Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Story 1- Year 2

Here goes my first crazy story of the year- and school hasn't even started!  We still have exactly a week until classes start.  Tonight was Meet the Teacher night- a great time for me to hang out with my coworkers and meet many of my future students and their parents.  My first crazy story of the year came in with her older (though I'm not sure how much) and very pregnant sister, who spoke for her.  This ever wise sister was certainly not yet 18 and definitely not the legal guardian needed present to register her younger sister for school.  When asked who came with her, this student, let's call her Margaret, said her mom was here- just in the car outside.  She wasn't coming in because she couldn't get out of the car-- they were on their way to take her to the hospital and decided to make a pit stop at Meet the Teacher night.  Kudos to Mom for looking out for her kid.  Still, probably not the best judgment.  We sent a teacher out that knew Mom to talk to her.  The teacher's report?  Mom was lying spread eagle across the backseat, moaning in pain and holding her stomach.  They all (minus Mom) come back into the school and begin the registration process.  Don't worry, Margaret had plenty of time to socialize with all her favorite teachers and some of her friends.  She wasn't in a hurry at all.  Those of us that knew what was going on kept urging her to hurry.  Probably 45 minutes later, they headed off to the ER.....

Friday, August 26, 2011

One of the Hardest Things

So one of the hardest things a social creature like me faces post-grad is staying in touch with friends and far-away family.  I know we're all "paying our dues" in our new careers or full-time students (shout out to all my future lawyers!).  Luckily, some of my favorite people have blogs that I can read whenever I have a minute to "catch up" with them, whether they're free or not.  Unfortunately, reading a blog or email just doesn't always cut it for my friends and I.  Luckily, we have cell phones and the lovely and wonderful skype.  I've also recently been introduced to facetime, but skype still trumps all in my book.  Today, I got to spend entirely too long on skype, but it was a wonderful three hours, and the time really flew.  I guess that's what happens when you only get to see someone on occasion and communicate primarily through email.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Dear Tuesday,

I know that you come to visit every week, but that does not give you the right to try and ruin my week.  You're the longest, busiest day of my work and school week, but that doesn't give you the right to be a jerk.  I sincerely hope we can learn to be friends.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Progress! :)

I'm finally making progress in my classroom. :)  It's starting to look more like a classroom.  I finally got into my cabinets today.  Since they were still locked and none of the eleven keys my predecessor left me worked, I asked the custodian if she would break the locks off.  She did, and then picked on my for being blonde because as soon as she broke the locks off, she went to the key box.  And in the key box, she found my keys.  They were labeled for the wrong room number, but they were there.  So, feeling slightly silly for putting the custodian out and making her work so hard, I got to explore my cabinets.  It was so much fun! There's tons of cool stuff in them.  I took some pictures of the progress.  There's still a long way to go, but it's getting there.

my desk

My chemical cabinet with different types of sea turtles

my computer center

my EQ board

my board and the scientific method above it

my doorway...still needs some work

chemical cabinet

sheep of the cool goodies I was left

the other cabinet

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Life's Little Blessings

I've taken some time today (as a break between lesson plans) to reflect on all the blessings in my life.  I have such a sweet family that I got to see Friday night and Saturday.  Mom even got to see my new classroom and helped me put up a bulletin board that I was unable to do by myself, which was awesome.  I enjoyed getting to help one of my little brothers move into his first apartment, even though it was weird!  The only thing missing was my baby brother, aka Bubba. 

I have, first and foremost, an amazing family.  My immediate family is awesome and I know that I have strong women to rely on in my life.  My mom, her mom and step-mom, and my mom's sister are wonderful examples of the type of woman I hope to be.  Yes, they all do things I don't necessarily love and get on my nerves sometimes, but I hope that I can be as upstanding as they are. 

I have a great support network of friends that I can laugh, cry, and just be with.  They know all about me and they love me anyway--isn't that what true friends are?

I have a job.  AND it's a job that I like.  My principal and assistant principal make sure that I have everything I need in materials and support.  I have a team of experienced teachers to work with, and the entire staff of the school has been wonderful in the days I've spent with them already, welcoming me and offering assistance.  I'm looking forward to meeting my students and the challenges and happy times to come this school year.

