Saturday, November 20, 2010

Scissors, Markers, and Glue, Oh my!

Whew! I just finished my last week of kindergarten. Sorry for no new posts, but when I started teaching all day, I realized very quickly how little time I actually had. I meant to post about kindergarten many times and even had a few titles worked out like:

'Kindergartners say the funniest things' 
"The pilgrims came over on the Cauliflower, right?"

'Kindergartners draw the funniest things' 
in case you did not know that this little boys' pilgrim was a boy, he made sure to add the boy part onto the pants...

'The Chronicles of Crying' - (no, I did not make any of the kindergartners pee their pants like I did in 2nd grade, haha) but kindergarten is hard work for these friends

All in all kindergarten was a wonderful learning experience. It was hard to change my patience level over initially, but God kept reminding me just how patient He is with me. I had to repeat myself many times, but how many times does God feel the same way? My first week, I was amazed at the amount of glue and markers all over my hands and clothes. However, over the course of my 6 weeks, I was able to watch a little boy go from knowing only 1 sound and a few of his letters to knowing 50+ sounds and all of his letters! I watched another student who struggled with writing begin to write sentences and feel successful at sounding out words. Another boy could not write his name and by the 4th week, he finally got it and was eager to show me every time he wrote it. It was these moments that have shown me how rewarding teaching can be. My first 3 weeks I kept thinking, I will never be able to teach kindergarten, they are too baby, they need to much support...boy has that changed. Watching those light bulb moments was so rewarding and if I do end up getting this newly opened kindergarten position, I cannot wait to witness more of these successes. I consider it an honor to teach kindergarten, to tie their shoes, and to be their first positive glimpse into school. I was also surprised at how much God was able to show me each day as I taught. Some of the circumstances these students are in is tragic, but I was able to be a light. The kindergartners definitely grew on me and to my amazement, I miss them dearly. 

God chose to bless me with 2 great teams of teachers that modeled teamwork and dedication to the job. I was fortunate enough for these teachers to even berate the principal and kindergarten teachers at another elementary school and get me an interview for a job. God blessed me with an interview, the peace to get through the interview, and the words to say. I am extremely grateful and give all of the praise to my Father, the God who sees me! What He sees in me, I do not know, but His plan is being revealed to me more and more. Teaching is my passion and whether I get this job or not, I will continue to pursue teaching and the perfect job God has for me.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Food For Thought

I got lucky enough to go to dinner with the Kindergarten team tonight and I loved getting to hear their stories and how their classrooms are going. I know that teachers have to vent their frustrations and I do not think that these teachers did anything wrong. But the more they kept talking about problem children the more my mind kept wandering. The whole night I just kept thinking, "Lord, what is going on in these kids' lives to cause all of these behaviors in Kindergarten?" I mean a lot of the students they were telling me about either had behavior issues or low academic levels and these are some wealthy students. Then it hit me that many parents are not spending the time with their child to help them be successful. It is not the job of the school to teach students to say please and thank you...but they can reinforce it. It is not the job of the school to teach right decisions from wrong decisions...but they can reinforce it. It is not the job of the school to instill values in these students...but they can reinforce it. How tragic will this society become if public school is the only place these students hear about morals, politics, or Jesus and His saving grace (and I know they don't get to hear about that from teachers)? I believe that these children deserve to have teachers that can love on them in the name of the Lord. They deserve teachers that care what the underlying issues are instead of judging them on their behaviors. And they definitely deserve a family supporting them. Some teachers talk about students with Autism in a negative light, but they too need love and support, like any other child. It pains me to think that one day, I might forget that there is a little child behind all of those antics that desperately needs the Lord. I pray that I can hold on to this compassion as a teacher and try to help students deal with life. I heard a song playing on the radio on my way home, and it just summed all of my feelings up: "Hope is here, What a joyful noise we'll make, As we join with heaven's song...To let all the world know that Jesus saves. Raise a shout, To let all the world know that Jesus saves. Free at last, Every debt has been repaid, Broken hearts can be remade, Jesus saves, See above the storms of life, See it through the darkest nights, Jesus saves." <3 God bless!

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

A little bummed....

