Do you see what I see?

I don't consider myself a messy person necessarily, but when it comes to my desk at school, it's a different story. For a long time this year, I was ashamed of it. And then I realized that I would be a bad teacher if I spent my time cleaning my desk rather than planning, teaching, and creating materials. So now I work really hard to not be embarrassed about it. The hardest part is when I have a sub coming in (like I do for this Monday and Tuesday so I can spend time with my sister) because they have to sit there. Oh well. They pay me to teach, not to clean, right?
Let me point out a few things on my desk:
  1. the all-important coffee cup
  2. copy of the state standards (just for show...)
  3. a Valentine's day balloon a student gave to me
  4. overflowing files
  5. loose papers that should be filed
  6. a half-inflated math quiz cube/ball
  7. a calendar from a dear friend (it's next to the computer)
  8. and if you look closely, you can see my lesson plan book under all that junk

Let no man or woman be quick to judge; I'm sure I'd find a mess if I came over to your place too... :)

What did I just say?

Sometimes I sound like a broken record. Here's something I've been telling the kids a lot this week:
"What did I just say?"
For example, on Tuesday at the bus stop, I had a student walk away towards an area he was not supposed to be in. I told him to stop and wait. He turned around, looked at me, and kept walking (deliberate defiance is my biggest pet peeve). I quickly caught up with him, got in his face and asked: "What did I just say?"
Yesterday I explained a worksheet to a small group I was working with. The directions were simple. I even gave them an example. As soon as I gave them the paper, one darling student raised his hand and asked me what he was supposed to do... "WHAT DID I JUST SAY??"
Today as my students were walking "in line" toward the cafeteria, I told them to stay away from the puddles. Not ten seconds later, three kids jumped in a huge one. I glared at them: "What did I just SAY?"
I could go on and on, but I think you get the picture. Man, it's like these kids are deaf or something...

Rain Pain

Rain, rain, go away,
Never come back again.
The kids are wild
("Don't do that, child!")
And patience is wearing thin.

The more they scream,
The more I dream
Of being in faraway places...
A moor, a shore, or just a trap door;
I can't stand the sight of their faces.

The weather's grim,
I have a whim
To run away and hide.
But would it be prudent
To leave my students
While I sat outside and cried?

The more I think
The more I feel
That this is not the way.
Please help me, Lord,
(My faith restored)
To get me through my day!

Monday, monday

Well, it's Monday again: time for school, time for more posts...
Not a whole lot happened today. The kids dyed Easter eggs and had a lot of fun with it. Some of the eggs turned out great; some of them looked like they'd been horribly disfigured in a car accident. No matter: I proudly put all of them out on display! I also got a rare compliment from one of my students as we were dying the eggs... he said I "looked pretty in an apron" :). Personally, I think Max looks a lot prettier in an apron because it means I'm not cooking! I can smell dinner cooking already....

$213 worth of fun!

Is there any other occupation in the world that requires you to spend your own money on being better at your job? I've heard of many new [elementary] teachers that spend literally thousands in their first year to get their classroom ready and to gather resource materials. I know of many veteran teachers that still spend hundreds every year in resource materials (especially ones who've recently switched grade levels). And these aren't frivolous buys...they are mostly materials that are needed to do the job.
Fortunately for me, Max was there to keep my spending in check :). I bought the bare minimum last summer. This week, however, I found out that my school had allocated a budget for me and I needed to spend that money (a whole 213 dollars!) by the time April rolls around. So I went on a shopping spree... WOO HOO!! I couldn't believe how much money I spent in an hour. I got so much stuff that I desperately needed, plus a few fun learning games that will get my kids more motivated to learn their time tables ;). I can't wait to go on a shopping spree again next year...

Meeting blues

Wednesday is meeting day.
My personal motto during these meetings is: "Let's get on with it!". Isn't it interesting how in any given meeting, in any given city/state/country, there's always that one person (or group of people) who keep asking inappropriate and/or petty and/or off-topic questions? It makes my patience wear thin and my eyes roll...