I've found a church that I enjoy, and where I feel welcome.  Sunday, the ladies of the church gave me a soup mix to make for dinner.  It's called Friendship Soup, and it's yummy. :)

I'm getting the opportunity to further my education with a masters' degree in something I love-- youth development.  My cohort is a wonderful group of people from all walks of life, and I greatly enjoy being with them in class every week and collaborating with them on projects.  I would not be able to grow as much as I already have in my studies if it weren't for these people and our very helpful, knowledgeable, and understanding professors.

Take a time-out from the stress of your life, and if you're a teacher, from the stress of a new school year.  Reflect on all that you have, and focus on the positive.  What are you thankful for?

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Just Breathe.

This has been my first week back to the 8-4 in the building....except I'm not in MY building.  Well, not until after 4, anyway.  Meetings. :/  It's been a long, stressful, overwhelming week.  So, with a to-do list a mile long, I'm rolling into year two of my teaching career.  My advice to myself most days this week, and the advice I'm going to give y'all now is to breathe.  That's all you have to do.  Lock yourselves in a quiet room (the bathroom's a good place), sit down, don't do any work/ cleaning/ thinking, and just breathe.  After a minute or so, just give yourself 5 minutes of relaxation.  Maybe even more if you think you need it/ have time for that.  There's nothing wrong with taking a warm bath, having a glass of wine, eating some dark chocolate, or just reading and burning some candles.  I know I try very hard to make sure that all my children (students) are taken care of, and that everything is as good for them as possible.  While I think that to some extent this is a healthy, natural appraoch to student relationships, I know that we as teachers also need to take care of ourselves and our families and friends.  There comes a point when you just have to stop working for the day, especially if you're a perfectionist like I am and you could probably always find something else to do, so the to-do list is never truly empty.  So, go.  Breathe. Take a yoga class.  Relax.  And good luck! I know most of my southern teacher friends started this week, so I hope everyone's school year is off to a fabulous start!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Beautiful Beaufort

This weekend, I had the opportunity to visit Beaufort, SC for the first time since my family and I vacationed on Fripp Island in middle school (and maybe the summer after 9th grade).  I had forgotten how truly beautiful the city is, and also how quaint.  I mean that in the nicest way possible.  I mean, who can look at the following pictures and not find Beaufort's beauty breathtaking?  Nice alliteration, yes?  Gosh I love the lowcountry!

I have a really pretty picture of the bay at low tide too, but I can't get it to load right now.

So, this really awesome girl who writes Boomwhackers and Lipsmackers, and also happens to be a dear friend, just moved down to Beaufort for a job.  I got to go visit her and her fabulous roommate, and had a stellar weekend.

Friday night, we went to this little restaurant called the Frog.  Amazing seafood (of course), and the roomie sang some jazz for us.  It was fabulous!
Our view of the show

Then, Saturday was an awesome, awesome event.  We drove to Charleston and spent the day with my family at Homegrown 2011.  We got to see Crowfield, Sister Hazel (twice), and Hootie and the Blowfish, which is probably my all-time favorite band.  Not to mention, I got to spend hours looking at and listening to my celeb crush, Darius Rucker.  The downsides?  

1) It thunderstormed. BAD.  We had to "evacuate" the tennis center.  Outdoor concerts and bad, long thunderstorms are not fun.  We were totally soaked!  The concert was delayed about 2 hours, but luckily we didn't have any accidents like the Sugarland Concert did.  Then, while slushing through the mud and getting even more disgusting on the way to my car, my remote wouldn't unlock the car.  I finally proved to my brother that it was, in fact, my car, and then my unlock button inside the car wouldn't work either.

2)As it turned out, I'd accidentally left my headlights on in the rain on the way to the concert, so my car had been shining away for about ten hours.  The battery was dead.  Luckily, I'm basically a professional at jumping cars and we got it all taken care of pretty quickly.  What wasn't quick was the zillion dollar BMW that also needed to be jumped and whose owner I let borrow my jumper cables.  I mean, seriously, you'd think his shiny-new, zillion dollar car would re-start a little faster.  

3) From the concert, my girl and I and my brother and one of his frat brothers decided we wanted some WaHo for a midnight snack.  We pulled up, and not only was there a hostess at this waffle house, there was a line out the door.  Totally unheard of!  When did Waffle House get so popular it needed a hostess to manage the seating?

