It's Friday!

So, I am really, really glad it's Friday. It hasn't been a bad week, just tiring. I think getting back in the swing of things has worn me out! I'm thankful for the weekend. We have a three-day weekend, and I'm glad. I love the kids. I can honestly say I have a sweet group this year. I also have the LOWEST group I've had in years. So, I have my work cut out for me! Which is fine, I enjoy challenges! I'm thankful for the break though...

Nite!

The Vultures!

So, I'm beginning to see some things at work that amaze me. The kids are great. I've had my share of ups and downs with them, but that's okay. Kids are kids and some days are going to be good and some are going to be rough. My life will go on, no matter how rough the kids are. (I'm getting a new one tomorrow that may build my character, we shall see!) But, kids are kids, that's okay.

Today, I was amazed by how the ADULTS in my building acted. Now, let me tell ya, it wasn't a big thing in the whole grand scheme of things. But, I was shocked.

I've been at the school 9 years now, and have always been amazed at how wonderful the staff is to each other. And, overall, we really are good to one another. I mean, one gal on our staff just lost her son and people are reaching out to her...

But, then I was in a meeting after school, and was floored. I guess you get a room full of frustrated adults, and they're bound to lash out. Unfortunately, I saw the "Vultures" today. I mean, people talking bad about other people, and I was floored because everyone is so nice to each other face to face. I was floored, shocked, and above all else, saddened.

My late friend, Stepehanie, used to use the term "vultures", and now I fully grasp it. The vultures, as defined by Stephanie, are a group of people who can't help but be negative and backstab others around them. Today I saw it in full swing.

Granted, I was frustrated with someone too, but didn't want to say things to hurt the person. I understand frustration completely, but I don't think backstabbing is necessary.

And I recognize God has been challenging me to be the most positive person I know. Which, as I found out today, is harder to do than I thought. I don't want to be a vulture. I want to be an encourager. A positive influence on both kids and adults around me.

Hum...perhaps sleep will help...

Later!

Richard Cheese Sunday Bloody Sunday

I just discovered Richard Cheese today. His cover of "Brass Monkey" gave me a sorely needed laugh on the way home. Enjoy, and don't worry about the video. It isn't there.

A Day of Rest!

Greetings!

So today, I did very little. I had forgotten how tiring my workweek tends to be until I take a day and rest up! The day began at 9:25-ish a.m.! I tell ya, it's rare for me to sleep past 8am, but I was really wiped last night and needed the rest. It felt good to sleep in.

I got up and thought, "you know, I could get a lot of stuff done today." But then I realized how I wanted a day to rest up. I still have a cough and am not 100% better, so I knew a day of rest wouldn't hurt me.

And I'm glad I did it. I will admit, I did go out and get stuff for my Sunday School Lesson tomorrow, but other than that, I've been on the couch all day. I have watched 5 episodes of House, M.D. (love that show!) and cuddled with Sophie, the dog. I really enjoyed it.

It has made me realize how busy I really am this year. I do teach all day, but then I have so many after school responsibilities that I am beginning to see how hectic this year is going to be.

Don't get me wrong, it's all good stuff to be a part of, and I get paid for most of it. Today really taught me that I'm going to have to rest when I can to stay healthy for everything I'm involved in.

Couch time is a good thing.

Gotta run for now.

Later!

Rob and Dustin

So, tonight I sit here, and can't believe the week is over! It has been an incredibly interesting week though with kids coming and going. I had moments where I felt I was going to scream due to the caseload numbers, but once I got my schedule made, I felt better.

For those of you outside of the teaching world, Special Education Scheduling at the Elementary Level is insane! Accomodating 10 teachers and 22 students has been a challenge, but now that the "hard" part is over, it's felt great to be teaching in the classroom!

I started regular classes on Wednesday, and am learning what a challenge this year is going to be, but in a very good way. I have some students who are REALLY low academically, and writing a simple sentence is a challenge, so I have my work cut out for me, which is a very good thing. I took writing samples this week and put them away in a file. In May, it will be really cool to show them how far they've come!

