Yee Haw!!

I had the phone interview for down south at 10:00. I learned that it's a co-teaching position in an elementary school teaching both general education kids as well as a small group of children with hearing impairments. I felt really good about the interview. It lasted until 11:05.

At 11:25, they called my principal as a reference. She confided in me that she gave me rave reviews and revealed that they thought "I was too good to be true". Honestly that response sounded too good to be true.

By 2:00, they had offered me the position!!!

Hello, South, HERE WE COME!!

Two Phone Interviews Today!

Shhh! Do you hear that noise? It's a thousand little butterflies fluttering their wings in my stomach.
Our Speech-Language Pathologist's advice? "Speak more slowly. You're a rather fast talker..."
Dad's advice? "Just be yourself. You're the best!"
Max's advice? "Say what comes to mind, except if it's stupid"


Lots of interesting things going on over here. I wake up every morning wondering what new developments in the job hunt will happen! In other news, there are other reasons to be excited... My birthday is Saturday (the big Two Seven!) and I usually manage to squeeze several days of celebration out of it so I'm definitely looking forward to this weekend :).

Max and I are also ready to throw caution to the wind and get a dog already. It doesn't mean we're going to go out and get one tomorrow, but we are officially on the look out for the perfect one for us. We visited a local animal shelter on Sunday. I've never ever been to one and it was an interesting experience. An exercise in self control, if you will. Because if we had stayed any longer, we would have brought home a trunkful of kittens and a couple of dogs on the side. As it was, we didn't see the dog that had our name all over it, but we were able to narrow down what we did and didn't want.
When we got home from the shelter on Sunday, our three cats must have sensed that Something Was Up because they were super cuddly and affectionate. Like, see?? What do you need a dog for??

Focus Interrupted

Do you realize how difficult it is to focus (on, say, your job) when you have Things on your mind? I'm trying to teach kids, or do paperwork, and thoughts about the future keep crowding my brain. It's like the very act of trying to NOT think about something makes you think about it.
Like if I was trying really hard not to think about pink rhinos... My thought process would go like this: "Pink rhinos. Wait! No! Stop! You can't think about pink rhinos right now because (pink rhinos!) you have to teach these kiddos. Focus on the pink rhinos. I mean, DON'T focus on pink rhinos. Hey do pink rhinos live in zoos? How much is real estate in pink rhino land? Would pink rhinos hire me as a teacher? Teach! Teach the kids! Stop it with the pink rhinos already! If God wants you to have a pink rhino, he will give you a pink rhino and that is that. But pink rhinos........."
And on and on it goes. Thinking and not thinking is exhausting.

Job Mob

I'm back from the meat market. I mean, teacher job fair. And I've come to a few conclusions:

1. It never hurts to get somewhere an hour and a half early.
2. Cutting back on liquids will eliminate bathroom breaks and maximize time spent with potential employers.
3. The booths representing Michigan schools had lines a mile long full of teachers wanting face time. I'm pretty sure that for every single student in Michigan, there is a qualified, certified teacher!
4. Some districts from out of state were ready to give out contracts and hire on the spot! Apparently the prospective teachers weren't the only desperate ones. Poor Alaska and Arizona!

But back to how things went for me. I had encouraging talks with districts in Virginia, Maryland and the west side of Michigan. I had very encouraging talks with two districts in Texas. I'm not sure what it all means or where it will all lead (if anywhere). But I can't wait to find out!


I am so impatient. About this week to be over, about this month to be over, about this school year to be over, about getting a teaching job somewhere else, about finding out where we're moving, about moving. Every day I check 30+ districts for openings. I run to my computer and compulsively check my email every 73 seconds. I keep hoping some school somewhere will see my application and email me to say that they've hired me on the spot, and the job comes with relocation money, and also? a beautiful house down the road! I submit online applications while my students are working independently (I know! I'm terrible!). If I could will this process to go faster, I would!
In the meantime, I'm attending a GIANT Teacher Job Fair tomorrow morning. Districts from around the country will be there and already, 800 teachers looking for work have registered to attend. Despite the odds, I have high hopes. I also got my first job interview scheduled for this Thursday afternoon with a school district in South Carolina. We'll see how that goes.
I am just SO tired of NOT KNOWING!!


