Lazy Days

It hasn't been a week since school has been out. Have I thought about my kids? Yes. Have I been in a hurry to get back to work? No. Not yet, anyway :). I've had a fun couple of days, staying up late, sleeping in, traveling, watching TV, going to a Tiger's game, and reading my novel. I am basking in my empty schedule! Instead of waking up at six in the morning thinking about the million things I have to do when I get to school, I wake up at nine and ask myself "What will I do today?" and smile when I realize "whatever I want!" Ahh, the life of a teacher. How does anyone survive with just 2 weeks of vacation a year?

No School Today

How did I really feel about sleeping in today and not going to work? Take a guess ;)

Welcome to the End!

When I pictured the end of the school year, I imagined myself running free to the school gate (think slow motion, and to the background music: "Chariots of Fire") then floating to my car in sheer joy and exultation. It turns out that the reality was a bit different....
At 12:20 when I returned from dropping my kids off at the bus, I scrambled to get the last few things taken care of in the classroom. I tossed in the trash whatever I couldn't find a place for. I quickly threaded string through my filing cabinets, then chained up my four supply cabinets with locks. I grabbed my bag and rolled it out with my desk chair into the car. My colleagues and I were going to lunch at a local Mexican eatery at 1:00 and it was 12:45 by the time I got to the office so that they could sign my check-off sheet. That turned out to be tricky, as I had to chase down our principal so he could sign, then I had to wait for our office manager to get through talking to another staff member. By the time I got the needed signatures it was 12:55, and just as I was going for the door, I saw one of my moms walking towards me as she picked up her son. This particular mom is very nice, but she tends to talk a lot and monopolize my time, so I felt justified as I shot a "Have a great summer!" their way and literally ran to my car and zoomed off. But now I feel a little bad about it.... :)

I had a fun time with my DHH colleagues at the restaurant. Everyone was so stress-free and happy-go-lucky! I was feeling a little giddy about the summer too! I'm just so amazed that I actually made it through my first year of teaching! Yea! The fact that it's over hasn't really sunk in yet... I imagine I'll have more to say once I reflect on this crazy year...

If any of you out there are wondering, Field Day was a success! (And not just because I organized and led it--everyone said it was great :) ). We did a water balloon toss, some relay races, duck-duck-goose, and musical chairs. Then I led everyone in a rousing version of Hokey Pokey, as well as the Macarena (another teacher had the music to go along with it!). I'm exhausted and I know I'll sleep well tonight--and sleep in tomorrow!! :)

One More Day!!!!!!!!

Well, this long dreaded day is finally over! Today was the last full day of the year as tomorrow we only go until 12:15. We did our movies, pizza, and board games. Our "board games" turned out to be 90 minutes of BINGO. This turned out to be a brilliant idea as the kids ran the whole show. One student called out the numbers while everyone else played.... and while my aide and I worked on getting the classroom ready for the summer. Somehow, even though we pretty much worked all day on the room, I ended up staying at school till 5:30.
I learned something today. Never, EVER, put sticker name tags on wooden desks. They don't come off easily. I scrubbed and scratched with my "goo-gone" for forty five minutes and only ended up cleaning off four out of my ten desks. My hands and thumbs are raw and red. Fortunately, our janitor took pity on me and offered to do the rest with some better solution/scraper. Thank goodness!! Then all I had to do was to box up my books, store my two butterfly chairs and bean bag in the car, cover all bookshelves with butcher paper, file away all remaining loose papers, and have one last meeting, then I was gone! Just writing about it makes me tired ... and bored. Tomorrow will be much more interesting as it'll be four hours of "field day" ;).


:) Two More Days :(

With two days left to the school year, I have become no more than a glorified babysitter. All pretense of academics has been abandoned! It's a good thing we have fun things planned this week. Tomorrow is officially "pizza party/movie/board games day", and Friday morning is our DHH field day.
Today was the annual "staff vs 6th graders" softball game. It's tradition for the teachers to cream the students, but this year they apparently put up a good fight, and ended up only losing 21 to 6. And guess what? I actually played! And not only did I play, I actually hit the ball with the bat every time it was pitched to me! I wasn't planning on batting, but I was standing with the other teachers and our principal pointed right at me and said "you're up to bat!" and I was more scared of contradicting him than I was afraid to strike out. So.... I ended up hitting a foul ball my first try, a decent hit towards center field my second try (though it didn't quite make it to the outfield), and a pop-up my third try. I was so thrilled to have hit the ball, it didn't really matter that I never got on base! ;)
In other news, it turns out that the end of the school year isn't all joy, anticipation, and fun and games. I had a good cry on the couch this afternoon as I contemplated giving all my kids away to the next teacher. It's not just that I'll miss my kids, it's also that I question the teaching methods of the teacher they're going to in the Fall. But I suppose worrying and being sad won't help matters. I'll have to make the most of the last two days I have with my babies....

