Earnin' my keep!

I tell ya what, the past couple days the school district I work for has gotten some hard work outta me! Let me re-cap the last few days:

Monday

Monday was busy, but good. It was my first day back in the routine of things, so it felt good to be in the routine. It was also my first day with Lostboy in my classroom during the afternoon. I really liked it, but learned very quickly that I must have one eye on him at all times. He wasn't bad, but I had to be near him at all times.

I left school early for my abdominal scan. Actually, I drank half my Barium bottle before leaving school, and then finished it when I got to the hospital. The whole experience wasn't bad at all. And, I appreciate those who have prayed for me and written in wanting to know the results. Honestly, I don't know the results yet. I was told at the hospital it would be 2-3 days. Well, today was day #2, so I think I'll hear something tomorrow. I will keep you posted on what I find out.

The day ended with grabbing a Pepsi with Tooldude and solving all of life's problems at a table at Pizza Hut. In all actuality, nothing was solved, but it was an enormous blessing to sit with someone who has gone through some health stuff and knows (in part) what I'm walking in. I feel a little less alone with Tooldude beside me. I know he's a gift from God.

Tuesday

Tuesday was quite a day. It is Spring in my little corner of the world, and I can tell it in my classroom. I had "As the World Turns" in my classroom. I tell ya, I used to love soap operas, and now I hate them...both on TV and in real life.

I have a new kid in my class who has taken the heart of the boys in my class. And, truth be told, for many of them I think it's their first real crush. The only problem is the prettygirl just isn't quite so nice. She knows she's pretty and is manipulating stuff to get the boys in her pocket. I was about to scream by the end of the day!

I had one boy in tears, another boy mad, and it all came down to little miss princess who thought she was little miss innocent. I know better. So, I called the boys' parents because I know these boys and they weren't behavior problems until this little gal tried to move in on my students. And, it helped. Little Miss Innocent doesn't quite realize what has happened, as today (Wednesday) was quite different. I enjoyed watching her squirm. Go figure...

I also had Lostboy in class again, only this time was different. He had Mr. H. by the end of his rope, so I made him write an apology note to Mr. H. In it he stated, "I know it seems everything goes in one ear and out the other..." He came up with it on his own, I didn't give him one clue as to what to write in the letter except to say I expected 6 sentences. He pushed for 5, but I won. I had to sit by him the whole time for him to get it done, but he did. In the end, I asked him point-blank, "Do you really mean all this or are you just telling Mr. H. what you think he needs to hear?" He paused for a moment and said, "Um...a little bit of both." Sad thing is, I believe that. The kid may be from a messed up homelife, but he's not stupid. The more I have him in class the more I think it's not any label he's been given by a medical professional, he's just from a messed up homelife.

Wednesday--today

Today was busy from the minute I walked into school. Not bad, just busy. It started with breakfast duty. Yeah, um, forget having control of the group, they've already checked out for Summer Break. MAP is over, and most kids have checked out, I think. It was hard for me as my autistic tendancies came out and I didn't want to be in the loud room without earplugs. I'm just thankful I only have that duty one day per week.

Then I went to a meeting where we labeled a kid Special Ed. This will give me 26 again on my caseload! I've determined that I'm just to be called "Super-Teacher" and wear a cape for my super powers. I figure I can do anything for 21 more school days. That's right, the countdown has begun! :-)

Then I went to another meeting and got a lot done. The only kicker to it was the fact that I thought I had lost my Career Ladder plan. This would not have been a good thing, as plans were due today and it is worth a nice chunk of change. Thankfully, our building rep for Career Ladder had a copy, so I was saved. That was a relief! It feels good to have that done and turned in.

Then I went and taught kids this morning. It was pretty good. The kids were good, it was low-key because of MAP being over EXCEPT for my fifth graders. As it turns out, tomorrow is DARE graduation and all my little darlin's had decided to skip the DARE essay that they have to turn in at the end to get the shirt and graduation certificate. To be honest, I hate that part because they are assigned the essays during MAP, so I don't know about it and can't help them, and then I wind up in a meeting this morning where I'm told that only a few of my kids turned them in. Actually, I was thankful that they told me because usually it turns out that it's the day of Graduation and they don't graduate because they don't have the essay done and parents then complain. So, while the fourth graders had a low-key day, my fifth graders wrote essays. They hated it, stating that it wasn't fair. But, I held my ground because I know what would've happened tomorrow. They would have been in tears because they didn't get the shirt or the graduation certificate. I know, it's sad, but I have had it happen again and again. I'm such a mean teacher. :-)

At the end of my morning class, I had a student and a parent come to me and ask if they could talk to me in the hall. I knew what was coming. I had given this kid a mark for not listening to me in the cafeteria, and I knew it wasn't going to be easy by giving the mark. However, I held my ground. I knew what was happening, the parent figured they could get the kid out of it by coming to me. In the end, the mark stood and they both walked away mad. The parent mumbled a phrase to the kid as they walked away which was a slam on me. I just let it go. Sometimes parents aren't ready to see that their kid really did mess up and can learn from their mistakes. In the end, it wasn't a big deal to me, it was a mark, but not the end of the kid's academic career. It just kept him out of the extra recess they get at the end of the day on Wednesdays. His life would go on, and so would mine. Good came out of that though, as the parent came back around and apologized later. I just accepted the apology and stated, "It's okay, our lives will go on."

The afternoon proved to be a bit character-building as LostBoy was in fine form today. I had him by me the whole class period and he was still whistling and when I would just look at him he'd say, "sorry." He knew what he was doing but still did it. I never yelled at him though, which was my goal. He even tried to leave the building with one of our aides, when he knew I was to walk him out. I didn't yell. But, I let him know what I expected. And it made me realize how easy this year has really been for me until now. All my kids, even with all their quirks, are easy compared to LostBoy. In a sense, I think it's good for me to have a new challenge. Afterall, I can do anything for 21 days!

In the end, I wound up playing Uno after school with some really neat kids. I needed that too. I find myself needing to be reminded that their really are some good kids in good homes with good parents. I realize noone's perfect, but seriously, their has to be some good in this world.

I read a quote today that I will end with this tonight:

"Most people are about as happy as they make up their minds to be."
Abraham Lincoln

Enough said!

Later!