I have already had my first class where a student busted out crying. Yep, you guessed it, we stoppped the lesson and took care of Rob. Rob is a really nice kid that I had last year, and can't recall ever seeing him cry. So, we're in class and discussing our families, and he busts out crying and told me his Dad died his Third Grade year. I didn't know that, and I had him all last year! So you know what I did? I held him! The rest of my students were incredibly respectful and waited for Rob to get his emotions out, and then we were joking by the end of the class period and he was laughing. As I held him, I knew that that was my purpose for being in that classroom. Not my sole purpose, obviously, but for that moment in Rob's life, he needed that. And I felt honored to be there for him. Yep, it's great to be back in the swing of things!

And, it couldn't be a post without a Dustin update! This kid is really growing on me. And, the cool part is that he's responding to me. I sat in his regular class with him this morning (part of my daily routine is to spend 30 minutes a day with him in class) and continued setting boudaries for him. And, he's getting it. Even his regular ed teacher commented to me that he's settling in. He still has A LOT of behaviors to improve upon, but he's making steady gains. Very good stuff!

So, here I sit, wiped out and could ramble on some more, but I need to crash.

I hope you've had a great week!

Later!

About Teaching

Hipteacher tagged me with this and since beginnings are a good time to reflect, I shall take the bait.

Teaching Meme

1. I am a good teacher because... I enjoy kids and love the stuff I teach. I try to remember that I have the chance to create memories for kids as important as those that I have

2. If I weren't a teacher, I would be... an actor, a director, a stand up comic, a bon vivant gad about, knitting tea--wait, that would be teaching. I guess I'd just be unemployed.

3. My teaching style is... self deprecating (I always make myself the stupid example), interactive, passionate.

4. My classroom is... proof that one can never own enough bookshelves, a no sleeping zone, personalized.

5. My lesson plans... all in my head, kiddos, all in my head...

6. One of my teaching goals is…to lead kids to the process of learning. It's nothing anyone does in one class period and once you find it, you're hooked.

7. The toughest part of teaching is...finding that line between doing this job personally and passionately while still being selfless.

8. The thing I love most about teaching is... the constant change and new beginnings! I get "overs" every year and every year some fascinating people become my students.

9. A common misconception about teaching is...that I am one of the "good ones" and represent the minority. Most of the stories you hear about the "bad ones" are true, but there's ten of me for every one of them.

10. The most important thing I've learned since I started teaching...to listen to kids and be authentic. I started this career teaching my subject. Now, I teach kids.

Ms Cornelius? Mister Teacher? Jen? Tag!

Dustin and the crew!

So, here we are, 5 days into school, and I can already feel how different it is from last year. I like it, but tonight I feel a tad bit overwhelmed...let me explain...

Dustin is a jewel. I love this kid. I have a challenge in this one though, as he requires more than I previously expected. The good news is, I am falling in love with this kiddo. He's a sweet kid, who loves hugs. I think he's my first real challenge in the world of Autism, which is good. I am praying that I can minister to him effectively.

I am concerned about that because I'm now up to 22 kids on my caseload. I've never had this many before, so I'm being stretched. Robin has 21, so we're both about even. Today I went up to my mailbox and found another file for me. I told our secretary that we're to lock the doors and not enroll anymore. She smiled and said she couldn't help me there. Bummer...

So, it was a good day because I did actually work with kids today. I'm tired though, as I still have homework to do tonight because I have to get the new kiddo placed.

I tell ya, there are never 2 days in a row that are the same.

I just pray tomorrow there aren't any more files for me.

I'm gonna go watch House...

Later!

Random Ramblings!

So, here I am, as promised, to answer the questions posted on Ms. H's site and to randomly ramble on about stuff. I wish I had something deep to share...let's see... First off, let's do the questions...