News Alot

"We will have fun alot!"

This is what one of my fourth graders told me on our "walking field trip" to the grocery store today. We had decided to go on a picnic. My aide and I took the kids on a fifteen minute walk to Stater Bros, and we bought hot dogs, buns, chips, watermelon, mini-pumpkin pies, and juice. The kids were so excited about it--I was actually a little surprised. We laid out a huge spread under the tree on the field next to the school and the kids had a ball eating themselves sick, lounging around on blankets, and laughing at inside jokes. The sun was shining, and the smell of freedom was in the air...

In other news, the caterpillar eggs that one of my students adopted back in April have become full-grown adults. Let me recap: first there were hundreds of microscopic eggs. Then, 42 ugly caterpillars ate a lot of leaves (see picture). Next, we had thirty-something chrysalides. It was at this point that I started seriously doubting whether or not these were going to be butterflies (they weren't fragile, and they weren't "hanging" chrysalides). I also noticed that the chrysalides seemed soft, and they squirmed and writhed a lot. It was also around this time that I started having horrible nightmares about what they would become and whether they would chew their way through the butterfly house and hide all over my classroom while procreating during the summer. I decided to send the chrysalides home with the lucky student (ah, what peace of mind!). Well, today this student informed me that he had.... moths!! He seemed happy and dejected at the same time. He told me on the way to recess: "I wanted them to be butterflies..." Ah well. It could have been worse.



Academics, we shirk
Forget about work,
I wanna be on my vacation.

The kids are wild
The homework is mild,
I wanna be on my vacation.

Artwork comes down
The walls are now brown,
I wanna be on my vacation.

Papers are filed
Yet more work is piled,
I wanna be on my vacation.

Waking up early
Makes me feel surly,
I wanna be on my vacation.

The days never end
Too much time I spend
Dreaming about my vacation.

The kids said they'll miss me,
My heart-break I foresee,
I'll miss them on my vacation!

Identity Crisis

Today, I'm posting about something other than being a teacher....

I felt like part of me died yesterday when Max brought back our car from a smog check (which it miraculously passed). It had new license plates on it. California license plates. I stared at the back of our car for at least a minute, wrapping my tongue around the strange-sounding new numbers. I've had the same Michigan plates since 2000 and I'd come to enjoy the bright blue distinction from the other CA plates. Plus, it was a reminder of where I'd come from. And now, it's gone! I'm surprised that it matters so much to me.
Today when I walked out to the parking lot to drive home, I felt disillusioned because I couldn't find the car--I had totally forgotten that it had new plates now. It's like I need to get reacquainted with my car again. I walked over to open the door and actually looked inside to double check that it was, indeed, our car. I guess this will take some getting used to....

Is it just me or does anyone else have issues letting go? :)


Today my instructional aide had her formal evaluation by our principal. Before I proceed any further, I have to say that I have grown to like (and dare I say respect) our principal. He is very supportive of our program, even though he doesn't understand all aspects of it. So back to my aide's evaluation. For some weeks now, I kept expecting to be asked about her job performance, or sent a survey to fill out, or something of the sort. Apparently, my input wasn't needed because she was called into the office to be "evaluated". I wondered to myself what information he was going on (he rarely makes unannounced visits into our classrooms--okay, he never visits). When she came back, she said it went okay. When another aide from our program dropped by our classroom during recess, she shared that she had also had her evaluation today. Both aides got their evaluation sheets out and compared the two. They started laughing. A lot. I went over to see what the big deal was...

Lo and behold--both evaluations were IDENTICAL. All the same numbers were circled. The typed "personal comments" were even the same on both sheets word for word!! I thought it was pretty funny, but it also made me kinda mad. I wouldn't like to be thought so little of that the principal can't even come up with original comments or ask for the input of the classroom teacher! Oh well. What counts is that I know I have the BEST aide I could possibly have asked for. She's a natural with the kids, she works hard, and she goes above and beyond the call of duty in every way!! I've been so blessed...