Sometimes it feels like I spend more time in meetings talking about teaching kids than actually teaching them. It makes me think of that question they usually ask when interviewing prospective teachers: "So why do you want to be a teacher?" The correct answer is "Because I love kids!". Maybe a better answer would be "Because I'm passionate about meetings and I have an affinity for paperwork". Just a thought :)

Practical wisdom

8 students – 1 who’s home sick =
7 students – 1 with a doctor’s appointment =
6 students – 4 in science =
2 students – 2 in music = 0 students for me to teach! = 2 hours of uninterrupted free time!

Something happened today that has never happened to me before: because of random schedule changes (with special pullouts like music, speech, etc), I had a two hour period of time without kids at the end of the day. Two precious, uninterrupted hours all to myself.... As I started to realize what was happening, I quickly ran through a list of all the things I could do in two hours:
I could organize the piles of junk on my desk, or file student work that's been piling up, or I could go make copies and get homework packets ready for next week, or I could make learning materials for next week's centers, or I could surf the net, or, or, or... My mind was racing so fast; I was so panicked with excitement that it took me a while to realize that my most pressing concern was to get to the bathroom before I wet myself.

It's like what my college professor always said. "If you want to be a teacher, you must have two things: a big basement [to store all that teacher stuff] and a big bladder". Now that is wisdom to live by!

Recipe for a field trip

Take one bus. Add fifty screaming kids.
(Season with bumps)
1 very dark room
1 extra long presentation
1 sound system too loud for hearing aids
6 hungry children
(Season with 100 ants per pair of pants)

Mix all ingredients well. Cook for three hours. When finished, serve with aspirin.

Sarah, the leprechaun

It's funny how even on the weekend, my mind is still at school. The students and I had a rather exciting week. On Tuesday, we created leprechaun traps for St. Patrick's Day. The kids were besides themselves with excitement at the thought of catching a real live leprechaun. We used shoeboxes, tissue paper, and shamrocks to decorate the outside of the traps, and Lucky Charms cereal and fake gold coins to lure him inside the trap. Imagine their surprise on Friday morning, when all the traps were down, all the Lucky Charms eaten, and all the gold coins gone! In addition, it seems that our leprechaun escaped from all the traps by biting a hole through the top of the box. The kids were amazed! They were also scratching their heads over the tiny note he left on the board, and the green footprints he left behind on their desks. But the best part was when they discovered the pot of chocolate gold hidden at the end of the rainbow!
I had about half of my students totally convinced a leprechaun had been there. The others were quite skeptic. One precious student wanted very badly to believe in the leprechaun, but he could too easily explain away all of the "mysteries". His struggle was written all over his face :).
Isn't St. Patrick's Day fun?

Before you can even ask...

When people ask me what I do for a living, I tell them that I am a teacher of children who are deaf/hard-of-hearing. And then I brace myself for the inevitable question that follows: "Oh, so you know sign language?" The answer is that while I do know some, I do not use it in the classroom. I teach in an oral program; that means that every child wears hearing aids (or has a cochlear implant) and my job is to teach them to listen, as well as to narrow the gap in their language delay.

I am also a brand new teacher. This is my first year out in the "real world". I meant to start this blog at the beginning of the year, but time slipped away from me, and here we are in March! I have learned a lot of valuable lessons so far this year--stuff they apparently can't teach you in college. To make an education major more practical to college students everywhere, I propose the following curriculum:
"Copy Machines 101"
"Dealing with well-meaning, yet incompetent administrators 210"
"Paperwork Management 101"
"Avoiding Teacher Lounge Gossip 220"
"Colleague Mediation 201"
And finally, maybe the most important:
"Catering to Psycho Parents 310"

I guess that was my little way of summing up the last few months :). I hope to keep this site up-to-date for my parents and friends across the ocean, as well as for my family in the arctic Midwest, because Max is really hogging our other blog :)
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