On Ms. H's "Molding Young Minds" blog page, she listed 10 questions for bloggers to answer. She got it from another blog page, and has kept the questions going. So here goes...

1. I'm a good teacher because...I am real and transparent with my students. My students know where they stand with me at all times, and I show them genuine love and respect everyday.

2. If I weren't a teacher I would be...like an orphan without a home. My students and I are family to each other, and I am not sure how happy I would truly be without kids in my life.

3. My teaching style is...fun and loving. We laugh a lot in my classroom and that creates a very loving environment for my students who come from less-than-ideal homes.

4. My classroom is...a safe haven for students. Don't get me wrong here, the students don't walk all over me, but they know I genuinely love and care for them.

5. My Lesson Plans are...flexible! I have lesson plans ready every week by Monday at 8am, but it's only a sketch of what I plan to teach. On any given day, any student may be having a rough day, and we may punt on the lesson to deal with emotional issues. I care more about the kids than the lesson plans!

6. One of my teaching goals is...to have all my students be able to write a five sentence paragraph, with correct capitalization, punctuation, spelling, and grammar, by the end of May. Ha! Usually I'm lucky if I can get 3 sentences out of them. I'm hoping the use of the SmartBoard this year will help me reach more students in this area.

7. The toughest part of teaching is...that I can't fix their home situations. I had the "ideal" when I was growing up, so the stories I hear these kids share has made me cry numerous times. I can impact their school day, but can't fix their evenings and weekends...

8. The thing I like the most about teaching is...being a stable adult for my students. I am a parent to many of these kids, and I take it very seriously. I work very hard to be a positive influence in my student's lives.

9. A common misconcepntion about teaching is...that it's an 8-3 job. I work on weekends and after school to provide the best possible learning environment for my students.

10. The most inportant thing I've learned since I started teaching is...that I never have kids completely figured out! Just when I think I have a student pegged, they go and do something to show me there's more to them than what I thought. I never have two days that are the same, and I love that! I have THE BEST JOB ON THE PLANET! I love what I do!

So, there ya go. A little insight into Shortone's world! I hope you enjoyed it!

Now, I should probably go get my lesson plans done!

Later!

Bronchitis? You've got to be kidding me!

So, here I sit, one week later, and I can't believe how fast the week went by. Seriously! It's been quite a week! Let's see if I can re-cap the week!

Monday: Opening Day for teachers. I got up at 6am (ouch!) and headed to Opening Ceremonies. I really enjoy opening day. It's full of chit chat, and everyone catching up with one another. It was cool. I went to a meeting Monday night for church, and am going to me mentoring a really cool gal from church. I am excited about it!

Tuesday: We had most of the day to work in our rooms. We had one semi-productive workshop, but overall, we could work in our rooms. Afterall, Open House was scheduled for 6pm that evening! It was a really good day. The highlight for me was when one of my former students, who's now in 8th grade, came to see me! Open House is always great because I get to see the kids who have moved on. I have been invited to some 8th grade volleyball and basketball games! hehehe Very cool!

Wednesday: It was our first day of school (with kids!). And who would have morning duty with the kids? ME! Yeah, it was semi-controlled chaos! Overall, it was good to see my students, and meet the new Kindergarteners. It still cracks me up to see the little ones come in! And, if you've never witnessed 5 year olds carry their lunch trays, you're in for a treat! I also did lunchroom duty, and loved it! It felt great just to be with the kids again!

Thursday: It was similar to Wednesday with the exception of my trip to the doctor. I felt puny on Wednesday night and went to bed at 7pm! I broke down and saw the doctor on Thursday! And, he told me I have Bronchitis! I sat there thinking, "you've got to be kidding me!" I've never been sick the first few days of the school year, and now I have Bronchitis? Ugh! Well, he gave me an antibiotic, and went back to work. (Note to the people: I wasn't running a temp, so I was cleared to go back to work, but ordered to "take it easy")

Upon arriving back at work, there was a note on my desk from one of the teachers: "I need to see you after school, I need to discuss Dustin with you!" Now, I should clarify something here. I don't "pull" kids the first 3 days of class. At the Elementary Level, my regular education teachers want the kids in their rooms to establish routines, etc. So, I spend the days helping throughout the building in classrooms, the office, and trying to make a schedule for my kids to see me. It doesn't sound like a lot, but trust me, my butt was dragging all 3 days!