Welcome To The...Um...Club

There's nothing to humanize any celebrity more for me than the death of her father. Nevermind that Cheri Oteri is a funny woman so of course she'd instantly be my BFF, but since Crib Chick shared the story of her father's stabbing, I've imagined her just huddled up, crying and achey.

Dad went into the hospital two years ago Saturday and it began our two month descent into the hell of watching your father and husband die slowly. Hellish and horrible as it was, I've long appreciated that I had a sense of what was happening. I said goodbye, apologized for my status as a genetic dead-end, told him about every traffic ticket I ever got, sang songs with him, in short I made things right.

I wish every human could have that pre grief period.

168 Hours

Each week there are 168 hours. This isn't anything new, anyone can figure out 24X7 and get the answer, but it has been on my mind a lot lately. At IHOP they have 84 2-hour prayer sessions. So, it's really easy for those on staff there to figure how their time is being spent, since a lot of their world is centered around the prayer room.

So it got me to thinking (I know, shut up!) about how I spend my week. Obviously, my ideal world would be to be in the prayer room as much as possible. However, due to the fact I live in a real world with bills and such, I must only visit the Prayer Room as often as I can, and live here the rest of the time.

So, here's what I've come up with so far:
Sleep: 8hours per nightX7nights=56 hours.
Work: 9hours per dayX5days=45 hours.
Those two put together come to 101 hours per week. Wow, that's a lot of time!

Now, let's see...

About 3 nights a week I do paperwork for 2 hours each night, which equals 6 hours.
That puts me at 107 hours.

On Sundays, I spend about 4 hours on paperwork, 2 hours housecleaning, and 2 hours surfing the net. That's 8 hours.

That puts me at 115 hours.

I spent about an hour each day getting ready in the morning.

That puts me at 122 hours.

I spend about 3 hours each Sunday Morning at church.

That puts me at 125 hours.

I spend about an hour per day going to and from work, singing and praying to God in the car.

That puts me at 132 hours.

I spend about 10 hours per week watching TV and movies.

That puts me at 142 hours.

And the kicker of it all, the one I'm sad to admit, I spend about an hour a day with God, alone in my room. I wish it was more, but it's not. I don't make the time. I should, but I haven't lately. Life's been nuts.

So that puts me at 149 hours.

That leaves 18 hours.

And, I've been pondering that.

What have I been doing with my time?

Worrying? Yep.
Wondering? Yep.
Pondering? Yep.

Kinda makes me wonder...

How positive have I been lately?
What else should I be doing with my time?

Years ago I wanted to be a deep thinker, and I prayed for that.

Now sometimes I wish I could turn off my mind just long enough to rest...

Hum...stay tuned for more random ramblings...

By the way, how are you spending your time?

Later!

One little chat...well, and a game of pool!

So, last night after school there was a MAP Celebration party at the home of one of the teachers I work with. I typically go for a little while and leave because it's not the typical crowd I run around with, but last night proved to be a bit different...

I got there early, thinking that I would leave early, and there were a few teachers there. One of them was my tall friend, Artistguy. Artistguy was hired the same year I was in our building but I didn't know a whole lot about him. I have worked with him a little, but not very much because he has mostly taught the younger kids and I've been with the older students in our building for several years. I knew that he and his wife had adopted a child a few years back, and that he is an inspiration to his students, but that was about as much I knew about him.

My favorite saying that Artistguy has in his classroom for his students is that "You are the author of your own life story." That has stuck with me over the years as various situations has come forth in my life.

So last night, Artistguy and I just started chatting, and the next thing I knew, I learned a whole lot about him, and was grateful for the time spent with him. He is transferring to a different district next year because his own daughter begins school in his hometown, so we will be losing him. (Sad for us, happy for him!)

But, in that time spent with him, I realized that you really really don't know someone until you sit with them and really get to know them. He shared his life story on how he arrived at my school, and I was inspired by his own life story. He has come through a great deal to get where he is today, and I can see where his students will continue to be blessed by the testimony he has to offer.

It was amazing because I didn't realize how much he believes in God. The more we talked, the more encouraged I was to hear how he gives God the credit for every step of his life. That made me smile.

One of the highlights of the chat was when I shared my heart about Lostboy, and he shared that he had Lostboy last year. We spent a decent amount of time discussing strategies on how to reach him, and I was grateful for his feedback. I've been longing for some feedback, and it was good to hear a perspective from someone who has had him in class. I can't wait to try some things next week. In my opinion, the entire chat was time well spent. I like that.

So, after the chat I joined the crew playing pool. I will be the first to admit, it's been years since I've played, and I wasn't even very good when I did play, but I enjoy the game. Rockin'Robin and I won our first two games, and then lost the third. I will mention that one of the games was against Mr. P and his partner, so that was fun.

Overall, it was a neat evening. I am blessed to be a part of such a special group of teachers and staff. Overall, we really do care about each other, in both good and bad times. I am a blessed gal.

So, today I have NOTHING on the agenda. I like that idea. I think I'll be a bum.

Later!

MAP is OVER!!!! :-)

So today is a GREAT day! At around 10:45ish, I finished giving our state assessments. That's right, for four weeks I've either been given the test, or watching my students while the regular classes gave the test. And now it's all over. I can't tell you what a weight has been lifted off my shoulders. For HOURS/DAYS/WEEKS, I have lived and breathed this test. Now the booklets are turned in, and the regular classroom schedule can begin on Monday. What a great day!

I also turned in 4 IEP's this afternoon. So while I have homework to do, IEPs aren't what I am taking home! Yippee!

So, now I'm headed out of this school building for the weekend.

I wish you could see the smile on my face!

Later!

Without missing a beat...

Today I have a goofy little story to share.

After lunch, I came out of the teacher's lounge and looked at Mr. H's line. And I noticed that Renaldo was at the front of the line, and Shorthairkid was about four students behind him. The following transpired:

Me: Shorthairkid, YOU MADE IT! I thought you were absent today.
Renaldo: He got here sometime today!
Me: Renaldo, you're a genius!
Renaldo smiled really wide...
Then the kid next to him, without missing a beat, said, "That was sarcasm, Renaldo!"

I started laughing and Renaldo frowned.

Sorry, I know, it sounds mean, but Renaldo needed to be put in his place.

