Put it on my 'Professional Development' tab

Registration fee for one day Autism conference:

Gas to get there:
$8 ish



Doing something different than the everyday hum-drum:

The school paid the registration fee. I paid for everything else.

I wonder what would happen if teachers had their own expense accounts?!

Ode to January

Good riddance to January! (Is it June yet?)

I Win!

I have a fourth grade student with a learning disability that I see for 1 hour and 45 minutes every day. She LOVES competition! And because it is such a huge motivator for her, I try to make everything into a game... everything. We've been working on our diphthongs for a while now (vowel combinations such as oi, oo, au). For each diphthong set, I've made picture cards and word cards. We play lots and lots of games with these cards: Go Fish!, Memory, BOO, and Old Maid. Usually, I try to rig it so that she wins. Every once in awhile, I might win by accident, but then she likes to call for a re-match...

It wasn't until recently that we had started using the cards to play Old Maid. It's still easy to let her win this game, but for some odd reason, I can't bring myself to lose. There's just something about it that brings out the FIERCE COMPETITOR you all know me to be (haha). Even though I can see her get frustrated and stumped every time she loses, I can't help trying to win! Even when my head says "let her win this round", my heart says "NEVER!".

But regardless of who wins or loses, her prize is that she's becoming a better reader. And that makes both of us happy :)

Tomorrow is JEAN DAY!!!!

Teacher wardrobe rules at my school in California went like this:

  1. Flip flops? Sure!
  2. Capris or shorts? Why not?
  3. Designer clothes? A must!
  4. Wearing the same pair of pants in a week? Shameful!
  5. Jean day? Everyday, if that's what you want!

Teacher wardrobe rules at my school in Michigan go like this:

  1. Flip flops? Never!
  2. Capris or shorts? You're fired!
  3. Designer clothes? I got it at Big Lots!
  4. Wearing the same pair of pants in a week? WHO CARES?
  5. Jean day? Once a month and that's "lucky"

The Latest MOOs

When I asked my husband what I should blog about (I've been feeling uninspired), he said "cows". So, whether or not he was serious, here goes:

to ruminate:
1. to chew the cud, as a ruminant.
2. to meditate or muse; ponder

This is how I've been treating my job lately--I ruminate all the time about this and that. Right before I go to sleep. On my way to school. During my down-time in the day. Lately I've been ruminating about how boring and un-challenging my job is right now. I've gotten over the initial hurdle of getting to know the school, procedures, etc. Now I just feel like a glorified tutor who runs the occasional meeting, and fills out paperwork. This position isn't challenging enough.

And yet, if there was a job to open up this fall to teach children who are deaf/hard-of-hearing, I don't think I would take it. Afterall, the Lord led me to this pasture for a reason. I prayed that I would be in the place where He could use me best, and I choose to have faith that this is that place.

Even if every once in a while it smells like cow poo.

Define "exquized"

All 6th - 8th grade students at my school were asked to write an essay about what they liked specifically about our school. Here are some excerpts:

" . . .the teachers are nice except when they have to buckle down and teach."

"[Our school] teaches us more than we need to know."

"They let you socialize every two weeks."

"I like [this school] because when you're not good at something instead of pulling you down the teacher pushes you up."

"My academics are good and they instill a lot of lessons that we will probably remembers till we die."

"These among many other factors are why I, and my family of course, have chosen this exquized educating facility."

And here's my favorite comment (maybe because I can identify with it):

" . . . and my last reason is because I have no choice."

Teacher Nature

There's Mother Nature, Sin Nature, Human Nature....

What about Teacher Nature?

It struck me today, as I was administering a computerized district test to an 8th grader, that there might be such as thing as a Teacher Nature. You see, this 8th grader receives special education services, and his IEP states that tests be read aloud to him (with the exception of reading tests). So I'm sitting there reading math question after question to him. I see him struggle with it, and have to bite my tongue because I'm not allowed to rephrase the question. I'm not allowed to point him in the right direction. I'm not allowed to ask prompting questions. I'm not allowed to help. I can only repeat the question and say things like: "Just do your best" and "Take your time". I have to watch his frustration in silence.

That just goes against my Teacher Nature.

Out of the Mouth of Babes

Overheard between my two third-graders, as they illustrated their writing:

Girl: "Is life easy when you're grown-up?"
Boy: "I don't think it will be fun because they have to pay bills and stuff"
Girl: "But I love chores... Chores are my favorite!"

And a little later on:

Girl: "Do you know my mom?"
Me: "Yeah, she's a nice lady"
Girl (rolling eyes): "When you are her daughter, she drives you nuts and she's not that sweet"
Girl: "When you have kids, please do not drive them nuts, or they will be saying the same thing!"

Good advice...

Go Ahead....

... just ask me how I feel about going back to school tomorrow:

Meanwhile, My Feet Hurt

I've been slacking with my blog lately because I've just been having too much fun doing absolutely nothing! It's been great spending time with family for Christmas and New Year's....

I can't decide if I'm looking forward to going back to school next Monday, or if I'm dreading it. I have had a lot of time to reflect on this new position/role for me, and I've decided that it's lonely. I mean, sure, everyone has been nice at my new school, and I'm able to have short conversations here and there (mostly in the lounge), but I'm not working with an aide anymore. When I was teaching children who are deaf/hard-of-hearing back in California, I worked very closely with a classroom aide. Not only was she my right-hand-woman, but she was excellent company as well. But now I work solo. If the kids inadvertently say something funny, there is no adult eye to catch for a secret chuckle. There is nobody who knows all the ins and outs of my classroom who can give me feedback. There is nobody to spontaneously brainstorm with. There is nobody... except me.

Now before you all start to feel sorry for me, let me say that I could go walk down the hall and talk to my partner in crime who is the other resource room teacher (this is her first year of teaching). But this is just too inconvenient, unless it's lunchtime.

There are definitely lots of people who come see me in my little room/classroom/office everyday, but these people come because they have Problems. And part of my job is to "supervise" the special education aides, and help fix the problems, so this is okay.

I guess the point of this whole, long, wordy post is that, for the last two years, everyone came to talk to me to make sure that I was okay, to ask how I was doing, to know if I needed any help. You know, because I was the New Teacher. Now, in my third year, I'm suddenly in the position where I'm expected to give the support, to listen instead of talk, to encourage rather than be encouraged, to run the meetings instead of just participate.

It's like a new pair of shoes that I'm still trying to break in.
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