Last week I was shocked to hear a teacher tell me, "You can pretty much forget about everything they taught you in college." Sadly, in most school districts this statement is completely true. Last week I came to the realization that I will most likely not get to teach exactly the way I was taught. It is hard to sit and watch students who are indeed learning, however, see where what I was taught in college could be beneficial. Even more shocking was when another teacher told me she was having to attend classes for foundations of reading and foundations of math. HOLD ON A SECOND....back up! Yes she is having to take foundational courses....sounds a lot like courses I have already worked hard in and paid for! What was the point of going to college and attaining my degree if I have to be taught how to teach reading and math? Hopefully I will be able to find a district that allows me some freedom in the way I teach mathematics and other subjects as I have first hand knowledge of the effectiveness of writing workshop, reading workshop and math workshop. Another thing I have come to realize this week is that all of these workshops look different in other teachers' classrooms. Workshop is a very broad term and is used in that same sense. After discussing this issue with my husband he gently replied, "Every company trains their employees." Trust me, I have a lot to learn, but my husbands insight really helped me to turn my perspective. Instead of being doom and gloom, I need to work hard and implement what I have been taught at the right moments. I also have A LOT to learn. I can admit that :) I see the value in team work and cooperating with fellow teachers in planning lessons. I see students learning. I see teachers desiring for their students to improve in attitude and in aptitude. Maybe this is a school I could teach at. And maybe one day I will be able to share some of my experiences and slowly evoke change.

P.S. My mother in law suggested I look into having an SFA charter school in Houston....I can dream!

Saturday, August 28, 2010

"Teacher, can I go to the bathroom?"

This week I wanted to do something a little different. Below you will find my top 5 moments of the week:

5. I learned what happens when you ask a 2nd grader to wait to pee, until after a timed computer test....they pee their pants :)

4. I am blessed to have students in my classroom with autism at varying levels, and have a very diverse classroom as far as abilities are concerned.

3. There is a kindergarten teacher that is pregnant and due in January, and I have been told that when I talk to her, it is very likely that I will get that position.

2. If Lakeshore is full next year, they will need one more teacher in each grade. BONUS: I was also told that I will have no problem finding a position at that school!

1. My mentor teacher announced to the entire staff (including principals) that I was doing a great job in her class, that my classroom management skills were excellent and that she was glad I jumped right in from day 1!

Monday, August 23, 2010


Okay this topic is so important that it requires its own separate post! I have newly discovered and am now newly addicted to....drum roll please.....VISTAPRINT!! I have never seen so many amazing possibilities for so cheap. I can make desk name tags, and rules posters, and student info cards....the combinations are never-ending and customizable! I had to post pics of all of the goodies I ordered. I must warn you however, before you go discovering Vistaprint, be prepared to stay up long hours creating countless materials and paying a large sum for shipping. I was able to get all of my items free, but the shipping was around $35. To really learn the in's and out's of Vistaprint it is vital that you check out and the group Vistaprint Addicts. Trust me once you get started you will quickly become an addict yourself at the expense of all those around you :)


Can you say flexibility?

Wow! Today I survived my first day of school! It was so surreal being on the teacher side of things and I found many SFA ideas flooding my brain. I was amazed at how much at ease I felt stepping up in this new role of student teaching and I almost walked away with a teacher badge...too bad the machine was broken. There are 20 students in my classroom and I can already see the many different temperaments, interests and abilities. It's almost comical to me when the students try and test me, because I am very used to that from all of my babysitting! God definitely knew how to prepare me. I found myself praying for certain students...praying for their home life, praying for their attitude...and then it hit me, God is so patient with me. No matter how many times I mess up, rebel, and even throw fits, God still loves me and is always patient! Who am I then, to pray that he changes these children to better serve me? God created them all unique and special and for varying purposes. I realized in that moment of praying to change those students that I needed to instead pray that God change me! I began to pray that God would grant me patience when I feel like I have none left, and that he would give me understanding. I was able to meet the principle today and get my foot in the door. I am really hoping that I will get hired on in January, but I also had to remind myself that God has it all in control and his word says that His will for me is good, pleasing and perfect. If I don't get a job immediately that's okay....He has perfect timing and He knows what He wants with me. If I do get a job immediately then I know that God is the God who see's me and that He knows my heart and chose to bless me tremendously. If I ever doubted my place in the classroom, today, the day that should've been extremely stressful, I felt at ease and that I was right where God wanted me. I have a peace now about teaching and cannot wait to continue finding out all that God has planned for me this semester. I contacted my site coordinator today....actually my touch phone called her on and off from about the time of 10:40-11:50 all on its own. Imagine my horror when I survived my first day of student teaching to find that I had "prank" called, essentially, a teacher that holds the power to pass/fail me! I called her up and was surpised at how down to earth she was. She asked me how my day was, and chuckled when I said, "I definitely learned what it means to be flexible!" God is so good to me and I am excited to have finally started the descent on my journey to becoming a teacher!