And it was one of my highlights of the day!

:-)
Later!

Asking A Question

...and I'm pretty sure I know the answer.

When reading Shakespeare with kids who don't know Shakespeare (read: most of them), why do they insist on using the voice of either Charlton Heston or Dame Edna?

And? It's not always the girls who use the Dame Edna voice.

Well, yeah, but I've been MAP Testing...

So today I had my follow-up visit to the doctor for my Crohn's Diagnosis. I had my blood drawn last week for a blood count check, and totally expected him to say, "You're count is up, you're meds are doing their job, let's meet back in 3 months." That didn't happen...

As it turns out, my blood count is 10.6, which he said is lower than it was before the Colonoscopy. Truth be told, I thought it was 10.6 before the Colonoscopy, but hey, he had the chart in front of him so he would know.

He paused as he was looking through my chart and said, "Haven't you noticed that you are more tired lately?"

To which I replied, "Well, yeah, but I've been MAP Testing and I figured that since I'm working extra hard and am more stressed that it was due to that."

He just looked at me and then it hit me, the guy has no idea what MAP Testing is, or why it's so stressful.

Which is fine, he's a doctor, he doesn't live in the world of public elementary education, but it made me stop and think about how we all live in different little worlds. I have no idea what his world is like any more than he knows mine. Which is fine, it just made me think as he was sitting there, perplexed as to why I'm not progressing I should be.

So, next week I get to go in for another test. That's right, I get an abdominal scan!

So, if you believe in prayer, please pray.

I don't want anything else wrong with me...

Later!

A dog's life

So, today has had highs, lows, and everything in between. I have had a bit of a day, as I am experiencing my first true Crohn's flare up since my diagnosis. It's my own fault, as I neglected to drink enough water the past couple days, and now I'm paying for it. Note to self: drink more water. I'm experiencing my own consequences for my actions. It's a lesson learned.

In other news, we are dog-sitting for the weekend, and the dogs have been a blessing to me today. I have spent the majority of the day alone, and the dogs have been good company, seeing as that leaving the house wasn't an option today. :-) So, it's been a good thing to experience a bit of a dog's life. I've watched 2.5 movies, laid around, and surfed the net. All three dogs have been good, as I've only had to clean up one accident on the floor! We'll pray that is the only one I have to clean up!

Tomorrow I am teaching Sunday School and getting ready for another week of kiddos. I think I'll move back to the couch with the pups!

Later!

Highs and Lows

So, I'm glad it's Friday. The majority of my week has been spent on testing, paperwork, or recess duties. It's been a busy week. Not a bad one, just busy. I'm ready for a couple days off. And, I am caught up on paperwork in a way, so I'm not taking much work home. I need a break, I think.

So, I wanted to post a high and a low from today. It was a good day though, so it wasn't as if it was an awful day. But, it had two moments that I want to share.

I will start with my low point of the day. I was testing one of my students one-on-one, and he was doing okay. Not great, not poorly, just okay. I was ecstatic though by the amount of effort he was putting forth on the test. He was feeling okay, moving along, and then he got stuck.

I was giving the math part of the test, so I could read the quesitons to him. There was a question that he didn't know two of the terms on the question, and it stumped him. I wish I could've taped when followed. He wanted me to tell him the definations of the words. Well, I can't. That would invalidate the whole thing. When I told him I couldn't (He knew already anyway, but it was worth asking.) he said, "Well, do you know what they mean?" I told him I did, but I still couldn't tell him. He said he felt sick. I really thought he was going to throw up. He put his head down on the table and stated he wanted to go to the nurse. I told him we needed to put something down for the question. He asked if we could come back to that one, and I said yes. After we finished the rest we went back to the question, and I read it to him about 8 times and then we sat in silence. Then I read it one more time and he said, "wait, did you say..." And I said yes. He sat up, and answered the question. He got it wrong, but it was 25 minutes from start to finish on that one question. I wish I could've taped it for the government officials who have this idea of No Child Left Behind. In the end, he went back to class and wound up going to the nurse. I had told his teacher what had happened. I really, really wish people knew what pressure these kids are under, not to mention the teachers. Seriously... It was so hard to sit there and not help him. My job is to help, but this is the one part of the year that is hard for me. Herumph...

On the upside, I walked Lostboy to his daycare bus. I had spent a decent amount of time with him today between swinging him and his other sensory needs. I didn't get anything deep, except a hug here and there. So, at the end of the day, I was walking him up to the bus and we were making small talk, and we got outside and I said, "Is your van here?" And he said, "Yes." And he started running to the van. It occurred to me when he got away from me that I didn't tell him I love him. I yelled, "I love you!" and as he was running away, not looking at me, he yelled, "I Love you too!"

That's the first time he's said that to me!

I know, it's not going to stop his lying, stealing, or other things I don't know about. For that matter, he may have just said what you typically say when someone says "I Love you."

But, I'll be honest, I want to think it meant something.

One of the things we heard last Sunday in church is that we're not to give up on hope.

So many have given up hope on something good for this kid.

And I don't want to be one of them.

I may get hurt and ripped into shreds, but I am not going to give up.

And "I love you" is going to stay with me forever.

Later!

Another List of Actual Things I Heard Today

1. (Child watches me take deep breath of displeasure)

"Are you about to cuss me out? I mean, in teacher language?"

(and I release deep breath of displeasure in a snorting laugh.)

2. "Man! I thought I had my book but this is spray paint!"

Skipper!

I am wiped tonight. Today was a pretty good day, but I must say, Standardized Testing wears me out! And, no, the actual testing part isn't the hard part. I mean, it's character-building and all, but the tough part is keeping my 26 hoodlums busy while their regular education classes take the test. State accomodations don't allow my students in the classrooms during testing. So, today we did computer lab and watched a movie. Then I tested, took fifth grade out, and tested again. And tomorrow I'll do it all over again.

So, I skipped an after school meeting, I'm skipping homechurch tonight, and am going to be a bum on my couch. I'm not even taking work home. Afterall, my little hoodlums need a POSITIVE and ENTHUSIASTIC and HAPPY teacher tomorrow.

I'm going to go bond with the couch and Sophie.

Later!

State Testing Meets 1980's Rebellion--Part III

I love XM Radio for I heard this en route to school today!!

