Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Top Five Things I Have Learned as a First Year Teacher

Yikes where has February gone?!?! Hello March on Friday?!?!
Crazy. We only have three months of school left. Um, hello? How/when did that happen?!

I feel like a broken record when I say that. I have been saying it all year. Only three months until my first year of teaching is over. I have learned so much over the best six months. Way more than in college. 

Here are the top five things I have learned thus far:

1. Classroom management is the most important part of having an effective classroom. And it's infinitely harder when you're in the room by yourself. Going along with that, be tough with your management. My achievement specialist frequently tells me I am too sweet. I am getting better with being tougher, and let me tell you - world of a difference. I don't mess around anymore. Period. And it has made everything so much more enjoyable.

2. The levels of paperwork and hoops to jump through are endless. And time is so limited. I feel like I am constantly being followed by a paper monster. And it feeds off of things in my mailbox. And the things that I need just so happen to go missing. 

3. Copy everything you need for the week either on the Friday before or the day before. Nothing is worse than when you have five minutes left of prep and discover a line at the copier. Especially since our copiers lived with the dinosaurs and one of them is almost always broken. 

4. Document everything! In student teaching, I don't really recall my CT ever documenting behavior, work, etc. I have a file folder for every student that I keep DRA data, our Galileo and AIMS data, any notes from parents, signed deficiency notices, writing data, etc. I have a couple of kids who are very behind grade level, and I was able to pull out these folders to show parents during conferences to show them exactly where their child was and where he/she needs to be.

5. Always stay true to yourself and take everything with a grain of salt. This year has been rough. I'm working on finding myself as a new teacher and am also being told how, what, and when to teach down to almost every minute of the day. It's been hard to form myself as a teacher, but I am trying to make the best of the situation by doing the best I can to follow directions yet remain true to myself as a teacher and to my education at UW-Madison. Madison (where I went to college) is a progressive and liberal city so it's been a challenge to fit into Phoenix where it's much more conservative and structured. But I'll be here for at least a little while longer so I gotta keep trying to fit in while staying true to myself as an educator. Which might be difficult for me since I [sometimes] have a hard time following directions and I tend to go my own way and think for myself...

Friday, February 15, 2013


This week has been such a blur. Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday were regular school days. 

But Thursday and Friday were both half days?

Can I mention how much I love half days? Especially when 45 minutes of our 3ish hour day is taken up by a special and we eat lunch at 10:20? Such a short and easy day! Just a little bit of math on graphs and one reading center so I could listen to my poetry club members read me their poems for the week. 

And then our Valentine's party!! The kids were so excited to pass out their cards and candy and have some Vday treats! So cute. And I got a ton of candy. I feel so loved but my wedding dress might not be too happy about all the candy that I have been/will be consuming!

Now, to be fair, we had a half day today to make up for yesterday when we had to stay at school until 7:00 for parent/teacher conferences. I actually really like P/T conferences because it's really nice to talk to parents. It can be a little rough at times. Especially since I feel like I'm too sweet sometimes. The achievement specialist says I need to toughen up and scare parents, which is hard for me to do. Of course the parents I really needed to speak to didn't show. Typical. And so annoying. 

Scary thing though - on Thursday, I had my first real lock down. Like, not a pretend/practice one. There was a shooting across the street from school so we were on a Level 2 Lockdown (Level 1 is for danger at our school, Level 2 is danger in the area, and Level 3 is practice). We had just gotten our lunches and were heading back to our room to eat when the announcement came on with a Level 2 Lockdown. I think my heart probably skipped a beat and thoughts of Sandy Hook flashed through my head as we hurried into our room. I didn't tell my kids that it was real because I didn't want to scare them although I was scared myself even though it wasn't directly at our school. Luckily it only last about 30 minutes. I definitely let out a sigh of relief when we got the all clear. 

So basically a blur of a week. Luckily, I have off on Monday too!! Yay!!

Happy belated Valentine's Day!!

Sunday, February 3, 2013

February Currently

So since it is February, that means it's Currently time!!! A bit later than normal, but oh well - it's been a busy weekend!

One of my new favorite TV shows is Bones. Evan and I have been watching all the episodes since last year and now we are so close to being caught up! I think we only have to watch a few more to get on track! It's such a good show - watch it if you never have!

For President's Day Weekend, we have early release on Thursday and Friday. Now on Thursday, we're stuck at school until 7:00 for conferences, but on Friday, we can leave when the kids leave. Plus we have off on Monday. So my parents decided to get away from Wisconsin cold and come and visit me!! Yay!! I've already decided that we should go to the Botanical Gardens and the zoo plus a few yummy restaurants out here too. It'll be super fun!

Is it just me or does the weekend always seem to fly by? Every. Time.

Who doesn't want  a spa day? The answer is no one.

Today is a busy day. We're having people over for the Super Bowl so I need to clean some more and cook a few things. I'm making Spinach-Artichoke Dip and Crab Rangoons. Yum! Plus I have school stuff to do and laundry and who knows what else.

And pet peeves? Let me tell you, Phoenix is home to some of the worst drivers. Everyone either goes too fast or too slow. No one uses turn signals except when they put them on and then take forever to switch lanes. There are always crashes on the highway. On Friday, there was a car that rolled over. It's not icy, snowy, rainy, windy, or twisty here. So how is it that this car just rolled over? Unclear.

And standardized tests and rude people, don't even get me started.

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