Working and Slacking

I had a moment of panic today as I looked at the next/last two weeks in my "teacher planner" book. There was so much white space, it was almost blinding my eyes! I can justify my lack of planning, I really can. See, the kids are too hyped up to follow the usual routine. I can't start teaching them anything new because of attention problems, and time would crawl if I gave them review worksheets all day. So what am I to do? I checked with the master calendar, and it helped greatly to fill in a few field trips, a class party, a movie party, a field day, and some assemblies. Now all I have to do is throw in some arts and crafts and I may just be able to avoid doing anything academic for the rest of the year!
Don't think I'm not doing anything, though, the "check-off list" that the office gave us to have our rooms ready for summer is a four page document. Oh, and I've been keeping busy with report cards, progress reports, taking down room decorations, and organizing my student's files so that they're ready for the next teacher.
But there's a light at the end of the road: NINE MORE DAYS!!

Ten days left!!!

It's funny. There are many days when I find myself wishing the work day to be over so I can get home and do all sorts of other things. Then, when I have the opportunity to take off and do such things (such as yesterday), I do nothing. Yesterday I found the energy to spend a couple hours shopping for my sister, a recent college graduate, and then I went home and sat on the couch for the rest of the afternoon. I started to feel like I might have wasted my precious afternoon off, but Max tried to convince me that I needed the "rest". In any case, it was a nice change of pace from the usually hectic Thursdays.

Today was our all-staff end of the year party at a local Mexican eatery. I had fun socializing with colleagues that I rarely see (you know, because of different lunch schedules and such). You can really tell we spend most of our day time with kids because when we get together in adult company, we can't shut up! It struck me today that I am truly in the last stretch of my first year... I can't believe I've made it this far (thanks to God... and Max)!

The Countdown

Thanks, Max. I'm going to continue posting and forget all about this unpleasant incident.

The countdown to summer vacation has officially begun. (I won't even talk about how jealous I am that my father-in-law is done on Friday...). We have 12 more school days until the end. Every day at calendar, a student cuts off one link of a paper chain--one link for every day left. And every time a link is cut off, all the kids cheer! Naturally, many field trips are scheduled for these last days. Nobody wants to do anything remotely academic--especially me! But I have to pretend it's business as usual in my classroom so that the kids don't get all wound up and too excited to do anything ;).

I'm looking forward to tomorrow as our program supervisor has offered each of us DHH teachers one afternoon off on her watch--meaning that she would sub for each of us on the afternoon of our choice. She's so generous!! I chose tomorrow afternoon, but I still haven't decided what I will do with my free time. Part of me is reminding me to be responsible and stay at school to catch up on paperwork. The other part (and Max, and my aide) are encouraging me to do whatever and make it a true afternoon "off". I have a feeling the latter option will win out in the end :)

Hear, hear!

Our new FM systems (which amplify the teacher’s voice directly into the hearing aid) have been both a blessing and a curse. They’ve been great because the kids are now hearing things they missed before. I had two students say in amazement: “I can hear that… what is it?” when I sat down to type an email on the computer while still wearing my mic (they said it sounded like rain…) On the other hand, we really do need to remember to turn off the mic when we use the bathroom….

My colleague Mrs. L from across the hall has had a bad head cold all week (she claims she got it from me!). The other day she tried to be very discreet because she had to blow her nose really hard. The kids were doing some seatwork with her aide. Mrs. L stepped behind some cabinets and proceeded to blow very hard into her tissue. Almost immediately, a chorus of cries arose from the children: “OW!” “TOO LOUD” “WHAT THAT?” Mrs. L and her aide were doubled over with laughter when they figured out the mic was still on (while the poor kids were rubbing their ears in shock). I’ve been lucky to escape any such mishaps!!

The Case of the Missing Hearing Aid

One of the "special" parts of my job is to deal with equipment like hearing aids, cochlear implants, and FM systems. My kids are old enough that they can tell me when they can't hear, if their hearing aid got wet, or if they need to change the battery. My colleague Mrs. L isn't so fortunate as she teaches kindergarten and first grade. She has a six year old (let's call her Sally) who likes to fidget and take things apart ... like her hearing aids. Yesterday she thought it would be fun to see what happens when hearing aids go down the playground slide. Turns out, what happens is that you lose the hearing aids and then spend the rest of the day in tears. Mrs. L didn't think this was as funny as I did :). She managed to find the ear molds (cheap part) and one of the actual hearing aids. Everyone searched high and low for the other one, but with no luck. She even "frisked" down each of the students and checked backpacks. Sally was finally sent home with half of her equipment. Ironically, this morning a different student's mother (from the same class) called in to say that she found a hearing aid in her daughter's pocket. I wonder if this other student was saving it for a rainy day or if she was planning to sell it on the black market...
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