I like to allow myself special moments to catalog my career as a teacher. (My hubby and I call it “the trophy case.”) These are usually things incredibly cringe-worthy, or tear jeeringly joyful. Moments worth mentioning so far:
1. Receiving a nomination for “Student Teacher of the year” from my credential program.
2. Accidentally spilling the beans to a group of 3rd graders that Santa doesn’t exist.
3. I was told by a student’s mom that she had cancer, but that her kid knew because she had already told him. He was having a rough day so we talked about what was going on privately. While trying to comfort him, I ended up telling him for the first time that his mom had cancer and realized half-way through that mom had lied to me. Mom had not told the son, my foot was in my mouth.
3. A student asked me to draw in the eyebrows he regretfully shaved off last night.
I’m 5 days into the new school year and I’ve already filled out two CPS reports. Don’t get me wrong- love my job. I love love love that I receive paychecks for loving kids and teaching them to love themselves. But today was a rough day. That’s all I can say at this moment.
I signed up for Reddit’s Teacher (Secret Santa) Gifts this year and I had the most amazing package delivered this evening:
2. The complete Hunger Games series!
3. The COMPLETE Harry Potter Series!!!!!!!
I didn’t know what the price range for the people gifting so I did a huge range of items because I honestly thought that I would just get one. Three is unbelievable, and THESE THREE are beyond generous. I’m truly shocked.
This comes after an amazing day two for year two. My kiddos had their first day back with me. We were supposed to have eleven at the start but the only two new students I was supposed to start the year with moved over the summer. Oh well.
These kids returning weren’t able to complete the program sufficiently last year so I thought that they would be returning with doom & gloom stapled all over their faces. Yesterday morning was far from it. My kids couldn’t stop hugging me and each other, yelling over each other’s voices to tell me about their adventures. I can’t count how many times I heard “Oh, I love you Mrs. C——!” My heart was spilling over and it made all the little butterflies that try to start the year with me fly away.
Our second day was a little more of what I come to know them as: arguments, digs, rough-housing, and lies. We ended the day looking back at how much can change in 24 hours.
I’m so grateful for their beautiful little faces, even when their eyes are rolling out of the heads. They are butt heads, but they are MY buttheads. I can’t wait to show them these amazing gifts from our anonymous donor!
Today was a rough day. We got a new principal this year and they’re changing a log of things (some for good, some for bad), and today I got an answer to an important question that wasn’t exactly what I wanted.
My school is so different than general ed that I often forget what it’s like to work at a regular school. It’s almost as if I forget that principals can sometimes not give you everything you want, or that your school’s policy doesn’t support the reasons you became a teacher. I keep wanting to scream, “…but… these kids are so important!” before remembering that ever kid is important. My frustration towards change can’t be any more important than the frustration every passionate teacher must feel 1000x a day.
I was foolish enough to believe that by working in alternative ed I would be working with a different set of rules. And last year I was so spoiled- a huge classroom budget (upwards of $400), a supervisor constantly saying that meeting these kids emotionally was more important than meeting them academically, and having the two other teachers at my site be my go to pals. Nearly all of that has changed in only one year. Smaller budget (still huge considering), new administration (coming from a site that’s further down the spectrum than ours with incredibly high standars), and new coworkers.
Honestly, I can’t be upset. I’m not allowed to be. I’ve got it SO FREAKING GOOD because I get paid to spend time with some of the most outrageously fantastic students in the world. It’s just so hard sometimes when I have to look them in their beautiful eyes and try to convince them that the world is worth giving a second chance to when all I want to do is run from that same world. No matter what changes continue to unfold this year, I want to try to twist my uncertainty into love for my students. Whatever happens and however much it hurts can’t take away from the reason I am in this profession.
I’m not here to be perfect. I’m here to make middle schoolers life-long-badasses.
Today was another productive day for my happy portable! Our maintenance gentleman installed my second whiteboard (!!!) while I completed this “Daily Work” bulletin board.
What I love about the newly placed board on the left is where I’ve got the grids to separate assignments between grades. Having a combination 6th - 8th can be really frustrating sometimes, but I think I’ve got a pretty decent attack plan for preventing brain-melting.
The purpose behind this is to help create physical reminders and explanation behind daily classwork/homework while I’m spending the first 3 days of our first short week instilling routines and basics for other common procedures. These assignments are staples in my room: The WWRL (Weekly Work & Reading Log), our grade-level spelling packet, and D.O.L. (Daily Oral Language). I’ll keep this board up through the second week and then move it towards the door so the reminders still exist, but aren’t the spot light.
Some other fun things: I made some mini-posters of the art basics from the outstanding M.C.Gills’ ABC’s of Art. I have very little technical training in art, so I find him an incredible valuable to my personal and professional life!
My library is still a mess/joke. Ugh… maybe tomorrow ;)
Even though school doesn’t “start” until the 20th, there are already way too many meetings and events scheduled that are turning my brain into a pressure cooker!
That being said, I GOT SO MUCH DONE TODAY!
These are binders that I use regularly throughout the school year, but were disgustingly boring and unorganized… until today!
I even got around to making my file cabbies cute (Does this mean I’m finally one of those super cute teachers?!?)
I even cleaned my desk. What the hell. Who am I right now. I can’t even.