Testing goes well with music like this in your head. Try it.

Inspiration By Proxy

A teacher friend across the hall is having a hard year personally. She's a generous, loving, great teacher most of the time but she's fallen into the movie trap, teaching-wise.

Now, let's say she teaches Farsi. If the movies she showed were all in Farsi or perhaps showed Arabic culture, she'd be golden. But they're not. She's gone to all the fluffy, inspirational movies about teachers. It's a bad genre for the purpose of watching but it's worse for her purpose, inspiring schoolkids.

This isn't to say that those movies can't inspire kids, but is anyone catching the irony? Do all those inspirational teachers in movies show any movies? I like to imagine here of a movie of a teacher showing a movie of a teacher showing a movie...

Doesn't happen. I wonder if this highlights both my colleague's shortcomings and the fictional nature of these movies.

More Music To Test By

I'm finding that the louder music of my mild (so mild) youthful rebellion suits my testing mood well. Today I wrote three referrals--two on the same child--and gave the writing test!!

This isn't the joyus version I knew by The Burning Sensations (part of the Repo Man Soundtrack), but it suits my mood.

Too Late For Sample Prompts

Dear Fellow Oklahoma English II and III teachers--
If you've come here for "Sample Oklahoma EOI prompts" (which you somehow often do...), I hate to tell you but it's too late. The writing test is tomorrow and all you can hope is that you've covered all the organizational tricks they need. Besides, I don't have prompts here. Just Ramones.

Wishing you this sort of calm in the midst of the storm. Relax your jaw and be all Zen.

With an annual 6% increase of luv--
educat

Highlights only, please!

I remember back when I student-taught first grade, and some of the kids would ask, "Can I tell you the worst part of my day?" To which I would reply, "No, highlights only, please." So, today, in reflecting upon my day, I think I will share highlights ONLY!

1. The day began with Lostboy. I was able to swing him this morning and talk with him a bit. While what he shared wasn't necessarily a highlight, just spending some time with him was a highlight. Later in the day I did another picture shoot with him in the hallway and we snagged his little brother in it too. So now they're both on my cell phone for me to pray for. I thought that was neat.

2. Thumbwrestling. While it has absolutely NOTHING to do with academics, I have started thumbwrestling with a couple of Third Graders. A couple of them I already have on my caseload, so it's just building a deeper relationship with them, and others are kids I will have next year that are handfuls already and I figure if I build something now then next year might go a tad bit smoother. So today I was about to leave my room and this kid stops in my door and holds his thumb out. I don't know who this kid is, except to say I know he's in Third Grade. I thumbwrestled him, and I won. He walked off saying he wanted a re-match tomorrow. It made me smile. :-)

3. I got two full IEP's ready to turn in, and after tomorrow I should have about 5 more ready to go. I am happy. I think I'm getting closer to the light at the end of the tunnel. :-)

4. Tutoring. I was walking up to Jay's door this afternoon, and he opened the door and was waiting for me, with all of his stuffed raccoons in his hand. I just laughed. As I entered the door, he said, "Sly and Tina are going to join us for tutoring today." Sly and Tina happen to be his two favorite stuffed raccoons. I told him that was fine but they had to be silent while we tutored. He said that was fine. And I'm happy to report, Sly and Tina were nice and quiet. :-) In the midst of tutoring, their dog walked up to me with a toy. When I arrived, she went nuts. I tell ya, dogs know it when you like them! So in the middle of tutoring, I was teaching Jay and throwing the dog's toy. It was hilarious! The coolest part was that it didn't throw Jay off one bit! Very cool in my book.

5. Dinner. I decided I would cheat and order a pizza for dinner tonight. I could have cooked, I had plenty of food here, but I wasn't really in the mood and knew I had chores to do. So, I called and placed my order. I also told the gal that I had a $2 credit from my last order. She said, "No, you have a $12 on here." I was thrilled! I placed the order and hung up. I ran to Wal-Mart before going to get the pizza. When I got there to get my pizza, the gal asked my name, I told her, and she said, "just a sec..." I waited for a couple seconds and she walked up with two pizzas. I was about to say, "I only ordered one," but before I could get that out of my mouth, she said, "They made it twice, so you can have both pizzas." That's right folks, they made my order twice. So, not only did I get pizza for free, I got TWO! I tell ya, it's not big. I mean, it is just pizza, but in my little world, it was a gift from God. :-)

You know, it's not the big stuff, it's the little things in life that make it great.

Kinda makes me wonder what great things will happen tomorrow...

Stay tuned! Later!

Selfishness

So, I've spent the past couple days with three adorable kiddos. Drummerboy, 8, Smartgirl, 7, and Shygirl, 5. And, I learned a great deal over the past couple days. I find it amazing how God does that. I was supposed to be there for the kids, and in the midst of it all, God blessed me. Go figure.

First off, hats off to all you parents! I haven't been responsible for 3 kids for 3 days like that in YEARS. And, let me state upfront, these are GOOD kids. Compared to what I see at school each day, it was refreshing to be around some healthy children in a healthy home. God knew I needed that because at school I seem to see mostly bad homelives, not good ones. SingingMom and her husband, Worshipleaderguy, have done an incredible job raising these kids. I was impressed by what I saw these weekend. Not only do they raise 3 kids, but SingingMom homeschools them as well! Talk about 2 full-time jobs without pay! Wowzers!

And, to be honest, I only have kids at school from 8am-3pm. And even then I get 40 minutes off for lunch and 40 minutes planning period. So, even then, out of all the hours in a week, I'm barely with kids. I don't bathe, (not that I did this weekend, they were self sufficient, PRAISE GOD!), clothe, feed, or remain as their caregiver 24/7. In the past 3 days, I've learned what it means to truly work hard and be a servant.

Now, I really don't mean to sound as if the past 3 days were bad. In actuality, it was the coolest thing I've experienced since Camp last Summer. I was reminded, once again, of how self focused I have become. I'm used to coming home, serving myself dinner, relaxing on my couch (well, right now doing IEP's, but still...), going to bed at 9:30-ish, getting up at 6, eating breakfast for me, going to work all day, tutoring, and right back into "all about me" time. I don't have to serve someone else dinner, or think about what they would like to watch on TV, or put anyone else to bed. This weekend was fun because I got to serve these kids. I worked hard, but it was a good thing. I'm wiped now, but it was really cool to be feeding them, watching movies with them, playing games with them, praying with them, reading with them, and putting them to bed. I fed them before me, and it felt good. I took their needs into consideration before mine. It was a very good lesson for me to be reminded what a servant is all about.

