Wednesday, May 15, 2013

It's Official, Folks...

Now that the official announcement has been made at my school, I can let the cat out of the bag.  Earlier this year, I mentioned that change was coming professionally for me and now I can share.

In February, I crossed state lines into Tennessee for an interview for an unbelievable opportunity and things went really well.  So well, in fact, that I was offered a position as a master teacher in a very small grades 3-5 school.

A master teacher spends most of their time assisting teachers by field testing strategies, helping to develop strategies, and then following up with other teachers about the effectiveness of those strategies in classrooms.

Those who are close to me know that this is the direction that I have been trying to go for quite some time.  However, there were a few doors that were shut along the way and I became extremely frustrated.  I knew in my heart that the right thing would come along, but I couldn't help but get down on myself.  Well, a little patience on my part, and a huge leap of faith, and the perfect opportunity has been presented to me.

This new position will require moving from SC to TN (don't worry, I'm not a Volunteer fan, will always be a Tiger girl) in June right as school is out.  There is MUCH to be done between now and then - the end of the year is always crazy, but add moving a house into another state and the level has increased to insanity.

This move is a bittersweet move.  I'm thrilled to be fulfilling a career goal, but I am leaving behind a fabulous group of students, parents, and teachers in my building.

I won't be far and may even drop in from time to time.  I promise.

Saturday, May 11, 2013

No Other Place...

The week of standardized testing strikes fear in the hearts of students and teachers across this nation.  Teachers wonder if they have taught in a way that will cause students to remember the important information, if there was something that was accidentally missed when he/she was out sick and a sub was left to fill in for the day, if students will get a good night's sleep and will be ready for the LONG week of testing.  Students are fearful they will forget, they will make a mistake, and that they will let their teacher down.  Pressure sums it up nicely.  I tried my best to reassure my students this week that this was ONE day out of the 180 they are with me through the year, and it is ONLY ONE method to show me what they know.  I hope I was successful.  This week was LONG and it was HARD and we are all thankful that it was over.

But, even with this sort of pressure, I wouldn't trade what I do for anything.

This week was Teacher Appreciation Week and it is quickly followed by Mother's Day.  I find it fitting that these two things are celebrated together.

As a teacher, I have the opportunity to witness some pretty amazing things over the 13 years of my career.  

There is nothing quite like meeting students at the door each morning and ensuring that the day starts fresh.  I've stood in the doorway for 13 years and have seen all sorts of arrivals.  Some mornings I get great hugs and high fives, while others are filled with tears because the morning just isn't working out right or a bad haircut was received and a student doesn't want to go inside.

I've served as a counselor through friendship battles, crushes, and disappointments.  Tears have been shed by students as they try to figure out the next steps to mend relationships with parents.  

I've been a nurse helping with cuts, scrapes, bruises, and broken arms/legs.

I've adjusted lessons because my students weren't getting it and I needed to slow down until lightbulbs went off.

I've stayed after hours to make sure my students understand by hosting tutoring groups, book clubs, and game days.

I've had the opportunity to see students win ballgames, perform at talent shows, or walk the runway.

The end of each year brings an overwhelming sense of emotions for me.  Many bittersweet feelings of saying goodbye to a group who I've given my heart and soul to for 180 days.

I'm coming upon that time soon and the goodbye won't be getting any easier.  I always have difficulty passing my students onto the next grade.  

This year, I've had a revolving door of students, but my 24 core kids have become my own.  I've had a few ask me if I have kids or if I'll have some, and my response is "I have 24, why would I want more."
My students truly are my kids for the time that I have them.  Once they become a part of my room, they become a part of my heart and that is not an easy place to leave.

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Belated Easter Egg Hunts, Currently, and More!

I always try to be a regular poster, but gracious me, life has really taken its toll lately.  State testing begins on Tuesday and I am full out panic mode.  There is nothing like trying to finish a unit right before testing. And, when that unit is the Civil War and you are having to shorten and only hit the necessary standards, life just becomes miserable.  I've had to completely change the way that I teach just to get the info into those little brains.

So, this post is a little bit of a dump of all of the things that have been happening since Spring Break.  I think that I am going to do this in a Five for Friday kind of style since I've been wanting to jump on that train as well.  Hold on, it's about to get a bit crazy in here now.