So, back to my story. Dustin. I actually inherited him that day. My partner-in-crime, Robin, had a super-large caseload, so I agreed to take a few of her kids. Not a problem. I'm a team player. Ready to go! Sign me up!

And I wanted Dustin.

Guess why!

That's right, he's Autistic! I was pumped...elated! I lost one autistic this year to the Middle School! (And for the record, I already miss him!)

So Dustin...yeah, I have already fallen in-love with this kid! As it turns out, he hit two of the kids in his class! And, he was sent to me around 1pm because he needed a "time out!" Yeah, the first real interaction I have with the kid, he is in time out! But, I knew then that I would love him!

So, we met after school, got some behavior strategies set in place, and made a plan!

Friday: Friday Dustin had a great day! Not one time out, and he earned enough points for Computer Time with me! Apparently we found out he was without his meds on Thursday! However, I don't think that was all of it because he still made bad choices and it's not like his meds solve all the problems.

Friday was a good day though! At the end of the day, I pulled my students from last year and showed my camp video to the kids! I figured they would enjoy seeing what I did this Summer. And, I was right, they did! Honestly, it just felt good to be with the kids! I have missed them!

By the end of Friday I was pooped and needed to rest. I came home and spent most of the evening on the phone with Ms. H.! (She doesn't get kids until the 27th!) It was good to get caught up with her!

Which leads me to today, Saturday. I was semi-productive even though I still feel under the weather. I actually cleaned the bathroom, dusted, and vacuumed the house! I have thought a lot today about camp.

Out at camp people just jumped in and did stuff. And, I'll be the first to admit that I tend to be a couch bum when I'm home. I mean, my room stays pretty clean because I can't stand it dirty. But, I tend to let dusting and the bathroom slide. And, honestly, it felt good to be back in the routine of cleaning again. It made me realize that I need to be more helpful in all areas of my life, not just at work. At work I do a good job of jumping in, but I haven't been as good at that at home. :-)

So, tonight I went and rented a movie and cheated and got a pizza. I should've cooked, but I still feel drained, so I skipped. I'm such a slacker!

So, I think this is the longest post I've ever written, so I will stop for now. Don't worry Ms. H., I'll answer the ten questions tomorrow, I promise! k?

So until tomorrow...have a great day everyone!

Later!

Pressing Educational Issues

If I buy the school polo shirt, will I look like a Best Buy employee?

*Not that there's anything wrong with Best Buy employees, just wondering....

...And Here's To You, Howard Gardner..

Click to view my Personality Profile page

It's not so much procrastination for me, just using this to keep my head from spinning. We get students tomorrow, I'll let you know if I have any of the customary back to school dreams.

...and how is it that I have posted for three days in a row!?!

Still "The Advocate" After All These Years

Click to view my Personality Profile page

I first took this test as a part of my first teaching inverview fourteen years ago. It's funny, I do think I've become more introverted, but here I am with the same profile.

It's cool to share this type with Andy Kaufman, Bob Dylan, Will Rogers, Martin Short and Lewis Grizzard. However, it's also creepy to share one with Urkel from Family Matters, Balki from Perfect Strangers, James Dobson from a very creepy place, and Ariel from The Little Mermaid.

Thanks, Jim.

Getting My Head Back In The Game

Even though 60 Minutes was a rerun tonight, it made me think of a zillion things for lesson plans.

I always talk about the genocide in Sudan when we read Night. I used to tell the kids about it, now they bring it up. It's quite the lesson in tough answers to talk about how society hasn't learned the lesson of the Holocaust, but I think I want to drive it home more. I've started hunting something short for the kids to read that will outline the conflict and springboard into a writing assignment about how society might finally learn that lesson.