Granted, this doesn't change my world drastically right now. It's not as if I'm going to head out and have kids tomorrow. (duh) But, it did remind me of what a servant's heart truly is and what it takes to truly be a servant. And, what kind of grace it takes to be a parent. (Hats off to each and every one of you!)

Finally, I have decided I need a dog of my own. This family I was with this weekend has a dog named Rocko, and he's a cool little puppy. Granted, he's ALL PUPPY, so it was sort of like having a fourth kid around, but I found myself having a GREAT time with him. I fell in love with him. I tried to bring him home, but it didn't work. :-) But, they said I could puppy sit and be with the kids again sometime.

That right there is priceless to me...

Awesome stuff.

Now I need to do IEP's...where did the weekend go?

Later!

An act of Kindness

So today was really nice. I spent the day with three really neat kids, as I am babysitting them for the weekend. They are really great kids, and I've enjoyed my time here. It's been pretty typical too, we've played games, watched movies, and of course, the inevitable brother/sister bickering has transpired. It's been fun. There's even a cute little puppy to play with. Life has been fun today.

So, I noticed yesterday afternoon that I left my battery pack for this laptop at school. I was bummed. This laptop is very important to me these days, as IEP's are due and I find myself blogging as a form of stress relief. :-) So, having full power is important. Not to mention I have about 6 IEP's to fix tomorrow afternoon.

Normally, this wouldn't be a big deal. I have access to the school building on the weekend, but I don't have access to the room I left it in. I teach in two separate rooms, and I had loaned this laptop and the SmartBoard to another teacher yesterday in the room that is bigger in size, but I don't have a key that will open that door. I was pondering a solution, and something hit me...years ago we could gain access to some rooms with a secret way of doing it. But, that was years ago. I figured that wouldn't work.

So I called Mrs.AP. I explained the situation, and she said she'd meet me at the school. I was honestly hoping there would be a secret way to get to the room so I wouldn't have to bother her, but that wasn't possible. So, I loaded up the kids (With their Mom's consent to take them somewhere. Afterall, kidnapping is never a good thing.) and we headed to school. We got there, and sure enough, my charger was in the locked room that I didn't have access to.

I called Mrs. AP. and she came up and let us in.

I was HAPPY! :-)

Truth be told, she said she's done that once before too, so she knows what I was feeling.

So while it's not a big deal, it was a highlight for me.

Well, I see sleep in my future.

'nite!

Decisions

In the past 2 days I have realized that I make A LOT of decisions as a teacher. And, ultimately, those decisions affect many, many people. Some decisions are good ones, and I know it at the moment I make that decision. Others I question myself, but still do something. I mean, something is better than nothing, right? And then there are moments were I just plain make stupid decisions and later think, "What was I thinking?"

Well, in the past 2 days, I've dabbled in a little bit of all of the above.

Let me list some examples...

1. Lostboy. If you've been reading my blog lately, I have a kid that has stolen my heart. On my last post, I shared how he had stolen my cookies out of my lunch sack, and the following day was his birthday. Up until this time, he had not stolen from me. Mind you, he has stolen from others and not even shown a bit of remorse. But, I had been safe. Until Wednesday. So, knowing he had stolen, knowing he had a birthday the next day, and knowing that he would probably get squat for his birthday, I was torn. In the end, I went and bought him lunch at McDonald's. My logic was the fact that he wouldn't destroy the lunch, and it would probably make his day. I could tell by the people I shared the story with that they didn't agree with me. They felt I was rewarding him for stealing. By the way, he denied the stealing, for the first time ever. Punk. Anyway, I did it. I had three different teachers disagree, saying if he stole, he shouldn't be rewarded. I agree, knowing should be rewarded for stealing. At the same time, this Lostboy probably didn't get much last night for his birthday. He was absent today too. In the end, I felt I did what was right. Will he steal again from me? Yep. But at least his 10th birthday wasn't all bad. As Mr. H. said yesterday, he made it to his 10th birthday. I pray he makes it more, without winding up in jail or worse.

2. Jump the River. All week we've had students taking our state assessments. And, I will refrain from my own personal views on it all because it would take days to truly tell you how I really feel about it. Anyway, the kids were NUTS by the end of yesterday. And, to be honest, I was on the edge of cabin fever being caged up in my conference room classroom. So, I agreed to take the kids out yesterday afternoon. I wanted to do a game called Jump the River. They jump between two jump ropes while the distance between them gets bigger and bigger. This is not a game that I could do on the concrete. Kids fall and I was afraid a kid would split his head open. So, we went to the grass. It was wet, but didn't seem too muddy where we were and I thought it would be okay. On about the 3rd jump, I realized mud was going to be covering kids. I didn't really care. I mean, I did. But, they only had 90 minutes left of school at that point, and I figured they were already dirty so I let them play. I questioned it in my head, I really did. But, I knew we all needed something to laugh and yell about. And just about the time I was laughing and enjoying it, I had a classroom aide come over to me and tell me I shouldn't be letting them do it. I just shrugged my shoulders and said, "Noone's hurt, they're having fun." The para looked at me, and said, "I would complain if I were a parent." I said, "okay." Truth be told, she is a parent of one of our kids, but her son didn't play. Then she stomped off. My initial thought was, "What grade are we in?" But, I knew she was right. I just didn't think she handled it as an adult. Then one of the teachers came over to me and said, "Are you sure they should be doing that? Their clothes are all dirty." I just looked at her and said, "They'll wash. And, this is the last round and then they'll go play." I didn't care at the moment. She looked at me and said, "Well, as a parent, I'd be calling the school and complaining." She yelled as she said it, and then stormed off. I stood there, mad. Noone knew the week I'd had or the fact I knew this would be a day the kids would never forget. After the last round, I told them all to go play. I prayed the whole time they played. I knew we would get parent complaints. And, I knew that I had to let my administrators know what I did. So, when they all lined up I told them they wouldn't be doing it again on a muddy day like that, and that I didn't want parent complaints. One of the kids in the classes said, "You did a great job, Ms. Spring." Then they did a raise the roof chant. It made me feel good, but, I knew it wouldn't help the fact I was the adult that let them play in the mud. In the end, the administrators accepted my apology and promise that it wouldn't happen again. My teachers were okay with it, stating noone got hurt, so it was okay. The kids just had to sit on the floor for the last hour of the day. (There were about 20 of them in mud.) As for the para, she isn't speaking to me right now. (What grade are we in?) The teacher apologized this morning saying she was really rude to me. I accepted her apology and said, "Our lives go on, that was just one day." We were fine. Go figure.