So, Five for Friday is supposed to be random, so random I'll be.

1.  Yesterday was my student teacher's last day in the classroom.  It was a very emotional day for her, as well as for all of the kids. We had a reception at Clemson on Thursday evening and then spent most of the day celebrating her on Friday.  I had a dad come in and create a video of the kids for her and it was a hit.  Jordan, we wish you well on your journey. Looking at this pic I feel awfully frumpy.  There was a time when I was the fresh faced 22 year old :)

2.  Gluten Free cupcakes are not real cupcakes.  For our celebration party, I chose to make cupcakes for my kids.  I have 2 children who are gluten free so I spent a bit of time looking for a gluten free cake mix.  This girl does not do scratch.  Found one at Wal-Mart by Duncan Hines.  You can't go wrong there, right?  Well, they were different.  I guess if you can't eat the real deal, these will do, but I can eat the real thing and these were not it.  However, my GF kiddos who had them in class thanked me profusely for the most delicious cupcakes ever.  It was great to see them smile when I placed it on their desk instead of an alternative.  On a side note, that GF cake mix is $5.  Not cheap.

3.  Every night this week, with the exception of Friday, I arrived home after 7:00 pm.  That's a stinking long day.  I arrive at school around 6:30-6:45 and I work my fanny off until I leave.  The year of those early arrivals is making me a tired woman.  Not to mention all of the other end of the year things that need to be done.

4.  QR Easter Egg Hunt - This is an oldie, but technically it counts as a 5 for Friday because I just found the pictures yesterday.  They were on my cell phone.  I created a fraction activity for students to review all of the standards for our fraction unit. I placed the QR codes on Easter Eggs and hid them on our hallway.  Students used their iPads and the QRafter app (free) to find the problems and solve.  The hunt was a huge success.  We have done several QR activities since then.  Next steps are to have the kids make their own QR activities.  Can't wait until PASS is over so we can do this.

5. Currently - I'm totally cheating on my fifth random fact of the week, but I'm late to the party with Farley!  
 Listening/Loving:  There are moments when silence is absolutely golden and today is one of those moments.  I've been so stressed this week, that even the sound of the radio yesterday was getting on my nerves.  I ditched my Saturday morning routine of catching up on television and replaced it with silence.  My body has needed this moment of quiet.  Exercise would probably do me good, but it is raining this morning and cold.  Really wanting to go to bed instead.

Thinking:  PASS testing begins on Tuesday and I pray to goodness that my  kiddos are ready.  I think that we all hold our breath this time of year.  I've taught everything I can in as many ways as I know, but now it is up to them.  I expect most to do well, but I know there are some who will get frustrated and guess.  Crossing my fingers that the ones I know are able to push to exemplary will do so.  Sure wish I could have another week to review :)

Wanting:  I need a clone to do all of the things that I have scheduled for this week - packing boxes, 3 after school meetings, Testing, cleaning, cooking (Ha! That will be the first to go).  I don't have enough hours to get it all done by myself.

Needing: Just a few hours with nothing to do!  

Summer Bucket List:  I'll be in training MOST of the summer - Common Core, Coaching, etc.   So, this bucket list is my if I could, I would list.  I am desperate to see my nieces in Louisiana.  I saw them for just a few hours at my grandfather's funeral this spring and it broke my heart to see them cry as I left.  I just need a few days with them all to myself.  I want to just lay out on the deck of a lake or in a chair at the pool or even a quick trip to the beach, but not thinking that is in the cards.  I have training 4 out of 6 weeks this summer.   Need to exercise every day!  I am so ready to get back to running, but I don't know if my knees and ankles are going to be up to the task.  A friend wants to do the Music City Half Marathon, but if I had to run today, I don't think I would make it to the mailbox and back.  Need to get in gear!

**Head over to Farley's spot on the web and check out the recent additions to the Currently page!
***Head over to Doodlebugs to check out the other 5 for Friday posts!

I Don't Have the Answers...

It's taken me all weekend to begin to process what happened in Parkland, Florida.  I put it aside and compartmentalized it until I...