Brace Yourselves

The fourth graders at school all set up shop in the gym for "Market day" as part of their economics unit. They each needed to create a product or provide a service to potential customers. All of us teachers got free money with which to shop around. I made a note to visit the "shop" of each of my resource room fourth graders.

Unfortunately, one was doing face painting, so later on I had to go to the grocery store with a giant smiley face on one cheek and a heart on the other. I got some stares.

One of my other fourth graders was doing palm reading. I thought this was quite ironic, as this is the fella with only one good eye (the other being a prosthetic). He had a bright light and a magnifying glass set up when I handed him my fake money. I don't believe in astrology or palm reading or any such nonsense, but I was very curious to hear what he would come up with because he had been studying the art of palm reading for quite some time.

He looked at my palm and declared that I would live a long life, that I was strong and healthy, and that I was very smart. I begged him to tell me how many kids I would have one day.

"Ummmm... See that line here? and here? That means you're going to have two kids", he said.

"Oh, that's perfect! Two is a great number" I gushed enthusiastically.

"OH NO!" he said quite suddenly.

"What? What's the matter?"

"I have bad news. I don't want to tell you"

"Please tell me" I begged him. "I can handle it!"

He leaned back in his chair and crossed his arms. "No," he said "It's too horrible"

"Really, you can tell me, I can take it! Puh-lease give me the bad news!!" I insisted.

Finally, he leaned forward and said: "See this line here?" [insert very tragic sounding voice] "that means your second child will die at 89!"

Good thing I was already sitting down...

The Benefits of Being a Favorite

Yesterday was my mid-year performance review. I sat down with the principal and the dean of student interventions (she's very involved with special ed). The dean said lots of nice things about me and my relationships with the other teachers, and about my interesting and engaging lessons. The principal asked me questions like "What's something that's going well for you this year?" That question surprised me a little and I didn't have an answer ready. When I took a minute to think, we all kind of laughed.... Then she asked me what I wanted to do better (easy... but hard to just pick one!). Then the principal asked me if there was anything I needed from her. At that point, there was some lightning quick censoring going on in my mind (I wanted to say something about giving professional respect), but I managed to say something both true and appropriate.

Right as I was about to leave her office, she asked me about my plans next year. Shoot! I was hoping to stay under the radar in that department for a bit longer. I told her that my husband was planning on going to seminary next year, but that whether or not I'd be looking for a new job was up in the air. Which is technically true, because there are some circumstances that I can envision where I would have to stay. But "up in the air" can mean 98% leaving and 2% staying, right???

In any case, both the principal and the dean expressed their wish that I would stay, but to let them know. The principal even volunteered to call up some schools that she's close to and put in a good word along the lines of "you can't live without this teacher in your building".

Nice, but I hope it doesn't come to that.... Also? Here's to hoping that I don't get on her bad side from now to June!!

A Belated Post about Tuesday

It was pretty awesome to watch the live inauguration speech on the projector in the school gym on Tuesday! All the kids were assembled and it was amusing to watch them clap when the crowd clapped. And soon? Soon, this is what my roll call will look like :)

Abridged for Your Sake

It's been a rough couple of days. There was a lot of drama today that was the result of some complicated events. I was too overwhelmed to even tell the hubby about it (you know, it's one of those stories that starts way back when two weeks ago, blah, blah, blah).

He cut me off at the beginning and told me to try to sum it up in two sentences. WHAT?! I told him that it was impossible, but he told me to try anyway, because "anything can be summed up in two sentences". After a few moments of reflection, I said: "One of my special ed. colleagues wasn't invited to a certain meeting and it hurt her feelings. It may have been partly my fault".

See? Not that hard. And I just saved all three of my readers a long boring story... so, you're welcome!

P.S: Max did end up listening to the whole long story anyways because he knows I need to talk--so yeah, he's pretty great!

P.P.S: Can you sum up your day in two sentences?


Today was a staff in-service day. At the very beginning of the day, upon inspecting the agenda, I noticed that the administration had nicely differentiated the breakout sessions. One was for K-2 teachers, one was for 3-4 teachers, one was for 5-8 teachers, and one was for "specials" teachers (art, music, gym, spanish). In all three different breakout times, there was no mention of the special ed staff at all!

Rather than draw attention to our neglected selves, the other resource room teacher and I ducked away and spent a wonderful day flying under the radar. A lot of paperwork was done. A lot of internet was surfed. A productive start to the week!