My amazing brother-in-law donated these books to my classroom. We’re going to be using these (and a few others) to read at the start of the year. I was really torn between which book to start the year with: The Maze Runner or Rash Both are outstanding and a huge draw for my kiddos, but I went with this one mostly because I wanted to try something new.
This post was way more ridiculous than I had originally planned, so here’s a “Thank-you-for-reading” selfie!
I’ve seen a lot of pins about using Boggle in the classroom as an activity when “must do” work is finished, or as bell work. I have two white boards in my classroom but didn’t want to sacrifice the space since I have hardly ANY other wall space. I finally decided that the side of a cabinet would do just fine.
I used cardstock and this template for printing, laminated the squares, cut them into bits, and used small sized magnets to put everything together.
I’m really pleased how it all came together. What do you think? Would you use Boggle in the classroom? If you have already, how has it turned out?
This Friday our school staff will meet to decide whether or not to upgrade our dress code policy to a full blown case of uniforms. It’s important to note that this is a K-8 Community Day school, where students are sent because they’ve either been expelled, long-term suspended, or highly recommended by their previous site due to extreme behavioral issues. I swear it’s more fun than it sounds!
I teach the 6th - 8th grade, while there are two other teachers that split up the K-2 and 3-5. Those classrooms float around 7 - 10 students a year, while I have around 20.
My heart is against this, only because I had to wear uniforms in HS. I did almost everything I could to break the rules and drive my teachers crazy, and I’m horrified at the idea of being on the receiving end of this issue. (Karma, right?)
However, thinking over some of the dress code issues I had last year (inappropriate logos/designs, gang affiliation, SUPER short shorts…), I welcome an alternative. It would be a rough transition for my returning middle schoolers, but that’s what we’ll have to figure out this Friday.
What are your thoughts on school uniforms? What advice or experiences can you share before we make any big decisions?
I got these at beginning of the year gifts for my behavioral technicians and myself. I have to BTs that help run rotation groups, manage individual academic and behavioral problems, but most importantly… make sure I get to pee throughout the day! Hooray!
I’m still brainstorming what to fill them with. Possibilities include:
Starbucks gift card
Cocaine… (just jokes)
Teachers: What would you appreciate these mugs to be filled with as a gift for yourself?
Yesterday I found myself at the dollar store (again!) looking for classroom supplies. I walked out with 25 items for, you guessed it, $25 plus tax. I felt I had gotten off easy until I shared this “bargain” with my husband later that day.
"You spent MORE money on the classroom?? How much is that already?"
I was sort of ticked at first thinking it was rude of him not to be as excited as I was to invest in something that I care so much about. But then I started to add up some numbers and realized shortly after that he made a great point.
My district is one of the most supportive and uplifting education environments I’ve ever been a part of, and I’m blessed to receive around $200 a year to put towards my classroom. My Principal has also been very encouraging to pay for additional needs, like when he wanted to help me start a Chess Club or create a school garden. Money wasn’t the concern in his mind- student needs were put first.
Even with this direct support from my supervisor, I STILL spend hundreds of my own dollars a year on my classroom. This morning I spent some time researching to see if I was an outlier and I found this article:
According to this information… I’m an outlier on the LOW end of spending! How do so many teachers rationalize spending their income on their classrooms?
Personally, it goes back to my immediate response to my husband: “It’s an investment!” I’ve been telling myself that if I spend the money now that I’ll be spending less in the future- that I’ll be doing the most early and that it will be making every year after easier. As a second year teacher, only time will tell.
Teachers: How much do you spend on your classroom a year? What rational do you use to support your spending?
Excuse the mess, but enjoy a shot at my handsome husband!
This is the right side of the classroom, which further right has a sink area and a reading nook.
Here is the progress on the beautiful gray wall! My husband helped me trim between boards and around expensive equipment. Another whiteboard will be added to the left of my SmartBoard.
This is the wall to the left of the whiteboards- I love this blue! None of the walls look very good without charts, posters, or anchor charts… but all in time.
We finished painting today and I’ll post more pictures once I finish the decorating process. Excluding days I took off to leave town and/or forget that I’m a teacher, the entire process took about 4 days and cost me under $70- not bad!
I’m beyond thrilled to have been invited back to my school as a second-year teacher! Last year was the hardest year of my life but confirmed in my heart that I’m headed the right direction.
I’m guilty of having started blogs in the past and abandoning them… but I’m hoping this one will stick. The purpose of this blog will be to help me document what teaching practices are working and which aren’t. It is also so that anyone interested can follow along.
I currently teach at a Community Day School which hosts K-8 students who have been sent to us due to moderate/extreme behavioral issues. Mostly it means that I work at what my students call the “bad kid school.”
My enclosed classroom receives students ranging from grades 6th through 8th, but is available to house 5th grader due to specific circumstances. I (attempt to) teach all subjects with the help of two Behavioral Technicians and a PE coach from our neighboring Middle School. We have a strict behavioral management/tracking system that allows students to earn their way back to their original school by earning points. More about that to come.
My students and I spent a lot of time examining this diagram and cracking jokes. As much as they said otherwise, I really believe I’ve found an awesome job! This last year challenged me in a bazillion ways, but I’m already counting down the days until I get to see my students again.