3. Testing. I spent all day scripting. My teachers wanted me to do make-ups. Today and Monday are my two days of the week I can script all day, and I didn't really want to make-up test. I said I would. Then later I was told the our administrator gave us permission to wait until Monday. Praise God. I'm glad that decision was made for me.

So, while it hasn't been an awful week, it has been a busy one and I'm ready for the weekend. I'm spending the weekend babysitting some really nice kids, so it should be fun.

I'll keep ya posted on any further decision-making dilemmas I have. For now, I see sleep in my future.

Later!

Dispatches From My Day

This is all in one real day, friends. If anything, I've cleaned it up for you.

1. (at the sound of rain outside) "Oh, it sounds so peaceful. I want to wear a white dress." (???)

2. Me: "A good example of personification would be something like 'sorrow knocked at my door'. We all know sorrow doesn't have hands, it can't really knock."

Kid: "What if somebody name be sorrow?"

3. My Special Ed co teacher left Friday to have a knee replacement. She'll be out the rest of the year.

Kid: "Where Mrs. Uhhh" (you might ask how I know he meant co teacher and not me. Easy. I'm Ms Uhhh, she's Mrs Uhh.)

Me: "Remember, she's out having surgery. She's having a knee replacement."

Kid: "Mang! She gone get someone else's knee? Who give her a knee?"

Me: "No, she's not getting a knee transplant. She's getting a plastic knee so she can move better."

Kid: "Mang! She must make BANK if she gone buy a whole new knee!"

Chocolate Chip Cookie Thief

Monday Night I was in the mood to bake cookies. Typically I only bake cookies if I have an event to go to and need to take something. But, the other night I was hungry for homemade chocolate chip cookies. So, prior to the KU game, I baked cookies and put them in a tin just for me. It is rare for me to do something just for me. But, it was fun and I ate about 4 cookies throughout the game.

So, each day I've brought cookies in my bag for an after school snack. I am hungry at the end of the day, and cookies just seem to hit the spot this week.

So today was a pretty good day, and after I had all my responsibilities taken care of, I sat down and opened my lunch bag to get my cookies out, AND THEY WERE GONE.

I just sat there.

I've NEVER had anyone get into my lunch bag and take something out of it.

NEVER.

I sat there and replayed my day in my head. I tested students all day, one-on-one, and so the only kids in my classroom were supervised.

Then it hit me.

I had gone down to Mr. H's room this afternoon to ask him a question, and Lostboy was playing alone because noone else would play with him, and I told him I would play with him. I wanted to play "Connect Four" with him because it's a short game and we only had 5 minutes.

I told him to come down here and get the game while I talked to Mr. H. My logic was the fact that my purse was locked up, along with my candy, so I figured there was nothing for him to steal. I know he has a history of stealing, and stealing food is one of his weaknesses.

Herumph.

I never even considered my lunch bag. Not once.

So tomorrow I get to have a little talk with the kid, and it's his birthday.

Say a prayer, I have no idea how to handle this one.

I need to run or I'll be late for homechurch.

Later!

Today's Highlights

Years ago I student taught First Grade in the school I now teach at, and we always ended the day with a question.

"What was the highlight of your day?"

It was always fun for me to hear the student's responses. In the first grade, pretty much anything was a highlight. It was often "reading" or "math" or "science".

I would venture to say if I asked my fifth graders today, their answers would be "social" or "recess" or "music and PE." A lot changes in those four years.

I look back on my first year of teaching to today, and the same is true for me. What is a highlight for me today is probably different than it was then. I find it interesting how maturity lends itself to a change in thinking, or perspective.

Now, there are some things that don't change. I mean, KU won the championship last night in college basketball, and I'm just as excited about it now as I was 20 years ago when I was in the eighth grade and they won it then. The following day my Dad came and got me out of school and we went to the welcome home rally for the team. At the time I thought that was cool, but today I look back on it, and think how wonderful that was for me. I experienced something really cool with my Dad on that day. And, it's a day I'll never forget. While I don't remember a lot of the actual rally, I just remember how cool it was to be there with Dad. Maturity has changed my view of that day in a really cool way, I think.

Tonight I sit here and think about how different I am today as I teacher than I was that first year. I viewed my days differently then than I do today. That's a good thing. I imagine that if we're not trying to learn something new, or see something from a different perspective, than we're just stuck in our same daily rut.

I remember that first year of teaching what a sucker I was as a teacher. My classroom management skills were lacking, and my ability to read kids, parents, and teachers was different. Not bad, just immature.

And while I know I am FAR from having it all figured out, I have thought a lot today about how my view of the world has changed. The "highlights" of my day have shifted, as well as my view of what it really takes to raise a child well.

For example, one of my highlights today was talking to Mr. H. after school. We had both received information on Lostboy from his "counselor". When I read the notes, my stomach flipped. And it wasn't because we were doing anything wrong, it was because this counselor doesn't know squat about Lostboy. The recommendations made by this counselor were ridiculous, and my initial thought after reading it was "this person doesn't work in a school and has no idea what this child is like." Then I dismissed it. I thought, "I'm reading too much into it." Then Mr. H. came by to share a completely different story, and I told him my thoughts on the notes from the counselor. As it turned out, his thoughts were very similar. That was a highlight. Years ago, before I had been a teacher, I would've just taken the counselor's thoughts and done it. With a few years of teaching experience, I now see things differently...more realistically. I like that. And while it doesn't necessarily change Lostboy's situation, it helps me grow as an educator in how to help him. That's a good thing.

Another highlight of my day was Lostboy. He earned another day of free time with me. He earned free time with me, but couldn't have it because I had a meeting, but he did a good job today. I am proud of him. This is day #3. :-) Awesome.