Next up was Anderson Cooper's story about snitching that I blogged earlier this year. All of the sudden, this connection became clear also. Could this mindset of distrust foster more tragedy of this nature? I think we'll discuss this as well next time we read Night.

I'd love any stuff you have on connecting these ideas. I'd like to use magazine articles or book excerpts. Connections to the third story on Larry, The Cable Guy might would also be welcome (not for educational merit, just entertainment).

It must be Back to School, everything becomes a lesson plan.

Last "Free" Weekend

So, I can't believe this is my last "free" weekend before school starts. Free, meaning, no lesson plans to do, or papers to grade. I do have to be at our "pep rally" for teachers first thing Monday, but that's cool. We get 2 days without kids before the craziness begins. I like the in-service days. It gives all of us "adults" time to get caught up before we're responsible for children. It's fun.

So, you're wondering, what did you do with your last "free" weekend of the Summer, right? Well, considering my poor parents haven't seen me all Summer, I came home. Well, home being a loose term! I slept at their house, ate their food, and visited today with them. And, let's just state, that I have the coolest parents with the coolest dogs! My parents are the most supportive people on the planet. I come and go from their house, and their cool with that. :-) Very cool stuff...

I got to play with Rudy, the coolest male dog on the planet, and their newest dog, Roxie. It was a hoot! I have a place in my heart for dogs, so I have to say, the time at the parentals' house was very enjoyable.

However, most of my time here (since Thursday evening) has been spent at IHOP-KC. I tell ya, this place is incredible! I have soaked in the Prayer room, sat in services with hundreds of worshippers, and have been refreshed. I typically spend one weekend a month here, and haven't done so all Summer. I am different than I was Thursday Night when I got here!

I'm not one to get "preachy". You can ask my parental unit. I love this place, but don't believe in pushing anything onto anyone. However, for me, I feel at home here. I feel so alone where I live because I feel as if I'm on an island, enjoying something that most everyone else feels is strange. Well, perhaps not strange, just different.

I like the way God creates us all different. I tell people all the time that if we were all the same, the world would be boring. So what you enjoy, I may not enjoy, and vice versa. But, here's what I love.

Music. Music reaches the heart in a way that is unexplainable in words. Here at IHOP, it's all focused around God and music. I can't sing a solo or anything, but I love to sing. And here, I can sing to God, and I'm surrounded by others who love the same thing. I feel less alone. I may be sitting here, alone in the physical, waiting for service to begin, but I'm not alone in my search for God.

I love that!

Now I'm gonna logout and sing a bit!

Later!

Kindness!

Greetings!

So, I may not be great at the whole "daily" ramblings on here, but hey, it's the best I can do! With school around the corner, it's not gonna be daily, but I do want to stay up with this. It's fun to write and have people comment on what I've written. I think if I had wireless at home, it would be daily. However, for now, snippits of ponderings will have to do!

As promised, the "Barnabas" lessons are still tumbling in my head. I love it when I go somewhere and come back changed. For as nervous as I was out there, God did some major stuff within me.

I now take very little for granted. I had hit a point where I expected people to be kind, and would wind up frustrated or disappointed when people fell short. Now my mindset has changed. I now take the most simple blessings from others as a token of kindness in a BIG way!

See, out at camp, EVERYONE went out of their way to help others. Kindness was the "norm", not the exception. And, that's not an overexaggeration! And, within that, I think I caught it! I am now ALWAYS looking for ways to be kind to those around me. Don't get me wrong, I was a good person before, but not like I am now. I am changed. And, now I REALLY notice it when others are kind to me or others around me.

For example, Deb came up to school the other day and helped me with my bulletin board. (I hope to take a pic of it and post it, it is my favorite one she's done so far!) And, on her way to the school, she called and offered to bring me food! I realize this is a simple thing, but it blessed me IMMENSELY! I think prior to camp I would have appreciated it, but not like I do after my camp experience. Kindness is such a simple thing, but it is something I definately took for granted, and now I appreciate it in a way I can't even put into words.