This guy brought the party to the concert, beach ball and all.  This was about two hours before the band played.  The ball ended up on stage during the encore!
The chocolate tree!
cute camper!

Sunday, when we got back to Beaufort, I got to see one of my precious campers and her family.  She showed me around downtown Beaufort, and then we went shopping.  This 13 year old girl REFUSED to let me buy her anything to drink, junk food, ice cream, clothes, jewelry, or anything.   She's the hardest camper I've ever met to spoil.  I had a great time with her and meeting her puppies.

Oh, and the picture of the chocolate tree is significant because it's the same chocolate shop Forrest Gump went to when he got his box of chocolates.  You know,
that part?  Oh, AND they have an all you can eat chocolate/ candy day soon.  15 bucks for all you can eat, really really good chocolate?  I'm thinking about making a trip back just for that.

All in all, this was a fantastic weekend.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

What Parents Don't Realize

What parents don't realize is that sometimes they make fools and jerks out of themselves at teacher conferences.  This video is a little extreme, but parents this extreme do exist and do try to make the life of a teacher miserable.  Instead of spending our time teaching or preparing to teach, we spend many planning periods and time before and after school in parent-teacher conferences, many of which are unsuccessful.  This does not include the amount of time we waste waiting for parents who never show, sometimes when they requested the conference in the first place.  Thanks to my former teammate for showing me this video!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Post-Grad: Year 2

Yesterday is what I would consider my first day of my second year after graduation.  I went into my new school for the day, and got to inventory all the thousands of dollars of lab supplies/ things they bought me.  It was really just like Christmas morning!  The classroom, which was "mine" when I visited before, is officially mine now.  Nothing in there (except what belongs to the school) belongs to anyone else.  I got a good feel for it and can't wait to decorate.  Oh, and I got pet clearance, so we'll be having a classroom hamster/gerbil/rat and hopefully some frogs!!!  The only difficult things left to do are to convert my long-range plans to lesson plans/ unit plans and to find pants that fit my teacher uniform and khaki only.

Here are the before pictures of my room: :)

The back of the room

My wall of mostly much natural light in my room I didn't use the flourescents all day!

part of my wall with sinks/ supplies

the front of the room. 

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Fair Trade

A basketball for a baby?  Fair trade?  That's what the roommate and I just witnessed.  Literally, these two girls were hanging out in the middle of the street, in the part where the gate to the neighborhood is.  It's not near anybody's front door.  One girl had a baby on her hip.  Soon enough, a boy with a backwards baseball cap walked out of a row of houses nearby and bounced his basketball on over to the girls.  He took the baby, left the basketball, and went back into the house.  Then, he came out about ten minutes later, gave back the baby, and took his basketball back.  He proceeded to bounce the ball obnoxiously for a few minutes, then headed home...minus baby.  Strange.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Thought of the Day:

I HATE cancer!  Just in general, thinking about how many people it affects irritates me.  Especially childhood cancer.  Camp Happy Days (see my previous blog about CHD) makes a huge difference in the lives of these kids.  I'm a month out of camp and missing my campers and my better friends dreadfully.  I'm excited to see some of them at Family Camp in October!  Good luck to all of you starting school soon...and if you're a camper in my cabin, you should be getting mail sometime in the next week!

In fact, I hate cancer so much that I even got a tattoo honoring all my heroes- the kids, siblings, and parents that fight childhood cancer.  I miss you all!  Why can't you all live nearby?

Sunday, August 7, 2011

What I love about Sunday

This has been a Sunday for the books.  It's been an absolutely fabulous day, and so relaxing.  It wasn't anything extraordinary, just a really happy, peaceful day.  I haven't had a nice Sunday like this in quite some time (probably because I'm usually doing schoolwork for grad school).  As of yesterday, I am officially done with 1/4 of my masters!! :) This means I have a couple of weeks to only focus on work before the fall semester starts.  This should be good for me as I'm really itching to get into my fall preparations for teaching.

Today, I got up and got to go to church and FINALLY found one that I'm excited about going back to visit.  I had a little bit of a lazy morning just hanging out in the apartment with friends, headed to church, then took a Sunday drive through downtown, which I think is just so pretty.  Then, because I've been researching and researching more trying to find a gym, I stopped by three gyms on my way home.  They're all gyms I've checked out online, so I had a background interest in these three.  The first one I didn't like, the second one I loved (but it's a little pricier than I'd like to pay), and the third one has some serious potential.  It's a big investment to find a place that you feel comfortable (and safe!) exercising...I guess I've always been lucky and have never had to look for a good gym fit for me.  I did a little people watching, which Sundays are perfect for, and headed home.