Redeeming Herself

Our principal canceled school today (temps are exactly the same they were yesterday morning, when she didn't cancel... see previous post for how I felt about that!).

I guess the mob of angry teachers and angry parents wore her down!

Attempted Poetry: Angry Teacher Edition

The Cold Shoulder

It began with a wind chill
Of minus twenty-three
All the teachers thinking:
For surely, school will be closed.

We turned on the radio, the TV,
And the net
All the teachers thinking:
"What a sure bet!"
For surely, school will be closed.

Awaiting our cancellation
Turned to frustration
So many school closings
We all were supposing
That we would be next!

We're the county exception
To this freezing vacation
All the teachers re-thinking
Our job situation
For surely, this isn't fair.

Use your Noodle!

Today, our Speech-Language Pathologist (an "older" woman) was walking a second-grade boy down the hall back to his classroom. She noticed that one of his shoes was untied. She remarked: "You'd better tie your shoe or you might fall and bust your noodle". The boy gave her a quizzical look. She asked: "Don't you know what your noodle is?"

He confusingly pointed to his groin area in response...

Bored Out of My Gourd

I read an interesting article about how British school authorities are cracking down on "boring" teachers, blaming them for students' bad behavior. It led me to remember something that one of my education professors once said to me when I was in college: "The best thing you can do to manage your classroom is to plan interesting, engaging lessons". And while I agree with this statement, I do realize that it is impossible to make every single minute of every single lesson interesting and engaging to each of your different students. It's important for kids to learn how to cope with being bored, because sometimes in life you have to do things that are boring. At the same time, I will admit that I have sat in some teachers' classrooms (helping some mainstreamed student) and thought that if they had put in some extra thought and time, their lesson could have gone from average to superb!

So I guess I have mixed feelings on the subject.... What do you think about boring lessons causing bad behavior?

Sugar: The New Drug

On Tuesday's staff meeting, we were handed our school's official food and snack policy. The rule was made in September that kids could only bring healthy snacks to school. 'What constitutes "healthy" exactly?' you may wonder. Well, so did everyone else. So a committee was formed. Meetings were held. And this week, finally, we were handed an eleven page booklet complete with a table of contents. A table of contents! I laughed, but made the mistake of laughing next to one of the committee members.

Totally Unexpected

Our two hour delay due to icy conditions turned into a school closing right as I was about to leave the house!

Humorous Pictures
more animals

Escape Artistry

Sometimes routine can be a good thing, but I will admit that I like it when things go differently during the day, or when something unexpected happens (AM I IN THE RIGHT JOB, OR WHAT??).

So I was a little amused when "Howie" (a first grader with high functioning autism) walked rather quickly into my classroom, and clambered into the tent. [Oh, did I mention that I keep a small tent in my room for kids who need some quiet time?] I was in the middle of teaching a small group of second graders, but I was concerned because Howie's one-on-one aide did not come into the room directly behind him. In my experience, a six-year-old-with-autism on the loose is never a good sign.

I poked my head in the tent.
"Howie.... Where is Mrs. G?"
"I don't know" he said, turning on a full dose of Howie-charm.
"Did you run away from her?"

As Howie shook his head "no", I could tell from his out-of-breath panting and his bright, wild eyes that this little charmer was L-Y-I-N-G to me.

Sure enough, Mrs. G comes in right on cue. We tried to talk him out of the tent, but when that didn't work, he had to be physically removed. We have a positive behavior plan in place for his occasional sprints down the school hallway. Needless to say, though, he didn't earn his reward today!

Happy New Year!

I haven't made a New Year's Resolution in years. Years! I usually think of resolutions in September, not January, and they usually sound something like: "I'm going to stay on top of my paperwork this year!", "I'm going to keep my desk clean this year!", "I'm going to plan ahead more this year!". For all of my good intentions, I usually drop the ball around October or November. Sad, but true.

But this Christmas, my little brother got me this. The pages inside are beautiful, each featuring a different, brightly colored, whimsical animal in the corner. I used to journal all the time before I discovered blogging. Since then, my commitment to pen and paper has been practically non-existent. I hope to change that in 2009! An actual resolution! Lots will be happening this year that I may or may not be comfortable writing about on this blog--things like moving to a different city, finding a new job, buying a house (hopefully!). It's going to be a big year.

But first things first! I need to go unpack...
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