher,

Thanks so much for letting me be in your classroom this quarter. I can already tell that this experience is going to be amazing and I love how on board you are with all of my ideas.

Also, Thanks for letting me ready a book to the entire class today. I love that you remember when you met me and I talked about how much I love reading out loud.

I also want to thank you picking a book that contained the words "woodcock" as well as "mating" at least a dozen times. Second graders LOVE these words.

See you on Wednesday,

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Better Late Than Never

I was going to write something about the new year but I came across this and I just adore it:

That was a tough one.

Come on in and stop for a second to shake your head, dust yourself off, and look back at how far you’ve come.

Sure, it’s been a long year. Some crushing lows slapped you and smacked you around. There were times your heart dipped and you squinted back tears while your stomach squeezed so tightly you couldn’t sleep. There were moments you walked around in a glossy-eyeball daze — when loved ones hurt, friends didn’t stay, or someone dear to your heart slowly drifted away.

Sleepless nights, stressful nights, with teething babies, slurring customers, bad bosses, bickering boyfriends, or blank computer screens. You were feeling and you were dealing and you were reeling and you were healing.

But as you walked your hard path down your long and bumpy road some little drops of confidence dripped like coffee into your head and into your heart. As you stumbled and got back up a quiet inner strength slowly seeped into your bones. And as you climbed over obstacles set in your way some relaxed satisfaction and growing self-awareness glimmered like bright lights at the bottom of your stomach.

Yes, this year changed you and grew you in so many ways you don’t even feel or notice yet. As you struggled you empathized, as you slipped you understood, as you worked you earned…

… as you looked you learned

… as you dared you grew

… … … and as you jumped you flew.

Your dreams are still focusing and your passion is growing. Your energy is still bubbling and your story keeps going.

You’ve been through so much and gained a year’s supply of experience along the way. You’re stronger than you were last year and stronger than you realize. Sure, there were times you bent, but you definitely didn’t break. There were times you caved, but you definitely didn’t flake.

Listen up: you got bigger, you got better, and you got the scars to prove it.

So stop for a second today to smile and look back at everything you’ve done this year… everything you’ve seen… everywhere you’ve been…

You’ve taken more illegal naps and had more blurry-eyed late nights.

You’ve danced to more wedding songs and smiled at more beautiful sights.

You’ve seen more scorching sunsets and heard more head bopping songs.

You’ve tripped a few times, but baby, you kept rolling right along.

Yes, you’ve hugged more old friends and kissed some brand new pretty faces.

You’ve cheered more on the sidelines and visited some brand new pretty places.

You tasted more meals, you got more deals, and you’ve sniffed more flower blossoms.

And you made it all the way through this year because you’re so completely


-found here