At home, I got to celebrate the fact that one of my friends has just found a new, much better job opportunity in his field, and that really brightened my day even more.  Then, the roomie and I headed off on an "excursion," as we called it.  We found a cute local nail salon and got our disgusting feet taken care of.   They used something that looked like a grater on the bottoms of my feet.  I'd never seen that before, but boy do my feet feel amazing now!  I guess my feet had just gone way too long without some quality attention.  Then, we headed to our new, superstore sized Dollar Tree.  I'm telling you, this place is the biggest Dollar Tree I've ever seen, and it was its grand opening.  I stocked up on some neat stuff for my classroom and got two containers of Fabuloso for cleaning my board.  All of you teachers out there should give it a try-- it's hands-down the best board cleaner I've tried, and it makes your classroom smell pretty.  I also had the brinner I've been craving for quite some time: Pancakes, scrambled eggs, and turkey bacon (which is turns out is absolutely disgusting).  We came home and now I'm getting to enjoy our balcony and a beautiful sunset.  Tomorrow, it's back to work and the real world, but today has been a wonderful day of relaxtion.  This is what I love about Sundays.

Friday, August 5, 2011

A Limerick

The packaging science engineers
are the source of all my great fears
Their boxes cause pain
And bring me no gain
At the end of their work are tears

Inspired by the not-so-dear packaging science majors/ engineers who design boxes which I have to smush my hands into so that I can extract the textbooks which are crammed in there with literally no extra space.  In addition to this aggravation, the boxes are usually new, meaning sharp, and leave cuts and scratches all over my hands and arms.  My favorite part?  Each box is designed for a textbook that individually weighs approximately a ton.  You know when a normal-sized box only has six textbooks in it and is full that those books are gonna be a holy terror to lug around.  Anyway, to the people whose job is to design these boxes: you make my life miserable.

Summer Vacation

Summer vacation is the best part about being a teacher according to non-teachers, right? Well, here to tell you that you're wrong.

1. I miss my students. I wonder what up to, and what they remember, and what I taught them besides science that's sticking, but mostly? I miss them. I want to know what up to and see their smiling faces.

2. Summer vacay is a myth or an urban legend or whatever you want to call it.  When we aren't taking classes to make sure that we're "highly qualified" to teach someone else's children, we're recruiting for our school, helping to interview potential new teachers, organizing and cleaning our classrooms, and spending lots and lots of time preparing to teach your children.  This involves re-reading textbooks, brushing up on state and national standards, making lesson plans (lots and lots of lesson plans), trying to be as innovative as possible, creating school supply lists, and shopping for children who very rarely thank us for the large amount of money from our paychecks that we invest in them.

3.  Many teachers work summer jobs, you know, since we (at least me as a science teacher and my elementary ed buddies do) spend much more money than we probably should trying to make school fun and "cool" for our students.

4. So yesterday, when someone said, Oh, you're a teacher? How nice that you only have to work a few months out of the year! I really wanted to say, actually, though I've gotten to see lots of family, the only time off I've had all summer was the week that I spent volunteering at Camp Happy Days, which was the best vacation I could've asked for.  However, while I'm spending a rainy, thunderstormy day inside lugging around thousands of pounds of textbooks, I'm fantasizing about vacationing at the beach, perhaps off the coast of my favorite city- Charleston!

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Educated Hotties

I'm a happy-go-lucky person most of the time, but one of those things that makes me extra happy is educated hotties.  The flavor of the day is Matt Damon.  He's handsome, has a great vocabulary, and loves his mama.  Oh yeah, and he's got a pretty awesome job and is financially sound.  As it turns out, Matt's mama is a teacher, and he did a bit of a news interview about teachers.  Matt defended us---finally! Somebody that's not a teacher is sticking up for us.  We're not all unionized, and the majority of us DO know what we're doing and how to reach kids, as well as want to be there. However, there are a lot of demands placed on us by people who have no idea what they're doing.  Here's Matt and his Mama.