Eight more weeks left:

cute pictures of puppies with captions
see more dog and puppy pictures

A Proud Moment

After I pull out two certain kiddos for resource room support in my classroom, I send them back to their general classroom with some independent work to do. The girl always finishes it. The boy typically will do half, or a quarter of it. I've mentioned my disappointment about his work ethic a few times this week. Today, he came to my office, waving his worksheets and exclaiming very triumphantly:

"Look, look, Mrs. B! I stop being dumb and stop playin' around and I done it ALL!"

Never Debate Your Job Description With a Parent (and other lesson's I've learned along the way)

I wish you could take a picture of a conversation. Because, then, I could just post the picture here on my blog and you could all look at it and see immediately that it is wrong, wrong, wrong. Instead, let me relate it to you via the written word...
A face-to-face conversation between the father of my 6th grade student with Down Syndrome, and her classroom teacher [it all started yesterday when the teacher wrote the parent that "Suzy" had been a little "trying" lately]:
Dad: "What's causing you to say that Suzy has been "trying" lately?" (he asks, as 25 other students wait for the teacher to start class)
Teacher: "She has had a lot of bathroom incidents in her pants lately. Fifteen to date. Have you brought her to the doctor to rule out medical reasons?"
Dad: "No, not really. And I can see that you've really turned against my Suzy"
Teacher: "Absolutely not! I love Suzy and treat her with the utmost respect, even when she has an accident. Special needs or not, though, when a student is taking away learning time from 25 other students, like when my class sat for 30 minutes during math while I helped Suzy get cleaned up, then it becomes a problem."
Dad: "When we've met before, Mrs. B [that's me!] told us there were other placement options out there for Suzy. Why hasn't she told us about what these other options are?!?"
Teacher: "Isn't that something you should be looking into for YOUR daughter?"
Dad: "It's HER job to inform me of what the options are. I don't have the resources to look for a different placement" [I'm sorry; does he not have a PHONE???]
Teacher: "What are YOU doing about looking for placements next year?"
Dad: "It's not my job. SHE's the special ed. teacher. SHE should know what's out there and then tell me."
Special education teachers do play an important role with these kiddos. But let me set the record straight: it's the parent's responsibility to be the best advocate for their child. That is just Common Sense 101. Next, I'll bet Dad will be whining about how I don't come over to their house and get Suzy dressed, and feed her breakfast, and drive her to school, and help her with homework, and drive her to gymnastics........

This Could be my Free Ticket Home

It's been a slow day back at school today, so I thought I would share a story that just had be to be told from last Thursday. You'll remember from my previous post that last Thursday, I discovered that a charming young second grader was wearing her glasses to be just like me. What I didn't get a chance to tell you was that Thursday was also a very stinky day.
I had two students poop their pants ON PURPOSE (by their own admissions). My sixth grader with Down Syndrome pooped out of spite because earlier in the day, we had made her apologize to her friend for pouring water down her shoes. I am so mean for making her apologize, aren't I?
Later on, one of my second graders pooped to get out of math. I had been helping him and another student for about thirty minutes during the lesson. I had to go back to my office at 1:45 to help another group of students. As I left the room, the boy in question looked at me like his dog had just died. His teacher informed me that it was right after I left (and when he had to start working on his own) that the Stink happened.
One of the school deans jokingly said that I must scare the poop out of my students!