Another highlight was talking to Scienceguy tonight. He took time out of his rather hectic schedule to give me some advice on a computer issue I was having. I am blessed to have him as my brother. And yes, that was a highlight for me.

My final highlight to share tonight is neat to me. I took an extra recess duty today to give the teachers a break after our Standardized Testing. It was raining today, and so we had indoor recess. I like indoor recess, as it gives me a chance to play board games with the students. Several of the kids sat around me, waiting their turn to play with me. One of them was Statsboy. Statsboy has turned out to be one of my favorite kids in the fifth grade. This kid is autistic, and can quote any statistic about sports. He's never wanted to play Connect Four with me until today. He came over and just sat there. And the next thing I know he's telling me stats from last night's game that I didn't know. The kid knew more than I think I ever needed to know about the actual game. But, that's also what was cool about it. As it turned out, I beat him three times, but that wasn't the best part...it was just cool to be in his world for a few minutes.

Isn't it funny how the littlest stuff can be a highlight of a day?

Go figure.

Later!

2 Days in a row!

Greetings!

So today I started my day with LostBoy. I found him in the cafeteria eating breakfast. I had my Uno cards with me, hoping that he would be done eating so we could play a quick game before he started his day, but it was too late. So, I just sat with him and talked a bit. I did most of the talking so he could eat and get to class. He was okay with that.

After he was done, I walked him to class. We talked about TV from last night and his weekend. It was good. Nothing deep, just time spent together.

We got to class and he said, "Can we play a game now?" I politely turned him down. He was almost late for class as it was, so I didn't want to keep him from class. And he was fine with it.

I spent the morning in a meeting and doing Standardized Testing. So, by lunch I was in need of some downtime.

After lunch, I went and grabbed my digital camera. Yep, you know where I'm headed with this. The first thing LostBoy did when they came in was hug me. Now that I think about it, it was about the third one he had given me today. He went to the restroom.

When he returned, I took a few pictures of him. He LOVED it. Then Newlywedgal came by, and she joined the photo party. It was a HOOT. LostBoy was taking our pictures, it was great.

I told LostBoy that he needed to ask for a camera for his Birthday because he takes good pictures. Truth be told, at this point he would destroy the camera, but in the future, this kid could be a photographer. I would rather he be a photographer that on the wall of a post office with "Wanted" below his name.

So, at the end of the day I was testing a student, and he walked in (He neglected to read my sign posted on my door, but that's okay it was a good interruption) and told me he had earned free time with me.

I couldn't believe it.
2 days in a row!

I hadn't even set my hopes up for it. I figured one good day was good for him. It's not like he's cured, but it's a good step forward.
I'll keep ya posted on if he makes it three days in a row.
I'm not keeping my fingers crossed, I imagine this is gonna be step forward, step back for a while.

But, for today I'll take it.

Life is good.

Later!

A picture is worth a thousand words....

So, I was talking to my parents tonight and I told them a story about LostBoy that they hadn't heard, and it occurred to me that I hadn't shared it with my loyal readers, so I thought I should post it.

On Wednesday I went and purchased a new Cell Phone. My old one was semi-broken and I was waiting for March to end so I could get a new phone for free. I went and picked out a middle-of-the-road model. I like it. It's nice.

I got this one specifically because it has a camera on it. My old one did too, but since my screen was partially messed up, it was hard to see the pics on there.

So anyway, I took the phone to school on Thursday, and I already knew what I was going to do. After lunch recess, I had planned on taking LostBoy's picture. Only kicker of it was the fact he was in trouble (again) with his teacher. (He was caught in the restroom stall throwing toilet paper up in the air and over the stall wall. Welcome to our world!)

My first thought was that I couldn't take his picture. His teacher would be pissed because it would be like I was rewarding the kid for misbehaving in the restoom.

I stood there.
I waited.

Sure enough, I waited long enough and the moment passed.

I called him over and his class headed back to the classroom. His teacher let him come to me.

I said, "Lostboy, stand over there."
I got my phone out, and he knew what was about to happen.
He smiled for the camera.
It was a good picture. Not great, as I took another picture Friday that is better, but it was a good start.

So I tinkered with my phone for a moment and set his picture as my wallpaper on my phone.

Then I turned to him and said, "Watch this..."
I shut the phone, then I opened it again, and said, "See everytime I open my phone, you'll be there."

He smiled.
I said, "Do you know what I'm going to do each time I look at your picture?"
He said, "Think about me."
I said, "Yes. What else?"
He said, "You're going to pray for me."
I said, "Yep."
He smiled.

Well, it's not saving his life, or even getting him to stop misbehaving, but it's a start. I would venture to say (and I would be GLAD TO BE WRONG on this statement) he has never had his picture on a refrigerator or phone before.

It's a start.

By the way, a little sidenote, my favorite team The Jayhawks, are going to the championship game tomorrow night. Since they won last night, I will be receiving THREE more bags on M&M's at school tomorrow.

Life is good.

GO JAYHAWKS!

Fast On The Heels of A Great Day Teaching Literature

Friday, a child in my class snuck cheetos into the library.




In her cleavage.




I'm prouder than you'll know.

A productive sort of day...

So, I am thankful that today is Saturday. My favorite part was waking up at about 10:15. I haven't done that since Spring Break. It was GREAT. It was also great to wake up to a little white furball at the end of my bed. We cuddled for a few minutes before I actually got up. It felt great not to have to be anywhere today.

So I was productive today. I managed to:

1. Write Sunday School Lessons for the month of April.
2. Print, cut, and copy the kid's memory verse for the month.
3. Get the rest of my bills paid.
4. Fill out the application for Camp Barnabas.
5. Correct 2 IEP's.
6. Talk to Ms. H for about 15 minutes on my cool new cell phone.
7. Now I'm gonna watch the rest of the KU game.

What a productive day...and I never left the house!

:-)
Later!

The Pretender Award goes to...

So, today was pretty cool. I mean, the highlight of the day was when Mr. H. came down and said, "Lostboy can come down today, will you be your room?"

I was floored.
Stunned.
Thrilled.

Then I remembered, I had 2 back to back IEP meetings scheduled at 2:30. I said, "Sure, send him, if these parents actually show up, I'll send him back to class."