I'm changed.

Kindness is simple.

But not the "norm" in a lot of settings...

Wow...

What a lesson!

Later!

Loose Ends

  • Thanks to all who have expressed concern about my newly acquired sock knitting habit. I did finish the pair you saw. And then another, and then a third pair. Granted, the last two are only baby socks, but it bears mention that I have made three pair of socks.
  • Remember Summer? Yeah, it's gone. My mind isn't fully grasping that I go to work every day now, not just when I feel like it. I mean, I've spent all kinds of time at school working, but not so...so...early!! All the newness and potential of a new year puts me in a hopeful place.
  • Have you gone to Ms Cornelius to read her advice to all the new puppy teachers? If you just go and do it now, I promise not to mock you.
  • I have two swank "events" this month at which I'll be wearing a dress that doesn't go with ass-white (I like to think that arms the size of canned hams look better with a bit of sun) and so I'm *gulp*...tanning. I'm going to a salon called Sun City and I can't go in for session without thinking of the 1980's anthem. The song has long been a favorite song for my beloved Crib Chick and I. We like to fancy that we too are being called day and night to play the resort and even though apartheid ended in 1994, we stand strong and refuse to play. Because we're strong. Anyhow, I've started to wonder if perhaps in the future other tanning salons will be named for symbols of Human Rights violations. Sort of makes you think, mmm?

Happy Start O' School, edureaders.

Looking up!

Greetings!

For those of you who don't know me well, you will learn very quickly that I am a ponderer. I mean, I may be stuck on Barnabas lessons for a while, because it takes me more than a few days to really get deep into stuff. I'm thankful that God gives us snippits at a time to chew on, without overwhelming us. I'm still pondering Barnabas. Please bear with me, as I continue to share what all God is showing me through that one week experience.

One of the weirdest feelings when I first got there, was the fact people thought I was a Camper. ("Camper" meaning, a kid for the week needing someone within reaching distance of me at all times!) Due to my limp, I was asked several times within the first 24 hours if I was a camper. We had an "adult volunteer" leadership meeting the first morning I was there, so after that noone really questioned my status for the week.

Now, I need to state here, my limp, my "CP", has never hindered me. I have always considered myself "normal", and for the most part have a really positive attitude about the CP. It doesn't hinder me, and I'm thankful everyday that God gave me what He did. I may have a limp, but I can walk, my speech may slur when I'm tired, but I can talk, my eyes may work one eye at a time, but I can see, and ultimately, I live on my own, independently without ANY help from outside agencies. I am blessed. Period. End of story.

That being said, I still get stared at. Now most of the time, it's a game for me. I know, it sounds awful, but I try to have fun with it. I mean, walk at the mall, have someone stare at me, I wave at them, and then they feel bad, and look away. And I smile because I have smiled and waved at someone when they were thinking something about me, even as I walked by with my limp. When people stare, even if I don't wave in time, people look away. I mean, they realize that they were taught not to stare, and they look away.

And you know what I noticed at camp? EVERYONE looked back up and smiled. I had never experience that before. I mean, when I'm around people I know, they don't stare anymore. But I had never gone anyplace where people didn't know me, and had people look back up and smile. Noone stared at the limp without looking back up and smiling. Granted, I had people ask me about it, but that's okay. I'm very open about it. But, I broke down on about the third day when I pieced together what was happening. And, not only did people smile, almost all of them said, "Hi". For one week I experienced something incredible within that.

Now that I'm back in the "real" world, I wish we could move part of Camp to the real world. Don't get me wrong, I'm not becoming this bitter old lady, angry at the world. But, I do think, if we all smiled at people when we look at them, this world would be incredibly different.

So, next time you see someone "different" than you, please do them a favor...and look back up...

Later!