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Surviving the Parents and Target Dollar BINging

Sorry I've taken so long to post! I had meet the teacher nights this week, and met lots of parents for those busy kindergartners and second graders. I wasn't sure how to introduce myself at first to the parents, and was super embarrassed when they announced who I was in front of all of the K parents! Then we went back to the teacher I will be working with 2nd's classroom. Parents came and went and I pretty much just stood there feeling very out of place. Some of the parents came up to me so I quickly explained that I would not be there child's teacher and that I would be student teaching in October. It seemed weird to meet the parents at this time, but it never hurts to start parent-teacher communication early. The next night I was able to have a more casual come and go time with my 2nd grade cooperating teacher. She started out introducing me to parents, but as more and more came I had to take it upon myself to go up to all of the parents. I don't know why I was so nervous, but it definitely went much smoother than the previous night. I missed a few of the parents because for some unknown reason I couldn't work up the nerve to talk to them. This brings me to goal number one of my student teaching experience: "I will be comfortable in the classroom and confident in interacting with parents."

On a more interesting note, I have recently found the most exciting place to shop for teacher stuff....that's right TARGET! Target has these really cool dollar bins that are out all year round, but once a year near the start of school it becomes a teacher's paradise. Check out all of the stuff I got! Most all of it was only $1 a piece, even the dry erase boards!!

large view of all my goodies!
dry erase board class schedule, magnetic letters/numbers, smelly stickers, foam cylinders, good work stamps, hanging shoe holders...
dry erase boards, math bingo, nameplates, teacher plan book, good work stamps....
hanging shoe holders, student materials cups, smelly stickers, small pocket charts, magnetic letters/numbers...

If you need any teacher goodies it is never too early to stock up and I highly recommend you go on your on BINge soon!

Monday, August 16, 2010

The Pursuit of Teaching

Hi, and welcome to my blog! I decided that my first post should be an explanation of where I have been and where I am going. Most importantly, however, my relationship with Christ and his affect on my pursuit of teaching. As a young child I would always play "school" with my friends (needless to say, they weren't always as excited about it, as I was). I even remember my first weeks of school when all I wanted was some homework! It seemed that I was born to be a teacher. Then, my younger brother was born when I was 9. Having him around I realized that teaching was something I wanted to actually do, rather than play. During these times in my life, my family had always taken us to a Lutheran church in the area I grew up in. God had always seemed a part of my life, but never close at hand...always far away. But in attending the Lutheran church, I thought if I went through the routine of going to church Sundays, having communion and later getting confirmed would do the trick to get me into heaven. This went on through my father's struggle with cancer, and later death. I decided to get confirmed, altough I felt something tugging at me to not succumb to that, because I felt that it is what my dad would've wanted. I later figured out that this was God starting to work in me. Although I did not have Jesus in my heart at the time I felt God filling a void in my life once my father passed away. Then, when I was 14, I met the love of my life, Aaron. God knew exactly what He was doing, when He put Aaron in my life. Every week we were dating Aaron would go to his church on Sunday and I would go to mine. But we alternated on Wednesdays and went ot youth group together. All the while he was urging me to attend his church for good. I don't remember why, but at the time I was very hessitant and pushed it off for a few months. When I finally started attending his church full time, I realized how much I learned! I learned more there in one day than I did at my old church. I started listening to the local Christian radio station, KSBJ, and the youth group started studying Revelations. God shortly revealed to me that I was unsure where I would go when I died. One evening I went with my mom to Walgreens and she said she only needed 2 things. I turned on KSBJ and just sat there waiting and listening. All of a sudden the radio station cut out, I looked around and saw that the sky was red, and my mom had been in the store for at least 30 minutes. I put two and two together and started to frantically search for cars wrecking and other signs of the second coming. I began to pray to God that He would take me with Him and not leave me here. I thanked Him for His son, and the sacrifice He made to save me from a life of unresolved sin. Right then and there, I asked Jesus to come into my heart and take over my life. Once I finished praying, KSBJ came back on, the sky cleared and my mom came walking out. I was relieved that the second coming hadn't actually happened and that I was now SAVED by grace! Over the years God continued to work in me and feed my desire for teaching. He led me to Stephen F. Austin State University in Nacogdoches, TX, which was the perfect school for me. He also continued to draw Aaron and I together. We got married in August of 2008, in between my Sophomore and Junior year. He has been very supportive of my drive to teach. This semester I will be student teaching at Lakeshore Elementary in 2nd grade and in Kindergarten. I will be using this blog to chronicle my process from student teaching, to finding a job, to my first year teaching. This is the pursuit of teaching.