At that moment, the office paged me, the parents had shown up!

Two amazing things in one day!

This is one for the record books, folks!

So, I went and grabbed Lostboy, took him to my room and let him pick a magazine and a bookmark to take home. (Trust me, it wouldn't come back in one piece anyway.) And, I gave him the BIGGEST hug ever! I am so proud of Lostboy. I'm skeptical, and not optimistic at this point that it will happen again Monday, but it's a start.

Then I went to the meeting.

Welcome back to the land of Idiotsville, my friends!

These parents are quite amazing. And NOT in a GREAT sort of way.

I had called and left a borderline rude message yesterday on their machine because they skipped the scheduled meeting on Wednesday. I teach their two kids, and both IEP's were due up and they hadn't come in like they said they would, so here's what I said:

"Hi, this is Ms. Spring calling from your child's Elementary School, and you didn't show up for the scheduled meeting yesterday. So, I am sending out a meeting notice today for ten days from today. If you can't make it, please call me at the school."

I hung up.

I'm NEVER like that. I'm typically Ms. Happy Sunshine kind of gal.

She called me back yesterday afternoon.

Go figure, if you're rude, they call.

Weird.

Anyway, I said, "Can you come in one day next week?"

She said, "No, we want to come in tomorrow at 2:30 and we'll do both the kids' meetings."

My first thought was that my peers would kill me. 2:30 on a Friday...you've got to be kidding me.

The second thought was that they probably wouldn't show, so I could get signatures and our lives would all go on.

My final thought and statement was, "Okay, 2:30 tomorrow. Please call me if you can't make it, and I'll call you if the team can't make it."

I went and begged and pleaded, and everyone made an appearance.

So here we are, fourth quarter, approximately eight weeks left in the school year, and I HAD TO INTRODUCE THE PARENTS TO THE TEACHERS!

That's right folks, these parents hadn't met their child's teacher YET.

So, I give the parents credit, we got through two IEP's in an hour.

However, it was amazing to me what little pretenders they were. They acted all concerned about their kids. Saying whatever we needed, we could let them know. And they would be right on it.

They were frustrated because we're not sending homework home. I sat there and just looked at them. I have sent homework home, and it doesn't come back.

They sat there and said, "Well, if this kid stuggles in writing, but you're only sending reading homework home, how can we help him at home?"

I sat there.
Floored.

Then I said, "Well, after he reads for 30 minutes a night, have him write about what he's just read."

It doesn't take rocket science to figure out the more you write the better you become at it.

We did an hour of it.
They pretended.
I talked.
They pretended.
I talked.

In the end, papers were signed, and they walked out.

And at the end of it all, two thoughts came to me:
1. I HATE being lied to. These are adults responsible for two kids' lives and they lied to me at how active they are in their child's lives. I know they're not because all year they haven't called me or their child's other teacher. Homework isn't done. And, to get them in for a meeting took 2 attempted meetings. Idiots.

2. I only have 2 more scheduled IEP meetings for this year. I pray that's it. There is only so much of Idiotsville I can take this year.

Later!

The Best of All Possible Days

We're finishing Night

First hour--The class finishes today's reading on their own and on the way to turn in his book, the biggest gangsta in the class walks to hand his in while he's reading. He's walking slowly, almost reverently, to the front of the room where he quietly reads, slowly closes his book, and stands there just a second, as if to take in what he's read.

Fourth hour--They're slightly ahead today, so we'll be reading the passage where Wiesel loses his father. I'm reading aloud. I'm absorbed in reading about the disentary, absorbed in reading about a son staying at his father's side, and by the time Eliezer wakes to find another prisoner in his father's bed, I'm choking on my tears. I see everyones eyes pop up from their books, one by one wondering if it's ok to see their teacher cry, and as I pause to compose and move on, the biggest smartie pants I have picks up with the reading. We finish the book and the class is silent.

At the end of the period, he leaves class and stops to talk to me.

"Ms Educat, I was about to cry too."

I love this part of my job.

The LostBoy Chronicles

While I have MANY stories this week from the land of Idiotsville, I wanted to share my latest thoughts on LostBoy and see if any of my loyal readers had some words of wisdom to impart to their short friend in Missouri. I am needing any nuggets of wisdom that you can send my way.

LostBoy is getting worse, not better. And the thing is, he just doesn't care. Period. He reportedly stole from the local Wal-Mart on Monday. Then stole from his parents AGAIN Monday Night, then stole at school yesterday. Today he flicked a pencil and hit another child. None of it for a reason.

I asked LostBoy why he did these things, and he shook his head and said, "Um, I don't know." Truth be told, he doesn't care. His parents have threatened Juvie Hall for him, he doesn't care.

I asked him how old he was, and he said, "Nine."

This kid is nine years old, and just doesn't care.

And doesn't have any fear.

Today Mr. H. and I just looked at him and Mr. H. turned to me and said, "What you think?" And I said, "I really don't know what to think."

And I don't.

I had recess duty today, and I just stood and talked to LostBoy. I'm not really sure if he got recess, but I figured I would rather have him by my side talking to me that stirring up trouble on the playground. Which seemed fine by him. He just stood and talked to me.

He wants to be an inventor of a watch when he grows up. He told me what kind, but to be honest, I have no idea what he was talking about because it was from a show on Cartoon Network, and I don't have cable.

But as I talked to him, I realized how little he really cares about stuff. The kid has built up so many walls that he knows how to not care.

That scares me.

The kicker of it is, I don't want him to be another Rowan. Rowan was a kid that a community tried to save, and she wound up dead. Granted, Rowan wasn't from my area specifically, but she was from a rather messed up home, as we found out later when she was killed by her family members.

Do I think LostBoy will be killed by his family?

No.

But I worry he'll be in jail in about 5 years and just not care.

And I don't want to think, "We should've done more."

Jesus came back for the "one", and LostBoy deserves that much.

The kicker of it is, how do you help someone that is so far out there that it's hard to reach?

Seriously, I'm open to suggestions.

While LostBoy isn't on my caseload, he's in the back of my mind ALL THE TIME.

So, if you have any suggestions, they would be greatly appreciated!

Thanks for reading.

I have homegroup to get to tonight and I plan to win quite a few games...

Later!