Imitation is the Best Form of Flattery

I have two identical twin girls on my caseload. They are in second grade and they both have very mild learning disabilities. I'd had the one sister "Celia" all of last year; then just last month, her twin "Lisa" was added on as well (identical twins = identical learning disabilities? Hm.) They are almost impossible to tell apart. Same long brown hair. Same dimples. Same irresistable smile. The only time you can tell them apart is that Lisa will on occasion wear her blue-rimmed glasses to read.
I started working with Lisa on Tuesday. She warmed up to me right away and we had a fun time doing our Read Naturally program, and then reading picture books in my tent with the Sleeping Beauty blanket. I noticed on Wednesday, she wore her glasses the whole time we were together.
I see the sisters separately, and yesterday, Celia told me that Lisa decided to wear her glasses all the time now so that I (me, specifically!) could tell them apart. That's kinda cute, I thought to myself.
Then today, Lisa's classroom teacher told me that the girls' mother (who is frequently helping out at school) confided in her that Lisa has started to wear her glasses all the time because I wear my glasses all the time.
I laughed, but my heart kinda melted a little. You know. Just a little...

Juggling Act

So, I'm finally back to school after one week off plus one bonus snow day. It's been great to see the kids again... It hasn't been so great to see the stack of IEP's waiting to be signed, copied, distributed, and finalized. Also? It wasn't a good feeling to suddenly remember that I have report cards due AND progress notes due in two days. TWO DAYS! How could such a responsible, dedicated teacher forget about something so major?? I have no idea... maybe selective memory? That excuse probably won't fly if I don't have my documents in order by Thursday...
As if it wasn't hard enough to get all of this stuff done (and teach some kids, don't forget to teach the kids...), I have major life issues on my mind right now like moving to a city 650 miles away with a school that has a deaf/hard-of-hearing program and an opening in the fall. And they're interested in my resume.
My mind is juggling between: thinking about the "what ifs", praying, and trying to do my job.

Spring Break Just Got Longer

The downside? Four to six inches of snow in April...

The upside? SNOW DAY!!!!!

Happy Distractions

I'm trying to hold on to the last two days of my Spring Break and to squeeze out all of the fun, relaxing, laziness of it all without thinking about Monday. Because Monday? Monday starts the Last Ten Weeks. And the first eight of those ten weeks, I still have to get the energy and motivation to teach.... won't be time to slack off until those last two weeks (at least, that seems to be the unwritten rule).

Fortunately, I won't have time to dwell on unhappy thoughts today because there is family to visit and a baby shower to attend!! Good food to eat, presents to be opened, a new house to see, and games to play....

Tricked into Learning

If there's one thing I've learned from being a Resource Room teacher, it's that Games are my best friend when it comes to teaching students. It keeps student motivation high, and behavior low. And it may take time and creativity, but just about anything can be made into a game. There are the obvious card games (a must!)--you can turn just about anything into Go Fish, Old Maid, or Memory. Or create your own game board and cards through free sites like this one.

Recently, I've added a new kiddo to my caseload. He's at the end of his first grade year, and he can only recognize numbers up to 5, can only count to 12, knows maybe 4 sight words, and still doesn't know about 6 or 7 letter sounds. He obviously needs a lot of support, and I only have an hour a day to give him. Every time he comes to me he asks what we're going to "play" first. His academic needs are so basic, it's been no problem coming up with an arsenal of games to choose from. Among his favorites are a redesigned version of "Cariboo":

I created cards to go on top of the actual game cards. In the picture, he needs to identify the letters of the alphabet (I say the sound, then he has to find it and open the window with the special key. If he collects all the balls underneath, the treasure chest opens!). We also play with identifying numbers. I've played this game with a fourth grader last year: I gave her a word and she had to find the synonym. See? The possibilities are endless!

My new kid also LOVES to fish. For real. Real fish. So this game was designed especially for him (and thanks, J, for the fishing pole you left behind!):

There's a magnet taped to the end of the line, and the die cut fish have sight words on them. Each fish also has a paperclip, thus making it possible to catch them with the fishing pole! In this picture, the words are facing up, but we also play with them facing down. He gets to choose which fish to catch, and if he reads the word on the back, he keeps it, if not, he throws it back!

What worksheet have you been able to turn into a game?
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