Back to School

owl-47526_1280I’ve been neglecting my blog lately. As usual, the excuse is I’ve been too busy. Right now, there are several other things I should be doing, but sometimes it’s good to take a brain break.

Topping the list of my too-busy-to-blog excuses is that I am taking a couple online classes. One is a California history class, and the other is called “Single-subject Methods for Teaching Social Science”. I am also studying for the state-required exam that will deem me—once I pass—eligible to teach social science at the middle school and high school levels. For anyone who might be reading this outside of the US, middle school is what we call school for children who are eleven to thirteen years of age. High school is for students who are between the ages of fourteen and eighteen years.

I will finish both classes at the end of May and take the exam the first week of June. Then in July, I will take the same type of class and start studying for the same type of exam that will allow me to teach English language development to middle and high schoolers.

If all goes as planned, I will be credentialed to teach all grade levels.

The worst part of doing this is how exhausted I am. It’s tiring to work full time, be a mom, do adulty things, and go to school all at the same time. The end is in sight, though, and that is what I hold on to when I feel like I’m going to drown in reading and writing assignments while trying to tackle the ever-growing pile of my students’ papers to grade … all while trying to study the material I need to know for the social science exam.

Why am I doing this? Because I thrive on change and I love to learn. The end result, however, is to make myself more marketable. Options are always a good thing.

 

D is for Distraction

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I am easily distracted.  I probably would have been diagnosed with ADD when I was a child, if it had been as widely known back then as it is now. It hasn’t exactly been a problem for me now that I’m an adult, but it can be annoying at times.  As a teacher, I find there are some classroom noises that distract me to the point of major irritation.

I have quite a few kids this year that hum.  Constantly. I understand their desire to hum and I don’t think they do it on purpose. One of these days, I’m going to have to count the number of times I hear myself say something like, “When we reduce fractions– please stop humming— we need to find the greatest common factor. After that , divide– stop humming— the numerator and denominator by the– whoever is humming, please stop— er, what was I saying…?”

Then there are the desk drummers.  I have a few of those this year.  Sometimes pencils become drumsticks.  If not pencils, hands work well, too. The drumming is less annoying than the hummers because I can immediately pinpoint where the noise is coming from and address the offending percussionist directly.

Foot tappers fall into the same category as the desk drummers.  They can be a little more difficult to identify, but not as difficult as the hummers.  I don’t have many foot tappers this year, fortunately.

There are also the water bottle crumplers– a big NO in my class! That just makes me mean. It doesn’t matter what I’m doing– the second I hear the crumpling of a water bottle, I lose all concentration. I reserve my most severe teacher glare for those who crumple their water bottles. As a result, it doesn’t happen often in my classroom.

I wish I could be one of those teachers who doesn’t notice the hummers, drummers, tappers, and crumplers.  But I do.

Distraction– it isn’t just for students anymore.

 

Monday Minutiae

I don’t really like Mondays.  I guess that places me in just about 99% of the population who feels the same– give or take 30%. At the end of the day, the last thing I want to do is think too much.  So, it’s good to deal in the mundane– the minutiae.  It’s also good to use bullet points.  I like bullet points.

Here goes:

  • My dog needs to be groomed– he’s a little smelly right now
  • We are studying the solar system in my 4th grade class
  • I have to make myself keep a straight face when anyone mentions Uranus
  • I just purchased a new zombie apocalypse novel for my Kindle
  • My nine year old wants to know when we can go to Hooters
  • There are Legos all over my house
  • I’m watching Sons of Anarchy while I write this
  • I don’t like clowns (but then, who does?)
  • I don’t like monkeys & I don’t know why & I feel bad that I don’t– what kind of person doesn’t like monkeys?
  • I remember what paste smells like
  • It bugs me when people hum
  • My son saw a moth that looks like a hummingbird today
  • I have a hummingbird tattoo on my back
  • My kids are still awake
  • I wish I lived in the middle of nowhere in Montana… or Washington… or Wyoming
  • I have a doctor’s appointment tomorrow
  • I hate going to the doctor… and the dentist
  • Do all motorcycle cops ride BMW bikes?
  • Why did I just ask that?  I don’t know.
  • I’m craving Jelly Bellies
  • My kids are still awake
  • I can identify almost every flavor of Jelly Belly known to humankind
  • I don’t like the popcorn ones– or the peanut butter ones
  • I’ve been to the Jelly Belly Factory twice and plan on going again with my 4th graders in May
  • Men/boys should not wear skinny jeans
  • I’m almost done with this post
  • You can’t “give or take” 30% of 99%– 129% doesn’t really work
  • My kids are finally asleep– I think
  • In one hour it will be Tuesday & I’m OK with that

Good night!

Change is the Spice of Life

As I write this, I am coming up on my last week of teaching kindergarten.  I am amazed at how quickly this year has gone!  I pursued and accepted this position with joy and high expectations… mostly expectations of ME as a teacher.  Looking back, I see that my expectations of myself- as usual- were very high.

If I were to sum up this school year, I would have to call it a year of change.  During the school year, I lost a couple kids… I gained a couple kids… I changed how I did things… I changed the desks around several times…  I changed my tolerance of acceptable classroom noise level… I even changed classrooms when a leak made itself known by pouring down water from one of our ceiling lights.

The good news is, I love change.  I thrive on change.  Change keeps me on my toes and makes me re-evaluate how I do things.  Change keeps me from collecting too much “stuff”.  Change forces me to grow as a person and as a teacher.  Change keeps me from growing complacent.  I know a lot of people who don’t like change, but as far back as I can remember, change has been an integral part of my life.

We moved a lot when I was a kid. I remember that feeling of excitement I’d get when I found out we were moving to a new house. I’d happily start packing up my things, getting rid of things I had outgrown or just didn’t want, and lovingly sorting out the things that meant something to me. Most of my personal stuff fit into one big box.

I loved getting used to a new house… learning the layout and discovering its secrets. I loved arranging my new room to suit my tastes.

If I had it my way, I would move every couple years… minus the escrow hassles and loan fees. Not to mention, packing up a house is a whole lot more work than packing up a boxful of childhood treasures. Still, I would do it. Why? Because I like change.

Where am I going with this?  I don’t really know, except to say I am thankful that I got to satisfy the part of me that needs to experience temporary chaos.  The kind of chaos I can fix, organize, and simplify.

I don’t know what the next school year will hold, other than I am slotted to teach fourth grade (but like all jobs these days, there is no guarantee of anything).   Do I want another year of change?  I don’t think so.  I’d rather have changes in other areas of my life and that will be fine with me.  But then, I’ll take on whatever life throws at me.

Bring it!