Saturday, August 28, 2010

Two weeks in and ten feet under!

Well, it has begun!
My nearly 100 7th graders and I are two weeks into our 180 day journey together, and I can't imagine any job more frustrating, tiring, yet fullfilling and wonderful.
Having April & May last year has really put me at an advantage, because many of the things that I found so mentally exhausting (like adjusting the school culture, the routines and procedures that are second nature to those who have been teaching here for umpteen years) are now pretty routine to me as well. Having them from day 1, coupled with our new school-wide behavior system seems to be helping classroom behavior, at least I have seen. I had one fight on the third day (an issue that was unavoidable- how can I stop something that is perpetuated by both the parents/guardians and the community? I'm at a bit of a loss... think "Freedom Writers" here...) but since then, I've seen huge improvement from at least one of these kids...then another teacher and I broke up one after our Back to School Dance, a bullying issue carried over from the elementary school by 6th graders, and then yesterday, after lunch, two boys got into it in the restroom across from my room. I was proud of the boy that got hit (he was one of mine... he was hit by a kid who lost his cool over an accident and still didn't hit back. Maybe this respect message is seeping in?), and then right after class, I defused one fight by getting a boy to take a "chill out" walk. He kept his cool for the rest of the day. :)
Yes, it's a battle to get them to do the right thing each day, but so far, so good. I feel like one place I'm not my best is in curriculum. Mostly because I've never taught some of this before. A lot of the skills I'm teaching are happening kind of magically, through kids questions and those little teachable moments. Next year, I will be able to predict those moments and plan for them. Over all, I am satisfied, yet still wanting to improve.
I have been running/jogging/walking lately. I wanna try the Couch to 5K program I've heard so much about, but for now, I am just trying to stay motivated to take care of myself. :) I mean, Thursday, for example, I got up at 4:15am (hubby and I eat breakfast together every morning about this time) and I left for school at 6, got there about 6:40, had morning duty at 7:30, kids from 7:50-9:45, planning from 9:45 to 10:30, kids from 10:30 to 3:30 (and we are all on duty during lunch, so I am up moving around then, too!) and then I have kids in my room after school until I kick them out, lol. Plus, that day, we had our dance 6:30-8:15... I didn't get home that night until 9:30ish. See why I have little sympathy for people complaining of 10-12 hour days? LOL... All those long days mean I have to schedule "me time" just to stay sane! But, despite how fast I seem to be aging as a result of my chosen profession (I went to bed last night, Friday night, mind you, at 5 pm... and I'm 22 years old, already using anti-aging make up, eating fiber-supplemented cereal, wearing "support" hose and orthopedic shoes, and coloring my gray hairs...) I STILL love it and don't regret what I've chosen to do with my life. When I see those smiles, those light bulbs, or hear one of my kiddos say, "Remember when you taught us....." or "I love you, Mrs. W..." or see their faces peeking in my room just to say hey, I know it is all so, so, so worth it.
BTW, anyone got any crock pot recipes they'd like to share? Needless to say, I have little time to stand over a stove these days!

Wednesday, August 04, 2010

Forgive the Angst.

I have such angst in August, it's no surprise. Blogged about it before ( although this year *I* am the teacher, and not a student!) and much of it has to do with preparation. Am I prepared for this? Yes, no, maybe? You are about to be apart of something HUMUNGOUS in my life, dearest blog reader of mine. I approximately one week, my first full school year as a 7th grade English teacher will begin. I am scared, I am excited, I have this weird butterflies-that-make-me-smile-and-wanna-throw-up-at -the-same-time kind of feeling. For much of this school year, I will inevitably be treading water. Staying afloat. Surviving. Forgive me if I don't share any fabulous recipes. Forgive me if I don't share happy homemaker tips. Forgive me if I forget to call, forget a thank you note, decline an invitation, rarely visit, spend Saturday working or sleeping or tackling the mountain of laundry that will certainly reside in my house (the foundation of said mountain has already been laid this last week... is it worth trying to prevent the unavoidable?). Forgive me if my blog posts are solely about my plight as a teacher. Forgive me if my blogs become sporadic, unfocused ramblings of my stream of conscious (sort of like this one has become...) and forgive me if I seem distracted. It's be cause I am- Until June, I will eat-sleep-and-breath teaching. No worries. I won't burn out. I will set aside time for myself. I will make myself have regular doctors' visits, eat right (hopefully even better), plan movie nights with my friends, have dinner with the family, spend "quality time" (wink) with my hubby and we will make time to NOT talk about our classrooms, schools, or students and focus on us. But most importantly, I will be doing what God intended me to do. :) And I am so terrified, and yet so thrilled. ANGST.